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A Turophile’s Guide to Tokyo

1. Voice of Cheese  チーズの声 

With a window façade in the shape of the northern island of Hokkaido, the dairy hub of Japan, this is the only shop in Tokyo dedicated entirely to Japanese cheese. In summer, farm-fresh soft serve and a seasonal vegetable market accompany a changing selection of Hokkaido cheeses.  

2. Fermier  フェルミエ 

The first stand-alone cheese shop in Tokyo to import artisan cheeses from Europe, Fermier offers a rotating selection of European favorites, regular classes, and cheesemaker meet-and-greets to educate budding cheese enthusiasts.  

3. Fromagerie Alpage  フロマージェリー・アルパージュ 

A petite cheese shop in Tokyo’s French Quarter (Kagurazaka), Fromagerie Alpage focuses on small producers. With many French expats as regulars, they carry a staggering array of European cheeses and a small selection of seasonal Japanese cheeses. 

 4. Cheese Oukoku  チーズ王国 

The Hisada Group was one of the first importers of cheese to Japan. Since opening their original shop in Tokyo, they have expanded across the city by developing cheese counters in department stores (which serve as centers for high-quality food in Japan). From Isetan to Mitsukoshi stores, “Cheese Uokoku” cheese counters provide an impressive selectionfrom European favorites to more obscure ones like yak cheeses from Nepal.  

 5. Lammas  ランマス 

The Setagaya neighborhood’s pint-size cheese shop is run by a young couple who’s passionate about bringing lesser-known cheeses to Japan. While French cheeses usually reign supreme among Japan’s imported selections, Lammas was the first shop in the country to import cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy. It also carries a beautiful selection of artisan Italian wedges and wheels.  

6. Shibuya Cheese Stand  渋谷チーズスタンド 

In Tokyo’s Tomigaya neighborhood, just past bustling Shibuya crossing, Shibuya Cheese Stand has two locations within spitting distance of each other. One is the urban creamery with a take-out menu and a full selection of cheeses, including the Mondial du Fromage award-winning burrata. The other is a restaurant famous for its pizzas showcasing an array of Italian-style cheeses. Go early for lunch to beat the lines! 

 7. Subrideo Restaurare  スブリデオレストラーレ 

Immensely popular with the Japanese cheese community, this restaurant manages to incorporate cheese into every dish. The menu changes seasonally, but there’s always some raclette in the massive cheese case, ready to be served atop their signature spinach quiche.   

 8. Cheese Tavern CASCINA  チーズタバーンカシーナ

Don’t eat here without trying the pink burrata; its creamy inside is dyed using strawberry puree, turning it into straight-up dessert. For a savory fix, try the katsuo fish with Roquefort or the risotto cooked in a Piave wheel and topped with uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe).  

 9. Atelier de Fromage Restaurant  アトリエ・ド・フロマージュ 

From the baked cheese curry topped with blue cheese to the whey-fed pork steak, the Nagano cheesemaker’s Aoyama shop and restaurant showcases their award-winning cheeses from appetizer to dessert.  

 10. Fromage Café Fermier  フロマージュカフェ・フェルミエ 

This café utilizes imports from Fermier in its cheese-centric menu, wine list, and monthly all-you-can-eat cheese nights that allow members to sample new styles.  

 11. Cheese Professional Association (CPA) チーズプロフェッショナル協会 

The lead organization promoting Japanese cheesemakers and cheese culture in Japan hosts events, seminars, and the annual Certified Cheese Professional Exam. While the office is not normally open to the public, check its website (cheese-professional.comfor event information and membership registration.  

 12. The Cheese Room Academy  ザチーズルームアカデミー 

The Cheese Room is one of several cheese schools in Tokyo—but a focus on “cheese art” makes it unique. Miyuki Murase, the head teacher, was the first winner of the Concours Mondial du Meilleur Fromager in France in 2013, and she brought her talent for crafting artsy cheese plates back to Japan. With partner Asa Hiromi, Murase runs the Cheese Art Fromager Association Japan and a corresponding certification program with two levels. The school also provides exam preparation for Japan’s Certified Cheese Professional Exam.  

Malory Lane

Malory Lane is a member of the Japan chapter of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, the creator of the online resource The Geography of Cheese, and the founder of Japan Cheese Co., the first company to export artisan Japanese cheese to the US.

Harumo Sato

Harumo Sato is a California based visual artist.

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