Japanese grocery stores in France

General France notes

Many of the large supermarkets, especially in and around the big cities, carry a small selection of Japanese ingredients like 'sushi rice', instant miso soup, rice vinegar and the like. Japanese food seems to be trendy.

Paristore is an Asian supermarket chain with stores in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse. Has a very limited selection of Japanese food supplies, but an extensive variety of Chinese/Taiwanese foods and other Asian foods, e.g. Indian.

If you are in an area with no Japanese stores, look for the 'does mailorder' indication of some Paris stores.

Natto du Dragon is a natto maker in Provence. Strong tasting but very nice natto. They do mailorder, but you may need to poke the guy a few times before he ships to you. See my review here.

This April 2009 article in Le Monde (French) indicates that the popularity of Japanese cuisine in France may lead to more Japanese groceries opening up. (Hopefully!)

General notes on Japanese food shopping in southern France from Maki

Since we moved to Provence in southern France a couple of years ago, I've had time to assess the Japanese food shopping situation here. The closest Japanese grocery store to us is in Lyon (see below), but the selection is very small so we've ended making an occasional trip to Uchitomi in Geneva (see the Switzerland section on the Europe page) for perishables. Geneva is about 4 hours away from us, so it's a day trip, but if we have business there anyway it's not a big deal.

For non-perishables, I usually buy by mailorder from Japan Centre in London. Even if it's from the UK and figuring in the extra shipping costs, I find their prices and selection are better than the Paris stores. Their website is really easy to navigate, which helps a lot. I have bought the occasional extra special thing from Workshop Issé (see listing below under Paris).

I don't actually get to Paris that often - it's a 7 hour drive from here, and parking is a nightmare, and if we go by TGV we can't carry much. Geneva is much closer to us.

Regular French "gourmet" food sites like Bien Manger have started carrying a variety of Japanese foodstuffs, but the prices are pretty outrageous compared to Japan Centre or even Kioko.

We can get very good fresh fish, even sashimi-grade, from our local fishmonger. Go and visit your local fishmonger to see what they have! We also saw some fantastic fresh fish in Brittany.


29 avenue Monclar
84000 Avignon
04 32 76 32 80
Comments: "An Asian store, but with some japanese supplies." -(Céline)
"Very tiny, nice people." (maki)
45 avenue Monclar
84000 Avignon
04 90 85 17 71
Monday - Saturday, 8:30–12:00/14:00–19:30
Comments: "Again, an asian store with a few Japanese products." -(Céline)
"Very tiny, again nice people." -(maki)


Comments: "The frenchbento blog and the blog of another japanese expat in Bordeaux ; blog no longer updated, as she got a job, but lovely for homemade food anyway)often refer to these stores." -(Céline)

La Maison du Japon
28 rue de Cheverus, Bordeaux
French web site
rue du Parlement Sainte Catherine, Bordeaux
Eurasie Bordeaux


General comments: "And some precisions about the store I mentioned : Kazuki and Kimchi (real mirin, for instance, not the corn-syrup based one) and have some dashi, umeboshi, katsuobushi and kombu ; Whereas Paristore don’t sell these basic products (not to my knowing anyway). consequently Paristore is obviously cheaper, but often run short of some supplies in the japanese section." -(Céline)

See this an in-depth look at Japanese food shopping in Lyon.

Japon Store
35, cours Gambetta 69003 Lyon (Métro Saxe Gambetta-Ligne B ou D)
Mon-Tue, Thu-Sat 9:30 - 13:00,14:30 - 19:00; Sunday and Holidays 9:30 - 12:00. Closed Wed
Japanese web site (a little French)
Comments: "The only store in Lyon with only Japanese groceries. Tiny but helpful, with a fairly large range of products ; the owner also sells bento on weekend, pre-order required -(Céline)
21 avenue Félix Faure 69003 Lyon(Métro Saxe Gambetta-Ligne B ou D)
04 78 62 75 30
Tue-Sat 09:00 - 19:00, Sun 15:00 - 19:00, closed Mondays
French and Korean web site
Comments: "A Japanese-Korean grocery store, alike to Kazuki." -(Céline
8 bld Joliot-Curie à VENISSIEUX ( bus 36, stop at Etats-unis-Viviani); also on the new Tram 4 line)
Comments: A big asian supermarket, with a wide range of supplies, some fresh vegetables, frozen food, and a Japanese department. -(Céline)
Comments: Not much in the way of Japanese products when I was there. I found it rather depressing and scruffy. In Lyon, I think you are better off shopping at Kazuki, Kimchi and Supermarket Asie, all of which are within walking distance of each other. (maki)
Supermarché Asie
12, Rue Passet
69007 Lyon
Métro or tram - Guillotière
Tel : 04 78 58 92 65
Comment: It's general asian store, but it has by far the largest selection of japanese items in Lyon for a reasonable price- A lot of their japanese stuff come from Kyoko (paris) or Kazuki. Shopping there from now on ! ^^ (Céline)
Comment: I got the impression that this is place is owned by Taiwanese people, since I saw a lot of Taiwan-specific things here. Has a better range of Japanese products than Paristore. (maki)


61 boulevard Plombière
Groceries, a general Asian 'all you can eat' buffet, housewares, etc.


Naturel et Bio
Rue d'Italie
84100 Orange, France
Tel: 04 90 34 43 03
French web site
Natural/bio grocery store
Comments: "What I spotted after a quick trip : A large section dedicated to brown rice ( several brands of thai long grain brown rice and round grain rice, but also glutinous brown rice!), albeit no japanese rice ; Azuki beans and azuki bean flakes, nori, wakame, kuzu,arrow-root and kanten powder, shoyu, tamari, various sesame seeds products, green tea of course, umeboshi, umeboshi paste and several kinds of tofu. I was pleased to see they had a good selection of brown rice - however I was a bit disapointed with the tofu products : they all had the typical rubbery texture of european-manufactured tofu. ^^p But overall it was a nice discovery!" (Céline)

Paris and environs

See A Frugal Eats Japanese blitz through Paris and Bento sightseeing in Paris.

There are two major shopping areas for Asian food: The Chinatown area, which is in the 13th arrondissement, and the 1st and 2nd arrondissements (Métro: Pyramides, Opéra, or Quatre-Septembre), which have a concentration of Japanese stores and restaurants. There are also a few stores in the 15th arrondissement (Métro: Charles Michels).

Ace Mart
63, rue Saint-Anne
75002 Paris
Tel: 01 42 97 56 80
Metro: Pyramides or Quatre-Septembre
Mon - Sat 10:00-20:00, closed Sun
Korean grocery store
Carries a lot of Japanese groceries (as is the case with most Korean groceries). Prices a tad cheaper than area Japanese grocery stores. Doesn't seem to be affiliated with Ace Opera, but rather with Hi Mart (see listing below).(maki)
Ace Opéra
43, rue Saint-Augustin
75002 Paris
Tel: 01 40 07 93 57
Metro: Pyramides or Opera or Quatre-Septembre
Mon - Sat 10:00-20:00, closed Sun
Korean grocery store
Carries a lot of Japanese groceries (as is the case with most Korean groceries). Prices a tad cheaper than area Japanese grocery stores. Doesn't seem to be affiliated with Ace Mart.(maki)
Big Store
81 avenue d'Ivry (Paris 13ème)
Wed - Sun 10:00-19:30, closed Mon, Tue
Large Asian supermarket in the Chinatown area.
According to a couple of Japanese blogs, this Chinatown store has the best selection of Japanese ingredients, followed by Paristore. Their "Pearl Rice" (_Shinju-mai_) from California is recommended.
Fast Don
52, rue des Petits-Champs (opposite Kioko)
75001 Paris
Tel: 01 4296 8624
Metro: Pyramides or Opera
Open 7 days (?) 12:00 - 15:00 for lunch; 17:00 - 23:00
At lunchtime this is a 'Japanese fast food' place that serves donburi (rice bowls) and such; also has takeout prepared food (osouzai) and bentos. At night time it turns into an izakaya.
Hi Mart
71-bis, rue Saint-Charles
75015 Paris
Tel: 01 45 75 37 44
Metro: Charles Michels
Mon - Sat 10:00-20:00, closed Sun
Korean grocery store
Carries a lot of Japanese groceries (as is the case with most Korean groceries). Prices a tad cheaper than area Japanese grocery stores. (maki)
83 Av Emile Zola, 75015 Paris
French and Japanese web site
Métro: Charles Michels
Tue-Sun: 10:30 - 20:00; Closed Mon.
Japanese grocery store. Does mailorder within France.
Comments: "The shop is off the beaten path of the 13th and the usual suspect of shops by the Opéra, thus less deleriously busy. Kanae has a great selection of fresh, packaged and frozen japanese products. The staff is always congenial and helpful. I highly recommend. (Jool)
46 rue des Petits Champs, Paris 75002
French and Japanese website
Tel: 01 42 61 33 65
Tue-Sat: 10:00 - 20:00; Sun: 11:00 - 19:00; Closed Mon.
Metro: Pyramides or Opera or Quatre-Septembre
Japanese grocery store. Does mailorder within France.
A Japanese grocery store, with a fairly comprehensive selection of Japanese products. Downstairs they have refrigerated and frozen goods, snacks, condiments and alcohol. Upstairs they have dried goods, dinnerware, instant noodles, and a small selection of bento boxes. Be sure to pick up their free paper (available at the entrance) if you speak Japanese. (maki)
46 rue Sainte-Anne
75002 Paris
Tel: 01 42 86 02 22
Metro: Pyramides
Open 10:00 - 22:00 every day except Sunday, when it closes at 21:00.
Sells prepared foods (osouzai), bento sets for eating in or takeout. Small grocery store section in back.
68 Passage Choiseul
75002 Paris
Tél: 01 4296 4837
French and Japanese website
Open M-F, 12-14:30; closed holidays
A tonkatsu and fried stuff (korokke etc.) restaurant that offers takeout bentos; bento menu is fixed and changes every day. Delivers within Paris. Operated by the same people who own Workshop Issé (see below).
Paris 13ème
Another large Asian supermarket in the Chinatown area.
Tang Frères
168, avenue de Choisy
Paris 13ème
Tel: +33 1 44 24 06 72
Another large Asian supermarket in the Chinatown area.
Comments: "To me it’s the best Asian store in France!" -(a big store in paris)
Toraya à Paris
10, Rue St-Florentin
75001 Paris
Tél : 01 42 60 13 00 Fax : 01 42 61 59 53
E-Mail : f-toraya [at] toraya-group.co.jp
Métro : Concorde (ligne 1, 8, 12) ou Madeleine (ligne 8, 12, 14)
Open Mon-Sat, closed Sundays and holidays.
Toraya is arguably the best regarded wagashi maker (with a nationwide presence) in Japan. Their yokan (sweet bean jelly block) is a surefire hit as a gift in Japan. The Paris location has a store and a small tea room where you can enjoy their sweets and green tea. (They used to have a NYC location which closed some years ago.)
Workshop Issé
11 rue Saint Augustin (Paris 2)
Tel: 01 4296 2674
Mon - Sun 11:00 - 19:30; closed on national holidays
French and Japanese website. Does mailorder within France and throughout Europe.
Purveyor of high end artisanal Japanese ingredients and alcoholic beverages. Mailorder and small satellite store.
Full report


27 Faubourg de Saverne
67000 Strasbourg
03 88 22 69 20
Super Asie Tien Hung
4 rue Charles Peguy
03 88 28 37 97
15 rue La Fayette
67000 Strasbourg
French web site
03 88 40 12 20
Also at
211 avenue de Colmar
67000 Strasbourg
03 88 40 05 18
A Thai store, obviously, but looks worth checking out.
Village Coréen
10 rue Ste Catherine
03 88 35 55 52
A small Korean grocery store.


Asia Delice
8, Rue Austerlitz
31000 Toulouse
05 61 12 00 90
Comment: "a little store which sells as much food as ustensils. The owner is not Japanese but knows well what he sells and answers your questions." -(Nolwenn)
Paristore - Asia Center
13 Rue Paul Gauguin
31100 Toulouse (Le Mirail)
05 62 11 53 50
Comment: "this Paristore is centered on selling to restaurants’ owners but everybody can buy. It is not a Japanese grocery, but they have a range of japanese supplies." -(Nolwenn)

Also see the excellent FrenchBento blog (French). She doesn't know of any bento suppliers in France...and if anyone would know, she would I think!

Filed under:  japanese ingredients shopping equipment and supplies

Japanese food shopping in Lyon, plus different Asian stores as sources for Japanese food


This is a continuation of my series on Japanese food shopping, and frugal eating, in Europe. Previously I visited Paris and Düsseldorf's Japantown.

Lyon, the third largest city in France and arguably the second most important one after Paris, does not have a large Japanese expat or immigrant population. However, there are some Japanese corporations that have factories or offices in the area, not to mention a large university population. So in terms of the availability of Japanese groceries in France, it ranks second to Paris, although it trails behind by a large margin.

The main reason I've been interested in Lyon as a source for Japanese food is that we are seriously considering getting a house in the Provence. Lyon is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Haut-Provence (northern Provence), the area we're looking at, so it would be my closest source. (Marseille, which has a Paristore but no Japanese groceries, is about the same distance away, and Avignon, about a 45 minute drive, has two tiny Chinese groceries.) I could order non-perishables from the stores in Paris such as Workshop Issé, or from Japan Centre and so on, not to mention have stuff sent over or bring them back from Japan, but that doesn't work for things like tofu, konnyaku, produce and frozen foods.

It also gives me a chance to talk a bit about where exactly you can find the Japanese ingredients that are mentioned here, regardless of the town you're in, because the shopping options in Lyon are limited yet straightforward.

Option 1 - Kazuki: The Japanese-owned Japanese grocery store

Kazuki (storefront pictured above) is a tiny, jewel-like boutique. In terms of presentation, it has a lot in common with Workshop Issé, but where Workshop Issé is selling high-end food and alcohol, Kazuki is at its heart just a regular Japanese grocery store. Things like cans of wasabi peas, ochazuke packets and run-of-the-mill furikake which only cost a few euros at most are displayed as if they were Hermés scarfs on sleek shelves. This is the Japanese aesthetic and penchant for neatness gone to the extreme.

Everything about Kazuki is beautiful and well presented, even their takeout bentos, which are neatly wrapped up in ribbon:


With a few exceptions, Japanese grocery stores tend to be rather neat and tidy places (though I've never seen one as pretty as Kazuki). They also tend not to carry any other Asian ingredients, though they may have a few Korean items.

Obviously a Japanese grocery store should be the first place to look for Japanese ingredients. If you want things like Japanese soy sauce from Japan, real mirin (hon mirin) rather than mirin-flavored cooking liquid (mirin fuumi choumiryou), go to a Japanese store, However, they can be a bit more expensive than other options, and because many Japanese grocery stores are small, the selection can be limited, especially when it comes to fresh produce.

Option 2 - Kimchi: The Korean-owned Korean grocery store


Kimchi, which is just a few blocks away from Kazuki, is a tiny yet fairly typical Korean grocery store. Korean stores always carry a large amount of Japanese items; usually the selection runs around 50/50 Korean/Japanese. Older Korean people often speak some Japanese.

I really liked Kimchi, because it also carries some 'biologique' items such as nigari (used to make tofu) and kuzu or kudzu powder (used to make kuzumochi, goma dofu and other things).

If you are lucky enough to have a large Korean market near you, it may be your first stop in a quest for Japanese foodstuffs, since they are likely to have most of the fresh produce used in Japanese cooking too. (Kimchi is too small to have any fresh produce unfortunately.)

Option 3 - Supermarché Asie: A Chinese owned Chinese grocery store

In terms of larger Asian grocery stores, there are ones that try to cover all of eastern and southern Asia, and ones that just concentrate on a particular region. Supermarché Asie, which is in the same general neighborhood as Kazuki and Kimchi, clearly concentrates on east Asia: China, Korea and Japan. And, although I don't speak a word of Chinese I can sort of tell apart Cantonese vs. Mandarin and different dialects/pronounciations (well, just aa bit), and I did get the impression that the store is owned by people from Taiwan. Taiwan has much stronger ties to Japan than mainland China, so a Taiwanese-owned store is much more likely to stock Japanese things.Of course, it's difficult to tell apart a Taiwanese store from any other kind of Chinese store just by reading labels, so you'll just have to look around.

The good thing from the standpoint of someone interested in East Asian cooking in general, is that a store like this can be a one-stop shopping destination.

Option 4 - Paristore: A general Asian/Exotic Food grocery store

Paristore is a chain of Asian supermarkets that has stores throughout France. I've only been to the one in Lyon so far, so my impressions are of this store.

Paristore is ostensibly a Chinese supermarket, but it also carries many other 'exotic' foodstuffs, from African to Middle Easten to Indian, Thai and so on. This does mean that the selection of Japanese products is quite small. While I did see Japanese-style rice (from Spain, Italy and California) and a few Japanese condiments, there were little else. However, many Chinese ingredients can be used in Japanese cooking, so it's not a total waste of time to go to a store like this.

What you have to look out for (and this holds true of Supermarché Asie too) are products that may look Japanese, with Japanese writing on them, which really aren't Japanese at all. For example, canned green tea is never sold with sugar in it in Japan, but it seems that green tea meant for the southeast Asian market often is. I also spotted some Chinese snacks (manufactured in Taiwan) with fake Japanese writing on them, in the way that many Japanese products have fake English, or Engrish, on them!

From the standpoint of Japanese ingredient availability, I think you can categorize most Asian markets in European and North American areas into these four categories. Three other categories are: Chinese stores catering to people who came from mainland China or Hong Kong (they carry very little if any Japanese food items); Thai/Malaysian Southeast Asian stores (these also carry very little if any specifically Japanese things); and south Asian/Indian stores (again not many Japanese ingredients if any at all, but may have vegetables that are used in Japanese cooking such as okra, taro root/satoimo, bitter gourd and sweet potatoes.) There are stores fitting all of these categories in Zürich, incidentally.

Special thanks to Céline, who has been great about keeping the Lyon and Provence sections of the Japanese Grocery Stores in France listing so up-to-date! That page is where you will find all the addresses and other pertinent information for the stores described below.

Filed under:  japanese ingredients shopping france

Workshop Issé: Purveyor of the finest Japanese food and sake in the heart of Paris


From the outside, Workshop Issé looks like just another unassuming little Japanese grocery and gift store. There are quite a few stores of this nature scattered about Europe these days. But inside this little boutique in the heart of the Japanese quarter in Paris, you can experience something quite special: A crash course on top quality artisanal Japanese food and drink.

Inside the tiny store, sleek modern shelves are filled with what, to the untrained eye, might seem like the normal Japanese cooking ingredients - soy sauce, vinegar, spices, sake and other alcoholic beverages. Look closer though, and you soon see that these are no ordinary products. There's a soy sauce that's been aged for 2 years in ancient barrels; a pitch-black sweet miso that's been aged for 3 full years; finely sliced and dried battera konbu seaweed for making marinated mackerel. There are salted cherry blossoms that have been matured for six months, so no trace of bitterness remains. There are gardenia seeds (kuchinashi no mi), used as a natural yellow colorant - I've never seen these for sale outside of Japan, anywhere. There are what seem like dozens of fine sakes and shouchuus, and vinegars of all flavors and colors. This is a store with some seriously high end foodstuffs for sale.


The variety and quality of the selection is a little overwhelming, even for someone like me who at least knows what the products are. This store would be quite intimidating to someone not familiar with Japanese cuisine. But the Workshop part of Workshop Issé's name is a clue to their selling approach. Here, you can do a sampling of products, a degustation in fact (the method normally used to by a wine maker or merchant to sell wines), gently guided by a knowledgeable staff member, at least one of whom is a sake sommelier.

I had a chance to sit down and chat with with Monsieur Toshiro Kuroda, the owner and president of Workshop Issé. Having owned and run a Japanese restaurant in Paris for nearly 4 decades, he started Workshop Issé two years ago. His main reason, he said, was simply because he couldn't get a hold of the high quality ingredients he wanted from Japan through existing channels, so he decided to import them himself. There are no mass produced products here. All are of the highest artisanal quality; a typical supplier has 20 employees or less, and has been in business for more than 200 years. Here's M. Kuroda with his dog Pii-chan.


Besides selling via their web site and the boutique directly to customers, they also supply some of the best professional kitchens in France. For instance, if you've had the yuzu-flavored macaroons from Pierre Hermé, the yuzu juice and powder came from Workshop Issé. They also sell to the Michelin three star restaurant Troisgros.

I asked M. Kuroda about his marketing approach. He said that his mainly French customers take very well to the concept, since they are after all used to buying wine this way. They also don't blink an eye at the prices for their Grand Cru equivalent sakes, which can cost up to €250 per bottle and more.

It's obvious that M. Kuroda, not to mention his staff, take great pride in what they are doing. And no wonder - their product lineup would be impressive even in Tokyo. I don't know of a store like it anywhere, certainly not outside of Japan.

My budget that day was not up to buying a Grand Cru sake, so I picked up a few things that intrigued me. Here are a bottle of ume vinegar, and aged soy sauce. I love the classic labels, and the simple list of ingredients - for the soy sauce, just soy beans, salt, wheat. The ume vinegar is made from organic ume plums.


And here's some stone ground yuzu powder. Now I usually have this sent to me from Japan (or I buy it there), but it's nice to know it's available on this side of the world. The fragrance of this slightly coarse powder is wonderful, and the slightly bitter citrusy taste is addictive.


Is Workshop Issé worth a detour in Paris, even if you go to Tokyo regularly? I would say absolutely yes, unless you are thoroughly familiar with Japanese cuisine, speak and read Japanese fluently, or have a Japanese gourmet guide at your side. The combination of the carefully selected range of products and the knowledgeable staff, who speak Japanese, French and English, make this store a real winner. And if you aren't going to Tokyo on a regular basis and live anywhere near Paris or are visiting, and love Japanese food and cooking, it's a must stop.

I guess the only negative things about Workshop Issé are: They don't really have much in the way of fresh ingredients. There is a small refrigerated section with a limited supply of things like tofu and vegetables, plus real grated wasabi in a tube (€15, but worth it). Also, their prices are not cheap by any means, but you are paying for top quality.


Workshop Issé
11 rue Saint Augustin (Paris 2)
Tel: 01 4296 2674
Open 7 days, 11:00 - 19:30 with no lunch break. Closed on national holidays.
French and Japanese website. Mailorder within France and throughout Europe (but verify if they can ship something to your destination first).
Besides food and alcoholic drinks, they also have a small selection of dinnerware and gift items (they did have a couple of nice bento boxes).

You may also want to check out the rest of the Issé & cie. Japan-in-Paris mini empire: Bizan, a high end kaiseki restaurant; Issé, a 'tempura and tapas' restaurant; Momonoki, a tonkatsu and obento restaurant; and O-bento, a bento delivery service. All are described on this page (French). You can buy some readymade foods (osouzai) from the last three establishments at Workshop Issé too.

For a look at cheap Japanese eats in Paris, see A Frugal Eats mostly Japanese blitz through Paris.

(Merci beaucoup to Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini for telling me about Workshop Issé!)

Filed under:  food travel japanese ingredients shopping france paris