Guide to Buying Flour in Japan

I’ve developed a lively interest in baking lately. I never thought I could do such intensely satisfying activity. If I shoot from the hip, I’m a bit of a lazybones but when it comes to baking, I turn into somebody else. Quite the opposite, I guess. When I’m in the kitchen, I become someone who I never thought I could be given my past experiences of cooking burnt fried eggs or hotdogs. One can learn new skills if willingness is there and that’s as sure as eggs is eggs. Now let’s talk about flour!

When I first tried buying flour at a Japanese supermarket, I almost took the unsuitable one. The images printed on the packaging are pretty similar but these flour are actually intended to be used for specific purposes. The prices and quality vary from shop to shop.

If you’re new to the baking world, here’s a quick guide for your stress-free Japanese flour shopping:

All-purpose flour – plain flour/ weak or soft texture / for general purpose
Depending on the recipe, you can use this for making okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake), fried dishes, some sweets, or noodles.

japanese all purpose flour

Cake flour – very fine texture/ good for cakes, cupcakes, scones, biscuits, and muffins

japanese cake flour

Bread flour – made of hard wheat/ strong structure/ best for bread baking

japanese bread flour

Wheat Flour (elastic flour) – similar to all-purpose flour but smoother and more spreadable
Best for cookies and meunière dishes.

japanese wheat flour

These are just few of the commonly used flour in Japan. There are actually a lot more. It gets a bit confusing sometimes. Not to mention the different brands. If you can’t read Japanese yet, just try to memorize the characters that you see on the packaging. Or you can screenshot these pictures so you can compare with the other brands that are available at your nearest supermarket.

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22 thoughts on “Guide to Buying Flour in Japan

  1. Hi. Saw you left a star on my unfounded blog. Thoughts I should do the same as my humble thank you. I kinda enjoy your post tho =)

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  2. Hi Sheryl! Nice to chance on your blog. This article on flour is just what I needed, just getting started on baking with my children. Happy to read from how a beginner can approach supermarket to chose the right stuff. Now I know what kind of flour is for okonomiyaki. Thanks! Btw, u r staying now in Japan or Singapore?

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          1. Great experience! Do enjoy 😉. I think I can be considered good enough. I studied 3 years in SG before going there for just a year.. my japanese ability now.. JLPT 1, able to do translation n interpretation at work

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          2. Japan? Hitotsubashi University. I hope you enjoy your stay in Japan. Btw, U may wish to mingle with Japanese retirees at their activities in 公民館, Japanese version of our Community Centres. That’s where I get to know more Japanese. Do share more of your lives in Japan. I am sure many fellow Singaporeans love to know if living in Japan is as nice as visiting there.

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