Rios Bakery Cafe, Ashiya



Rob Dyer promo The Real Japan

I hope you enjoy reading this post.
If you need help planning your Japan trip
click here.

One thing I particularly love about Japan is the amount of small, self-owned, mom and pop and family-run small business there are - everywhere you go. 

Whether it is in the middle of Tokyo, or in the wilds of Hokkaido, there are modest, but beautiful sake breweries, cafes, clothes shops, tofu producers, second hand records stores, electrical shops, etc. 

The fact that Japan has officially been in recession for the last couple of decades still (despite business closures) hasn't managed to kill off this wonderful aspect of life in the country. 

To me, these are Japan's Local Heroes. 

Japan Without Japanese Audiobook eBook bundle The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Not named after Brazil

Rios Bakery and Café is one of those owner-operated businesses that continue to pop up.

Rios Bakery Ashiya The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The original Rios Bakery in Ashiya, before it moved to a new location

Rios (apparently named after the owner and not Brazil as I had assumed!) has the advantage of being found in Ashiya, the wealthiest city in the whole of Japan. So, whilst it possibly isn't typical of your average small family business, for me it is a fine example.

Rios Bakery Ashiya The Real Japan Rob Dyer

 Front counter, the original Rios Bakery & Cafe, Ashiya

Opened in 2011

I forget what it was before, but noticed the previous store had closed and was being refurbished. It reopened under its new guise in 2011. My mother-in-law, sensitive to my love of bread (and especially toast in the morning), has been buying freshly baked bread from Rios each time we visit – and it is lovely.

To be honest, bread in Japan is still a relative novelty (compared with England where it is a staple of the diet any hour of the day) and decent bread in Japan isn't readily available everywhere.

Rios Bakery Ashiya The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Mid-morning breakfasts

It was only when we were in Ashiya in May 2012 that we first made a point of popping in there for a late breakfast one mid-morning. It lived up to the promise of its beautifully-designed exterior. The coffee was spot-on, made at the counter in front of us, and the bread and pastries are a real treat.

Rios Bakery Ashiya The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Owner Rio pouring coffee at Rios Bakery & Cafe, Ashiya

Celebrating small businesses

So I decided to take a few photographs of Rio and his lovely café to celebrate what he, and the thousands of small, independent businesses across the country, add to the social (and economic) fabric of The Real Japan.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and maybe you could visit Rio in his café one day too. If you do, I ask just one favour, please tell him we sent you and thank him again for his tasty bread!

Rob Dyer The Real Japan

About the Author

A writer and publisher from England, Rob has been exploring Japan’s islands since 2000. He specialises in travelling off the beaten track, whether on remote atolls or in the hidden streets of major cities. He’s the founder of


Further Reading

Leave A Comment / Ask A Question

Book Your Trip: Japan Travel Essentials

Click to See My Recommendations

Book Your Flight
Find the best flight by using Skyscanner. It's my go-to flight search engine because it has the most comprehensive global search options.

Book Your Accommodation
I frequently use as they consistently offer the cheapest rates and most flexible cancellation options for hotels and guesthouses. Use Hostelworld if you're looking for budget-priced options.

Book Your Japan Rail Pass
The best official agent by a country mile is Clear and easy to use website. Excellent customer service.

Book Your WiFi
I never travel in Japan without pocket WiFi. Get Ninja WiFi for unlimited internet everywhere, use Google Maps, supports up to 10 devices.

Book Your SIM Card or eSIM
Order your physical
SIM Cards or eSIMs to stay connected and in touch while in Japan.

Book Your Hire Car
Rent a car in Japan without speaking or reading Japanese via's Car Rental portal.

Ready To Book Your Trip?
Check out my Recommended Japan Travel Resources. The list covers all the essentials. It’s filled with carefully selected travel resources. And I only include the best travel resources - those I use myself or recommend to my clients.

Need Help Planning Your Trip?
Japan Travel Store includes essential travel items as well as my books, travel guides and more.

Leave A Comment / Ask A Question

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}