Arai Pastry brings taste of Japan to Tempe

Owner and pastry chef Kenzo Arai poses outside Arai Pastry. (Photo by Juliet Moo) Owner and pastry chef Kenzo Arai poses outside Arai Pastry. (Photo by Juliet Moo)

Arai Pastry wasn't built to accommodate large parties, but the cozy and simple Tempe bakery still offers enough for dine-in customers to enjoy a slice of goodness and a cup of iced coffee.

The family-owned bakery, located at the corner of a strip mall on University and Priest drives, has brought French and Japanese tastes to Tempe since 2005.

Kenzo Arai, Arai Pastry’s owner and pâtissier, or pastry chef, has more than 40 years of experience in pastry, cake and bread baking. He is originally from Fukuoka, Japan. Arai began his baking career at the age of 18 with the renowned pastry company Elbe/Chidoriya.

Using Western techniques and Japanese flavors, Arai and his sons, Taku and Sunao Arai produces creative pastries, cakes and bread loafs. The bakery focuses on pre-orders and takeout. Most of the time, people submit pre-orders for birthday and wedding cakes.

Arai Pastry features Japanese pans (Japanese style buns with either cream or meat fillings), green tea mousse, mango mousse and Japanese cheesecake. Some popular picks include the Earl Grey cake, the strawberry cake and the classic French dessert — the éclair. If that is not enough, give their tiramisu and green tea shake a try. Arai Pastry also produces jams made from organic fruits.

Sukiyaki beef sandwich at the Arai Pastry. (Photo by Juliet Moo) Sukiyaki beef sandwich
at the Arai Pastry. (Photo by Juliet Moo)

On top of that, the bakery serves unconventional salads and sandwiches. Combining soft French bread and a choice of Japanese Sukiyaki beef or Teriyaki chicken makes an exceptional sandwich with flavors exploding in your mouth.

“We sell desserts with less sugar and natural ingredients,” Kenzo Arai said, with his daughter-in-law as an interpreter.

If there is one thing that makes Arai Pastry’s desserts different from the others, it's because everything is made from scratch — completely local. Additionally, the light textures and full flavors make it hard to resist another slice of cake.

(Photo by Juliet Moo) (Photo by Juliet Moo)

Arai’s passion for desserts is apparent, as his next mission is to create specialized cakes for people with diabetes and food allergies, according to the bakery’s document. With suitable ingredients and proper handling, he believes that everyone would be able to enjoy scrumptious treats that are good and good for you.

Grab yourself something (or everything) at Arai Pastry!


Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address: 1335 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

Phone: 480-966-9002



Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @moojuliet

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