Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #6 – ‘Angelus’ in Asakusa Loved by Osamu Tezuka
In this sixth instalment to her café series, Ema Tanioku stopped by Angeles, a café in Asakusa with a history spanning over 70 years.
Angeles is known for its history of famous frequenters including legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy). This wonderful location is always bustling with customers and is known to be full even during holidays.
When people think of Asakusa, they imagine Sensoji Temple and the district’s old-fashioned architecture. However, Angeles breaks that mould and instead takes on the form of a European-style place of worship. It’s different from all the rest and looks warm and welcoming from the outside.
Even if you have no plans to go into the café, the desserts on display look so invitingly delicious you’ll find yourself stopping in your tracks.
“They look so tasty…”
Time to go inside!
You’ll be spoilt for choice because they all look so good.
The café has three floors. It’s like an atrium where you can look down below from the top floor.
People who want to kick their feet up and read in the café or relax and space out can head to the second floor which has a hiding-place-like area. There’s a different atmosphere wherever you decide to sit, so it can be fun finding which part fits for you!
‘Angeles’ refers to a devotion in memory of the Annunciation in Christianity signalled by the ringing of church bells. Looking around at the decor you’ll see things like crosses and doves as well as signs of peace dotted about.
Ema ordered the Almond Purin (¥930).
In the middle of the bowl is a melon that looks as if it’s been sliced. It’s also plated with various fresh fruits like banana strawberry as well as tinned pineapple and peaches and finished with a side of fresh cream. All of that hides vanilla ice cream underneath. And of course the highlight of the dessert, the purin, also tucked away!
First thing’s first: munching down the strawberry! The fresh cream is a perfect complement to the fruits. Combine and gobble it all up.
And finally, the star of the plate. The purin! It has quite a sweet flavour and is supple so it’s very tasty.
The café’s number one recommendation on the dessert menu is the above.
The flavour of the Angelus (¥330) dessert hasn’t changed for over 50 years. It comes in either black or white. The black Angeles is made with coffee flavoured butter cream and coated with sweet chocolate. The white Angeles is made with ordinary butter cream and coated in white chocolate.
Neither are overly sweet and they’re at an easy-to-eat size. They were exquisite!
Angelus‘ speciality is their Dutch Coffee (¥620). Dutch coffee is made by dripping ice water dripped over the coffee to extract the maximum flavour. It even looks refreshing, making it perfect for the summertime heat. If you’re a coffee enthusiast then you’ve got to try this.
Ema was contemplating that although she’s sat there there in that moment, what kind of people were talking about what kinds of things 70 years ago? The thought simply excited her ♪
“Though the generations will change, this place will continue remaining the same and probably continue to be loved by lots of people. As time flows so does the delicious taste of what they have to offer. More places like this will come to be one by one. I wonder what kind of cafe will I encounter next?♡”
【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe that you want to visit to see someone #1 The popular cafe in Jinbo-cho called “Sabouru” that has retro interior and nostalgic food.
“Although there are many great things about chain stores, the café has their own dream.”
The café that reminds me of Showa era is somehow nostalgic and comfy inside.
I, Emma Tanioku, who love to visit the new café restaurants is going to introduce the café that will make you want to see particular person in their café.
Today, I came to Jinbo-cho that is good access from middle of Tokyo, and you don’t have to change the train line from Shibuya station.
Jinbo-cho is socially known as the town which has many secondhand bookstores, it is actually the town for gourmets as well.There are many hidden old-established restaurants in this great town.
I want to introduce this café that I was especially curious about.
“Sabouru” which you can say its representative retro cafe. It locates right there from the exit A7 in Jinbo-cho train station.This 62 years historical café has established in 1955.
In front of this café which appears to look like small mountain hut, there is a red public telephones surrounded by some flowers, plants and a totem pole.This makes me want to take a picture in front of there.This public phone is actually functional, so I heard some people are still using it.
There are floor first, semi basement and mezzanine inside. It is little dark inside, but you can still enjoy reading books.Either if you come here alone or with your friends, you can spend the relaxed time.
The miscellaneous goods that decorated inside the café were donated by customers.
Even though they are all different kinds of souvenirs from all over the world, they look like it’s coordinated perfectly.I bet the customers who are big fan of this café decide to buy the good souvenirs which are going to match with this store’s atmosphere. For your information, you can decorate your souvenirs inside the cafe even if you are not regular customer.
【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe you that you want to visit to see someone #3 “Galant” —a retro café in Ueno
“It’s a mysterious café vacuum sealed with an energy that feels like it’s the time of the Japanese economic miracle”
We’re at the third installment of this series where we take a stroll to old-fashioned cafes filled with a sense of nostalgia.
I, Ema Tanioka, will be introducing to you another retro café that I am in love with. Today, we go to “Galant” in Ueno, a town where the Showa mood still lingers.
Galant has continued to be loved by many people since it opened its doors back in 1977. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the popular café. “Galant” sounds a little space-y, don’t you think? It’s a little different from the norm. When I enquired to the staff about the origin of the café’s name, they told me that it comes from the Mitsubishi Galant as the owner is a fan of cars. To think that a car’s name became the name of a café! But it has a ring to it and is easy to remember, so it might actually be a huge success.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s make our way there!
Galant is on the 2nd floor of this building. As you head up the stairs, it no longer felt like I was in the real world. A completely different world opened before me. Because of the entrance’s chic brickwork, I was surprised by the dazzling lights floating inside.
Here too! There was so much sparkle.
The first thing to peak my interest was the uniform the staff were wearing. So cute… You don’t see that red & yellow combination much these days. It helped amplify that retro mood of the café even more.
The male staff wore red & black! Black was the base colour and had that well defined, guy-like feel to it. Together with the checkered vests, it completed that retro look. It was wonderful. The café was also playing popular Showa era songs. I really felt like I had stepped back in time.
And then… and then! The menu arrived!
The most popular item on the menu is the chocolate parfait (￥900 tax incl.). It was absolutely stuffed with cream all the way to the middle. For people who love sweet things this is an irresistible delight. By the way, I must ask, what do you do when it comes to the cherry on top of the parfait? The truth is, I absolutely love parfaits, but I’m really not into the cherry – I usually leave it until the end. Even though it looks so cute on the parfait…
Another item is the cream soda (￥750 tax incl.). When going to a café, you just have to get a cream soda!! It’s because you don’t see them around much besides at cafes and family restaurants, so I’m the person that ends up ordering one unintentionally when if I see it on the menu.
There’s a nice fat serving of ice cream in there. It’s a drink you can enjoy that has the aesthetic of a dessert. The melon soda is crystal clear like a precious gem. The best part about cream soda is how the ice cream slowly melts into the drink. It’s pretty fun to watch!
Galant is the kind of café where the more you get to know it, the more you start to love it. Its fans have been supporting it for many years, and even when I become a grandma in the future, I reckon it’ll still be bustling all the same.
【Tokyo Stroll】 The café that you want to visit to see someone #4 Cats working at Shinjuku-sanchome’s Café Arles
“Good service, a jolly owner and cute cats – this café is sure to heal you!”
I’m Ema Tanioku and today I’ll be introducing you to yet another café in Tokyo as the fourth edition of my series “The café that you want to visit to see someone”. Today I’ll be reporting about my visit to Café Arles which can be found at Shinjuku-sanchome. Ever since hearing that there were cats at this café, I’ve been set on going 〜♪♪
The café is very easy to access. To get to there, you can take the Toei Shinjuku line to Shinjuku-sanchome. From here, you can get to the café within a five-minute walk. Walking around the Shinjuku Suehirote theatre, the café soon came into sight. Somehow, I could sense the presence of cats just from the atmosphere…
There it was! The entrance to the café was decorated with many ornaments of cats and dogs. I don’ know why but I was filled with excitement before even having entered.
As soon as I entered, I immediately spotted a cat.
I was then greeted by the cat’s master who had a sweeping grin across his face and was wearing a hat with a cat broach. I could really feel his love for cats ♪♪
I took a sweeping glance over the café – cats, cats and more cats – there were so many cat-themed goods everywhere! Apart from cats goods, the master also collects clown goods and displayed everything all huddled together to decorate the café.
Although this was my first time at Café Arles, I immediately felt right at home as a warm feeling grew within me. I asked the master what got him into the café business and I was surprised by his response. It all started when the master was working at a mahjong parlour, where a person they knew asked them to start up a café.
The master then thought about the numerous paintings he had collected and how he was in search of a place to display them. The idea of choosing his own music, menu and decorating a café interior to his own taste really struck a chord with him.
There are many paintings displayed in the café. Amongst these are some by modern artist Tomomi Kondo, who made the paintings “please your master” and “cool your thighs”, which feature the kaban neko (café cats) Ishimatsu and Jirocho, who are “working hard” by lazing around.
Café Arles is fun and draws in even more fun. The atmosphere is filled with the love and enjoyment of the customers. That’s why I immediately felt so at home as soon as I entered. You can easily spend a long time here.
I asked the master what he recommends from his menu. His response? “My recommendation is what you want to eat the most!” he said wisely. I felt like eating Napolitan spaghetti and so that is what I ordered! (Price: ￥720 including tax)
It came with banana and giant corn ❤ – this excellent service made me so happy!
The gentle flavour of this homemade dish was delicious and I could really taste the Showa-retro Napolitan flavour to it. The drink, soup and salad services available gives this meal a perfect score for portion size satisfaction!
The master allowed me to take his café cat Jirocho-kun out for a walk. This was the first time I’d ever walked a cat – a new, fresh experience!
Jirocho-kun is a very calm and obedient cat, so we had a lovely stroll together. Speaking of which, Jirocho-kun loves his owner so much that he runs to meet him whenever he hears his car pull up at the shop.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the café. “I enjoyed every minute of it” explained the master happily. The master created a place where everyone can be happy and in return everyone supports him. Perhaps this cycle is the motivational force that has kept and will continue to push this café to live and thrive.
I’m glad I came to this café today and met such a special person.
I want to come here again and have another chat with the master!
【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe that you want to visit to see someone #5: “café Benisica” – The Birthplace of Pizza Toast
“A café that has continued to be loved for 60 years”
In this entry to my café series, I visited the familiar Yurakucho, the center of modern Tokyo culture. This year, long-standing café Benisica turned 61-years-old. I stopped by to have my fill of their amazing pizza toast. The café is a 2-minute walk from Hibiya Station via Tokyo Metro lines, and 4-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR lines, making it an easy place to get to.
The café opened all those years ago in response to the large number of cinemas and theatres dotted around Yurakucho. They wanted to create place where people could relax on their way back from seeing a show.
Upon arrival, you can still observe stylish older ladies strolling into the café. The scene hasn’t changed one bit which I found to be wonderful.
Café Benisica is famous for being the birthplace of original pizza toast. They even have a sign at the entrance telling you that! Eye-catching!!!
Without further ado, let’s head on in♪
I take one step into the café, and… Huh? What’s this?!
That’s right. At Benisica, you can enjoy vacuum brewed coffee. This was the first time I had seen a vacuum coffee maker up close, so I gazed at them with a keen interest.
Inside, I gazed at the café décor and objects scattered around of Hibiya, a town which changes with the times. You can feel the weight of the times instore – all the wonderful items look stylish simply by being placed in there! The café interior is a collection of warm colours. It’s a place where you can relax and feel comfortable.
This is Benisica’s famous pizza toast, costing ￥950 (tax included). They have plenty of set menus, and drink menus are ￥1,350. The story behind the pizza toast was how if you didn’t go to an Italian restaurant back then, you couldn’t eat pizza. So, they took pizza and turned it into something you can eat casually – toast. Since then, it has continued to be a much-loved menu item with customers for almost half a century.
After hearing the story, I took no time at all ordering my own pizza toast! To drink, I chose a strawberry shake. Just so you know, the shake doesn’t come in set orders, so be careful.
Thick servings of cheese and put onto chunky slices of toast. “The soul of the pizza toast is in the cheese!” is what you’ll be saying at its presence on the toast. Its generous serving makes this pizza toast suitable not just as a light meal, but even a whole lunch. As well as the standard ingredients like salami, onion and bell peppers, I was happy that there were mushrooms too.
The bread’s texture is fluffy! I was hungry, so I made short work of it. Thank you for the meal.
This is the owner of Benisica, Setsuko Murakami, who told me the story of the café. She’s a very wonderful person who loves her husband very much. Not only did she tell me about the café – I got to hear about her husband’s way of living and thoughts too. The words of people that have walked the road of life longer than me are deep and enlightening.
I stored the owner’s story safely onto the shelves in my heart. The next time something happens, I’ll rely on those special words she graciously taught me and work hard.
MOSHI MOSHI COOKING: Learn How to Make Wheat, Dairy and Egg Free Okonomiyaki With Rice Powder
Even in Japan, okonomiyaki is the soul food of the people that live in the Kansai region. It looks like a pancake, but inside it’s filled with cabbage and stuffed with ingredients meat and seafood. This Japanese food is eaten drizzled with rich sauce and mayonnaise.
Today, we will see how to make okonomiyaki using “Okome de Tsukutta Mix Kona” from TOPVALU which uses neither wheat nor gluten.
Our cooks Ema and Eri are from Kyoto. The taste of okonomiyaki is one familiar to them since childhood, so they were really excited for this! They’re both confident in their ability since they normally take turns when cooking.
The two of them will challenge themselves to making two types of okonomiyaki: a recommended recipe written on the powder mix packaging, and another made with tofu. Let’s get cooking!
First, here’s the ingredients for the recommended recipe.
・Powdered Mix: Approx. ¼ cup (30g)
・Bonito Powder: 1 tbsp (3g)
・Yamaimo: Approx. 2 tbsp (15g)
・Pork Belly (sliced): 40g
・Red Pickled Ginger: Approx. 1 tsp (5g)
・Dried Bonito Shaving: To taste
First, shred the cabbage and grate the yamaimo. Add the powdered mix, bonito powder and water into a large bowl and mix well. Then add the cabbage, yamaimo, squid thinly sliced to 1cm, and red pickled ginger and mix well to combine. The powdered mix is used as a base for rice flour so it will make your okonomiyaki cook plump and fluffy.
Next, here’s the ingredients for the tofu recipe.
・Powdered Mix: Approx. ¼ cup (30g)
・Bonito Powder: 1 tbsp (3g)
・Yamaimo: Approx. 2 tbsp (15g)
・Drained Tofu: ¼ block (approx. 70g)
・Shirasu: 2 tbsp (approx. 20g)
・Pork Belly (sliced): 40g
・Red Pickled Ginger: Approx. 1 tsp (5g)
・Negi: To taste
Just like the first recipe, start off by shredding the cabbage and grating the yamaimo. Ema is dexterous with a knife. She chopped up the cabbage skillfully and efficiently.
It’s important to measure the ingredients out correctly to make it delicious. Be sure to use some kitchen scales to measure the amounts accurately. The powdered mix used in this recipe contains no egg, dairy, wheat, peanut, soba, ebi or crab. Instead, it’s made from ingredients such as rice flour and sprouted brown rice. What’s more is that it’s produced at a factory in Akita, so you can feel at ease using it in your cooking.
Add the powdered mix, bonito powder and water into a large bowl and mix well. Then, add in the drained tofu and mix thoroughly into the raw mixture. As a side note, you can dry tofu easily by wrapping it with 2 sheets of kitchen roll and placing it into the microwave (500w) for 1 minute 30 seconds.
Next, add your cabbage, yamaimo, shirasu and red pickled ginger and mix well to combine.
Once your mix is done, it’s time to start frying. Wait for the hot plate to heat up before adding oil (to taste). Wait for the oil to get hot and then spread your mixture on top of the place into a round shape.
Spread the sliced pork on to the mixture and cook for 3-minutes. Ema and Eri were super hungry and couldn’t wait for them to be finished after hearing the juicy and delicious sounds.
After the 3-minutes have passed, flip and cook for a further 2-minutes. The powdered mix is made from rice and not wheat flour, so it can be tricky to tell when it’s cooked. So a top tip is to be sure to cook it for the same amount time as specified in the recipe!
Once it’s cooked through well, add sauce and mayonnaise to taste. Add dried bonito shavings to the okonomiyaki made using the recommended recipe and ponzu sauce and negi to the tofu okonomiyaki.
Our fluffy, well cooked and tasty-looking okonomiyaki are done!
Hungry Ema and Eri munched and made short work of their okonomiyaki in no time at all♪ The powdered mix made with rice flour makes the mixture springy and plump! The tofu okonomiyaki was Eri’s favourite because of its soft texture. “Try making this yourself at home!” the lively bunch said.
The mixture used today was the “TOPVALU Okome de Tsukutta Mix Kona” (150g, ￥213 tax included). It can be used for numerous recipes as well as okonomiyaki such as deep frying. You can buy it from any AEON Group store in Japan, so be sure to try it out yourself.
Use this recipe and throw an okonomiyaki party for your friends and family.
Kageki Shojo!! Anime Series Gets Event at Tokyo’s Amusement Park Asakusa Hanayashiki
Asakusa Hanayashiki, an amusement park in Tokyo, has announced a summer event in collaboration with the ongoing anime series Kageki Shojo!! which will take place from August 21 to September 12.
Cute original artwork illustrated for the event
Take part in the stamp rally
Original Ticket Folder (With Pseudo Ticket)
Bromides: ¥550 (Tax Included)
Acrylic Figure: ¥500 (Tax Included) / Acrylic Figures: ¥880 Each (Tax Included)
Acrylic Keyrings | ¥770 Each (Tax Included)
Pins: ¥300 Each (Tax Included)
Receive a free postcard when you order a drink or dessert
Receive a free coaster when ordering a drink
Receive an original tote bag when buying a special ticket
Kageki Shojo!! is a manga series by Kumiko Saiki. The anime adaptation began airing on July 4. A collection of cute original illustrations of 22 characters from the series have been drawn for the event which will be dotted around the park. Fans can also take part in a themed stamp rally, enjoy food inspired by the series, buy merchandise, and more.
Solve Mysterious in Tokyo While Walking Around Asakusa in This New IRL Game
14.April.2021 | SPOT
Japanese IRL mystery game production company Haregake is launching a new game in collaboration with Cosmos Hotel Management who are known for managing the apartment hotel chain MIMARU. MIMARU Tokyo Asakusa STATION, a new branch, is set to open on April 22.
This game will take place around Asakusa in Tokyo and can be played by couples, families, and groups. The event is being carried out with all necessary COVID-19 safety measures in place and aims to get people learning more about the wonders of Asakusa with a game that incorporates elements of the district’s traditional buildings, culture, and more. It’s a chance to sightsee around one of Tokyo’s most iconic areas while solving puzzles at the same time.
The game kit can be bought at the vending machine inside MIMARU Tokyo Asakusa STATION when it opens later this month. It includes the story, which you can read below, and everything you need to get yourself started. There’s also no time limit, so players can take as long as they like while they enjoy the sights.
The Game’s Story
“I want you to find the treasure of Asakusa for me.”
So says the request that finds its ways to you – you, who are a detective.
A certain wealthy individual once resided in Asakusa.
He left a letter behind, and now this letter is in your hands.
“This map – perhaps it shows the location of this treasure.”
Will you be able to locate the treasure resting in Asakusa?
Head on out and solve the mystery as you walk around the district.
Asakusa Detective Game: The Secrets of the Millionaire’s Forgotten Letter
Japanese Game Name: 浅草街歩き探偵録〜富豪の残した手紙の秘密〜
Start Date: April 22, 2021 (Not a limited-time event, will be held permanently)開
Start Point: MIMARU Tokyo Asakusa Station
Address: 2-20-4 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034
Official Website: https://nazotoki.mimaruhotels.com/
Taste Authentic Japanese Matcha at Asakusa’s New Matcha Specialist Shop Kaminari Issa
Asakusa welcomed the newest and third branch of matcha dessert specialist shop Kaminari Issa on October 2, 2020, which opened its doors along Dempoin Street. The shop is just a 3-minute walk from Asakusa Station and 2-minutes from Kaminarimon.
Signature delights on Kaminari Issa’s menu include the Okoicha Warabi Latte and Okoicha Gelato. Everything on the menu is made with rich, high quality matcha, from the matcha tea lattes to the matcha beer, parfaits, ice cream, dacquoise, and more. If you love matcha, and you’re in Tokyo, this place is a must-visit.
There are plenty of items to get your hands on in this newest store, which also has its own eat-in space, tea leaf display, and more.
They even sell kits so you can make your own Okoicha Warabi Latte and Wakocha Brown Sugar Warabi Latte at home.
Kaminari Issa Dempoin-dori
Address: 2-2-2 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (until 17:00 on Mondays)
Access: 3-minutes on foot from Asakusa Station
Official Website: https://www.kaminari-issa.com/
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #14 – ‘Kayaba Coffee’ in Yanaka
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Kayaba Coffee, a coffee shop in Yanaka, Tokyo, which is a perfect example of the old and traditional shitamachi neighbourhoods.
Kayaba Coffee is just a 10-minute walk from both Nezu Station and Nippori Station.
This is a place I’ve visited in my private time out of work and I’m always excited to go. Kayaba Coffee was established in 1938, and actually closed in 2006. But due to public demand, the cafe reopened just two years later in 2008. It’s a popular coffee shop loved by people of all generations.
Time to head on in.
The first floor houses the counter and table seats, while the seating on the second floor is traditional zashiki style on tatami flooring. Although it’s a cafe, you I feel so relaxed in there that it’s like I’m visiting my grandma’s house. The sun shines through the big windows, making you all warm and want to take a nap.
I ordered their super popular egg sandwich! The menu was changed in May this year, and a new and improved version of their egg sandwich was put on there. It’s made using sourdough bread from VANER, a local bakery in Uenosakuragi not far from the cafe.
Breakfast Menu – Egg Sandwich | ¥1,000
The chewy, sour bread is the perfect combination with the fluffy eggs.
Lemon Squash | ¥600
The lemon squash has a cinnamon aftertaste. Everything on the menu is made with love and perfection; before I realised it, I was hooked on going there.
Strawberry Shaved Ice | ¥800
This was my first shaved ice of the year! I went with the classic strawberry flavour. The syrup is super juicy and nearly collapsed the fluffy shaved ice the moment I put it on. It has a syrupy texture and the strawberry juice has a sweet and sour kick that’s just simply delightful♡
And you can make it even sweeter by pouring over your desired amount of condensed milk. It was really tasty.
Kayaba Coffee is the same as it was back in the day, and continues to be loved dearly. I think even people who visit it for the first time will feel a sense of nostalgia. If you have a place you can go to relax on bad days or when you’re feeling down, it’s sure to give you the strength to work hard again. This cafe is a wonderful place that’s close to people’s hearts.
I want to visit there again already.
Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Design: Yuko Takayama (ASOBISYSTEM)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Address: 6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: [Tue-Fri] 8:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:30) / [Weekends] 8:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:30)
Japan’s Hello Kitty Themed Hotel Rooms Open at Asakusa Tobu Hotel in Tokyo
Tobu Hotel Management are set to welcome Tokyo’s only hotel rooms based around Sanrio’s popular character Hello Kitty at Asakusa Tobu Hotel when the hotel official opens for business on October 8, 2020.
There are two different room types, of which there are three rooms for each for a total of 6 rooms: “Cherry Blossom Maiden” and “Japanese Modern,” both centred around Hello Kitty.
The Cherry Blossom Maiden room brings together Japanese cherry blossoms with Hello Kitty dressed as a cute maiden. Decorated in pastel pink, this room is all things kawaii, and even comes with a raised flooring area to add to that Japanese vibe.
On the other side of the kawaii coin is the Japanese Modern room. The design here combines Asakusa-style colours with traditional Japanese elements, resulting in a stylish interior.
Reservations for the Hello Kitty Rooms open on August 24 at 10:00 (JST) via the hotel’s official website. If you’re staying in Japan anytime after October 8, make sure to book your room ASAP!
Hello Kitty Rooms
Official Website Reservations: August 24, 2020 @ 10:00am (JST)
Telephone Reservations: August 31, 2020 @ 10:00am (JST)
*Other guest rooms already available for bookings
Official Website: https://www.tobuhotel.co.jp/asakusa/
TEL: 03-5809-7320 (Weekdays 10:00-18:00)
Asakusa Tobu Hotel
Address: 1-1-15 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Grand Opening: October 8, 2020
30 seconds on foot from Asakusa Station via the Tobu Skytree Line side
1 minute on foot from Asakusa Station via the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line side
3 minutes on foot from Asakusa Station via the Toei Asakusa Line side
1 minute on foot from Kaminarimon
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #13 – ‘Sepia’ in Shibamata
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Sepia in Shibamata, a Showa-retro style cafe which I’ve always wanted to visit.
The cafe is just a 2-minute stroll from Shibamata Station which appears in the Japanese film Otoko wa Tsurai yo. The walk along the road that leads to Sepia, which is nearby the Buddhist temple Shibamata Taishakuten, is a pleasant one. Tokyo is a city consistently perceived as one that is cutting-edge in every aspect, but what I felt from each and every building surrounding Shibamata Station was a kind of warmth that you feel when something has history to it.
It’s been seven years since I came to Tokyo. Visiting Shibamata made me me realised how many places there are which I still don’t know about. It invigorated me. As my mind wandered with these pondering thoughts, I finally spotted the sign outside the cafe, and it sure is a cute one!
The moment I stepped inside, I stood, my mouth agape, and looked at my surroundings. It’s the first time I’ve entered such a bright, shining cafe. It was littered with characters I’ve never seen before, manga, magazines, and more.
When you hear the word kira kira (“glitter,” “sparkle”), the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people is probably Harajuku and the Harajuku style, but Sepia’s version of kira kira is a nostalgic one betwixt 1965 and 1975 during the Showa Period. The cafe is incredibly delicate in every spot and corner, like I’m looking inside some grand treasure chest.
The owner of Sepia is Kiyoko Hasezawa. The cafe gets its name from the manga Milky Sepia Monogatari by Ako Mutsu. Ms. Hasezawa said that she wanted to bring to life the world of the manga she loved. The cafe is full of her dreams and is enjoyed by everyone, both children and adults alike.
The cafe menu is even inspired by the food that appears in the Milky Sepia Monogatari manga. The hard pudding I had, which combined caramel sauce and cream, was an absolute delight.
Homemade Showa Pudding & Cream Soda Set: ¥1,200
If we’re talking cafes, then you can’t go wrong with cream soda. The cream soda served at Sepia comes in seven different flavours and colours: melon, Blue Hawaii, strawberry, lemon, peach, grape, and orange. I was spoilt for choice on which to go for, but in the end I went with the pink-coloured strawberry. It had a sweet flavour and was really delicious.
Strawberry Cream Soda: ¥750
I devoured the hotcakes too. The pastry was so fluffy and tasty – I could have eaten a hundred of them. The second one I ate with honey.
At the back of the cafe, they also have the “Candy Candy Museum.” There’s a personal collection of items from Candy H Milky, a female fashion enthusiastic who used to be a customer at Sepia. There’s a photo spot for snapping a photo in the cafe too.
It’s a great time getting to go and look at the displays after eating. I recommend going to see the collection yourself with your own eyes. Entry to the museum is ¥300.
There’s a tearoom up on the second floor which has a nostalgic vibe to it. I felt warm and relaxed, like I’d been transported to my grandma’s house.
Humans can’t travel back in time, but if we look after mementos properly, we can go back there in our minds and memories. Sepia, a place that continues to be cherished and loved, is everybody’s treasure trove.
My oh my, I really want to go back there again.
Address: 7-4-11 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo
Days Open: Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays
Business Hours: 12:00-17:00 (Last Orders 16:30)
For the latest information, visit Sepia’s official Twitter page @sepia_mama
Flower Miffy Juice Garden Asakusa Now Open and Serving Adorable Drinks
22.July.2020 | FOOD
The new “Flower Miffy Juice Garden” opened as a permanent addition to Flower Miffy Asakusa on July 21, 2020. Flower Miffy is a Miffy-themed flower and merchandise shop.
Colourful Jelly Soda – Gerbera/Tulip/Sunflower/Lavender: ¥580 Each (Before Tax)
Four new Miffy drinks are being served for the opening of Flower Miffy Juice Garden. Each is a soda beverage is filled with colourful jelly, elderflower syrup made from real flowers, and a soft, bouncy kind of jelly. Each drink itself looks like a colourful bouquet.
Miffy Cream Soda: ¥680 (Before Tax)
Flower Miffy Juice Garden will also introduce the “Miffy Cream Soda” on Saturday August 1 which is a colourful jelly soda topped with ice cream, a Miffy wafer, and flower-shaped chocolate.
Lemonade: ¥480 (Before Tax)
Apple Juice: ¥480 (Before Tax)
Other available drinks include sweet and sour lemonade made using lemons grown in the Seto Inland Sea, 100% apple juice, and other cute delights.
Flower Miffy Juice Garden Asakusa
Address: Aiso Bldg. 1F, 2-19-7 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, TOkyo
Opening Hours: [Weekdays] 11:30-18:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 10:30-18:00
Official Website: https://www.benelic-flower.com/
*Please note that the opening hours of Flower Miffy Asakusa and Juice Garden Asakusa are different
KAIKA TOKYO by THE SHARE HOTELS: Asakusa’s New Artist Lounge and Hotel Fusion
20.June.2020 | SPOT
KAIKA TOKYO by THE SHARE HOTELS is set to open on July 15, 2020 as the 8th branch of THE SHARE HOTELS, a chain of renovated hotels which aim to find and share new beauty of the local area.
KAIKA TOKYO is renovated from a 7-floor 1966 warehouse building and is comprised of an artist lounge and a hotel. It aims to become a new hub for contemporary art in Japan.
The name “KAIKA” is derived from several Japanese words, all of which are read as kaika: “開架” which means open-access i.e. giving open access to the warehouse, “開化” which means enlightenment i.e. to spread and make known Japan’s art culture, and “開花” which means blossom, i.e. to bring out the talent of future artists.
Sumida is a city popular amongst local and foreign tourists for its many art and cultural facilities. It is a promoter of art and culture in many ways, and KAIKA Tokyo aims to be a part of that process. One way in which it will do this will be with the new “KAIKA TOKYO AWARD.” The judge for awarding the prize is Yūji Akimoto—the director of and lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts—and Japanese artist Noritaka Tatehana. The prize itself will be having your art piece displayed inside KAIKA TOKYO. To commemorate the grand opening, an exhibition by Noritaka Tatehana himself entitled FORM AND COLOR will be displayed until August 16, 2020.
The downstairs lounge which is accessible to guests will include the art storage area as well as the KAIKA TOKYO AWARD winning pieces. There are also appliances and amenities for guests to freely use too, like kettles, microwaves, plates, cutlery, washing machine, and a vending machine.
Rooms have a relaxed vibe to them thanks to the colours and materials used. There are 73 rooms in total split across 10 different types which can cater to 2, 4, and even 6 people.
The 1st floor bar lounge is open to non-guests during the evenings where they sell Japanese tea cocktails, coffee, Japanese finger food, and more. The coffee served uses single-origin beans from a local cafe in Sumida, Tokyo. The bar is open 19:00 to midnight, with last orders ringing in at 23:30.
KAIKA Tokyo by THE SHARE HOTELS
Grand Opening: July 15, 2020
Address: 2-16-5 Honjo Sumida Ward, Tokyo
Access: 8-minutes on foot from Asakusa Station / 9-minutes on foot from Honjo-Azumabashi Station / 9-minutes on foot from Kuramae Station
Official Website: https://www.thesharehotels.com/kaika/
Tokyo’s New Sake Ice Cream Shop Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Ship Ice Cream Around Japan
SAKEICE is an ice cream shop that offers a new kind of ice cream experience, combining Japanese sake and alcohol together with the frozen treat. The shop opened in Akusaka, Tokyo in March this year.
However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the store has had to close temporarily. SAKEICE wants to cheer people up during these turbulent times with their ice cream, and has therefore announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign so they can set up a website where people can order ice cream in Japan and have it delivered to them.
I tried out their ice cream
Otokoyama / Nihonshu Ice
SAKEICE’s ice cream is laced with lots of Japanese alcohol. I tried the Otokoyama and the Nihonshu Ice, the latter of which is an original ice cream flavour exclusive to SAKEICE. They both contains around 4% alcohol. I were curious exactly how they would taste.
I started with the Nihonshu Ice. The moment the ice cream hits your tongue, your taste buds are met with its smooth texture, and your nose is filled with the full bodied flavour of nihonshu. The velvety texture on your tongue as it melts is to die for. The Otokoyama has a refreshing kick to it when compared to the Nihonshu Ice. It’s creamy, but the aftertaste is refreshing, so we recommend it for people who aren’t a fan of sweet treats. Both are sure to leave you feeling satisfied, and maybe a little flushed afterwards.
These ice creams contain alcohol, so keep that in mind when coming here with minors, kids, pregnant women, or if you’re driving.
They have non-alcoholic flavours too!
Matcha / Cherry Blossom
Of course, they have non-alcoholic options too. I tried out the matcha and cherry blossom flavours.
The matcha one has an irresistible bitterness layered inside the sweetness. You get that real rich matcha taste too. The cherry blossom ice cream is a cute light pink colour and has a subtle sweetness to it. If you don’t like alcohol then you’ll definitely want to try one of delights.
mūya: Tokyo’s New Cafe Opening by ‘Bread, Espresso &’ Serving Fluffy Mū Bread
25.March.2020 | FOOD
Bread, Espresso & is a cafe chain with 17 branches in Japan, including Omotesando. The company is set to open an entirely new cafeーspecialising in Bread, Espresso &’s popular mū breadーcalled mūya on April 17, 2020 in Asakusa Mizumachi.
Bread, Espresso &: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/254815
Mizumachi is a new shopping centre also opening on April 17, 2020. It’s near Solamachi in Tokyo Skytree Town, and sits betwixt Kaminarimon and Tokyo Skytree.
Mū is an original bread recipe baked up by Bread, Espresso & that’s made with lots of butter, giving it a rich taste. The word means “soft” in French. When you break a piece off the fluffy loaf, that rich buttery smell fills your nose.
inside the cafe
The mū loaf is a cube shape, and the interior of the shop has cube designs all over it.
Customers sit at tables with chairs that stack up like cubes – a unique and original design.
Mū is the main dish at mūya, which can be served as it is, as a sandwich, as French toast, or even in a parfait.
When you’re passing through Asakusa, be sure to pop into mūya to try the famous mū bread of Bread, Espresso &.
Address: 1-2-12 Mukojima, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0033
Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
No Fixed Holidays
Japanese Tea Crepe Cafe OCHABA Opens Second Branch in Asakusa
OCHABA opened its first branch in Shinjuku in March last year as the first cafe in Japan specialising in Japanese milk tea. The cafe has announced that it will open its second branch in Asakusa on February 22, 2020. The new cafe will introduce a new item to the menu: crepes. The chewy wraps are made with matcha and Japanese tea and filled with mascarpone and fresh cream.
Plain Tiramisu – ¥600
Kogashi Houjicha Puree – ¥650
Strawberry Daifuku – ¥730
The cafe will also serve OCHABA’s famous Japanese milk tea topped up with warabimochi, made using carefully-selected tea leaves from Maruzen Tea, a Shizuoka-based tea company with a history spanning more than 70 years.
If you love Japanese tea, you’ll love OCHABA’s desserts made using all different kinds of teas.
Address: Asakusa Orange Street, 1-39-14 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-19:00
Official Website: https://ochaba.net
Asakusa’s New Conveyor Belt Sushi Chain Kura Sushi Offers a Traditional Japanese Space
Muten Kura Sushi opened the first of its its all-new chain of “global flagship” sushi restaurants in Asakusa BOX on January 22.
This kaitenzushi restaurant, or “conveyor belt sushi,” aims to promote Japanese culture. It wants people, both Japanese and foreign, to rediscover the wonders of kaitezsushi, and what better place to open its first branch than Asakusaーone of the biggest tourist hot spots in Tokyo?
The restaurant’s design and decor takes on a more traditional approach, drawing inspiration of Japan’s Edo period with classic ukiyo-e paintings and paper lanterns adorning the walls, amongst many other things. This classic image of Japan has found its way to the dining space itself too, with flat tables made from plain wood and chairs topped with tatami. This gives it that air of grace and beauty which is typically associated with traditional Japanese culture, as well as a relaxed atmosphere.
The logo used on the restaurant’s paper lanterns, crockery, staff uniform and elsewhere was designed by Japanese art director and creative director Kashiwa Sato. It was created for the brand to be used on all future branches, including all Japanese restaurants and those planned for the US and Taiwan.
The restaurant even has several Japanese festival games for customers to play, like target practice and ring toss. They can win coupons that can be used in the restaurant, and kids can win toys too.
Some of the staff can speak foreign languages too, and tablets that you order food from are available in 4 languages.
Staff also carry a “Langogo Genesis,” a speech translation machine, to allow for smooth customer service. It’s connected to an AI language server which can speak and translate quickly in 104 languages.
This global flagship restaurant also has a self check-in and payment system. Using touch screen, customers will be shown their seats automatically. The AI also adds up how many plates you have used by scanning their QR codes, and this is used to determine how much you need to pay. This means you needn’t wait for someone to bring the bill, you just head straight to the till.
There’s also a smartphone app (called スマホでくら) which you can use to book a table and makes for easy checking in when you arrive at the restaurant.
Head to Kura in Asakusa, Tokyo to enjoy Japan’s longtime affordable and delicious fast food: sushi.
Kura Sushi Asakusa ROX
Address: Asakusa ROX Floor 4F, 1-25-15, Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo)
January 22-26 @ 12:00-21:00 (Last Orders 20:30)
From January 27 @ 11:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:30)
Official Website (English): http://www.kura-corpo.co.jp/en/