Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #9 – ‘Cafe Ace’ in Kanda

27.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Cafe Ace in Kanda.

 

Being a cafe specialising in coffee it’s no surprise they have 40 different varieties of coffee! They even have 15 kinds of tea. Being able to pick out your favourite coffee before the morning rush every morning is really wonderful.

Cafe Ace is one of the places I’ve wanted to cover for a long time in this series. I was excited to get inside!

 

Its striped roof gives it quite a retro atmosphere. The warm colour scheme of the decor inside is that from old times – it’s very relaxed. It hasn’t changed since it opened way back when. It has continued to maintain its ways in spite of times changing. I think that’s wonderful.

 

The cafe carries all kinds of magazines that have been published over the years. They range from 3 to 40 years old. The owner showed me his collection as we spoke about the cafe and conveyed his sentiment for Ace. I feel I have learnt much about its history!

The menu plaques attached to the wall are all handwritten by the owner (he even wrote on the camel artwork above!)

 

Simply amazing. His handwritten work spreads across the entire wall of Ace.

I have come here on my before but I had no idea he had written all of this out so in learning more about it I have come to love Cafe Ace even more.


His love and warmth can be felt throughout the whole room.

And this―this is Cafe Ace’s famous seaweed toast! It’s made with seaweed, butter and soy sauce.


The ingredients are simple but the flavour of the seaweed complements the butter perfectly. It’s super delicious, I want to eat it everyday! And it only costs ¥170.

 

In the morning you can have it with blend coffee for ¥500 (+¥20 for iced coffee). You even get free refills on the blend coffee up until noon!

American doughnuts, too. You can enjoy these at the small price of ¥230. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and serve with a knob of butter in the ring. The heat of the doughnuts helps the butter to melt so you can lather it all over.

Finally, a photo of the owner himself. Even in the photo I feel like his smile gives his customers strength. Seeing his lively energy gave me energy too.

 

He holds his valuable feelings close, doing what he loves in the place he loves. I want to keep on seeing his radiating smile.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】 The café that you want to visit to see someone #4 Cats working at Shinjuku-sanchome’s Café Arles

    21.December.2017 | FEATURES / FOOD

    “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…

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    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.

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    As soon as I entered, I immediately spotted a cat.

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    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 ♪♪

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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)

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    It came with banana and giant corn ❤ – this excellent service made me so happy!

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    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!

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

     

     

     

    ■Information

    Cafe Arles

    Address:1st floor, 5-10-8, Shinjuku, Tokyo

    Opening h0urs: 11:30 〜 22:00

    Regular holidays days: Sundays, New Year’s period holiday period

    Access:398 metres from Shinjuku Sanchome station (reach via Toei-Shinjuku line/ Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line

    URL:https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13087540/

     

     

    Model & Writer: Ema Tanioku

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    Profile: “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

    Instagram:@ematanioku

     

    Photographer:Haruka Yamamoto

    Editor:Ryoichi Komaba

    Design:Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translated by: Samantha Fernandes

     

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #6 – ‘Angelus’ in Asakusa Loved by Osamu Tezuka

    13.June.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this sixth instalment to her café seriesEma 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?♡”

     

    ■Information

    Angelus

    Address: 1-17-6 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo

    Opening Hours: 11am-9pm (Last Orders 8:40pm)

    Closed: Mondays

    Access:

    3-minutes by foot from Exit 1 of Asakusa Station via the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
    4-minutes by foot from Asakusa Staion via the Tobu Isesaki Line
    6-minutes by foot from Asakusa Staion via the Toei Asakusa Line
    5-minutes by foot from Asakusa Staion via the Tsukuba Express

    Website: http://www.asakusa-angelus.com

     

     

    Model&Writer: Ema Tanioku

    Profile:

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

    Instagram: @ematanioku

     

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Editor :Ai Watanabe

    Design: Yuko Abe(ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #8 – ‘Ginza West’

    05.October.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Ginza is a district in the heart of Tokyo famed for its extravagant streets lined with upmarket shops, luscious restaurants and fantastic entertainment. But it’s not only worthy of note for its flamboyance – it’s also rooted in rich culture and history.

     

    Today, I visited Ginza West, a café that has been continuously loved in Ginza ever since it opened in 1947.

    Before entering I saw lots of delicious confections lined up on display. You can order takeout too. Your mind will wander off as you ponder on which to take away for snack time.

    The entire café is clean and tidy throughout and you can feel the decor has grace. It’s different from other cafés in that it has a dignified atmosphere to it. It has an air of tension to it, the kind that makes you straighten up your back. It’s a place that’s nice if someone wants to enjoy a luxurious experience once in a while.

    I ordered cake and tea set! The tea cost ¥1,048. A cake set is the price of the drink plus ¥324.

    You can actually have them bring you samples of cakes being served on that day. There’s so many cake varieties it’s hard to choose.

    The most popular is this one – the Mosaic Cake!

    Its appearance is cute. I ended up wanting to take a lot of photos.

    The Mosaic Cake is made of cocoa sponge and butter sponge which is arranged to look like a mosaic piece. You can really taste the different flavours of each sponge. It’s only moderately sweet so it’s not too heavy. I wolfed it down!

    And then, and then!

    I got the white cream soda which I’d been wanting to try. It cost ¥1,188.

     

    When you think of cream soda it’s generally green coloured melon soda with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. But this one uses no colouring. The soda is clear and also served with vanilla ice cream. Try drinking it yourself after adding a syrup of your choice.

    It looks like a very elegant beverage.

    In terms of taste, if you eat the vanilla ice cream after drinking some of the soda (which is subtly sweet) it makes for an exquisite balance. It’s a flavour I’ve never had before – it’s a novel sensation.

    Delicious.

    The chairs in the café have something about them too! They feel extremely comfortable, I felt exhausted. The staff kindly told me the secret behind them.

     

    The back legs of the chairs are a little wider than the ones at the front allowing you to lean back much easier and making it feel much more comfortable. The chair legs are also cut to a certain length to allow easier sitting.

    So that’s why. That’s why I felt so relaxed simply sitting on them. I felt I could be sat there no matter the hour.

     

    t’s a kind of consideration you’d only find at a café. Hearing about those chairs made me think that cafes really are such wonderful places. The more you learn about them, the more you come to love their charms.

     

    I wonder where I’ll visit next? Look forward to it!

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ema Tanioku

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Butter Sandwich Shop PRESS BUTTER SAND Releases Uji Matcha Flavour at Tokyo Station

    11.November.2019 | FOOD

    The butter sandwich specialists over at PRESS BUTTER SAND are bringing their famous Uji matcha flavour butter sandwiches to their Tokyo Station branch on November 13.

     

    Known as the Uji Matcha Butter Sand, this tasty snack was developed to celebrate the grand opening of the Kyoto Station branch of PRESS BUTTER SAND. Due to high demand, they’ve decided to take the product to Tokyo for a limited time.

    The exterior is made with butter cream and carefully selected Uji matcha. You get the full rich flavour of the matcha and delicious taste of the butter at once. The sandwich itself is filled with bitter matcha butter cream and sweet caramel butter for a sumptuously smooth combination that marries temptingly with the crunchy cookie exterior.

    The sandwich biscuits come in packaging that features navy Kyoto-esque artwork inspired by the characteristic cultivation method for Uji matcha which blocks out sunlight. The sandwiches themselves are individually packaged in matcha green packets to contrast with the box.

     

    Don’t miss out on a chance to enjoy the flavours of Kyoto while in Tokyo. Available at Tokyo Station only.

  • Tokyo Station’s Best Rice Bowl & Noodle Dishes as Voted by Commuters

    11.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Tokyo Station and surrounding facilities are currently holding the “Tokyo Station Rice Bowl vs. Noodles Grand Prix 2019” tournament from October 7 to November 24 to find out people’s favourite rice bowl and noodle dishes at the station.

     

    The past three tournaments have focused only on rice bowls, but this year sees the introduction of noodles too, with past restaurants in Kitchen Street and GRANSTA competing once again as well as new ones in ecute Tokyo and KITTE for a total of 13 participating station areas. 92 dishes are in the line-up, the biggest list to date.

     

    The current rankings for the rice bowl and noodle categories have finally been unveiled, so let’s take a look at the Top 3 of each to see which is leading the race.

     

    Category Is: Rice Bowl

    1st Place

    Ultimate Japanese Spiny Lobster Bowl – ¥2,200 (Tax Included) @ Tsukiji Sushiko (GRANSTA Marunouchi)

    Tsukiji Sushiko was the victory of last year’s grand prix. This year, they’ve whipped up a hearty seafood bowl made with a whole Japanese spiny lobster and 11 other delicious critters from the ocean.

     

    2nd Place

    Premium Wagyu & Uni Otsukimi Date – ¥2,530 (Tax Included) @ Uniya no Amagokoro (Kitchen Street)

    Served with sliced premium brand wagyu, this bowl is topped with uni sea urchin eggs and ikura salted salmon roeーa luxurious combination you won’t find anywhere else.

     

    3rd Place

    Ura Ooedo Tempura Bowl – ¥1,800 (Tax Included) @ Tenkiyo (Grand Roof)

    This is an alternate version of the restaurant’s famous Ooedo Tempura Bowl, served with delicious tempura.

     

    Category Is: Noodles

    1st Place

    MISO JIRO – ¥1,000 (Tax Included) @ Tokyo Style Miso Ramen Do Miso (KITTE GRANCHE)

    A super-filling bowl piled with pork char siu and a mountain of vegetables.

     

    2nd Place

    Lanzhou Wagyu Noodles – ¥950 (Tax Included) @ Mazilu Lanzhou Beef Noodles

    Authentic Lanzhou ramen served by the Halal-certified Mazilu Lanzhou Beef Noodles, customers can choose between nine different thicknesses for their noodles to satisfy their palate.

     

    3rd Place

    Dehydrated Hamburger Bolognese – ¥1,190 (Tax Included) @ HAMBURG WORKS

    Enjoy the full flavour of the hamburger meat made from Japanese black wagyu beef and served with pasta.

     

    Be sure to use this list as reference if you’re looking to eat while travelling through Tokyo Station!

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #12 – ‘J-COOK’ in Gaiemmae

    08.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited J-COOK in Gaiemmae, a place I visited one time while off work which ended up in me wanting to absolutely feature it in the series!

    It’s just a 5-minute stroll from Gaiemmae Station.

    The cafe enjoys lots of sunlight, which is brightened further by all the plants scattered through the shop. The cafes I have visited to date are often a little darker with only a little light seeping through the windows to create a certain atmosphere, and they are wonderful, but this was the first I have ever visited with so might light and so many plants. The air felt clear, adding to the level of comfort in the cafe, perhaps because there are so many plants adorning the interior.

    The cafe also has a space with a slightly more darker light and atmosphere on the left side. I haven’t sat in that area yet, so I think I’ll try it out on my next visit.

    When I come to J-COOK, my eyes always wander over to the marzipan creations (¥450).

    These ones here were actually all individually handmade by the owner’s husband from the early morning.

    If you look really closely, you’ll notice all the dog designs are different. When ordering, get to pick out which one you want, so try finding your perfect pup!

    I had mine together with an iced coffee (¥450). The sweet marzipan is a delicious combination with the bitterness of the coffee.

    I also got some potted cream (¥450). It’s kind of like a Japanese custard pudding with just a moderate amount of sweetness.

    I had mine with a bit of brandy which had fragrant vanilla notes. They’ve had this brandy for 33 years since the store first opened.

    The cream was sensational, and the gentle notes linger afterwards.

    They have a lot of different homemade soups too which are perfect for the coming cold weather. I got the New Orleans-style gumbo soup. It’s spicy with clam and okra in it.

    Relaxing jazz music plays in the cafe while you sit and enjoy your drink and meal.

    J-COOK is a wonderful little cafe run by a husband and wife. When I first came, the wife came and talked to me. She’s super friendly, and although it was our first meeting, she made me feel really comfortable and welcome. She must be full of happiness, which in turn naturally gives people who visit the strength to be positive and work hard.

     

    I reckon their smiles have saved a lot of people.

     

    I can’t wait to visit again!

     

    Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • 5 Christmas Desserts to Buy at Tokyo Station | Christmas 2019

    04.November.2019 | FOOD

    Shops in and around Tokyo Station are starting to roll out their Christmas products this month. We’ve select our Top 5 must-buy Christmas cakes and desserts if you’re travelling in Tokyo or passing through Tokyo Station this year.

    Christmas Koisuru☆Kumagoron – ¥980 (Tax Included) @ Siretoco Donuts (ecute Keiyo Street)

    The perfect, most adorable doughnut treats to pick up this Christmas to share with friends and familyーor to enjoy yourself!

    *Exclusive to the ecute Keiyo Street branch. Online orders available.

    Suica Penguin Waffle Cake – ¥540 (Tax Included) @ RL waffle cake (GRANSTA)

    Inspired by the adorable Suica penguinーthe mascot for Suica travel cardsーthis mini cake is a fluffy waffle rolled into whipped cream and yellow peach and is coated in chocolate.

     

    *Only 100 to be sold. Sales begin from November 5 and is are first-come, first served. Reservation-only. Online reservations available.

    *Delivery Window: December 20-25, 2019.

    *Exclusive to GRANSTA.

    ©︎Chiharu Sakazaki/East Japan Railway Company/DENTSU by East Japan Railway Company

    Suica is a registered trademark of East Japan Railway Company

     

    Christmas Box (4 Included) – ¥1,940 (Tax Included) @ Fairycake Fair

    Cute cupcakes decorated for Christmas. Also available in boxes of 6 and 9.

     

    *Reservation Window: November 5 – December 20, 2019

    *Delivery Window: November 30 – December 25, 2019

    *Available for direct purchase in-store between November 30 – December 25, 2019

    *Online reservations available. Exclusive to GRANSTA.

    Chestnut Yule Log – ¥3,780 (Tax Included) @ le billet (ecute TOKYO)

    This Christmas yule log is a mix of chestnuts and hazelnuts and contains a rich tiramisu-style chestnut cream.

    *Online reservations available.

     

    Noel – ¥6,200 (Tax Included) @ Tokyo Station Hotel

    This chestnut cake is inspired by the pine pillars that supported the Tokyo Station Marunouchi station building until it was restored. It has a chestnut and sweet potato base and is layered with chestnut mousse and coffee mousse to recreate the rings of a tree which are used to tell a tree’s age.

    *10 served per day

    *Reservation Window: November 5 – December 17, 2019

    *Delivery Window: December 22-25, 2019

    *Online reservations available. Exclusive to GRANSTA.

     

    Eat all of the cute treats you can this Christmas and holiday season.

  • Tokyo’s Newest Bubble Tea Shop PEARL LADY CHA BAR Opens at Tokyo Station

    18.October.2019 | FOOD

    Bubble tea chain PEARL LADY opened a new tea and tapioca beverage cafe called PEARL LADY CHA BAR at GRANSTA Marunouchi in Tokyo Station on October 17.

    This year marks the 10th anniversary of CHA BAR, a Japanese tapioca drink chain that serves different types of tea from around the world. The chewy tapioca pearls added to the drinks are made in the company’s own factory and delivered fresh everyday to stores.

    They boast a large drink line-up for tea-lovers, such as their specially-made rich milk tea latte, rock salt cream cheese made with mascarpone, seasonal fruit beverages, and more. The menu offers new and original ways of enjoying tea.

    If you’re passing through Tokyo Station during your travels to the capital, be sure to pick up a drink from PEARL LADY CHA BAR.

  • Tokyo Station’s Christmas Cakes Are a Must-Buy Present This Holiday Season

    08.September.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Two of Tokyo Station’s shopping areas, GRANSTA and GRANSTA MARUNOUCHI―which are accessible inside the ticket gates and outside the ticket gates respectively―are set to hold the GRANSTA Christmas Fair from November 5 to December 25.

     

    GRANSTA x Tokyo Staion Hotel

    The main GRANSTA shopping area is joining hands with Tokyo Station Hotel for the very first time to release a line of hotel-original Christmas cakes.

    Noel – ¥6,200 (Tax Included) @ Tokyo Station Hotel (*10 servings per day)

    This pine tree stump chestnut cake was originally sold to support the reconstruction work of the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building which was held until 2012. Topping the chestnut sweet potato base is a mix of chestnut mousse and coffee cream. This is topped with two types of chestnut pastes in a spiral shape to create the tree rings.

    Bûche Chocolat Vanille – ¥5,500 (Tax Included) @ Tokyo Station Hotel (*10 servings per day)

    The Bûche Chocolat Vanille is an exquisite yule log made with melt-in-the-mouth chocolate mousse and vanilla cream inside which hides sweet and sour, kirsch-soaked cherries and sauteed pears. The top of the log is temptingly lined with even more cherries to give it both that rich look and even richer taste.

     

    Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building Cake Designs

    GRANSTA will also sell cakes inspired by Tokyo Station. As well as the ones shown here, there are ones based on the bullet trains and more.

     

    Station Building Fruit Cake – ¥4,320 (Tax Included) @ Colombin (*only 100 available)

    Exclusive to GRANSTA comes this special Christmas fruit cake based on the station building. It would make great gift to bring to the Christmas party.

    Cupola de Tokyo – ¥3,780 (Tax Included) @ Caffarel (*only 50 available / *design still a WIP so may differ from the photo)

    This colourful Christmas cake draws inspiration from the gorgeous interior designs of the north and south domes of the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building.

     

    Suica Penguin Cakes

    The adorable Suica Penguin is the mascot of Suica contactless smart cards used at train stations.

    Suica Penguin Cake – ¥5,400 (Tax Included) @ Dalloyau (*only 100 available)

    The main Suica Penguin cake is a combination of chocolate mousse and a cream made from tonka beans. This cute cake is sure to bring joy to any child this Christmas♡

    Suica Penguin Chocolate Raspberry – ¥490 (Tax Included) @ Fairycake Fair (*30 servings per day)

    Fairycake Fair has whipped up a chocolate cream-topped cupcake filled with raspberry jam. This one is for those who want something a bit smaller than a ginormous cake!

    There are lots more cakes to look forward to, including ones in very limited quantities. If you’re in Japan this Christmas season, be sure to pay a visit to GRANSTA and GRANSTA MARUNOUCHI in Tokyo Station.

     

    ©Chiharu Sakazaki / JR East / DENTSU Suica by JR East Suica

  • A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    It’s been a while since our last date with Yutaro. He’s been very busy with film shoots. He had some spare time today so we paid a visit to Nihonbashi for our next date. “ECO EDO Nihonbashi: Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses” is an event held every year in the Nihonbashi area which takes the Edo period cultural idea of “coolness”―an in, to enjoy being cool during the summer-and puts a modern spin on it. There are many exciting things to look forward to, including the art aquarium which proves massively popular every year.

     

    We gave ourselves more time to arrive at the meeting place to be in the safe side, but it seems Yutaro-kun was already there waiting for us!

    Nihonbashi Information Center | IPPIN CAFÉ “Sparkling Herb Tea” – ¥518 (Tax Included)

    “Here, you must be boiling.” Yutaro-kun kindly offers a cup of IPPIN CAFE’s limited-edition sparkling herb tea. It’s a delicious mix of fizzy soda and lemon, a perfect refreshment for the summer. Since he ordered takeout the drink came with a goldfish straw. Goldfish are a staple sight during Japanese summer festivals so it’s very fitting for the occasion! 

     

    With our drinks in hand, it’s time to head to Nihonbashi for our Edo summer date!

    Wind-Chime Forest Path

    Lining the path between Fukutoku Shrine and Fukutoku Garden is the Wind-Chime Forest Path where around 200 Edo-style wind chimes dangled. This year, during the evenings, the path is illuminated with beautiful lighting. 

    When the breeze rolls past the wind chimes ring one by one-a cool and refreshing sound.

    “I hear each one of these Edo wind chimes are individually handmade by craftsmen.”

    When you hear the sound of the wind chimes it makes you feel cool like a gentle breeze of the wind.

     

    After strolling along the Wind-Chime Forest Path we make our way towards this year’s ECO EDO Art Aquarium event.

    The moment we step instead Yutaro is already dazzled by all the goldfish: “Wow! I knew about this place from what I’d seen online, but this my first time here! This art aquarium really is something!”

     

    The full title of the event is “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium.”  Goldfish were a huge part of the common culture in Nihonbashi during the Edo period. This event recreates that and brings that “coolness” aspect while combining it with contemporary art by having people observe the fish in lots of different artistic environments.

    Super Oiran

    “This is the biggest fish tank, apparently it has 3,000 fish swimming inside!”

    “Seeing the light reflect on the water from the illuminations lets you see the fish in a different light, doesn’t it?”

    Looks like Yutaro-kun is having a lot of fun taking photos.

    He’s equally interested in just about every fish tank!

    These other fish tanks have a different aesthetic to them. Their Japanese-style designs make for great photos.

    Kaleidorium 3D

    “This one’s beautiful, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”

    It really does look like one. When you take a peek instead you can glimpse all kinds of colourful fish gently swimming around.

    Ceiling Kingyo

    “There’re goldfish swimming on the ceiling too. So cool! This aquarium is incredible. It brings together the great culture of Edo and contemporary art.”

     

    The Art Aquarium bustles every single year with visitors, but this year will mark its last run. It’s being held at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, so if you have the chance to go then please do.

    We of course checked out some local Nihonbashi treats too! We stopped by morozoff for some cheesecake after the aquarium.

    morozoff Kamadashi Cheesecake (Goldfish) – ¥270 Each (Tax Included)

    These cute cheesecakes with their goldfish designs are available for a limited time only. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste. They perfect with iced tea.

    “Got some! Let’s eat them while we head back.”

    Goldfish Lantern Walkway

    Our first date in Nihonbashi was so much fun. While on the date Yutaro-kun spoke about the new live-action film he’s in, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.

     

    “It’s a romance film with mind games to try and make the other person confess their love. I play the character Tsubasa. His number one highlight scene is the kabedon scene. That was my first day shooting, so I was super nervous, but I got along well with the other actors, and the atmosphere on set was harmonious, so I was able to relax for the shoots. Tsubasa is a genuine guy who will believe things that have been said to him in earnest. You’ve definitely gotta check out all his scenes throughout the film!”

     

    “A lot of the cast are the same age as me, so we were all energetic together in the waiting room. There’s a scene at the end where all the cast get together. It took 3 days to shoot so we ended up getting along really well.”

     

    “This film has made me realise that love comes in many shapes, and that mind games happen in a variety of ways between guys and girls. There’s cute scenes that express that small bit of pride that teenagers have, the embarassment they feel, when they get butterflies, scenes that will warm your heart. The film has various elements to it so I thoroughly enjoyed watching it myself. I hope that couples in love in their teens and twenties watch it, and I also hope that married couples watch it and crack up laughing too.”

     

    “In the film it’s summer break, and they go and see fireworks and stuff. It’s definitely one to watch durnig the summer. You’re gonna come watch it too, right? Shall we go?”

     

    An offer we cannot refuse! We’ll definitely go and see it with you, Yutaro-kun! 

     

    Model: Yutaro

    Writer: Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    TALENT PROFILE

    Yutaro

    Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #11 – ‘Hatoya’ in Asakusa

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Hatoya which is located in Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Arcade.

     

    The streets of Tokyo’s historical district of Asakusa are packed to end with cafés. You can be spoiled for choice, but Hatoya stood out to me in particular as it’s an especially old café. Business there began back in 1927 but the actual building was built back in the Taisho period, meaning its history spans more than 90 years ago!

     

    The outside appearance of the shop is smart and chic so it’s very easy to spot. I couldn’t tell by looking from the outside, but the inside is full of old decorations and odds and ends which make you feel the history of the café.

    One reason why I wanted to visit this place so much is because I was drawn to their logo. It’s really retro-kawaii so I just couldn’t resist!

    You should take some photos too if you visit.

    It was time to head inside. It’s really comfy and cozy in there; the atmosphere was nice and relaxed.

    Framed on the wall is a map of the Asakusa area during the Taisho era. Hatoya became famous back then because people could buy coffee for a mere 5 sen (a single sen is one-hundredth of a yen).

     

    When business first began at Hatoya, because the café was opposite the stage door of a theatre, all of the famous actors and actresses would pop in. Some include famous Japanese comedian Roppa Furukawa and film actor Kiyoshi Atsumi who played Tora-san in the film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo.

    I ordered the café’s popular hotcakes which cost ¥600. They have been making these same hotcakes since before the war.

    They were nice and fluffy and had a deliciously gorgeous brown colour. The flavour was out of this world when the butter melted from the heat of the hotcakes and mixed together with the syrup.

     

    The portion might look like a lot but they are fluffy and have a light flavour so can be finished with no problem.

    And is the café’s signature milkshake (¥500).

     

    It’s so refreshing that you can knock it back all in one go. It has a simple flavour but it tasted so good!

    I also ordered the ¥600 cream soda, my favourite beverage.

    I’ve been to many cafés, and have covered many in this series, but this is the first I have dined at with such a deep history. I found myself enthralled by the stories of the owner who has continued to treasure the café and maintained it all the same since it opened. I feel like I have learned about a world I never knew about. The next time I go to Hatoya with a friend I’ll be sure to let them in on its history. I encourage you to visit too!

     

    Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
    Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ema Tanioku

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

  • Tokyo Station Top Souvenir and Bento Rankings 2019

    09.August.2019 | Uncategorized

    Tokyo Station is a hive of thriving shops and restaurants. If you are wondering where to start, exit the ticket barriers and head to GRANSTA Marunouchi to discover a new world of bento lunches, souvenir gifts and much more. Still stuck on where to go? Lucky for you, GRANSTA Marunouchi shoppers have voted for their favourite bento meals, sweet souvenirs and general souvenirs. We have summarised the top three winners of each category.

     

    A total of 69 shops have risen to the challenge, submitting a total of 73 of their top items. This year, a total of 4,500 voters took part in the survey, which is 2,000 more than last year. There were 10 winners in each of the three categories of Bento Meals, Sweet Souvenirs, and General Souvenirs. Today, we are presenting you with the top three of each category. (The prices below are the prices after tax has been applied)

     

    ▶︎Bento Meals Category

    1st place: Asakusa Imahan Sukiyaki (Tokyo-limited)

    Asakusa Imahan was founded in the 28th year of the Meiji era (1895) and still serves delicious traditional Japanese food. The Sukiyaki Bento is filled with a range of nutritious vegetables and luxurious Japanese Black wagyu beef, which is a shop specialty. Enjoy the wonderful sukiyaki flavouring of the vegetables and meat. 

    Price: ¥1,450 Shop: Asakusa Imahan (浅草今半)

     

    2nd place: Salted Salmon Roe and Salmon Belly Bento 

    *Limit of 150 sold per day.

    Price: ¥1,280 Shop: Ekibenya Matsuri (駅弁屋 祭 )

    Salmon belly flavoured with natural fat is fried and topped with salmon roe coated in a soy sauce dressing. This exquisite bento is full of flavours that go well together.

     

    3rd place: Shoro Sando

    *Limit of 200 sold per day 

    Price: ¥648 Shop: Tsukiji Shoro (つきぢ松露 )

    The faintly sweet flavour of the tamagoyaki seasoned and flavoured egg is the perfect match with the mayonaise.

     

    ▶︎ Sweet Souvenirs Top 3 

    1st place: Maple Pie Sandwich Biscuit (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,944 (box of 8) Shop: The Maple Mania  

    Maple cream is combined with maple sugar and sandwiched between two delicious and crispy pie crusts. The box takes on the appearance of a red brick, making it the perfect Tokyo Station souvenir. 

     

    2nd place: Tokyo chocolate Sablé (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,080 (box of 12) Shop: Marché du Chocolat 

    The packaging features a beautiful illustration of Tokyo Station. There are two chocolate sablé flavours: raspberry and hazelnut.

     

    3rd place: My Captain Cheese Set (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,080 (box of 8 packets)  Shop: MY CAPTAIN CHEESE TOKYO 

    Although having just opened in April 2019, this shop quickly made the rankings. From the outer packaging to the flavour, the efforts put into the making of this souvenir are clear. This brand new sweet cheese-flavoured treat is a new GRANSTA-limited souvenir.

     

    ▶︎ General Souvenirs

    1st place: Karuizawa Royal Blend

    Limit of 30 made per day 

    Price: ¥1,122 (whole loaf)/ ¥ 561 (half loaf) Shop: BOULANGERIE ASANOYA 

    The recipe used to bake this bread was deeply loved by the Kazoku; the rich and noble family class that existed during the Showa Era of Japan. This thick and fluffy loaf is made with lots of fresh cream for a rich flavour.

     

    2nd place: Suica Penguin Mamegui Wrapping Cloth and Suica Baumkuchen cake (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Prices: Mamegui Wrapping Cloth: ¥648/ Baumkuchen: ¥ 540  Shop: Mamegui (まめぐい)

    The Suica penguin, who is the mascot on the Suica smart travel card, is printed on this round Baumkuchen cake. Wrap it in the hankerchief-sized tenugui cloth and it will be the perfect petit present for your friend.  

     

    3rd place: Lemon and Shiikuwasha Lemon Vinegar (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,728 (250ml) Shop: Nomusu Ekisupuresu Tokyo (飲む酢エキスプレ・ス・東京)

    This dessert vinegar has a refreshing lemon flavour. The slight bitterness of the Shiikuwasha vinegar makes it a wonderful dessert flavour. 

     

    If you are overwhelmed by the vast selection of bento lunches or souvenirs, referring to these rankings is a safe option. Have fun shopping at Tokyo Station!

  • Tokyo Souvenirs Galore at Tokyo Station’s New Gift Kiosk

    02.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Tourists and travellers using Tokyo Station this summer will be excited to hear that the all-new Gift Kiosk Tokyo souvenir shop will open at the Tokyo Station Shinkansen Yaesu Central Exit on August 7.

    Gift Kiosk Tokyo’s shelves are packed full of gifts and souvenirs aimed at travellers using the Shinkansen. This includes bundles of delicious sweets and desserts such as raw mooncake by Nakamuraya, Tokyo Souvenir Chocolate which comes in packaging featuring Tokyo’s many iconic sites, and lots more.

    Tokyo Chocolate Tokyo Souvenir :  ¥756 (Tax Included) 

    The Tokyo Souvenir Chocolates are exclusive to Gift Kiosk and are a delicious retro-modern fusion combining 6 different chocolates and sweets made with traditional Japanese ingredients, offering an irresistible taste the likes of which you have never tried..

    Nakamuraya’s Raw Mooncake: Set of 5 – ¥756 (Tax Included) / Set of 8 – ¥1,188 (Tax Included)

    Nakamuraya’s chewy raw mooncake is made using traditional Japanese wagashi confection baking methods and is filled with sumptuous red bean paste. The paste is a blend of rich adzuki beans from Hokkaido and black sesame paste which has a strong flavour when combined with the beans. This is the first time it has been sold at Tokyo Station so all sweet tooths’ eyes will be on this one.

    As well as sweet treats, the store is full of drinks, bento boxes, sandwiches and other sundries. If you’re passing through Tokyo Station, particularly if you’re heading to another part of Japan using the Shinkansen, then be sure to stop by Gift Kiosk Tokyo.

  • 2019 Top 10 Souvenirs Available at Daimaru Department Store, Tokyo

    27.July.2019 | FOOD

    Looking for some delicious, well presented Japanese souvenirs? Head to Daimaru department store which is adjoined to Tokyo Station. On the first floor and basement floor lies a Japanese-style desserts and sweets area which contains approximately 70 delicious brands. Every day, approximately 30,000 desserts are sold to customers who are looking for souvenirs to bring to their family and friends. 

    Now we have arrived at the summer holidays, there are many tourists who will soon reach the stage of panic where they are unsure of what souvenirs to bring back to their loved ones. Luckily, Daimaru Department store is a goldmine of beautifully presented Japanese-style sweet snacks made by top brands. Today, we present you with a list of the 10 fastest-selling souvenirs that were sold from July 2018 to June 2019. There is still plenty of time to get your hands on these souvenirs!

     

    1st Place: N.Y.C. SAND: Caramel Sandwich Biscuits (box of 8) ¥1,080 (1st floor)

     As you take a bite, you will notice that the biscuit, chocolate and caramel will balance in perfect harmony just for a brief glorious moment. 

    2nd place: Fukusaya: Fukusaya Cube (Cut into two) ¥270 (1st floor)

    Have a small slice of luxury with this traditional recipe castella sponge cake which was specially made by experienced bakers. This is presented in a small, cute box. 

     

    3rd place: Kamakura Toshimaya: Hato Sable (box of 10) ¥1,080 (1st floor)

    This is a crispy dove-shaped shortbread biscuit which has a rich buttery flavour. This was first produced in the early 1900’s during the Meiji period and is a souvenir limited to Tokyo.

     

    4th place: Asakusa Mangando: Imokin ¥129 each (1st floor)

    This baked treat is packed with the delicious flavour of sweet potatoes. The freshly baked scent is enough to draw you in. 

    5th place: TOKYO BANANA STUDIO: Panda Banana Yoghurt (Box of 4) ¥515 (1st/basement floor) 

    Children would just love to see the cute panda design. Wrap yourself in the mild banana yoghurt-flavoured cream.

    6th place: Noix: Walnut cookie (Box of 4) ¥648 (1st floor)

    This crunchy cookie is topped with a generous amount of caramelised walnuts.

     

    7th place: Nenrinya: Mount Baum Shikkarime ¥756 (1st floor)

    The outside of this baumkuchen is fragrant and crispy whilst the inside is soft and spongy. Take a bite to experience the wonderful texture of this European-style baked good. 

    8th place: Azabujuban Agemochi-ya: Panchetta Agemochi (40g) ¥442 (1st floor)

    The flavour of this baked mochi dough is like eating bacon cooked in an Italian style. This new flavour is a wonderful discovery that you should also try.

    9th place: Sugar Butter Tree: SUGAR BUTTER SAND TREE (Box of 10) ¥690 (1st floor)

    The crispy biscuit and melty white chocolate is a sublime combination that you will want to try again and again.

    10th place:  Kanou Shoujuan: Ikkoten ¥270 each (1st floor)

    A whole Japanese chestnut is smothered in a thick layer of Tamba Dainagon adzuki bean mix that is simmered lightly. This is especially delicious when eaten with tea. 

     

    What do you think? When in desperate need of a souvenir for your family, friends or work colleagues back home, how about choosing one of the souvenirs listed above?

  • Most Popular Sweets & Chocolate Sold at Tokyo Station

    24.July.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Summer is here, and if you’re travelling around Japan, chances are you’ll be using Tokyo Station station at some point.

     

    We recently covered 6 must-buy souvenirs at Tokyo Station. Today we’ll be looking at the most popular Japanese and western sweets you can pick up there as ranked by sales.

     

    Western Sweets & Snacks

    1st Place: Maple Butter Cookie (Contains 18) – ¥1,900 (Tax Included) / Sold @ The Maple Mania

    These cookies are made from maple sugar and fermented butter and baked with dark chocolate in the middle to make a crunchy cookie sandwich. They have been the most popular treat since they were released♡

    2nd Place: Tokyo Station Waffles (10 Included) – ¥1,300 (Tax Included) / Sold @ R.L waffle cake

    A flagship product of R.L. Waffle Cake, their fluffy waffles contain cream and fruit. These Tokyo Station exclusives have been improved this year and are now made with bamboo charcoal. This set of 10 plain waffles are available for a limited time only.

    3rd Place: Tokyo Gianduja Chocolate Pie (Contains 8) – ¥1,080 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Caffarel

    Chocoholics are going to love Caffarel’s chocolate pies which are made lusciously with their gianduja chocolate. The pies enjoy repeat purchases from people who enjoy the crunchy outside of the pie and rich chocolate centre. They are enjoyed by people of all ages.

    4th Place: Tokyo Kaminariya (Contains 8) – ¥1,062 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Tokyo Kaminariya

    Tokyo Kaminariya is known for its sweet cone puffs which topped with fluffy cream, nuts and sesame seed bean paste. They are shaped like the god of thunder’s horn and are cat tongue biscuits containing fragrant rice flour.

    5th Place: Tokyo Station Assorted Cookies (Contains 20) – ¥1,965 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Tokyo Milk Cheese

    This cookie assortment features the classic Salt & Camembert and Honey & Gorgonzola flavours. A perfect souvenir from Tokyo with its cute packaging!

     

    Japanese Sweets & Snacks

    1st Place: Kinpira Gobo (1 Bag) – ¥350 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Nishikihonrin

    This crispy snack retains the original flavour of the ingredients and is made using 100% domestic wheat flour. It contains great burdock and spicy finely chopped vegetable flavours. It’s a perfect little treat to yourself or someone you know and is a hit with foreign customers!

    2nd Place: Mame Daifuku: ¥206 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Ginza Kanra

    A hallmark product of Ginza Kanra, these soft daifuku contain whole adzuki beans grown by contracted farmers. Their simple flavour has transcended generations and is a beloved traditional Japanese dessert with all ages.

    3rd Place: Panda no Tabi (Contains 5) – ¥1,080 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Keishindo

    Keishindo’s senbei shrimp rice cookies have various designs on them including cute pandas as well as famous sites in Tokyo such as Tokyo Tower and Kaminarimon. Exclusive to Tokyo Station, these are a fun and delicious choice.

    4th Place: Wasanbon (Contains 9) – ¥756 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Kurio Shoten Gransta

    Wasanbon is a type of traditional Japanese sugar. This product is made with traditional molasses which has been used since the store first opened. Using high quality sugar, Kurio Shoten has created a sweet and simple delicious snack.

    5th Place: edocco Nami Ningyo Yaki – ¥1,080 (Tax Included) / Sold @ Hattendo & edocco

    Ningyo yaki are little baked doll cakes, and these ones have a “raw” texture to them which is both moist and chewy, a texture enjoyed by Japanese people.

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? Be sure you get to try all the sweets and snacks you can in Japan and share them as souvenirs when you travel back home!

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