Tottori Prefecture’s White Rabbit of Inaba Wins Top Prize in Japan’s Indie Souvenir Contest
19.August.2021 | FOOD
From July 29 to August 11, over 320,000 people from around Japan voted for their favorite lesser-known local souvenir. Sponsored by Japanese e-commerce site Mercari, the contest highlighted 47 unique goods from around the country, one for each prefecture. The winners have been announced, and the White Rabbit of Inaba from Tottori Prefecture has won first place, receiving more than 60,000 votes.
A music video-style web commercial featuring the winning product is now being produced to support the shop and particular region of Tottori. The music will be performed by electro-pop group Frasco.
In Japan, the rabbit is known for bringing good fortune, and has been a beloved symbol since ancient times. The white rabbit in particular, featured in the local Izumo myth ‘The White Rabbit of Inaba,’ plays a major role in connecting the characters Onamuchi-no-kami and Princess Yakami. In 1968, the famous confectionery ‘White Rabbit of Inaba’ was created in the hopes of bringing good luck to those visiting the area.
Much like how an indie music group has a small group of hardcore fans but may not be well-known outside of small circles, these indie souvenirs are popular with locals, but may not be known to those outside the community. On the official website, fans can see their favorite treats displayed on what looks like album covers as an homage to this fitting comparison.
On social media, there was incredible support for the project from all kinds of people: those who made the souvenirs in the first place, those who love their local area, and those who were seeing these treats for the first time and dying to try them.
Which of the 47 souvenirs would you be most happy to receive?
Japan’s Indie Souvenir Contest
Official Site: https://jp-news.mercari.com/localmitsukete/miyage/
Disney’s Mickey & Friends Teams Up With Tokyo’s Souvenir Sweet Tokyo Banana
07.June.2021 | FOOD
Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana, a joint confectionery shop between GRAPESTONE and Tokyo Banana, released its new Mickey & Friends collection on Thursday.
Tokyo Banana Mickey & Friends Collection | ¥1,300 (Tax Included)
Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto join hands in a heart-warming new collection of Tokyo Banana, a cream-filled sponge cake and the official souvenir sweet of Tokyo’s official souvenir sweet: Tokyo Banana.
Mickey & Friends arrive in all the colours of the rainbow
The colourful packaging features the Disney group of best friends including Mickey, who loves his friends, his girlfriend Minnie, the anger-prone Donald, stylish Daisy, silly Goofy, and trusty Pluto.
Six cute patterns decorate the sponge cakes
There are six super cute Mickey & Friends designs you could get in your Tokyo Banana, and each one is random. They are filled with chocolate banana-flavoured custard cream.
Collect all the postcards
All boxes of these treats come with two of eight possible postcard designs which you can use for sending to someone or even as room decoration.
Mickey & Friends Tokyo Banana
Released: June 3, 2021
Where: Tokyo Banana stores
Tokyo Banana Official Website: https://www.tokyobanana.jp/disney/index.html
Pokémon x Tokyo Banana Expands Across Japan
The Pokémon Tokyo Banana confection series launched its first two products that it ever released at Yume Town, Yume City, LEC, and Yume Mart branches in the South-west most part of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu on May 14.
Pikachu Tokyo Banana (Banana Flavour) | Includes 2 | ¥292 (Tax Included)
Eevee Tokyo Banana (Caramel) | Includes 2 | ¥292 (Tax Included)
Heart-shaped tail ends
Six different packaging designs each for Pikachu and Eevee
Tokyo Banana are popular cream-filled cakes and are the official souvenir sweet of Tokyo. The Pokémon series turns these fluffy treats into cute confections for you to enjoy with your favourite Pokémon during snack time.
Pikachu was the first to enter the Pokémon Tokyo Banana series who was turned into a banana custard cream-filled sponge cake. The second was Eevee with the fluffy sponge a delicious caramel macchiato flavour and filled with sweet banana custard cream
The confections are both branded with adorable heart-shaped tails, and each comes with one of six possible packaging designs.
©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Pikachu & Eevee Tokyo Banana
Released: May 14, 2021 (Available while supplies last)
Locations: Yume Town / Yume City / LEC / Yume Mart (Select branches not participating)
Official Website: https://www.tokyobanana.jp/products/banana_pokemon.html
Matcha and Latte Cookies and Drinks Released by Yojiya
01.April.2021 | FOOD
Kyoto makeup brand Yojiya is now selling its own collection of snacks and drinks which it released via its website last week.
Yojiya Matcha Sandwich Cookies | ¥1,400 (Tax Included)
Yojiya Cafe Latte Chocolate Cookies | ¥1,350 (Tax Included)
Yojiya Matcha Milk | ¥950 (Tax Included)
Yojiya’s snack line-up is made with the idea of being able to enjoy high-quality food products at home. Their collection includes crunchy matcha and cafe latte cookies along with matcha milk, the latter of which is made with famous Uji matcha from Uji, Kyoto. Perfect for a tea/coffee break or as a souvenir.
Released: March 25, 2021
Online Shop: https://www.yojiyacosme.com/
Sablé Shortbread Cookie Shop Sablé MICHELLE Opens First Tokyo Branch in Ikebukuro
19.March.2021 | FOOD
Sablé MICHELLE opened its first Tokyo branch inside Seibu Ikebukuro last Friday to serve up their cute and colourful baked treats for the people of Japan’s capital.
Voyage Sablé New York
Voyage Sablé Netherlands
Voyage Sablé Hawaii
Voyage Sablé Tokyo
Voyage Sablé Gift (Contains 3)
Voyage Sablé Air Male (Box of 6)
Cake Sablé Tin (Small Size)
Cake Sablé Bag Type (Contains 2)
Fleur Sandwich Sablé (Contains 4)
Fleur Sandwich Sablé Bag Type (Contains 2)
Sablé MICHELLE Seibu Ikebukuro
Grand Opening: March 12, 2021
Official Website: https://www.sogo-seibu.jp/ikebukuro/
USGMEN x Village Vanguard Clothing Collection Releases
17.March.2021 | FASHION
The popular Japanese LINE sticker character series USGMEN is now taking orders for a new collection of merchandise on Village Vanguard for a limited time. The collection dropped on March 13.
USGMEN White T-Shirt | Medium, Large | ¥4,180 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Yellow T-Shirt | Medium, Large | ¥4,180 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Black Suuetto T-Shirt | Medium, Large | ¥5,830 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Hoodie | Medium, Large | ¥6,380 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Cap | ¥3,630 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Face Mask | ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Clear Pencil Case | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)
USGMEN – Usagi & Same Acrylic Key Rings | ¥770 Each (Tax Included)
USGMEN Tote Bag | ¥2,530 (Tax Included)
USGMEN Sacoche | ¥2,420 (Tax Included)
USGMEN x Village Vanguard Collaborative Merchandise
Order Window: March 13, 2021 – March 21, 2021 (Online Orders Only)
Buy Here: https://vvstore.jp/feature/detail/15939/
Collab Details: https://www.village-v.co.jp/news/item/8747
Village Vanguard Official Website: https://www.village-v.co.jp/
Experience Okinawa From Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station at Tokai Kiosk’s Fair
28.February.2021 | FOOD
Tokai Kiosk Company has announced a Kyushu and Okinawa themed fair which will run at all branches of Tokai Kiosk from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station starting on March 2. Customers will be able to enjoy a range of local foods and products from Kyushu and Okinawa.
Kyushu Okinawa Fair Poster
A Look at Some of the Available Products
Salted Shiroi Tabekko Doubutsu
Sugar Butter Sand Tree – Amaou Strawberry Butter
Okinawa Bireley’s Ishigaki Island Pineapple
Sausage & Egg Yuzu Kosho Sandwich
This is just a peek of what will be available to try from Kyushu and Okinawa this spring. If you’re travelling in Japan this March, then don’t miss out.
Kyushu Okinawa Fair
Japanese Event Title: 旅行気分で「うまい！」を楽しもう！九州・沖縄フェア
Running: March 2, 2021 – March 22, 2021
Where: Bellmart Kiosks, Grand Kiosks, Gift Kiosks, and Kiosks from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station
Official Website: https://www.kiosk.co.jp
Aromatic Kamakura Raw Chocolate Brand to Open New Branch in Nagoya
MAISON CACAO, the company behind the aromatic raw chocolate brand of the same name, will open a store on floor B1F of JR Nagoya Takashimaya on March 3, 2021. It will be the brand’s first permanent shop in Japan’s Tokai region.
The company held a special Valentine’s event from late January to Valentine’s Day where MAISON CACAO made the second most sales. They also enjoyed other sold out products, and showcased some exclusive indulgences like the gold leaf-adorned “Aroma Raw Chocolate ARMOUR” and “Aroma Raw Chocolate STRAWBERRY” as well as the all-new “Cacao Butterland.”
The Nagoya Line-Up
Aroma Raw Chocolate AMOUR | ¥6,000 (Before Tax)
Exclusive to this new Nagoya branch of MAISON CACAO, these “AMOUR” chocolates are all handmade using techniques that have been passed down through the company. The dark chocolates are wrapped in luxurious gold leaf and have a fruity, sweet, and bitter combination. One box contains a generous serving of 16.
Cacao Butterland | ¥2,000 (Before Tax)
MAISON CACAO uses cacao beans from Columbia to bake its menu. These gooey treats are made with cacao butter and chocolate caramel with a double layering of dark and white chocolate. A rich and filling serving of six comes in a box.
Aroma Raw Chocolate STRAWBERRY | ¥2,200 (Before Tax)
Also a Nagoya-exclusive, these strawberry variants are made with intensely sweet JApanese amaou strawberries white combine with the fragrance cacao butter and white chocolate for a refreshing taste. You get 16 in a single box.
But Wait, There’s More…
Raw Chocolate Butter Cake | ¥3,500
A cake made with velvety chocolate butter cream packed with roasted nuts, raisins, and caramel chips.
Rich Raw Chocolate Tart STRAWBERRY | ¥2,000
Yet another exclusive to Nagoya, these crunchy tarts are lathered in amaou strawberry chocolate and filled with runny and fruity amaou strawberry cream. A box comes with three included.
Other Popular Goodies Available While Supplies Last
Aroma Raw Chocolate MAISON (Grape) | ¥2,400 (Before Tax)
Babka | ¥2100
Raw Gateau Chocolate | ¥2500 (Before Tax)
Grand Opening: March 3, 2021
Location: JR Nagoya Takashimaya Floor B1F
Address: 1-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
MAISON CACAO Official Website: https://maisoncacao.com/
Yokohama Welcomes Products and Souvenirs From Ise at the New ISE SHOP
10.February.2021 | FOOD
Tama Plaza Terrace, a shopping centre in Yokohama, opened a limited-time pop-up shop on Tuesday (February 9) called ISE SHOP which is selling goods and products from Japan’s city of Ise.
The shop opened in response to the reduction of sales of foodstuff, traditional handicrafts, and more in Ise due to the pandemic. Ise is known for its bounty of diverse products, and so this is a way to continue supporting it. Free tourist pamphlets are also being handed out detailing information about the city’s wonders.
Some of the must-grab items
The store is a showcase of Ise’s history, traditional, and food culture. Shoppers will find staple souvenir items like Ise udon, sea lettuce, hijiki seaweed, pearls, and more. Other touches of Ise include a popular hand cream made with water drawn from the Isuzu River, a fragrance mist also made from the same water, all-new cosmetic items, cookies inspired by the oshiraishi stones spread over the most holy part of Ise Grand Shrine—the list goes on. 58 Ise-based businesses are stocking around 100 products inside the store, so it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the ancient city.
Running: February 9, 2021 – March 28, 2021
Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00
*Opening hours subject to change depending on the pandemic
Location: Tama Plaza Terrace – Gate Plaza Floor 2F
Official Website: www.tamaplaza-terrace.com
Padonni is a Japanese pasta brand that sells multicoloured pasta that look like little candies. The brand tied up with Village Vanguard to make their stock available on their website on Wednesday (January 20).
Striped Paper Hat Pasta | ¥702 (Tax Included)
Shooting Star Pasta | ¥540 (Tax Included)
Heart Pasta | ¥540 (Tax Included)
Salted Striped Twist Short Puglia | ¥1,296 (Tax Included)
The rainbow-coloured pastas use no artificial colourings, all colours are brought about naturally with ingredients like beetroot and paprika.
The Instagrammable striped pasta is particularly cute and are sure to add some fun to pasta night. And these pastas aren’t just for show either – they are made with high quality durum wheat from Apulia in Southern Italy so great taste is guaranteed. Traditional techniques are used to make the pasta with each and every piece being handmade. They are carefully dried in a low temperature for 4+ hours, giving them a delicious chewy texture.
Released: January 20, 2021
Official Online Store: https://vvstore.jp/feature/detail/15734/?utm_source=press
Tokyo’s Cat-Shaped Food Bakery Tokyo Neko Neko Announces New Branch in Tokyo Station
25.January.2021 | FOOD
Tokyo Neko Neko will open a new branch at ecute Keiyo Street inside Tokyo Station on January 25, 2021.
The launch comes just 6 months after the bakery opened its store in Ginza, attracting customers from all over for its line-up of cat-shaped pastries. Both of these bakeries are the result of yet another branch, Kyoto Neko Neko, which opened in June last year as the first in the line of these cute locations.
Tokyo Station Exclusives: Neko Neko Jam Bread – Marmalade, Caramel, Strawberry, Blueberry
Tokyo Neko Neko Bread – Plain, Chocolate, Caramel Almond, Tsubu-an, Matcha, Soybean
As well as the classic Tokyo Neko Neko Bread—which is like a croissant being loaded with French butter, crunchy on the outside, and moist on the inside—the new Tokyo Station branch is also serving its own exclusive pastry treat: the Neko Neko Jam Bread, made with plenty of milk, and arriving in four irresistible flavours including marmalade, caramel, strawberry, and blueberry. And most important of all: everything is shaped like an adorable kitty.
If you’re travelling through Tokyo Station then don’t miss out on a trip to Tokyo Neko Neko, opening January 25.
Tokyo Neko Neko (Tokyo Station branch)
Grand Opening: January 25, 2021
Shop Name: Tokyo Neko Neko ecute Keiyo Street
Location JR Tokyo Station inside the ticket gates of the Yaesu South Exit on Floor 1F
Address: 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, 〒100-0005
Opening Hours: 8:00-22:00 (until 21:30 on weekends and holidays)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://nekoshoku.jp
Cacao Jang: The World’s First Seasoning Combining Chocolate and Soy Sauce
25.January.2021 | FOOD
Marushin Honken is an old soy sauce maker based in Wakayama, the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce, which has teamed up with chocolate sommelier Tani Kanako who is the spearhead of the chocolate company TomoeSaveur and was a judge at the 2014 International Chocolate Awards, and the French chocolate brand Erithaj Chocolat, to launch the world’s first chocolate soy sauce seasoning. The product is called Cacao Jang and was released on Wednesday (January 20).
Left: Paste Type / Crunchy Type
The condiment uses a soy sauce called Kuyo Murasaki and steeps in it roasted cacao to create a rich, complex flavour combination. A completely unique seasoning, it’s available in two types – paste and crunchy. Chocolate is typically seen as a sweet food, but this condiment uses no sugars, allowing for the deep-bodied flavour of the chocolate to shine through. It goes well with as a sauce seasoning for duck and chicken, as well as white fish.
Discover a flavour like never before with a pot of Cacao Jang.
Released: January 20, 2021
Marushin Honke Online Store: https://www.marushinhonke.com/c/3555/cacaojang
TomoeSaveur Online Store: https://tomoesaveur.thebase.in/categories/3011672
Yuasa Syouyu Official Website: https://www.yuasasyouyu.co.jp/
TomoeSaveur Official Website: https://t-sav.com/
Pokémon Tokyo Banana Adds Special Pikachu Box Set Online
Tokyo Banana World recently added its special Dengeki Box (Electric Box) of Pikachu Tokyo Banana confections to its official website which is available to order in Japan until January 30, 2021 at 17:00 (JST).
Tokyo Banana is Tokyo’s official souvenir sweets brand and it launched its new Pokémon Tokyo Banana series of confections in November last year with the first catch being Pikachu. It subsequently added Eevee to the collection in December. The Pikachu confections are also available to buy at Tokyo Station.
Pikachu Tokyo Banana – Dengeki Box | Box of 12 Packs (24 Confections) | ¥3,456 (Tax Included)
The limited-time addition of the Dengeki Box to Tokyo Banana’s official website means that anyone in Japan can get a taste of the electrifyingly delicious sweet fluffy custard-filled sponge cakes without having to travel to Tokyo.
Waiting inside the Dengeki Box are 12 packages each with two cakes in and each in one of six different Pikachu designs to greet hungry Trainers, all of which are positively kawaii. The box itself also features these adorable illustrations.
Left: Front of Box | Right: Back of Box
The box even has a handle attached to it so you can reuse it after to store all your bits and bobs.
©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Pokémon, ポケットモンスター, and ポケモン are registered trademarks of Nintendo, Creatures Inc., and GAME FREAK inc..
Pikachu Tokyo Banana – Online Orders
Running: January 12, 2021 – January 30, 2021
*Available while supplies last
*Shipping not available to select islands in Japan
Tokyo Banana Group Official Online Shop