【Tokyo Stroll】Experiencing the Finest Quality Gateau au Chocolat at “Ken’s Cafe Tokyo”—Reservations Required
Shinjuku—Situated in the heart of Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan area in the world, and absolutely packed with travelers and tourists. It’s a pivotal ward in Tokyo connected via many transportation services including the JR Line, subway, private railways, rapid bus lines and more. Shinjuku is an absolute must-visit when sightseeing in Tokyo.
In today’s entry to “Tokyo Stroll,” Rinko Murata stopped by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo in Shinjuku, a shop specializing in Gateau au Chocolat that’s made with the best quality ingredients.
Ken’s Cafe Tokyo is very easy to get to, located just 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.
The Special Gateau au Chocolat is one of the desserts served by the shop’s owner, Kenji Ujiie. Full sales of this dessert began due to strong demand from customers for it being so delicious. The word got out and immediately led to high praise that spread far and wide, and this year, the shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary!
The Special Gateau au Chocolat comes in at ￥3,000 (tax included), with reservations in abundance up to a month. When it’s freshly cooked, the outside is crispy, and the outside is creamy like fondue chocolate, making a perfect melt-in-the-mouth combined texture!
The secret to its deliciousness is in the thoroughness to use only the best ingredients. The chocolate used in the photo is from an Italian brand called “Domori.” The founder of Domori, Gianluca Franzoni, was deeply impressed with the quality taste of the Special Gateau au Chocolat, and so personally created his first and only chocolate mix called “KEN’S” to be used at the shop.
To draw out the good flavour of the chocolate, it’s made with gluten-free chocolate. Although the flavour is rich and full-bodied, the result of the taste is that makes it simple to eat.
300 gateau chocolates are made in a single day! And because each and every one of them are handmade with the utmost care and detail, it’s difficult to make any more than this, so there’s always an abundance of reservations. But if you can’t wait and need to try one straight away, limited quantities are being specially sold at Matsuya Ginza and Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro, so be sure to check those places out.
Rinko couldn’t control her excitement at the sweet smell of the chocolate. She took no time at all to begin tasting the Special Gateau au Chocolat.
When eaten at room temperature, it tastes like terrine chocolate. Depending on what temperature you eat it at, the taste and texture will change, so with one gateau chocolate you can enjoy trying three completely different flavours. Also, the balance between the sweetness and bitterness is fine-tuned every time. If you buy one now, the bitterness of the cocoa has increased every so slightly compared to 10 years ago.
Rinko gave it her seal of approval. “The moment I took a bite, the aroma of the cocoa hit me, and the soft texture just melted inside my mouth! The balance between the bitterness and sweetness is exquisite. This delicious chocolate hit me in the head right away. Happiness is running around inside my brain. I can’t get enough of how it feels!”
You can go back via Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station, but you should take a stroll towards Shinjuku Station instead – it’s just a 17-minute walk. Plus, Shinjuku Gyoen – Shinjuku’s imperial garden – is close by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo, so you might enjoy getting lost in your own thoughts while taking a walk through nature.
The Special Gateau au Chocolat is a perfect present for yourself or someone special. They are always waiting on orders, so if you’re interest, check out the shop’s website below and make a reservation.
【Tokyo Stroll 】Stroll in Kagurazaka, the fusion of Japanese culture and exoticism.
Kagurazaka is a busy district in Shinjuku ward that has been gaining more and more visitors recently. The focus of Kagurazaka is the long and continuous sloping street that runs from Iidabashi Station to Kagurazaka Station. It has a long history that begins in the Edo period and boasts a fusion of the Japanese spirit and an exotic mood. Today, we take a stroll to Kagurazaka with Rinko Murata who absolutely loves the atmosphere of the lively district.
Akagi Shrine is Tokyo’s foremost power spot. It is located just outside the first exit of Kagurazaka Station, so it might be a good idea to begin the stroll with a shrine visit.
The Must-Visit Location in Kagurazaka for Walking & Eating
When coming to Kagurazaka, the nikuman at Gojūban are a must, no ifs, ands, or buts. Look out for the red and green entrance! This place has been running since 1957, when it was established during the Showa period.
They have all kinds of delicious nikuman in their showcase to choose from, including their “Ganso Nikuman” or original nikuman, a longtime flavour that has continued to be sold there for 60 years.
You’ll have a hard time deciding what to go for. They sell a special shark fin nikuman. Only 30 are sold every day. They also have delectably addictive piri nikuman which are made using Chinese spices, as well as limited edition curry nikuman, spicy mapo flavoured nikuman, shiitake mushroom nikuman, mozzarella nikuman, and more.
Tear open the smooth and fluffy nikuman and out pours the meat juice! The best way to eat this original nikuman is definitely eating it while walking as soon as you buy it. There’s no other luxury like it – purchasing Kagurazaka’s most famous food and ambling the street.
Sitting diagonally opposite to Gojūban is Bishamonten Zenkoku Temple, the symbol of Kagurazaka, with a large red archway out front. It’s a great location to take a photo.
【Tokyo Stroll】Visiting “Coci la elle” in Daikanyama to get our hands on a colourful umbrella!
Daikanyama is a popular little place located in a quiet residential area filled with stylish cafés and shops. It’s surrounded by big tourist areas including Shibuya, Ebisu, Nakameguro and Ikejiri-Ōhashi, so is very easily accessible. Today we head to Daikanyama with Rinko Murata-chan, a place where you can have all kinds of fun shopping, eating or simply strolling around, to visit “Coci la elle Swan,” a shop specializing in umbrellas.
“Coci la elle” – Umbrella Specialists
Coci la elle started originally stocked only one type of umbrella when it opened, a type made for protecting you from the sun. They now own a second shop in Daikanyama which opened in April this year in addition to the main shop and studio in Kiyosumi-shirakawa.
Today, we are visiting the newly-opened shop in Daikanyama, “Coci la elle2,” which goes by the name of the “swan” shop. It received this name as the number “2” looks like a swan. The closest station is Daikanyama Station via the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line. The station is only 1 stop from Shibuya and so is conveniently accessible, with Coci la elle only an 8-minute walk away from the front entrance.
Seize yourself a handmade umbrella
Coci la elle offers vibrant umbrellas in all types of colours and designs to brighten your day when those rainy days get you down. They also have umbrellas that will protect you from the blistering sun on those scorching days while also making you feel elegant at the same time.
The sun protection umbrellas are all made by hand, one by one, with their own individual designs and embroidery. The rain umbrellas are printed designs, but these are also all made by the head of the brand Chika Higashi, who makes collages out of photos and her own illustrations.
【Tokyo Stroll】Strolling around in Harajuku which has a lot of unique spots such as popular graffiti and artistic miscellaneous stores.
Harajuku is a source of the latest unique cultures for young people in Japan. It is always full of people coming not only from Japan, but also from outside of the country throughout the year. Japanese model Rinko Murata visited the latest popular spots such as unique street art work and the curry restaurant that is known to those in the know.
To the Harajuku Tourist Center “MOSHI MOSHI BOX”
Today, we started strolling from the Harajuku Tourist Center called “MOSHI MOSHI BOX.” It is located in the cross road that is connect to Takeshita street, Meiji street, and Ura-Harajuku in Harajuku.
We asked where the popular sightseeing spots in Harajuku are to the staff in “MOSHI MOSHI BOX,” they said that the latest trend is the “street art.” It is popular among young people who post the colorful and unique pictures on social media.
Actually, the building of “MOSHI MOSHI BOX” is a great photo spot as well. It is cute and colorful monument themed a world clock designed by Sebastian Masuda.
This “MOSHI MOSHI BOX” facility is not only will tell you the recommended sightseeing spots, but it also has a Japanese souvenir store which is good for choosing a small gift for someone. They also have free Wi-Fi, electric charger, and money exchange. Check it out when you are in Harajuku.
Address：3-23-5 1F Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours：10:00AM to 6:00PM
Holiday：Open 7 days a week
The art work at the back street of Cat street
The graffiti on the wall at the back street of Cat street says “NOW IS FOREVER.” It is the public art work created by Stephen Powers from the United States, and it is a very popular spot among the instagramer outside of the country.
It is also cute taking selfies with this graffiti using a wide-angle lens or a smartphone. This wall art can make you take some good pictures that definitely will standout on your social media.
Public art「NOW IS FOREVER」
Address：4-24 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
【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 #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】A Day Out At: Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden—An Oasis In The Middle Of Tokyo!
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden is a former Daimyo Garden, or imperial garden, of the early Edo period, along with the Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden. Part of the charm of the garden is the large pond in the middle which people can walk around to appreciate the serene surroundings. The garden is a diamond in the rough as it is situated in a part of Tokyo where offices are dotted everywhere. The garden itself feels cemented in history and is a popular spot visited by company workers on their break, as well as tourists. There is a quiet stillness to the garden, a place where you can even experience feeling the changing seasons. Today, we take a stroll through the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden with Saki Shibata.
A Daimyo Garden with a history deep-rooted in early Edo
The garden is a 1-minute walk from the north exit of the JR Hamamatsuchō Station, and a 3-minute walk from the B2 Exit of Daimon Station via either the Toei Asakusa Line or Toei Ōedo Line. Hamamatsuchō Station is just 17-minutes from Shibuya Station on the inner loop of the Yamamote Line, so it’s easy to get to.
General Admission to the garden is just ￥150, and ￥70 for Over-65s. Entry is free for those below elementary school grade, people residing in the city, and middle school students enrolled in the area. The scenery you will witness as you enter the garden is unique to that of such a city—a beautiful contrast between the greenery and the pond water against a backdrop of towering buildings.
A garden where you can feel nature against your skin
You can experience the true essence of Japan by seeing pine trees up close and personal. The bright green laws in summertime are fresh; the faint scent of grass will leave you feeling tranquil. You get to see the flowers dotted around Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden change with the seasons, meaning you can enjoy hanami, or flower-viewing in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
It’s a place where you can spend a relaxing time and dedicate some graceful reading time. Although it’s in the middle of Tokyo, the garden is far away from all the ruckus, so you can get nice and comfortable.
Scorch your Senses at the Spicy as Hell and Tasty as Well 2019 Food Festival Round 2 in Shinjuku
Spicy as Hell and Tasty as Well 2019 will be holding round 2 on August 16, 2019 at Okubo Park, Kabukicho in Shinjuku. This will be the event’s biggest gekikara gourmet saiten (super spicy festival) Japan has ever seen.
Food services that represent the spicy foods of the world have all joined forces at Kabukicho in Shinjuku; Asia’s largest entertainment district to tinge it with a luminescent spicy red colour. So far, around 0.7 million people with a burning passion for spice have made their way to the spice central to test their tolerance to the range of gourmet spicy dishes. From beginner to mania, the event caters to all levels of spice-lovers. From a tiny touch of spice to spicy as hell, there is a wide range of spice levels to choose from. The dishes served and participating shops are changed each week, so you can enjoy a new spicy experience each week.
At the 1st Round, spice fans had their fill of Ciao em Cafe’s Bún bò Huế. This café, which originates from the outskirts of Tokyo in Hana-Koganei, took part in the event for the first time. One of their signature dishes is the Vietnamese soup, which captured the hearts of many women for its perfectly balanced sweet yet spicy flavour. Despite being Menya Mazeharu’s first time serving at the event, their queues stretched out into the sunset from morning to evening each day .
Round 2 will see Cheese to Gibier Curry Naru Ichizoku and Tokyo spice curry Aka to Kuro spicing up the event for the first time. This is the perfect opportunity to experience Awajishima Curry made with the world’s most sense-scorching spices including ghost pepper, trinidad scorpion pepper, and the carolina reaper. Tokyo spice curry serves up red curry dishes made with ingredients traditionally used in natural Chinese food therapy. Their black curries are Kashmiri curries that will leave you feeling satisfied.
These are just a selection of the vast number of noteworthy spicy dishes. You are bound to find the perfect curry to spice up your life at this event, so please check it out.
Spicy as Hell and Tasty as Well 2019 (激辛グルメ祭り2019)
Venue: Okubo Park, Kabukicho, Shinjuku
Address: 2-43, Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Access: 3-min walk from Seibu-Shinjuku Station or an 8-min walk from Shinjuku station (JR/ Odakyu/ Keio lines)
Entry: Free to enter, pay for your food and drinks.
2nd round: Aug 16 ー 21
3rd round: Aug 23 ー 28
4th round: Aug 30 ー Sept 4
5th round: Sept 6 ー 11
6th round: Sept 13 ー 18
* Closed on Aug 15, 22, 29 and Sept 5, 12 to change the shops.
* Open on rainy days (closed during stormy weather).
* Spicy as Hell and Tasty as Well is open for a total of 38 days this year, the longest it has ever run in history.
A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll
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.
“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.
“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.
“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!
Writer: Yuki Yokoo
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2019 ~Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses~
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Area
TEL: 03-3242-0010 (Nihonbashi Information Center)
Event Page: https://www.nihonbashi-tokyo.jp/en/ecoedo2019/
ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall Floor 5F (Entrance at 4F), COREDO Muromachi 1, 2-2-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Art Aquarium 11:00-19:00 / Night Aquarium From 19:00
[Sun-Fri] 11:00-22:00 (Last Entries 22:00) [Sat & days prior to public hoiday] 11:00-23:30 (Last Entries 23:00)
Access: Directly connected to Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae Station, accessible on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Hanzomon Line / Directly connected to Shin-Nihombashi Station / 8-minutes on foot from East Exit of Kanda Station JR 8-minutes on foot from Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Film
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Adapted from the manga of the same name by Aka Akasaka (Shueisha/Weekly Young Jump)
Cast: Sho Hirano (King & Prince), Kanna Hashimoto, Hayato Sano, Natsumi Ikema, Nana Asakawa, Mayu Hotta, YUTARO, Takashima Masahiro, Jiro Sato
Official Website: https://kaguyasama-movie.com/
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.
Japan’s Long Reigning Chocolate Brand Releases Limited Edition Flavour to Celebrate 40th Anniversary
16.August.2019 | FOOD
Takenoko No Sato is a popular type of chocolate-covered small biscuit snack sold in Japan. This year, the mini bamboo shoot-shaped biscuit brand has been busy celebrating its 40th anniversary with the Anniversary Dessert Series. Lucky for us, that means the release of a second irresistible limited edition flavour. The new flavour, which is called Takenoko No Sato Strawberry Shortcake, will be released countrywide for a limited time only starting on August 20, 2019.
Takenoko No Sato was born in August 1979 as the younger brother of Kinoko No Yama; a miniature mushroom snack made of a crunchy biscuit stalk and chunky chocolate mushroom head which was released in September 1975. These long-selling chocolate brands have been a popular hit since the day they hit the shops and have won the hearts of everyone from children to adults.
Takenoko No Sato Strawberry Shortcake consists of a crunchy biscuit covered in a layer of tangy strawberry chocolate that tastes like fresh cream and sweet yet sour strawberries.
If you have never tried this iconic Japanese brand of chocolate before, you definitely need to try it to see what all the hype is about. Don’t forget to try the Strawberry Shortcake flavour which is only available for a limited time only.
Takenoko No Sato Strawberry Shortcake (たけのこの里いちごのショートケーキ味)
RRP: ￥200 (before tax) /￥216 (after tax)
Release Date: August 20, 2019
To be released countrywide.
Meiji Co., Ltd. Official Website: https://www.meiji.co.jp/
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #11 – ‘Hatoya’ in Asakusa
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)
Address: 1-23-8 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:00-17:30
No Fixed Holidays
Tabelog Page: https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131102/13076130/
“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.
Pop Team Epic Pop-Up Shop Makes its Way to Shinjuku This Month
The Pop Team Epic pop-up shop is set to take to make a return this month. It will open on the sixth floor of Shinjuku Marui Annex and run from August 23 to September 16.
Themed on the the popular manga and anime series, the pop-up shop first appeared in December 2016 and has since popped up many times around Japan over the years. Having been held in various places around Tokyo as well as Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Osaka, it is finally making its way to Shinjuku for the first time.
The shop’s main visual was drawn by series creator Bkub Okawa. Its design will feature on many exclusive pieces of merchandise at the shop.
Fans of the series have lots to look forward to at the shop, with plenty of cute and hilarious decorations of Popuko and Pipimi and plenty of photo opportunities. Those who spend over ¥3,000 (tax included) at the shop will even receive an original sticker. Only one will be given per person.
More details about the event can be found over at the official Twitter page.
Pop Team Epic Pop-Up Shop
Running: August 23, 2019 – September 16, 2019
Time: 11:00-21:00 (Until 19:00 on September 16, 2019 *Free entry, no planned holidays
Location: Shinjuku Marui Annex 6F (3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)
Event Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/pteppopup
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Offers Luxurious Accommodation Plan & Tea Ceremony Experience For Families
05.August.2019 | SPOT
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, a highly prestigious and magnificent 4-star hotel located in Shinjuku, is now serving an all-new “luxurious” family package which includes a tea ceremony experience and much more. It is currently running from July 20 to September 1.
The rooms offered in the accommodation plan are the hotel’s popular Wide Twin Rooms located on the Premier Grand club floor. Use of the Club Lounge is included in the package. The Wide Twin Rooms include two roomy queen-size beds which span 1.53 meters wide which allow parents to sleep comfortably with their children. Rooms also feature their own bathroom facilities.
The package also includes a check-in simulation for children aged 6-12 years where they can get a feel for what it’s like to check-in. They will fill in their own check-in cards with parents and receive a ticket for the tea ceremony experience. They will be able to take their card home with them and take a commemorative photo.
The tea ceremony experience will be held on the hotel’s 10th floor in the “Shofuan,” an authentic tearoom that has been in the hotel since it opened in 1971. Parents and children will receive proper instruction from the tea ceremony teacher before pouring their own tea, allowing them to learn about traditional Japanese culture and etiquette. They will receive a special certificate of completion at the end.
If you’re travelling to Japan as a family this summer then enjoy it in luxury at Hotel Keio Plaza Tokyo.
Tea Ceremony Experience and Luxurious Accommodations for Families
Running: July 20, 2019 – September 1, 2019
Price: ¥18,450 per person for the Wide Twin Rooms on the Premiere Grand Club Floor *Usage for 2-4 people (Includes use of the Club Lounge, breakfast, and includes service charge and tax)
①Tea Ceremony experience for overnight guests (1.5 hours required, children of preschool age or younger cannot participate but are welcome to watch)
②Simulated Club Lounge check-in experience for children and special commemorative photographs available between 2:00p.m. to 5:00p.m.
③Amenity items for mother use (skin care products etc.)
④Commemorative certificates of stays and tea ceremony completion, and photographs presented to guests
⑤Complimentary late check-out at 12:00p.m. (Normal check-out time is 11:00a.m.)
⑥Complimentary use of Sky Pool facilities
Enquiries & Reservations: +81-35322-8000
Keio Plaza Official Website: https://www.keioplaza.com/
Visiting Shibuya’s Candy Apple Store | Food Review
Hello everyone! This is Midori from MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON.
Candy apples are the staple food of summer festivals. A crunchy candy coating and a sweet, fruity apple is such a divine combination. It can be quite difficult to find candy apples outside of festivals. That’s where Candy Apple steps in. This is a brand new shop on the block that specialises in candy apples!
This is located just a five-minute walk from Shibuya Station’s west exit. If you check out their saved Instagram story, you probably won’t get lost. During the weekdays and on Saturdays, this is an Italian restaurant called Buonappetito. On Sundays, when the restaurant is closed, it transforms into a candy apple shop.
The shop interior is gorgeous.
I ordered the plain apple without wasting any time. This is much larger than what you would usually get at a festival. Although these are usually eaten by immediately sinking your teeth in and biting out a big chunk, you can cut your apple here and enjoy it at your own pace.
After taking your first bite, you will realise just how different this is to your normal candy apple. The apple is coated in a thin layer of candy, creating a delicious crunch. The apple is fresh, juicy and sweet. Some candy apples are made with mushy apples that are not fresh, however these apples are extremely fresh and delicious right to the last bite.
These candy apples are full of a variety of flavours.
Cinnamon Sugar: ¥600
The apple with the dusting of beige-coloured powder is cinnamon-flavoured. The sweet cinnamon scent spreads everywhere as soon as you set it on the table. The sweet flavour of the apple and the fragrant cinnamon is a match made in heaven.
The apple covered in the brown powder is cocoa-flavoured. The slightly bitter flavour of the chocolate is a perfect match for the sweet apple. The colour contrast between the brown chocolate and white apple is also beautiful. ♪
The apple with the green powder is matcha as you may have already guessed! The flavouring of the Uji matcha used for this apple was carefully balanced to maximise the flavour when combined with the apple. After you take your first bite, you just won’t be able to stop.
Blueberry Yoghurt: ¥600
The bright white dusting on this blueberry yoghurt-flavoured apple is beautiful. The blueberry scent is mild and is perfect with the yoghurt.
Black Cocoa: ¥600
The pitch black colour of the Black Cocoa Candy Apple is very appetizing. The black cocoa is even more bitter than the cocoa apple, which really brings out the flavour of the sweet apple even more.
You can even get chocolate fondue for your candy apple (¥400). By adding the fairly bitter chocolate to your candy apple, you can enjoy three different kinds of sweetness when it mixes with the chocolate, candy and the apple.
You can even order your candy apple to go, making it the perfect summer souvenir. Taking it home to enjoy is also another wonderful way to make the most of your experience.
This candy apple shop is only open on Sundays, but you can order to take away on other days.
This is a flavour that a festival candy apple will never be capable of offering. You can tuck into your apple inside the beautiful shop, or take it home to enjoy at home at your own pace.
Address: Nomura Building 1st floor, 7-12, Sakuragaocho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00 (Open every week on Sundays only)
*Only the Italian restaurant Buonappetito is open on weekdays.
Kit Kat To Release Two Autumn Kit Kat Flavours
26.July.2019 | FOOD
Indulge in the flavours of a Japanese autumn with the two new Kit Kat flavours of Kit Kat Chestnut and Kit Kat Sweet Potato. These will be released on August 19.
Thin wafers sandwich layers of the delicious autumn fillings. Even the white chocolate that wraps these wafers is infused with the flavour of sweet potato or chestnut respectively. The biggest appeal of these Kit Kat flavours is their mild sweetness.
The crispy texture of the wafers combined with the rich aroma and crumbly texture of the sweet fillings creates a whole new flavour to associate with a Japanese autumn.
Kit Kat knows just how celebrate the coming of a new season!
Kit Kat Mini Sweet Potato
Release: August 19
Pack size: 11
RRP: ￥500 (before tax)
Purchase from: Supermarkets and drugstores across the country
Kit Kat Mini Chestnut
Release: August 19
Pack sizes: 12 or 3
RRP: pack of 12:￥500 (before tax) pack of 3: ￥120 (before tax)
Purchase from: Supermarkets and drugstores across the country. (Packs of 3 available at convenience stores).
Kit Kat Official Website: https://nestle.jp/brand/kit/
Most Popular Sweets & Chocolate Sold at Tokyo Station
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!
Tokyo Station Official Website: http://www.tokyostationcity.com/en/
Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #5 – Uzumako Ceramic Art School
It’s been a minute since we last ventured out with Japanese model Yuna Yabe and her beloved pet pup Mozuku. If you’re new to this feature, Yuna Yabe takes her trusty partner Mozuku to various hot spots in Japan that you can enjoy with your pet dog. Their relationship continues to deepen in this priceless experience.
Today, Yuna and Mozuku head to Uzumako Ceramic Art School which is close to Shiba Park. You can get a good view of TokyoTower from this famous park.
What’s unique about this art school is that visitors are allowed to take their pets with them. So this means you can take your dog with you to do some ceramics!
Yuna has always had an interest in ceramics. And what better way to experience creating something than with her partner in crime Mozuku! With him tottering beside her, she headed through the entrance curtain with a spring in her step.
When you enter the classroom, there are lots of examples of pottery ware lining the shelves. The room has that smell of craftsmanship which lingers as you begin the class with a demonstration by the teacher. Once you have your apron on and are fired up to begin, it’s time to start.
The work begins with kneading the clay to make its firmness uniform. This step helps prevent air bubbles from forming.
Yuna asked the teacher many different questions as she enjoyed kneading her clay. “Where does ceramic work originate from?” “What kind of things to other dog owners make when they come here?”
“What’s Yuna up to?” Mozuku’s puzzled face seemed to imply as he listened to Yuna and the teacher talk.
Yuna turned to Mozuku and said to him, “I’m going to make you a food bowl!” It seemed like the message got through as his face read, “Looks like my owner is making something just for me.”
Yuna wet her hands with some water and began forming a hole in the centre of her clay bundle. The hole forms and gets bigger as the pottery wheel spins.
Next, she used both of her hands to ensure the thickness of the bowl was even all the way around.
“Amazing! The shape of the clay changes in an instant!”
By adding a little bit of pressure the pile of clay can change shape rapidly. It’s like a living thing.
“It’s like the clay is my own child. I wanna wrap it up!”
Once the shape is formed, Yuna cut around the edges. She is a skilled individual, she got the hang of it straight away.
Mozuku sat right beside Yuna, quiet and curious.
“Is it my turn yet?”
He seemed itching to have a go at making something himself too.
He watched over Yuna’s work from atop the table.
“I wanna try spinning the wheel too!”
Mozuku in fact had the most important job of all. Yuna popped a wooden mould onto his paw and stamped a paw print into thebottom of the bowl.
“There we go!” said Yuna
Mozuku mustered all of his strength to make his mark, his facial expression unusually serious as he carried out his big task.
Time to check if the print was done properly!
Here’s the final product―Mozuku did a great job!
Their teamwork paid off as they were able to create a really cute dog bowl. The tiny footprint is packed with pet love. The art school actually sells a lot of different cute and stylish pet items but the owner making their own makes it unique―the only one in the world.
If that love is able to get through to your pup, the food they eat from the bowl is sure to be even more delicious.
Thanks for your help, Mozuku.
“I can’t wait to fire it!” Yuna’s excitement was peak from start to finish. She was very satisfied after the class finished.
After two weeks of waiting, the bowl was completely finished.
Why not try creating something unique special for your own pet―together with them?
Model: Yuna Yabe/Mozuku @yunaaay1030
Text: Ai Watanabe
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Address: Sekisui House Floor 1F, 3-29-11 Shiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:00-19:00
Official Website: https://www.uzumakotougei.com/en/index.html
*The course Yuna took with Mozuku was the “Pet Ceramics Plan” where you can make 2-4 ceramic items and fire them. For your first try the staff will carve and glaze the final product to completion. This can be picked up one to one-and-a-half months after your course for ¥4,500. Please check the website for more details.
*Obedient dogs permitted. Please note that there are other participants so dogs who bark a lot or cannot relax are not permitted.
Yuna Yabe won the grand prix prize at the “Zipper×ASOBISYSTEM Model Auditions” at the age of 15. She is an expert not only in fashion but make-up and video editing too. She’s an influential figure to the people in her generation. Recently, her work has expanded greatly, such as appearing in music videos. Her activity continues to grow and looks to be very promising indeed.
Osamu Watanabe’s Mouthwatering Museum of Sweets Showcases Giant Candy Unicorn & More
Have you heard of Osamu Watanabe? You won’t forget his name by the end of this article. He is an installation and contemporary artist that draws his inspiration from the world of sweets and confections. He has drawn much attention not just in Japan but overseas too in countries like the US, Italy, Turkey, Indonesia and China with his various exhibitions.
Watanabe is set to take his “Museum of Sweets” exhibition to Shinjuku where it will open at the Odakyu Department Store on July 31.
The candy creations will be split throughout 9 different areas such as the titular room Museum of Sweets as well as the Forest of Sweets, Banquet of Sweets, Sweets Aquarium and more, all of which are sure to tickle the taste buds of sweet tooth visitors.
What’s more is that you are permitted to take photos, opening the door for countless photo opportunities for Instagram.
Osamu Watanabe will also be present to host a workshop on 4 separate days so you can craft your own cookie charm using materials Watanabe actually uses in his creations.
Enter a fantastic candy land cooked up by the one and only Osamu Watanabe.
Museum of Sweets
Running: July 31, 2019 – August 14, 2019
Time: 10:00-20:00 (Until 20:30 from August 7-13 / Until 17:00 on August 14)
*Last entries 30 minutes before closing times
Location: Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku Floor 11F
Entry: General ¥600 / High School & Junior High School Students ¥400 / Elementary School Students & Younger – Free
*If you are disabled you and a guardian can get in for free if you take a physical disability certificate
*Those who hold an Odakyu Points Card or Odakyu Ladies Club Card can get ¥100 off entry (applicable only to those who have a card)
Odakyu Department Store Official Website: http://www.odakyu-dept.co.jp/
Workshop: Make a Cookie Charm With Osamu Watanabe!
Running: August 3, 2019 / August 4, 2019 / August 11, 2019 / August 12, 2019
Slots: 13:00 / 13:30 / 14:00 / 14:30 / 15:00 / 15:30 (Each Day)
Participants: 10 per slot
Applying: Please apply at the department store from 10:00 on the day
Osamu Watanabe Official Website: http://watanabeosamu.tokyo/profile_en.html
Sanrio Announces Character Themed Cafe at EGG & SPUMA in Shinjuku
04.July.2019 | FOOD
Sanrio has announced that it will open its third-ever limited-time cafe themed on their magazine Ichigo Shimbun at EGG & SPUMA located on the 8th floor of Shinjuku Lumine EST from July 11 to September 30.
Ichigo Shimbun is a monthly magazine published by Sanrio which includes information about the latest character merchandise, the Sanrio Character Awards, and more. Many of Sanrio’s characters appear in the magazine and are set to appear at the cafe in the form of food. The theme of the cafe will be “Vacation.”
EGG & SPUMA are known for their pancakes, so for the Sanrio collaboration, they will serve a special plate of pancakes themed on a beach with Pompompurin sunbathing on top. You can also order refreshing summery soda drinks too.
There will be two different menus served at different periods for the duration of the collaboration, meaning a repeat visit is a must. We hope you get to try everything!
Ichigo Shimbun Diner
Location: EGG & SPUMA, Shinjuku Lumine EST Floor 8F, 3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Running: July 11, 2019 – September 30, 2019
Business Hours: Weekdays 11:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:00) / Weekends & Holidays 11:00-22:30 (Last Orders 21:30)