【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.
Love At First Sip: Starbucks Japan To Release Valentine’s 2020 Drink Series ‘CHOCOLATE with’
13.January.2020 | FOOD
Starbucks Japan has developed a new Valentine’s drink series called ‘CHOCOLATE with’ to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020. Some drinks in this romantic series include the Chocolate with Almond Praline Frappuccino® and the White Chocolate with Latte®. The series will be launched on January 17, 2020 in most Starbucks cafés across Japan.
The ‘CHOCOLATE with’ series aims to spark a sense of anticipation for the next delicious flavour to fill the gap and hopes to tempt more people to surrender to the delicious flavour of chocolate. This fun series aims to be loved by all genders and all ages across Japan.
Left: CHOCOLATE with Passion Fruit Frappuccino®: Tall ¥590 *(Only available in Tall)
Middle: CHOCOLATE with Almond Praline Frappuccino®: Tall ¥590 *(Only available in Tall)
Right: White CHOCOLATE with Latte: Short ¥450, Tall ¥490, Grande ¥530, Venti® ¥570
The CHOCOLATE with Passion Fruit Frappuccino® is a chocolate-flavoured drink with refreshing yellow streaks of passion fruit sauce, chocolate chips and shaved chocolate for the topping. This Frappuccino® enjoys both a fruity flavour as well as comforting chocolate. *Contains less than 5% passion fruit juice.
The CHOCOLATE with Almond Praline Frappuccino® is made by mixing chocolate sauce with caramel and coffee for a creamy and deep base flavour. Crunchy and fragrant candied almonds and chocolate sauce top the drink, providing a very chocolatey experience perfect for any chocoholic.
The elegant and sweet White CHOCOLATE with Latte contains creamy and smooth couverture chocolate white flakes, espresso and warm milk, combined for a strong and relaxing flavour.
Right: CHOCOLATE Mousse with Latte (Hot): Short ¥390 Tall ¥430 Grande ¥470 Venti® ¥510
Left: CHOCOLATE Mousse with Drip Coffee (Hot): Short ¥340 Tall ¥380 Grande ¥420
These ‘CHOCOLATE Mousse with’ drinks are perfect for drip coffee and Starbucks latte fans. These Valentine’s season-limited drinks are customisable so you can enjoy the delicious flavour of chocolate mousse in the form of a new Valentine’s drink. The smooth chocolate mousse is light and melts in your mouth. By adding the drip coffee, the flavours merge together for a brand new and exciting flavour experience.
CHOCOLATE with Milk Tea Frappuccino®Tall ¥590 *(Only available in Tall)
On January 31, the CHOCOLATE with Milk Tea Frappuccino® with its delicious aroma, chocolatey flavour and fun textures will make its debut. The tea is made from a blend of several different kinds of tea. Milk and milk tea powder is added to enhance the flavour and then blended with white mocha syrup and chocolate chips. This is the perfect chance to enjoy chocolate and milk tea in one drink.
This year, Starbucks will also be selling Valentine’s merchandise. This year’s theme colours are pink and navy. A range of cute yet fancy designs decorate Starbucks’ classic flasks and mugs and is bound to deliver a heart-warming experience with every sip. There are also pink Starbucks cards decorated with hearts and love letter-themed message card sets in the series. If you’re looking for a causal-style gift for someone special, how about something from the Starbucks Valentines series rather than traditional chocolates?
Come try a drink from the CHOCOLATE with series for a new and exciting chocolate drink experience.
Starbucks Japan CHOCOLATE with Drink Series
CHOCOLATE with Passion Fruit Frappuccino®
CHOCOLATE with Almond Praline Frappuccino®
White CHOCOLATE with Latte
CHOCOLATE Mousse with Latte
CHOCOLATE Mousse with Drip Coffee
Selling: January 17 – February 14, 2020
CHOCOLATE with Milk Tea Frappuccino®
Selling: January 31 – March 31, 2020
*Available while stocks last
Available At: Most Starbucks cafés across Japan
Starbucks Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp
Surprise That Special Someone on Valentine’s Day with Décadence du Chocolat Japanese-Style Chocolates
03.January.2020 | FOOD
Décadence du Chocolat will release their popular Valentine’s chocolate assortment from January 23, 2020 for a limited time only. Each carefully crafted chocolate is packed with Japanese flavours and originality by chocolatiers who follow a detailed procedure. The assortment range features three Valentine’s bonbon chocolates. The shop will also be releasing their popular LOVE KISS chocolate again this year in Yuzu Orange and Strawberry-flavour.
Valentine’s Limited Bonbon Chocolate Assortment (Contains 4): ¥1,100
Valentine’s Limited Bonbon Chocolate Assortment (Contains 24): ¥5,200
The bonbon assortment of four contains one Kinako chocolate which is made with roasted soybean flour, a Muscovado Matcha chocolate, an Apple Hojicha chocolate made using roasted green tea, and the shop’s popular standard bonbon chocolat. The boxes come in 4, 9, 12 and 24 chocolates to cater for every situation. These chocolates are bound to be the perfect gift for your partner whether they are Japanese or foreign.
Décadence du Chocolat’s lip-shaped LOVE KISS is popular every year and has become a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Concealed in a beautiful box fit for a wedding ring, just seeing it is enough to fill your partner with excitement. This year’s LOVE KISS chocolate is made with a yuzu orange and strawberry ganache for a sweet and tangy flavour.
These Japanese-style chocolates are the perfect way to treat anyone on Valentine’s Day.
Décadence du Chocolat Shop Information
Ginza (Main Shop)
Address：G-ZONE, 1-2-3, Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Address: Domi Koishikawa, 5-6-9, Koishikawa, Bunkyo City, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00 (Closed Tuesdays*)
*Open on February 4
Address: Noren-gai, 1-1-4 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Monday – Saturday: 10:00-20:00
Sundays and National Holidays: 10:00 – 20:00
Official Website: https://decadence.jp/
Enjoy a Succulent Grilled Lamb Yakiniku Experience in Kabukicho, Shinjuku
On December 18, yakiniku restaurant LAMB ONE, which specialises in succulent matured lamb, opened in Kabukicho, Shinjuku. The restaurant provides the perfect opportunity for guests to grill their own light and healthy meal with friends and family. The high-quality meat is low in calories and high in protein. Each seat is at a counter and there are even single grill seats for the perfect dinner treat alone.
The restaurant offers Japanese-style set meals which include meat, fried vegetables, rice, soup and kimchi . Some of the more basic set meals include the shio koji marinated lamb shoulder roast and the sesame miso lamb shoulder roast. For customers who are really looking for a luxury treat, there is a set that includes three different kinds of matured lamb and a set that includes Spring Lamb Chop Steak where you can enjoy both the shio koji and sesame miso marinades. You can swap your fried vegetables for caesar salad or your white rice for mixed grain rice. Just seeing this beautiful and balanced meal before your eyes will leave you feeling satisfied. After your meal, enjoy the small warabimochi dessert.
When most people think of a yakiniku restaurant, the general impression is a large number of friends gathering together, merrily tucking in to meat and sides while the table fills with empty beer glasses. LAMB ONE, however, is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious Japanese-style meal in your own way without being disturbed by others. If you’re travelling around Tokyo, this would be the perfect hearty dinner to finish your day.
Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee and Dandelion Chocolate Release Chocolate and Cherry Apple Pie
22.December.2019 | FOOD
Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee—a cafe chain in Japan—has teamed up with bean to bar chocolate company Dandelion Chocolate to release a special new dessert. The “Chocolate and Cherry Holiday Apple Pie” is now available to enjoy until January 13, 2020.
This lovingly-made ambrosial temptation is made with kougyoku apples from Aomori Prefecture which have a luscious sour kick to them. It’s combined with dark and sour cherries, which give a fruity flavour, and chocolate made from chocolate beans sourced in Guatemala. It’s held together by a crunchy pie pastry which is topped with velvety chocolate custard and ganache. The richness of the chocolate together with the apple makes for a delicious marriage of flavours.
The Guatemala bean chocolate too matches perfectly with the apples and cherries, which have a full-bodied flavour reminiscent of wine. There’s also chocolate nibs for added texture. This is truly a dessert for the gods, so don’t miss out.
Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee x Dandelion Chocolate – “Chocolate and Cherry Holiday Apple Pie”
Running: December 14, 2019 – January 13, 2020
Available: At Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee branches and Dandelion Chocolate branches in Japan
Prices (Before Tax):
・Takeout: One Slice ¥570 / Whole ¥4,500 (*Reservations must be made 3 days in advance for a whole pie. Orders up to December 25, 2019 come with Christmas decorations.)
・Eat In: One Slice ¥800 (Comes with sauce and ice cream)
・ Online Shop: ¥4,500
・Takeout/Eat In: ¥570
・Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee – Branch List: https://grannysmith-pie.com/info.html
・Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee Online Shop: https://www.rakuten.co.jp/grannysmith/
・Dandelion Chocolate, Factory & Cafe Kuramae / Dandelion Chocolate Omotesando / Dandelion Chocolate Kamakura: https://dandelionchocolate.jp/
Jun Matsumoto’s New Kinoko Party Wins Meiji’s Best Chocolate Snack National Election
Meiji announced the long-awaited results of the 2019 National Election for Meiji’s long-selling chocolate brands Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato on December 17 and held an event to showcase a new commercial.
The election ran for almost four months from August 5, 2019 and saw people of Japan casting their vote for their favourite of the two Meiji chocolate snacks: Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato, represented by Jun Matsumoto (the leader of the New Kinoko Party) and Akihiro Miwa (the leader of the New Takenoko Party) respectively. A total of 10,587,785 votes were cast.
The New Kinoko Party won 6,021,986 votes while the Takenoko Party received 4,565,799 votes, marking a difference of 1,456,187 votes between the two. At the event, the leader of the winning party Jun Matsumoto said: “The New Takenoko Party has finally been beaten this time around at this 3rd National Election. It’s no doubt thanks to all of the citizens of this country who came together as one team and voted. I thank you all.”
Akihiro Miwa also commented on his first loss, saying: “Ah, this is disappointing. Really disappointing. But my love for Takenoko no Sato remains unchanged, and I want the same for the people of this country—for them to continue loving Takenoko no Sato.”
The two party leaders held a discussion after results were announced. Matsumoto said to Miwa, “I’m glad you were able to recover,” commenting on Miwa’s unfortunate bout of ill health. Miwa came right back with, “No matter what happens when it comes to myself, I’ll resurrect like a phoenix.”
At the end of the talk, the event moved on to the topic of Meiji having revamped their two chocolate products for the first time in 40 years. The two party leaders taste tested both and compared their delicious tastes.
This election closes the books on battle between Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato which has taken place for nearly 40 years. To celebrate this, the “Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato National Election No Side Association” (きのこの山・たけのこの里国民総選挙ノーサイド協定) was formed. Both party leaders signed the papers to make it official, after which Jun Matsumoto announced his retirement as party leader. “Following our first win, I can now retire from the New Kinoko Party without worry. The New Kinoko Party will forever be eternal!” Matsumoto said, and he placed down his microphone and sash and left the stage.
A campaign is being held to promote the Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato National Election No Side Association where you can win the chocolate products. Get involved by signing up below.
Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato National Election No Side Campaign
Running: December 17, 2019 at 12:00 (JST) to January 25, 2020 at 23:59 (JST)
1. Visit the special site and click “Webで応募” (sign-up online) to fill out the form.
2. After entering your details click “応募する” (finish sign-up) to complete your application
2. Retweet the application Tweet of either account (here or here). Or, post the following hashtags when following the respective accounts: for the New Kinoko Party it’s #きのこたけのこ国民総選挙ノーサイド and #きのこの山, and for the New Takenoko Party it’s #きのこたけのこ国民総選挙ノーサイド and #たけのこの.
・One each of Kinoko no Yama (74g) and Takenoko no Sato (70g) with No Side packaging
・2 party original QUO cards with ¥500 each on them
・Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato squishies
*40 sets available for 40 people
Special Site: http://sousenkyo.kinotake.jp/?link=kie19071102
Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato
Brand Website: https://www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/chocolate/kinotake/
Starbucks Japan Reveals New Matcha White Chocolate Hot and Iced Drinks For Christmas
17.December.2019 | FOOD
Starbucks Coffee Japan is celebrating Christmas 2019 with two new delicious beverages: the Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino🄬 and Hot Matcha White Chocolate, both of which will be available to order between December 19 and 25 for this year only.
Both versions of this delightful holiday season drink are the perfect accompaniment to the winter days, combining richly fragrant matcha with smooth white chocolate. The Frappuccino🄬 enjoys the addition of maple syrup for a distinct sweetness which mixes gorgeously with the matcha and milkiness of the white chocolate.
The hot version is made with foamed milk which too is soaked in the full-bodied kick of the matcha. The fluffy texture of the foamed milk together with the sweet taste and velvety white chocolate is a combination sure to get you addicted.
If you’re in Japan for Christmas this year, be sure to stop by Starbucks for a cup of Matcha White Chocolate.
Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino🄬
Tall: ¥570 (Tall size only)
Hot Matcha White Chocolate
Short: ¥430 / Tall: ¥470 / Grande: ¥510 / Venti®: ¥550
Running: December 19, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Available: At most Starbucks branches in Japan
Notes: Listed prices do not include tax. Both drinks contain less than 0.5% cocoa.
Starbucks Coffee Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/
Handmade Christmas Chocolate Santa and Snowman Released at ATELIER de GODIVA in Kyoto
13.December.2019 | FOOD
GODIVA Japan released two new chocolate products at the Daimaru Kyoto branch of ATELIER de GODIVA, a chocolate shop which combines GODIVA’s skilful craftsmanship with chocolate artistry. Named “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Santa Claus” and “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Snowman,” the two chocolate artworks were released on Wednesday and are available until December 25.
Each and every one of these chocolate sculptures are handmade in-store by the shop’s chefs. They are exclusive to ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto and the perfect Christmas treat to adorn any Christmas party this holiday season.
These cute Christmas-exclusives not only taste delicious, but are fun to look at. Santa is sat in a chimney ready to deliver the presents while the snowman is sat next to a Christmas tree looking warm with its scarf.
Both of these are limited in stock and won’t be available ever again after they sell out, so don’t miss out.
ATELIER Christmas Showpieces
Running: December 11, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Price: ¥1,500 Each (Before Tax) *Takeout only
Available: ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto (Daimaru Kyoto B1F, 79 Tachiuri Nishimachi, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture)
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
GODIVA Japan Official Website: https://www.godiva.co.jp
Winners Announced For 4th Gemstone Animation Creator Contest
12.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME
GEMSTONE is an audition project created by TOHO CO., LTD. and ALPHABOAT which seeks to find the best creators. The 4th GEMSTONE project was announced in August and sought submissions of short animations themed on Shinjuku.
The judge line-up for the contest included anime film and television director Kobun Shizuno, who worked on the Detective Conan film series from 2011-17 as well as the Godzilla CG kaiju film series from 2017-18. It also included animator Yasuhiro Kimura who worked on Three Leaves, Three Colors and the Golden Wind arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After several months of submissions and judging, the winners and their prizes have finally been announced.
“GEMSTONE” refers to the talent selected by TOHO and ALPHABOAT for the audition project, which ranges from animators to illustrators, composers, singers, actors, and so on. The two companies will help open doors to winners’ career paths.
The first competition was themed on Godzilla, and asked for video or illustration submissions. The theme of the second was “With Japan!” and requested submissions for an original character, and the third asked for video submissions to promote Nisio Isin’s 100th story Veiled Man Kasetsu.
Let’s take a look at the winners of Gemstone Creators Audution Vol. 4.
First Place Prize – 1 Million Yen
Title: kaijushojo / Creator: Yosuke Tani
Story: A spirit resides in Shinjuku. A girl in the city challenges herself to battle with the spirit.
Kobun Shizuno said: “It’s visually stunning. For someone like me, who was raised in Shinjuku, I felt I wanted the theme in the much more at points, but when I considered that this had to be made in such a short time frame, it’s incredible. If he’s making these by himself, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I think all the praise from everyone comes from the overwhelming quality of the visuals.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It has the highest level of quality out of all the submissions. I chose this one for both that and how interesting it was to watch. It was so much fun watching the characters’ animation. I felt it was a work with a high level of completion and of satisfaction.”
Runner-Up Prize – 700,000 Yen
Title: Dramatic / Creator: 作田綾乃
Story: A lone street musician singing in Shinjuku whose voice reaches somebody.
Kobun Shizuno said: “This wasn’t made by just one person, but the overall package is woven together incredibly skilfully. I personally feel this work surpasses all the rest. In terms of the visual quality, there’s a lot that could be cleaned up and there are many points still to be learned, but the drama is on point with music as the core focus. The development is solid throughout, and I admire how well put together everything us right to the end.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I have to give credit to them having created an animation centred around an original song at just 19 years-old. Amongst all the other many works which all used Shinjuku as the location, it feels like a realistic piece of drama which covers musicians visiting Tokyo. And even though it’s 5-minutes long, it by no means felt long; it was a seamless watch.”
Runner-Up Prize – 300,000 Yen
Title: tellphone / Creator: 亀井樹
Story: Where’s my lost smartphone? “The ending of a story is a beginning.”
Kobun Shizuno said: “I was impressed by the amazing quality of the visuals, but the structure of the story lost me. We see the characters line up, and you think something interesting is about to unfold, but the older brother’s cheeks turn red and that’s the end. It was a weak conclusion. If they did away with the part in the middle and made the ending stronger, I think it would have been an incredible piece of work worthy of being higher up in the list.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I liked the concept of this one the most. The joke about finding a lost smartphone with location information was amusing. It was very relevant of the current times. But the disappointing part was when we meet the shopkeeper at the end, and then it just ends. I wanted to see what unfolded after we met them too. Since they went ahead and included something that can track something’s location, it would have been even more interesting if they’d tied in locations in Shinjuku and developed the story more.”
Judges’ Overall Comments On The Competition
Kobun Shizuno said:
“I was so surprised at the level of quality in the submissions, as people had such a short amount of time to create their works when the submissions opened.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It was really refreshing and a lot of fun to get to see the works of such a young generation.”
Kazutaka Yamanaka, producer at TOHO, praised the line-up of works as wonderful considering the short time they were given. He felt however that the dramatic elements of most works could have been enrichened had they added a little more references to Shinjuku in them, like including people of different races walking the streets, or the low-lying parts of Shinjuku.
The winning submissions and worthy mentions can all be watched over on the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel here.
© TOHO CO., LTD.
GEMSTONE Official Website: https://gemstoneaudition.com/
Seven Days War Anime Film Release Promoted With Themed Cafe in Shinjuku
To celebrate the December 13th release of the upcoming anime film Seven Days War, a themed cafe will open at EJ Anime Theater in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The cafe will collaborate with popular creator Pantovisco who has over 680,000 followers across his social media.
The collaboration was born from Pantovisco’s being able to relate to the theme of Seven Days War which focuses on the heart of today’s youth.
The cute menu line-up features Seven Days War-inspired food and desserts with Perochi and his friends joining in with the fun.
There’s also a drinks menu with a line-up of colourful beverages and lattes which you can get various latte art drawings on.
And for every food item ordered on the collaboration menu, you’ll receive an original sticker selected randomly from several designs.
And if you order a drink, you’ll get a special card introducing various characters from both Seven Days War and the world of Pantovisco.
©2019 Osamu Souda・KADOKAWA / Seven Days War Production Committee
Cafe de Perochi with Seven Days War
Running: December 13, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Location: EJ Anime Theater Shinjuku Floor 5F (Shinjuku Bunka Bldg., 3-13-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)
*Please check the EJ Anime Theater website for details on the menu items and more
・All customers using the cafe during this collaboration must each order at least one item
・Entry restrictions and time limits may be implemented during very busy hours
・Photography allowed including posting online. Post with the hashtag #EJアニメシアター and let them know how you liked it!
*Photography is prohibited for certain displays which will be marked in Japanese with “撮影禁止”
Seven Days War Official Website: http://7dayswar.jp/
Cafe Webpage: https://ej-anime-t.jp/cafe_and_gallery/perochi_7dayswar/
Top 10 Most Popular Souvenirs to Pick Up at Tokyo Station’s HANAGATAYA Store | 2019 Edition
HANAGATAYA is a souvenir variety shop that opened in Tokyo Station’s central passage back in July. After over 5 months of sales, the store has revealed its Top 10 most popular products based on sales.
The line-up features a selection of HANAGATAYA exclusives, as well as products from elsewhere which have received pre-sales at HANAGATAYA. You will be spoilt for choice with this selection, all of which are perfect for ringing in the New Year when travelling back home. Let’s take a look.
Banana Custard Cream – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Emblem Design (Tokyo 2020 Official Licensed Product) – Contains 8 – ¥1,134 (Tax Included)
Officially licensed by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, these chewy cakes are made from domestic Japanese rice, and are filled with deliciously creamy banana custard.
Tokyo Banana Butter Madeleine (Tokyo Banana World) – Contains 4 – ¥560 Tax Included)
Exclusive to HANAGATAYA come these all-new butter madeleine’s created by famous confectionery company Tokyo Banana. These baked treats feature a buttery fragrance and taste, and are made with a banana confiture and finished with fresh lemon.
*Exclusive to HANAGATAYA GRANSTA Tokyo Central Street
Toro One Press Chocolate Chick (Tokyo Hiyoko) – Contains 3 – ¥648 (Tax Included)
This year marks 107 since the company Hiyoko was established. The “Toro One Press Chocolate Chick” is a new confection from them: an adorable skyward-looking chick made up of three chocolate layersーeach with their own distinct flavour. At the heart of the chick is a moist chocolate paste.
*Exclusive to Tokyo Station
Cheese Wich – Contains 5 – ¥594 (Tax Included)
These light and refreshing cheese cookies, called Cheese Wiches, are filled with a chocolate-coated melted cheese sauce. Three layers means an enjoyable amalgamation of flavours and textures.
*Exclusive to Tokyo Station
Chocolate Chestnut Eggs (Ginza Tamaya) – Contains 4 – ¥800 (Tax Included)
“Goma Tamago” is a popular bite-sized egg-shaped confection. This chestnut flavour was created for HANAGATAYA, a mix of dark chocolate and vanilla flavoured chestnut paste.
*Exclusive to Tokyo Station
Strawberry Cookie Sandwich (Berry UP!) – Contains 8 – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)
Berry UP! is a cute confectionery brand which creates baked strawberry sweets. Keeping with that theme, they have created a crunchy quintuple-layered cookie sandwich filled with sweet and sour strawberry chocolate.
Shinjuku Curry Ebi (Shinjuku Nakamuraya) – Contains 6 – ¥600 (Tax Included)
If you’re looking for something more savoury, then this one’s for you: Shinjuku Nakamuraya’s light, fluffy and melt-in-the-mouth ebi, coated in curry spices. One nibble is enough to get you instantly hooked.
Strawberry Polvorón (Berry UP!) – Contains 6 – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)
Another entry from Berry UP!, these polvorón shortbreads are made from lots of fresh strawberries mixed with condensed milk and mascarpone, creating a subtle sweetness that’s enough to have your mouth watering.
BLUE MELTIN SAND (Tokyo Campanella) – Contains 8 – ¥1,200 (Tax Included)
What if herbal tea and cookies became its own snack? That’s what Tokyo Campanella asked too, and so make it a reality. Their BLUE MELTIN SANDs are cat’s tongue cookies stuffed with a herbal tea sauce that has a natural blue colour.
Premium Cacao Full Sablé (Mary Chocolate) – Contains 18 – ¥1,350 (Tax Included)
Finally, we have a premium edition of chocolate company Mary Chocolate’s Cacao Full Sablés. This one’s for the adults, a sophisticated combination of bittersweet chocolate and berries.
*Exclusive to HANAGATAYA GRANSTA Tokyo Central Street
Did you enjoy this list? Which one takes your fancy the most? Whether as a souvenir for the folks back home, or as a treat to yourself to celebrate 2020, if you’re in Tokyo this year then be sure to give HANAGATAYA a visit.
Official Website: https://www.j-retail.jp/hanagataya/
World’s First Cacao Fruit Kit Kat Reduces Waste and Replaces Sugar with Cacao Pulp
30.November.2019 | FOOD
Nestlé has unveiled a new chocolate recipe that replaces added sugar with cacao pulp. Japan, famous for its exciting range of Kit Kat flavours, adopted the new recipe to create the first cacao fruit chocolate Kit Kat. The Kit Kat was released for sale at the Kit Kat Chocolatory and online on November 29, 2019.
The Kit Kat Chocolatory sells premium-quality Kit Kats made and from a careful selection of ingredients and by a special production method. The process is overlooked by Yasumasa Takagi, the chocolatier who owns LE PATISSIER TAKAGI.
Whether your’re looking for a unique Japanese souvenir for your friends and family, something small yet luxurious for your work colleagues or even just a petite treat for yourself, the Kit Kat Chocolatory’s popular range caters for every souvenir situation.
The new Cacao Fruit Chocolate Kit Kat uses Nestlé’s new cacao pulp recipe. Cacao pulp is the white substance surrounding the cacao beans inside the fruit. It is dried and pulverised into a fine powder to be used as a replacement for sugar. By infusing cacao pulp into the chocolate, the chocolate flavour can be tasted more fully, making for a new and exciting flavour experience.
Many people are unaware of the unique sweet and tangy flavour of the cacao fruit’s soft and fleshy insides. Part of the cacao pulp is normally used as a sugar to ferment cacao beans in a normal chocolate-making process. However, it is still not widely sold as a flavour.
Brazil and many other cacao-producing Latin American countries use cacao pulp to make drinks and smoothies that are easy to produce. It is also seen as an ingredient in ice creams. Some businesses have jumped on the appeal of cacao as a rarely used ingredient to make and export cacao juice. Other than this, usage of cacao pulp has remained low for a long time.
Under Takagi’s guidance, a new Kit Kat has arrived at the chocolatory which spreads not only the appeal of cacao as a natural sugar and flavouring, but also encourages sustainable living through reduced food waste.
Come try a Kit Kat made with cacao pulp for yourself.
Kit Kat Chocolatory Cacao Fruit Chocolate
Contains: 1 Bar
- 7 KitKat Chocolatory shops (3 in Tokyo, 2 in Osaka, 1 in Kawasaki and 1 in Hiroshima)
- Online including the Kit Kat Chocolatory Online Shop and Nestlé Online Shop
- Kit Kat Gift Shops (Located in Rinku Premium Outlets)
Kit Kat Chocolatory Cacao Fruit Chocolate Assortment
(Sold online including the Kit Kat Chocolatory Online Shop and Nestlé Online Shop)
Assortment of 5
Price: ¥1,900 (Before Tax)
Assortment of 7
Price: ¥2,500 (Before Tax)
Kit Kat Chocolatory Online Shop: https://nestle.jp/brand/kit/chocolatory/
McDonald’s Japan to Release Pink Triangular Strawberry and Chocolate Pie
29.November.2019 | FOOD
McDonald’s Japan is releasing a new strawberry flavour of its popular triangular chocolate pie dessert on December 4, 2019: the Sankaku Choco Pie Amaou.
The chocolate pies have a crunchy exterior made up of layers and layers of delicious pastry. They’re filled with warm, melted chocolate to complete the tempting treat.
The new flavour is made with strawberry powder made from Japanese amaou strawberries which are known for their distinct flavour and subtle sweetness and sourness. McDonald’s Japan released an ordinary strawberry flavour last year, but this one promises to be even richer in flavour.
The choco pies will be released in a special pink strawberry packaging for a limited time.
McDonald’s is also still selling the Sankaku Choco Pie Black which we covered last month. It contains almonds and sweet melted chocolate cream. These are also available for a limited time onlyーuntil late Decemberーso don’t miss out on these McDonald’s-exclusive treats!
Sankaku Choco Pie Amaou
Running: December 4, 2019 – Early January 2020 (subject to change)
Price: ¥150 (Tax Included)
Available: At most McDonald’s branches around Japan
McDonald’s Japan Official Website: http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/