Too Cute To Eat! Freshly Baked and Totally Kawaii Treats
Japan is already known for its overwhelming cuteness, from characters to pop idols to fashion. Another subset of this culture is the food. How does the concept of “kawaii” extend to food? Snacks and sweet treats baked into the form of beloved mascots are found in many corners of the city. If you love animals and cute characters, this is the perfect food trail for you to explore the lesser known streets of Tokyo.
Floresta Nature Doughnuts
This popular doughnut chain has opened over 30 shops, spreading their cuteness all over Japan. They’re famous for their animal-themed doughnuts, constantly refreshing their line-up and bringing new creatures to their shelves. Here you’ll find cats, bears, penguins, and countless other cute animals. Coated with chocolate and with ears fashioned out of almonds, the doughnuts here are a delicious hit. A specialty of theirs is the “oyako” (parent-child) doughnut, which features a baby doughnut ball perched on top of its mother.
They occasionally do collaborations, so you might also see familiar faces like Chibi Maruko-chan and Rascal get turned into baked goods.
Floresta Nature Doughnuts official site: http://www.nature-doughnuts.jp/
This Hokkaido-born brand is also known for lovely animal-themed doughnuts, but they’re unique in shape and texture. Why leave a doughnut hole empty when you can fill them with adorable bears? These tiny bears peep out of the soft baked doughnuts, lovingly baked with natural ingredients and sweetened with honey. They come in an assortment of rich flavors, from Hokkaido milk to pumpkin to salted caramel. Don’t you feel like bringing these bears home?
Siretoco Factory official site: http://www.rakuten.co.jp/yoitoko-style/
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory
Fans of Studio Ghibli’s iconic Totoro will want to make a trip down to this quiet neighborhood in West Tokyo. Here a small shop known as Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory; which creates Totoro-shaped cream puffs. Apart from the classic custard and cream flavor, they also come in flavors that change regularly, such as strawberry cream in the spring and chestnut cream in the fall. As the seasons change, Totoro swaps out his leaf for a sakura petal or a straw hat. Surrounded by nature, it’s as if this humble shophouse transports you right into Totoro’s mysterious forest.
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory official site: http://www.shiro-hige.com/main/
Here’s another treat for Ghibli lovers—Totoro custard buns, baked to golden perfection. This small bakery in Kichijoji regularly makes them, so you can be sure to find Totoro waiting on the shelf any time you pay them a visit. They’re a cute, handy snack that’s perfect for eating on the go.
Sometimes the bakery also has other items on the menu that may delight you, like elephant or cat-shaped bread.
Bonjour Bon official site: http://bonjourbon.com/
Moomin has long been a popular character in Japan, drawing fans with his cute hippo-like appearance and his sweet family and friends. You can now eat this adorable troll in waffle form at the Moomin Stand, along with their popular milk tea. A yummy assembly of whipped cream sandwiched between fluffy waffles, it’s hard not to fall in love with this Moomin-inspired dessert. The shop even sells the baking molds used to make them, so you can recreate Moomin waffles at home whenever you want!
Moomin Stand official site: http://benelic.com/moomin_cafe/moominstand/
La Boulangerie Pingouin
How about a penguin bun for snack time? This retro bakery in Sangenjaya loves the bird so much, their whimsical shop space is covered in them. Their most popular item is their penguin bun, which comes in different flavors according to the season. They’re sure to put a smile on your face and a sweetness in your tummy.
La Boulangerie Pingouin official site: http://www.pingouin.sakura.ne.jp/
Take a trip to any of these places and make your day a little brighter with one of these cute snacks. Whether you’re an animal lover, a Totoro fan, or just someone who wants a unique treat, they’re bound to be a tasty delight. Many are hidden gems that are worth the trip into Tokyo’s charming neighborhoods.
Photos by Sharuru
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