Wagashi (和菓子), or traditional Japanese confectionery, has made a name for itself as one of the Japanese food that many tourists would like to try out. With attention to detail not only in the recipes but also in the presentation, it is no wonder that these sweets have captivated people’s taste buds. In this article are seven Japanese sweets shops and cafes in Tokyo (東京) that you can visit.
Kasoyo is actually a kimono (着物) shop located in the middle of a quiet residential area. They have a cafe which operates on an irregular basis. Visitors who plan on buying kimonos from this store will get the chance to drink matcha (抹茶; green tea) and eat tsukumo mochi (九十九餅) or other wagashi while in store.
To be surrounded by kimono fabric while dining in a well-preserved traditional Japanese house and enjoying a delicious traditional tea set is a perfect cultural experience.
— やか (@yacca11) 2017年5月27日
Usagiya is a sweets shop in Ueno (上野), Tokyo that is popular for their dorayaki (どらやき), which is a traditional Japanese pancake-like dessert filled with azuki (小豆) bean paste. Fans of Doraemon (ドラえもん) will know that dorayaki is his favorite snack.
The credits for the double-layered version of the dorayaki is given to Usagiya which is now the standard for all dorayaki being sold.
— Hitoshi da Ueno (@trans_curler) 2015年3月13日
Okashidokoro Sasama is a wagashi shop in Chiyoda (千代田), Tokyo whose menu differs as the season changes. On their website (Japanese only), they feature the sweets that they offer per month.
Aside from the sweets that you can readily eat, they also sell raw ingredients for your various needs such as in tea ceremony.
TORAYA is a wagashi shop that has been creating traditional Japanese sweets since the 16th century. With about 500 years of experience, they have been able to serve the best sweets in Tokyo. They used to serve their desserts at the Imperial Court, but now those sweets are accessible to the public as well.
TORAYA has eight branches in six areas of Tokyo, with the Akasaka branch as their flagship store. Their anmitsu (あんみつ) and yokan (羊羹) are the highly recommended desserts.
In the middle of one of Tokyo’s busiest shopping district is HIGASHIYA GINZA, a place where you can enjoy traditional Japanese sweets with a calm zen (禅)-like atmosphere.
Aside from desserts, they also offer savory dishes, noodles, and miso soup. All meals can be enjoyed with your choice of green tea.
Cafe IMASA is an old house that was owned by a lumber dealer family up until the Edo period (江戸時代). The current building was built in 1927 and is now registered as a Cultural Property of Chiyoda Ward. Eating desserts and sipping tea in a place filled with history is a very rare but memorable experience.
Akasaka Aono was established in 1899 and now has five branches in Tokyo. Their signature mochi is the Akasaka Mochi (赤坂もち), which is made with walnut and brown sugar. Many of the sweets sold in Akasaka Aono come in elegant packaging, which makes them perfect to be given as gifts.
Eating wagashi is a Japanese cultural experience that everyone should enjoy. There are many more shops and cafes in Tokyo where you can taste traditional Japanese sweets. The places listed above are just suggestions and I do hope that you will be able to visit more.