Traditional Japanese cakes and desserts can seem somewhat unusual to the foreign palate. Ingredients such as sweet azuki bean and soy sauce with sugar are either hit or miss with foreign sweets lovers.
While many natives adore their traditional Japanese sweets, some prefer more European styles — even though everyone drools over the fusion cakes that have become a part of Tokyo’s food culture.
One thing is for certain: the sweet treats in Tokyo are of the highest quality. Here are some of the best that the city has to offer.
The Peninsula Boutique & Cafe, Yurakucho
This elegant café inside The Peninsula Tokyo serves Asian specialties that are hard to come by in other Tokyo cake shops. The Mango pudding (which tastes exactly like the fresh tropical fruit) and coconut parfait are exceptional. Classic European-style desserts are always available, even though ingredients change seasonally.
An added bonus is the opportunity to watch the magic happen; there is a window in which you can view the kitchen where it all comes to together. Macarons and fresh chocolates look delightful from the workspace. Of course, deciding which items to actually purchase proves quite the hardship.
Andaz Pastry Shop, Toranomon
Classic cakes that are known and loved across the globe such as Swiss rolls, lemon meringue tarts, eclairs of every possible flavor and spectacular parfaits are served at the Pastry Shop in the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills hotel.
The ground-floor sweet shop offers beautifully presented crowd pleasers as well as their own specialties like the Lumiere, a pistachio mousse cake, and sweet jars, exotic, statement-making parfaits meticulously layered into glass containers. The sake sparkling jelly and orange caramel chocolate sweet jars are uniquely delicious. These treats even come with a lid, if you wish to take them home.
Sit down and enjoy your pastries with a coffee in the bright and busy shop. The floor-length windows allow the business to flood with sunlight (and some exquisite people watching) during the day.
Sadaharu Aoki, Shibuya & Marunouchi
Paris-trained Sadaharu Aoki owns this tasty treat. Aoki is an award-winning chef pâtissier known for using traditional Japanese ingredients and flavors in French-style cakes and pastries.
Examples of his popular fusion pastries include green tea éclairs, Japanese plum macarons and florentines with yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit. Sadaharu Aoki parfaits often include sweet azuki beans and Japanese green tea.
Sadaharu Aoki is expanding around town with outlets in Shibuya’s Hikarie building, Shinjuku’s Isetan department store and beyond.
Good Day For You, Nishi Azabu/Roppongi
This tiny, no-frills bakery sits quietly in the nightlife hub of Tokyo along Roppongi Street. You’ll spot the place by locating a bright blue door. Once inside, you’ll notice a couple of tiny tables for you to sit and sip a coffee with your freshly baked treat.
Good Day For You only serves fresh bagels, cheesecakes and scones. However small the quantity of items on offer, the store makes up for it with quality confections. Fresh scones in exotic flavors (think white chocolate, berry and green tea) are always baking throughout the day. Wonderfully chewy bagels are available in eight flavors.
The cheesecakes are another hit – generous slices of firm, creamy and not overly sweet cheese. Beware: they often sell out before nightfall. The treats come in individual portions or you can take home a whole cake. We recommend the “melted” cheesecake, made from mascarpone and parmesan cheese, and sweetened with honey.