If you talk about sweets in Japan, then wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) would come up as one of the most famous, if not the most famous, kind of sweets around. Below are five recommended shops in Tokyo where you can enjoy tasty wagashi that have been loved through the ages, including sweets filled with a seasonal vibe and confectioneries that combine various wagashi!
1. Sahsya Kanetanaka
Sahsya Kanetanaka is a Japanese cafe of the well-established restaurant, Kanetanaka in Shimbashi. This shop is filled with high-quality dishes and sweets that you can relish inside a stylish space with a modern Japanese design. The Warabi Mochi Shiratama Sanshokuan soete (1,500 JPY) – a set of warabi mochi made with rare 100% bracken starch, accompanied with seasonal 3-colored an (red bean paste) – is an exquisite confectionery that will let you enjoy the springy and doughy texture of warabi mochi. Seasonal course meals (priced at 5,000 JPY and 8,000 JPY) that are prepared by chefs who make full use of seasonal ingredients are also available. This is a cafe where you can spend your time in a more premium manner.
2. Tsuruya Yoshinobu TOKYO MISE
Tsuruya Yoshinobu TOKYO MISE is the Tokyo branch of a veteran confectionery shop in Kyoto that has a history spanning more than 200 years. Here, the Kyokanze (1,512 JPY) that is carefully wrapped by hand and the Yumochi (1,188 JPY) with an invigorating aroma of yuzu (citrus) are popular. You can eat your purchases at the tea room (service charge of 54 JPY per person will be applied if you do not order from the tea room menu). At the corner of the counter seat area in the tea room, you will get to see the skills of the confectionery chefs up close, and enjoy the taste of freshly made namagashi (raw sweets). The handmade namagashi created by the chefs are truly a wonderful sight to behold. They look so good that you might believe that it would be a waste to eat them! Head over to this shop and enjoy their wagashi with not just your tongue, but with your eyes too!
Left photo: Yumochi, right photo: Kyokanze
3. Kagurazaka Saryou Main Store
Kagurazaka Saryou is a Japanese cafe that is known for its Japanese confectionery that generously use Japanese ingredients and aren’t too sweet. Here, you can have sweets that perfectly fuse Japanese and Western sensibilities, such as matcha (roasted green tea) fondue, parfaits, and cakes. Each confectionery (carefully made by pastry chefs without using additives) is best paired with any of the long list of teas and drinks available at the cafe. You can enjoy great value for your money, because you can choose your set drink from all the drinks they have (except alcoholic drinks). Located in the back alley of the historical Kagurazaka area, Kagurazaka Saryou is a cafe where you can also enjoy the atmosphere.
4. Toraya Karyo Tokyo Midtown Shop
Founded in the latter half of the Muromachi era (1338 - 1573), Toraya is a venerable Japanese confectionery shop that originated from Kyoto. Once you pass under the noren (sign curtain that is hung at the shop entrance), you will not only see all the wagashi that they are selling, but also traditional tools related to food and cooking, as well as a gallery that showcases traditional Japanese culture. At the tea room, the traditional Anmitsu (bean paste covered in syrup and fruits) (1,296 JPY (incl. tax)) is recommended. People love it for its simple and refined sweetness. Toraya is also famous for its yokan (sweet bean jelly) that is wrapped in a bamboo leaf. It stays fresh for a long time, so it is also recommended as a souvenir.
5. Ginza Kanoko Main Store Japanese Tea Room
Ginza Kanoko is a famous store for kanoko (azuki beans and chestnuts on a bed of red bean paste). The first floor of this establishment is a wagashi shop, and the second floor is a Japanese tea room where you can eat tasty sweets. The kind of sweetness created from fine azuki beans is recommended here. The Kanoko Anmitsu (1,380 JPY (excl. tax)) – filled with five colors of beans and shiratama (rice flour dumpling) – is a popular dish that even those with a sweet tooth would find extremely satisfying. At the first floor, you can also purchase the Kanoko Anmitsu (480 JPY (excl. tax)) and Hana Kanoko (starts from 760 JPY for a set of three pieces (excl. tax)) as souvenirs. Note that the sweets at this shop do not have long expiration dates, so make sure to eat them right away!
*Photo is for illustration purposes
It might be surprisingly difficult to find a shop where you can eat authentic wagashi. This article features different kinds of wagashi shops, from traditional ones to famous confectionery shops, so please use this as reference when you are in Tokyo and want wagashi!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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