Sadaharu Aoki


Sadaharu Aoki is a Japanese pastry chef who first made his name in Paris before moving back to Tokyo. His retail shop with a café near Yurakucho station is a nice spot to rest your feet and rejuvenate with French pastries, some with Japanese flavors like yuzu, mattcha, and wasabi. The mattcha served at his shop is on the sweet side and is served hot or iced.

patisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 3-4-1, Shin-Kokusai Bldg. 1F


Small Bite in Ningyocho

Ningyocho is a charming part of Tokyo that I was thrilled to discover. I had lived in Tokyo for years and when I first walked the streets of Ningyocho I was kicking myself for having not made it there earlier. Many historic food shops and a laid-back energy that is hard to find in the city.

Futaba is a tofu-ya that dates back to 1907, that sells soy doughnuts, surely not made 100 years ago. The shop sells a wide variety of tofu and other soy products including soy soft cream, yuba, and soy milk. The glass cases are filled with soft, firm, and grilled tofu. Fried tofu, both thick and thin, as well as my favorite, ganmodoki, tofu stuffed with vegetables and deep-fried.

Futaba is on a shōtengai shopping street and if you get hungry, pick up a soy milk doughnut (100 JPY) and some sweet amazaké drink. There is also a restaurant on the second floor above the retail shop.

Tofu no Futaba 豆腐の双葉

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9


Where to Buy Kit Kats in Tokyo

The best place to buy regional Kit Kats in Tokyo is at the Shokoku Gotochi Plaza. The shop is in the basement mall of Tokyo Station near the Tokyo Ramen Street, across the hallway from Rokurinsha ramen shop.

Kit Kat in Japan makes regional flavors that are usually only sold in that region. The Shokoku Gotochi Plaza features regional food items from throughout Japan, which is why the shop also sells these regional Kit Kats.

Some examples are wasabi, beni imo (purple sweet potato), azuki, mattcha, hōjicha (roasted green tea), strawberry, and more.

The Tokyo Station underground mall is huge. I get lost in there from time to time and I have a good sense of direction. The underground mall is divided into different sections and the Shokoku Gotochi Plaza is part of an area called “First Avenue Tokyo Station”, in Japanese, “Tokyo Eki Ichibangai”. Here is a map in English:

Shop hours are listed as 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Shokoku Gotochi Plaza


Tokyo’s Softest Mochi? 築地福餅

Updated 31 May 2016.

We are very sad to say that this shop has closed. Today was the last day. We wish the owner much happiness in her retirement.

Shinji found out the husband of the owner used to own this shop and was selling seafood here. When he passed away the wife took over the shop and was selling the mochi. She decided it was time to close the shop.

Shinji did stop by today to buy a bunch and we have it in our freezer. We will treasure these sweets.

There is a tiny stall, Tsukiji Fukumochi, selling some amazing mochi. The rice taffy is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth. One of the mochi is served on JAL flights. Shinji brought the ones on the right home and we couldn’t stop eating them. Yomogi (a Japanese herb, mugwort), shio (salt), and takesumi (charcoal) stuffed with a sweet azuki bean paste. On his next trip back he picked up the ichigo daifuku, with a fresh strawberry, which was also amazing.

Often the mochi is very chewy, but there is something different about these, that make them worth a journey.

Tsukiji Fukumochi 築地福餅

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-13-14 中央区築地4-13-14


Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

For my birthday we went to Dominique Ansel Bakery’s Cafe on the second floor of his shop. The menu has always intrigued me, especially since I saw a photo of his avocado toast.

New on the menu is chicken pot pie, which was the best pot pie I have ever had. A crispy golden crust over an umami-rich stew packed with chicken and vegetables. I woke up the next day thinking about this. The avocado toast comes with créme fraiche and a salad. The butternut squash was accented with cinnamon marshmallow squares.

The first floor of the shop is almost always full. The cafe has a full drink menu as well, including champagne and wine. There is an open kitchen and on my way out I could see a lobster roll being assembled.


Dominique Ansel DKA

We were so full from lunch that we celebrated at home with chef’s signature DKA, Dominique’s version of the kouign amann. This pastry is very popular in Tokyo and many bakeries serve their version of it. This one is not too sweet, has a rich texture from the buttery dough.

The shop is very popular and the line can be very long on the first floor. Reservations can be made for the cafe and sweets from the first floor can be had in the cafe, along with a drink order. The only thing that is only sold on the first floor is the cronut. From what I hear from friends in NYC, the line here in Tokyo is much shorter for cronuts.

The bakery is in Omotesando, just off the main street. It is worth the short detour if you are in the area of Harajuku, Shibuya, or Meiji Jingu Shrine. The first floor opens at 8 a.m. and the cafe opens at 9 a.m. A great spot to start your day in Tokyo.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-7-14 渋谷区神宮前5-7-14

shop information and access:

Click to access DAB_MENU_2F.pdf

New Candyland at Tokyo Station

Opening tomorrow in the basement of Tokyo Station is Tokyo Candyland (Tokyo Okashi Rando). The three main tenants are Calbee, Morinaga, and Glico, big snack manufacturers in Japan. At Calbee you can have potato chips hot out of the deep-fryer. The area is located in the basement outside of the Yaesu central exit. While it’s not worth going out of your way to come to, it may be interesting if you are at Tokyo station as the tenants will say limited edition items, usually seasonal products.

Higashiya Ginza

Higashiya Ginza

Higashiya Ginza

For traditional Japanese confectionaries there is Toraya, which is one of Japan’s most famous shops with locations around Tokyo. A modern confectionary shop that I love is Higashiya in Ginza. I first met the folks from Higashiya at a food event where I was pouring dessert wine from Coco Farm and Winery. The Higashiya team were serving wagashi with shochu. I knew immediately that they were worth exploring and I have always been delighted with the sweets from Higashiya.

The Ginza shop is conveniently located in the heart of the shopping district, so a good excuse to rest your feet here and to rejuvenate over some sweets, either traditional or modern. Check out the mattcha blanc manger or the houjicha pudding or for something more classic, the monaka or yokan.

Higashiya Ginza

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-7-7, Pola Ginza 2F

03- 3538-3230


Japanese Pastry Chefs Worth Checking Out

Patissier Jun Honma

Patissier Jun Honma

The December 2011 issue of Cuisine Kingdom (料理王国) lists some Japanese patissiers and chocolatiers worth getting to know. I am listing them here. On a side note, it also includes a friend of ours, Shinji Oyama, who is in charge of all of the public relations for the Tsuji Chori Gakko.

Susumu Koyama 小山進

Patissier Es Koyama in Hyogo prefecture

Tadashi Yanagi 柳正司

Patisserie Tadashi Yanagi

Meguro-ku, Yakumo 2-8-11


Koji Tsuchiya 土屋公二


Shibuya-ku, Tomigaya 1-14-9, Green Core L Shibuya


Miya and Toshimi Fujimoto 藤本美弥 智美

Patisserie Etienne in Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa prefecture

Shinpei Asada 朝田晋平

Patisserie Aplanos in Saitama-shi, Saitama prefecture

Jun Honma 本間淳

Patissier Jun Honma

Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 3-4-11


Chika Tamehiro (Tillman)

Chikalicious NY Amarige

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-10-1, Gyre Bldg. 4F


Reiko Imou 芋生玲子


Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Higashi-cho 3-8-8, Kasa Kichijoji II


Kazuya Morita 森田一頼


Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 5-2-11, R2-A Blgd. B1


Fumiyuki Kanai 金井 史章


Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-51-8, La Porto Aoyama 10F


Naoki Miura 三浦直樹

Bulgari Il Cioccolato

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-10-1, Gyre Bldg. 2F


Digging into an Ice Cold Kakigori

On summer visits to Japan as a child my favorite sweets were kakigori topped with milk. Only when I grew up did I realize that it wasn’t milk but it was sweetened condensed milk. No better way to cool down in the Tokyo heat than a bowl of shaved ice topped with a sweet syrup. Flavors like mattcha and azuki, mango, or anzu (apricots) will have you smacking your lips. Many kanmidokoro (Japanese cafes with traditional sweets) serve kakigori, but usually only for the summertime so this is the best time to dig in.

Here are a few places to dig into kakigori in the summer. Shops usually put a small flag outside with the kanji for ice on it. 氷



Mihashi’s original shop in Ueno (Taito-ku, Ueno 4-9-7) opened during the Edo period. This location, in the basement of Tokyo station in the area called Ichiban Gai, is more centrally located.

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Tokyo Station, Ichiban Gai B1



Walking around the historic Ningyocho district is always fun. Morinoen is a tea shop that specializes in houjicha. Here is their houjicha kakigori. You can smell the houjicha being roasted out on the street. Pick up a bag of the tea while you are here to take home. It’s great both hot or cold.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9



Naniwaya in Azabu-Juban is renowned for its taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes stuffed with azuki).  It’s been grilling taiyaki for over a century. Step inside and grab a seat for an anzu (apricot) kakigori.

Minato-ku, Azabu-Juban 1-8-14



Kagurazaka is also a fabulous place for walking around and Kinozen is my favorite place for a kakigori.

Shinjuku-ku, Kagurazaka 1-12



Toraya in Ginza serves up a yummy ichigo (strawberries) kakigori.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-8-6, 2nd floor

Tokyo Sweet Trends



Chef David Myers from Los Angeles has created a buzz with his square-shaped chiffon cake in flavors such as yuzu and mattcha or Earl Grey and raspberry. His patisseries can be found at SOLA in Ginza Mitsukoshi’s depachika.


Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-6-16, Mitsukoshi B2