Tokyo’s Top 8 Dessert Shops
City's Sweetest Temptations
A wise man once said that "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts" and we cast our five cents that this isn't a coincidence. This season, beat the stress with the city’s most exquisite, unique and quirky sweet treats.
There’s more than one guilty way you can indulge your sweet tooth in Japan’s capital and I certainly won’t be the first, nor the last, person to say that desserts in Tokyo equal (if not surpass) those in Paris and New York. Yes, you must see it to believe it, but the sheer number of sophisticated patisseries and boulangeries in the city will make your heart flutter. As hard as it is to narrow it down, here’s a roundup of the best dessert shops to be found in Tokyo.
Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris
Having trained in the art of pastry making both in Japan and France, Sadaharu Aoki was inspired to combine the two sensibilities. The highly acclaimed Japanese pastry whiz made his name using an unconventional approach: by infusing Japanese flavors into traditional French classics like millefeuille, éclairs and macarons. For an ultimate experience, opt for his dessert tasting set — a collection of classic and seasonal entremets and petit gateaux made on site. Oh, and don’t forget to get a matcha croissant (or three) before you head out; perfectly flaky and buttery they are one of the best in town.
Address: Tokyo Midtown B1F, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo and other locations
Business Hours: Mon-Sun 11 a.m. — 9 p.m.
Proclaimed as the Pierre Hermé of Japan, Hidemi Sugino trained in Japan and then spent a few years in France fine-tuning his craft before moving back home. On top of numerous other prestigious accolades, he was awarded the title of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 awards. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the whimsical and elegant creations of Hidemi Sugino. His signature mousse cakes’ texture is delightfully smooth and creates that coaxing melt-in-your-mouth heaven after each bite. Make sure to arrive around the opening time (11 a.m.) to be able to sample one of his most famous creations — Coupe de Monde — which is prepared in limited numbers and usually sold out in a heartbeat.
Address: 3-6-17 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: Tue-Sat 11:00 AM — 7:00 PM, Sun-Mon closed
Take your dessert experience to another level at Toshi Yoroizuka, where exquisite treats are prepared à la minute right in front of you. Expect a single counter with roughly 14 seats and two chefs assembling desserts in an open kitchen with the precision and composure of a Swiss watchmaker. For something truly different order La Gorgonzola Pistache, a specialty of the restaurant and number one choice. Gorgonzola ice cream pairs beautifully with the sweet and savory cake to form a truly memorable bite that will make you dream for more.
Address: Tokyo Midtown East 1F, 9-7-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo and other locations
Business Hours: Mon-Sun 11 a.m. — 9 p.m., closed Tuesdays
Nicolas Charles House
I don’t think you can find a dessert shop more playful than Nicholas Charles House. Run by a charismatic French pastry chef, this quirky café immerses its visitors into a magical bunny-themed world and provides a truly sensory experience. While there are a few savory platters on the menu, you can’t leave without tasting their signature bunny parfaits or choux. The best part? These desserts are not only cute to look at but also incredibly tasty and rich in flavor. To our great regret, the store will close on December 30 this year but until then Nicolas will wait in person to greet every customer, so don’t miss your last chance to visit!
Address: Jingumae 426 Bldg. 2F, 4-26-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Note: The store will close on Dec. 30, 2016.
Shiro-hige’s Cream Puff Factory
Located right across Setagaya-daita station on the Odakyu Line and relatively close to Shimokitazawa — Tokyo’s bohemian neighbourhood — tiny Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory transports you into Studio Ghibli’s one of the sweetest imaginary worlds. Expect to be greeted by Hayao Miyazaki’s cousin herself who puts her heart into every single hand baked Chibi Totoro Choux neatly lined up in a glass display. The bakery offers enticing classics as well as seasonal flavors like strawberry, peach chocolate cream, caramel banana, matcha and chestnut. In addition, you can buy prepackaged house-made cookies to take back home as a souvenir.
Address: 5-3-1 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10 a.m. — 7 p.m, closed on Tuesdays
Janice Wong Dessert Bar
The famous Singaporean pastry chef Janice Wong, often referred to as the “doyenne of desserts” and named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef by S. Pellegrino two years in a row, offers sophisticated and innovative creations at her dessert bar at the newly opened NeWoman shopping complex just across Shinjuku station’s south exit. Relying on molecular gastronomy techniques, the menu features more than one enticing option including five- and three-course dessert tasting sets with equally delicious cocktail pairings.
Address: NeWoman Shopping Center 2F, 5−24−55 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 11 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
If you’re into Cronuts (the croissant-doughnut pastry that we consider the greatest 21st century edible discovery), then you’ve most probably heard of the pastry wizard Dominique Ansel — the young charismatic and creative chef who doesn’t cease to wow the world with his innovative sugary creations. If not, then you have to plan a visit to his bakery. Right. Now! Among the numerous enticing offerings, you’ll be tempted to try a torched marshmallow on a stick or a cookie shot. If you have time, head to the second floor of the bakery to enjoy delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner menu at the buzzing café.
Address: 5-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Tokyo has no lack of soft serve sold at every corner in all imaginable flavors, but if you care to try your gelato with a bit of a creative spin, head to Glaciel. Here you’ll find an array of delectable ice cream cakes in the most adorable shapes. Favorites include lady bug and hedgehog, although the menu features other equally kawaii and tasty looking treats which are available for take-out too.
Address: 5-2-23 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Business Hours: 11:00 AM — 7:00 PM
What are your favorite dessert stores and brands in Japan? Share your thoughts!