Kawaii Desserts and Dishes and Where to Find Them in Japan
‘Kawaii’ means ‘cute’ in Japanese, and represents a cultural phenomenon in Japan. The culture of cuteness is unmistakable, characterised by big-eyed faces, child-like colours and adorable depictions of just about everything. Kawaii can be found in every corner of Japan, and is expressed through fashion, shops and of course, food! Here are 7 of the cutest Japanese dishes and desserts in Japan and where to find them.
Floresta Nature Donuts
Floresta Nature Donuts are almost too adorable to eat! As the name implies, the company tries to keep everything as natural as possible. They use organic, local ingredients with no additives, sweeteners or preservatives. What’s more, they take measures to minimise waste and their impact on the environment. That makes these donuts as close to guilt-free as possible!
Not as sweet as your usual donuts, Floresta donuts come in all sorts of flavours (and characters) with daily and seasonal selections on rotation to keep you surprised.
¥140–390 each* (AUD $1.90–$5.25)
*based on the exchange rate of 74 yen = AUD $1
There are over 30 Floresta Nature Donut stores across Japan, including several in Tokyo and Osaka).
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory, Tokyo
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory is the only place you can find official Totoro cream puffs and other adorable treats! The cafe owner is actually the sister-in-law of Hayao Miyazaki, beloved founder of Studio Ghibli.
Nestled in a neighbourhood just a few stops away from well-known Shibuya (Tokyo), this kawaii cafe is definitely one for anime fans who have a sweet tooth.
Approx. ¥420–¥460 each (AUD $5.70–$6.20)
5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya City, Tokyo
The shop is a 3-minute walk from Setagayadaita station (Odakyu Line) and a 7-minute walk from either Shimokitazawa or Shindaita station on the Keio Inokashira Line.
Gudetama Cafe, Osaka
Gudetama is an anthropomorphic egg yolk that is lazy and apathetic. He is also one of Japan’s most popular mascots! Another kawaii character from the Sanrio family (Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Pom Pom Purin) Gudetama has his very own themed cafe in Osaka!
Must-tries (if you can bothered) include The Gudetama White Curry, the Nagai Mono Ni Makaretai (I-want-to-be-wrapped-up-in-something-long) pasta and the Samu (I’m cold) French toast.
Approx. ¥900–1300 for lunch (AUD $12.20–$17.50)
HEP FIVE (7th floor), 5-15 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
The Gudetama Cafe in Osaka is located on the seventh floor of the shopping centre, HEP FIVE. The centre is a 3-minute walk from Hankyu Umeda Station or a 5-minute walk from Subway Umeda Station (Midosuji Line).
Kawaii Monster Cafe, Tokyo
Step into the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku, a bizarre wonderland where crazy meets cute!
Located in the heart of Harajuku (right by Laforet Harajuku) the cafe is what Tokyo would look like if it were a monster. The result? A nightmarish blend of colour and kawaii with a menu to match! Signature dishes include Chocolate Chicken, Rainbow Pasta and Poison Parfait.
Note: Reservations recommended (online)
Food and drinks start from ¥900–1200 (AUD $12.20–16.20).
YM Square Building (4th floor), 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
The cafe is located on the fourth floor of the shopping centre, YM Square. YM Square is a 1-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae Subway Station Exit 5, Chiyoda Line Subway, or a 5 minute walk from JR Harajuku Station Omotesando Exit.
Sold only in the Ichibangai shopping area on 1F of Tokyo Station, these Bavarian cream desserts, or ‘Bavarois’, contain real flower petals suspended in gelatin! The name ‘Havaro’ comes from the Japanese word for flower (hana) and the pronunciation of the word ‘Bavarois’. These one-of-a-kind deserts come infused with flavours that include orange, vanilla yoghurt, cream cheese and strawberry.
Note: Visit their shop as early as possible as the desserts sell out fast!
Smaller pieces (‘fleurs’) start at ¥350 (AUD $4.70) with larger items (‘bouquets’) starting from ¥2600 (AUD $35).
Tokyo Me+, Ichibangai 1F, Tokyo Station, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
The store is located in the TOKYO Me+ section of the Ichibangai shopping area inside Tokyo Station.
Takeshita Street, Harajuku (Tokyo)
Harajuku’s Takeshita Street offers a sensory overload, packed with food and fashion popular among Tokyo’s trendy youth. Although you can find a lot of kawaii here (including rainbow cotton candy!), the street is known for its crepes. On just about every corner you’ll find a creperie folding every flavour imaginable.
Popular creperies include:
- Marion Crepes
- Santa Monica Crepes
- Sweet Box
- Cafe Creperie Le Bretagne
- Angels Heart
Crepes range from ¥500–1000 (AUD $6.80–$13.50) each.
1 Chome-17 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo
Takeshita Street is a 1-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line) and a 3-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae Station (Chiyoda Subway Line).
Saiku Kamaboko, Toyama
Tokyo isn’t the only place in Japan where you can find kawaii food! The city of Toyama is famous for Kamaboko—a type of fishcake made of minced and steamed fish. Saiku kamaboko, decorated art kamaboko, is very popular in Toyama Prefecture and is often given as a celebratory gift.
Saiku Kamaboko can range anywhere from from ¥500–4000+ (AUD $6.80–$54.00+) depending on size, budget and occasion.
Toyama is accessible by shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station (approx. 2 hrs), Kanazawa Station (approx. 20 mins), and Osaka Station (approx. 3 hrs 10 min, via Kanazawa).
Toyama is also accessible by bus from Tokyo (Ikebukuro Sta East Gate) (approx. 6.5 hrs), Osaka (Osaka Umeda Terminal) (approx. 5.5 hrs) and Nagoya (Meitetsu Bus Center) (approx. 3 hrs 45 min).