Part of my tokyo mission was to track down some of its famed cute food. When I lived in Japan about 7 years ago the cute packaging on beverages or bento boxes and getting a smiling kitty or bear in your ice cream sundae was such a normal occurrence that I sadly admit I took it for granted. Along with major mascot love, Disney fever and large luminous eyes, the Japanese hold a very dear spot for all things kawaii or cute. Just the other day in Barcelona I overheard a little Japanese boy exclaiming over some type of small fluffy dog exiting the metro. “Cho kawaiiiii!” “So cute!” He blurted to himself. So having been bereft of over the top cuteness for some time, I was determined to go all out. I pinterested and Instagram stalked and trawled through the internets in search of must eat cute food, and compiled a little list.
My last epic experience had been at PuroLand , which will forever be the my cute highlight. My best friend and I were literally the only people there over 5 years old, but we went on All of the rides, had our photo taken with all of the characters and generally lost our minds to the cute. We were in a daze for a week after that. Puroland for the uninitiated is the Sanrio version of Disney land. A theme park based on all the Sanrio characters, most famous of which is Hello Kitty. The entire place is pastel hued and the cute food is off the charts.
So how to top this? And how to fit it all in our eating schedule mentioned in the last post? It was tough but I managed to stuff my face with a few sweet delights and some not so sweet but very cute looking morsels.
First up is the Pom Pom Purin cafe. Another Sanrio character in the form of a very friendly little yellow dog who also happens to be a chef. The cafe had very recently opened in Harajuku and was still pretty popular. Not quite as popular as the popcorn place up the road, which had a queue that circled round the small plaza like a whirlpool. But we did discover that we needed to queue up to get into the real queue.
The cafe had organized itself into timed slots, so you needed to get there pretty early to receive a time slot for later. We had decided to go for brunch again at Bills so at the crack of dawn we queue up the stairs to the cafe and patiently waited for our golden ticket. Time card in hand we gleefully skipped off to breakfast. In retrospect eating before eating more was probably unwise but sometimes you have to suffer for cute food.
Later In the morning we returned to the cafe, entered through the adorable doors and found ourselves in a very yellow Pom Pom Purin world. A giant Pom Pom Purin himself presided over the centre of the cafe and the rest of the theme was yellow and white pinstriped awnings over cute little tables. Milos again was the only male in the whole restaurant which was filled with school girls(bunking?) and moms with little kids. I ordered a pudding and milos went all out with the pancakes.
The food arrived and was especially darling, but I believe that after our initial breakfast the level of sweetness did us in and neither of us could finish and we both felt quite sick for the rest of the day! Needless to say if you have a sweet tooth and like your food shaped like cute characters this is the place for you!
I wanted very badly to get my paws on some of the delightful animal donuts, but we never made it to the donut shop in Koenji, instead we visited the Shiro Hige cream puff shop. Located a skip hop and a jump from the Shimokitazawa station we found ourselves the proud owner of two Totoro shaped cream puffs. Each one lovingly crafted and this time perfectly delicious as well! Not too sweet, just right! We munched on ours in the station after getting them to go in a little box from the adorable lady behind the counter making all the cream puff for the day. Upstairs there is a little cafe where you can sit down and have your cream puff or some other kind of cake but be warned they sell out fast! We had to make two trips before we managed to get Totoro cream puff in our bellies!
On another day we killed two birds with one stone. And with the most inappropriate use of that saying, we took a number of trains to visit the owl cafe Fukurou No Mise. There, bedecked in owls we sipped on sweet little owl teas. Each with its own hand drawn owl on the cover. I had been dying to visit one of these cafes and despite my misgivings about how these owls came to be in the cafe in the first place, it was wonderful to get so close to the beautiful birds. There were a myriad of these feathered creatures snoozing on perches around the cafe, and we were directed to pet and hold them one at a time. At the end I received a beautiful photographic book as a present with all of the Owls inside. Clearly the Owls and not the cute beverage were the highlight of this cafe. We didn’t make it to any cat cafes this trip, but you can be sure they also serve up cute cat themed snacks!
On any other day of the week it’s easy to walk into a bakery and find all manner of baked bunnies and chicks, cats and penguins. I picked up a custard Doraemon bun, the famous Japanese cartoon cat, and it was the perfect energy boost after a long walk in the park.
Last but not least we visited a maid cafe for the first time in Tokyo and Milos and I shared a very cute towering icecream with pretty chocolate bears and fruit. We slurped it down while making origami cranes with our maid, and watching the highly energetic maid song and dance number that they performed every half hour or so! Later we all had our photos taken, cute style, covered with cat ears.
I picked up a few cute pieces of pottery while I was there and now I am going to have to practice turning my food into smiling faces!
If you haven’t read my other food blog on Tokyo, check it out here.