News / City Life

Meet Juli Sasa, the nocturnal pâtissier

Juli Sasa | Time Out Tokyo

Bathing in the neon glare of Kabukicho’s Sakura-dori, the inconspicuous KI Building is home to one very quirky cake shop. Open until 3am every night, it’s run by master pâtissier Juli, who used to cut fruit for the famed Takano Fruit Parlour before developing a fruit allergy that forced her to quit that job.

Desperate to continue her career despite the suddenly difficult circumstances, the fruit-loving Juli quickly gathered her courage and opened her own shop mere minutes on foot from her old workplace.

Juli, who counts a number of celebrities among her customers, turns out wildly colourful, made-to-order cakes decorated with dolls and comic book characters. Also skilled in amezaiku, the Japanese art of miniature candy sculptures, she tops her cakes with these small pieces of edible art, in addition to ample amounts of delicately cut fruit and edible flowers, which are quietly becoming something of a trend in Tokyo.

She decided to start using these because they allow for colours that can’t be obtained from other ingredients, and because she likes the idea of communicating through flower arrangement.

‘The first flowers I used were pink mini roses, which embody the message of happiness and thankfulness,’ says Juli. ‘I thought this sounded perfect for the cake I was making, and when I then showed one decorated with mini roses on social media, I started receiving a lot of requests.’

As Kabukicho is famed for its many host and hostess clubs and their lively parties, Juli has also begun making fruit salad ‘champagne towers’ and other decorative fruit salads to meet the growing demand. On our visit, we saw several local hosts stop by to order cakes as soon as the shop opened.

In addition to her elaborate made-to-order gateaux, Juli sells simpler cakes straight off the shelf. These are popular with businesspeople who work late and stop by her shop after all the other pâtisseries in the area have closed.

Want to have your own custom cake done? Make sure to put in an order at least a day in advance, either by calling the shop directly or using the Juli Sasa Line account (details can be found on Juli’s Instagram). Juli doesn’t speak English, but might be able to accommodate your order if you show up at the store with a picture. The end result will be more than worth the trouble.

Find Juli at her Kabukicho shop (KI Bldg 1F, 1-11-12 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku. 03 6233 7899), open daily from 7pm to 3am, or check out her Instagram