Guide to Japanese desserts in Tokyo

Got a sweet tooth? You've come to the right city as Tokyo offers many decadent Japanese desserts including kakigori, wagashi and more
東京、たい焼き10選
1/10
wagashi feature
2/10
Kakigori Kissa Banpaku
3/10
モンブランスタイル
4/10
Glaciel Omotesando - parfait
5/10
Marion Crepes
6/10
Gram fluffy pancakes
7/10
Gram
Futsu ni Fruits - fruit sando
8/10
Oita Antenna Shop - kabosu softcream
9/10
Johann Cheesecake
10/10
By Kaila Imada |
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When it comes to desserts, Tokyo is no stranger to the sweeter things in life. There are original, quintessentially Japanese creations such as kakigori and wagashi. But what really sets Tokyo apart is the city's ability to take a classic dessert, put a unique spin on in and make it its own.

Think pancakes that take on a souffle-like airiness and texture, or the French Mont Blanc that has been made into a showcase for local chestnuts, or the American-style parfait that's been elevated with the best of seasonal fruit. Wondering where to start? Eat your way through our list of essential Japanese desserts here. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth

Restaurants, Pâtisseries

Parfait

icon-location-pin Omotesando

Tokyo’s parfait takes after the American version, where ingredients such as yoghurt, fruits, cream, nuts and more are layered in a tall glass, rather than the classic French custard concoction. There are cafés devoted to perfecting the parfait, each trying to outdo the other with extravagant creations and unique flavours. None are better than Glaciel Omotesando, whose seasonal parfaits feature gloriously indulgent homemade ice creams.

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Crêpes

icon-location-pin Harajuku

This French favourite has found an unlikely home in Harajuku, where there’s seemingly a pancake flipper on every corner. Marion Crêpes, one of Harajuku’s longest running crêpe shops, rules supreme with classics such as strawberry sharing menu space with more experimental offerings such as azuki bean and tuna with curry sauce.

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Restaurants, Cafés

Kakigori

Japan has fallen in love with shaved ice and in Tokyo the trend is bordering on obsession, with venues offering over the top creations with a multitude of flavours including mint chocolate, pistachio and, erm, avocado. Once a summer-only treat, kakigori has become so popular that you can now get it year-round at dedicated dessert cafés such as Momijiya (pictured).

Restaurants

Wagashi

Traditional Japanese teatime sweets, known as wagashi, are in a league of their own. While western desserts are often equated with excess and indulgence, the dainty wagashi instead calls for quiet appreciation over a calming tea session. As their colour, shape and flavour vary according to the time of year, these sweets are all about capturing the essence of the season in a miniature, edible form.

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Soft cream

icon-location-pin Yurakucho

Tokyo (or Japan for that matter) sure offers a lot of ice cream and frozen treats. The city, however, has a soft spot for soft-serve in particular, which is affectionally known as soft-cream locally. Options usually start with a basic milk base, like the super rich Hokkdaido milk soft-serve, but you can also get other specialities such as melon, chocolate and even the citrus fruit kabosu which is indigenous to the Oita region of Japan. 

Restaurants, Pancakes and waffles

Fluffy pancakes

No one does pancakes quite like Japan, and these fluffy, soufflé-like treats have become something close to an art form. Pancake specialists like Gram have found success in their super-fluffy creations and are definitely worth the queue.

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Fruit sando

icon-location-pin Nakameguro

A peculiar treat which originated in Japan, fruit sandwiches, or sando, are a combination of fluffy shokupan (Japanese bread), light-as-air whipped cream, and a variety of fruits which changes with the season. Curious to try one? Stop by Futsu ni Fruits; it specialises in this sweet confection.

Restaurants, Cafés

Taiyaki

icon-location-pin Azabu-Juban

A must-try on any visit to Japan, these popular fish-shaped pastries are typically stuffed with all sorts of fillings, but most commonly you'll find sweet red bean paste. Other variants you might come across are sweet potato, apple and even ice cream. Head to the original maker of taiyaki, Naniwaya, which has been in operation since 1909 and is still at the top of the taiyaki game.

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Restaurants

Mont Blanc

icon-location-pin Yoyogi-Hachiman

While Mont Blanc is French in origin, this creamy confection has become a popular Japanese dessert. Built on a cake base, a Japanese Mont Blanc typically piles on the chestnut and whipped cream before finishing off with strings of more chestnut puree, which give it the noodle-like appearance. Head to Mont Blanc Style for a taste; the café uses premium, locally-sourced chestnuts and your order is prepared fresh in front of you.

Shopping, Pâtisseries

Cheesecake

icon-location-pin Nakameguro

For avid cheesecake fans, you'll find everything from true New York-style cheesecake, cheese tarts to rainbow cheesecake all over the city. For a moderately healthy cheesecake option, head to Johann which has been turning out indulgent cakes since 1978. Their cheesecakes are made with less sugar than your average cake and use over 65% real cheese in each of their creations. 

More sweets this way

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