1. Santa Berry Tiramisu cake, Ginza Mitsukoshi, Christmas cake
    Photo: Ginza MitsukoshiSanta Berry Tiramisu cake at Ginza Mitsukoshi
  2. The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo Christmas cake
    Photo: The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
  3. Christmas cake 2020 – Hotel Gajoen
    Photo: Mitsukoshi Isetan/Hotel Gajoen
  4. Japanese Christmas Cakes
    Photo: Pâtissier Sadaharu Aoki

9 best Christmas cakes in Tokyo

Strawberry shortcakes, chocolate yule logs and other seasonal creations you’d want on your holiday table

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Written by
Emma Steen
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It’s not an official holiday here, but Christmas in Japan, with its winter illuminations and bizarrely high demands for KFC buckets, is one of the most joyous and highly anticipated times of year. While you might not be convinced of the festive undertones of a family-sized portion of fried chicken, it’s hard not to be enchanted by the season’s dazzling Christmas cakes that dominate the pastry shops and depachika this time of year.

Strawberry shortcakes are by far the most popular cakes to get in December, but that doesn’t mean you’re at a loss if strawberries and cream isn’t quite your taste. Whether you’re after something fruity, chocolatey or anything in between, this year’s Christmas creations will leave you spoiled for choice.

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Santa Berry Tiramisu
Photo: Ginza Mitsukoshi

Santa Berry Tiramisu

Chocolate buttons and a fluffy mound of whipped cream ‘beard’ make the final touches to this rotund Santa cake. The base is a berry-flavoured tiramisu while the red strawberry glaze adds a touch of brightness to balance out the sweetness of the cream. The cake has a diameter of roughly 16cm and is suitable for sharing among three people. Order online and arrange for pick-up at Ginza Mitsukoshi. ¥3,132

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The popularity of the strawberry shortcake is thought to be related to the fact that the colours of whipped cream and strawberries represent the colours of the Japanese flag. Most strawberry shortcakes sold this time of year are decorated with Western-style cake toppers to match the themes of Christmas, but this one by Hotel Gajoen holds a more traditional Japanese approach in its embellishments.

The classic cake, which can serve eight people, is topped with luscious strawberries sourced from Kayama Farm in Yokosuka as well as a chocolate fan, which is said to be a symbol of luck and good fortune. Order online and pick up on December 24 or 25 at Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi. ¥7,800

Totoro Christmas Cake
Photo: Tokyu Food Show

Totoro Christmas Cake

One of the most sought-after cakes of the season is, unsurprisingly, this multi-tiered tart from Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory, available at Tokyu Food Show. The shop’s iconic Totoro cream puff sits on a strawberry shortcake (made with cream from Hokkaido, no less) with a mixed berry mousse tart as the base. Stocks are dwindling, so you’ll have to be quick to book one of the last cakes available, which are limited to delivery in the Setagaya, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Aoba and Miyamae areas. ¥4,860

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Christmas may be a family affair in most places around the world, but in Japan, the holiday is heavily associated with spending time with your significant other. As a nod to this, Odakyu have created a white-and-gold-coloured Christmas cake featuring its well-traveled Romancecar, which connects Shinjuku with Hakone.

Two biscuit trains top a cake layered with berry-flavoured whipped cream, butter cream icing and strawberries – ideal for trainspotters or anyone seeking to convey their love through the symbolism of two locomotives running on parallel tracks. You can order your cake online and pick it up on December 24 or 25 at Odakyu Department Store in Shinjuku. ¥6,480

A cute yet sophisticated addition to our list is this desiccated coconut-dusted snowman from Acacier. You wouldn’t know from just looking at it, but there are 12 layers to this cake, including an outer layer of almond biscuit, followed by maple and milk chocolate cream, coconut white chocolate, coffee cream, griotte cherries, raspberry confiture and hibiscus ganache, all on top of a muscovado biscuit base. Order online and pick up on December 20 at Isetan Shinjuku. ¥6,480

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Paris-based pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki has established an international reputation for his French-syle desserts incorporated with Japanese flavours. This playful cake is shaped like an evergreen fir tree. Smooth fillings of chocolate and pistachio layer a chocolate crumb base accentuated with tart raspberry. Though subtle in sweetness, the pistachio adds a richness to the cake that makes it decadent without being overpowering. Pick-up is available at Marunouchi and Tokyo Midtown locations. Reservations must be made by December 11. ¥5,832

For the chocoholics, Pierre Hermé's modern take on the Yule log is bound to satisfy any sweet tooth. This year’s Christmas Collection at Pierre Herme is titled Fééries Célestes and is a collaboration between Herme and the chalk artist Philippe Baudelocque, who drew inspiration from the concept of infinite galaxies and alternate dimensions.

Tender almond biscuit, crunchy praline and crispy chocolate alternate the textures of the otherwise smooth cake filled with fluffy chantilly cream and a chocolate ganache. Orders can be made online and pick-up is available from December 19 to December 25 at the shop’s Aoyama location. ¥6,210

More to check out in Tokyo this December

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