Celebrate 100 Years of Delicious History at the Baumkuchen Expo 2019

It's been 100 years since the German baumkuchen layer cake was first sold in Japan in 1919. To celebrate the anniversary, visit the Baumkuchen Expo 2019 in Yokohama for a chance to try 200 types of baumkuchen sourced from all of Japan's 47 prefectures. This is a must-visit for die hard baumkuchen fans and sweet tooths alike!

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Baumkuchen Expo 2019

Baumkuchen, or "tree cake" in German, is a type of German spit cake that gets its name from the thin layers that resemble the rings of a tree when cut. This cake was first introduced to Japan during a trade fair held at Hiroshima's Product Exhibition Hall in 1919. Incidentally, this badly-damaged exhibition hall remained standing after the bombing of the city, and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site called the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or Atomic Dome.

Over the next 100 years, baumkuchen has become a classic cake loved around the country. It's not just a common sight in high-end bakeries: it's such a staple you can buy a slice at almost every supermarket and convenience store, too. To spread awareness of the quality and diversity of baumkuchen in Japan, the Baumkuchen Expo was launched as a traveling event previously held in cities like Hiroshima, Kobe, and Nagoya. 

The 2019 Yokohama expo is set to be bigger than ever thanks to a larger lineup of brands participating. In fact, you'll find cakes by almost 100 brands from every single prefecture in Japan here. Whether you like classic ring-shaped baumkuchen or want to try some of the more creative types invented here, this is sure to be a delicious way to check out a part of Japan's culinary culture and pick up some great souvenirs, too.

Baumkuchen Expo Highlights

Baumkuchen Bar 47

Baumcuchen Bar 47 is a standing bar where you can sample baumkuchen from all 47 prefectures of Japan. Choose 5 pieces from the country-wide lineup for only 470 yen. This year's expo has even more brands to choose from, so picking your favorites might be harder than you'd think! 

Baumkuchen Sample Bag

Baumkuchen fans won't want to miss this special sample bag: only 100 bags are available per day, so come early to avoid missing out! Individually packaged pieces from five speciality baumkuchen patisseries are included: Villon (Tokyo), Jiichiro (Shizuoka), Club Harie (Shiga), Juchheim​​​ (Hyogo), and ​​​​Knugi (Hiroshima). 

The assortment comes with an exclusive reusable tote bag, and costs 1,944 yen. The tote bag is available for purchase on its own for just 880 yen, and would make a cute and easy-to-pack souvenir from Japan for any baumkuchen fans in your life!

Freshly-Baked Baumkuchen

This is a rare treat, even in Japan: enjoy warm slice of baumkuchen straight off the spit with your choice of toppings! A dab of melted butter takes the already rich baumkuchen to a luxurious next level. A slice of fresh-cooked baumkuchen costs 440 yen, to which you can add butter and vanilla ice cream for another 110 yen each.

Baumkuchen is freshly cooked eight times a day, starting at 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and then hourly from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. (On the final day, the last serving will be at 5:00 pm.)

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How to Visit the Baumkuchen Expo 2019

The Yokohama Baumkuchen Expo 2019 will be held on the 8th floor exhibition space of the Takashimaya Yokohama department store. Entry is free, with baumkuchen ranging from around 400 yen for individual pieces to larger cakes priced at around 2,000 yen.

This is a great way to try a huge range of interpretations of a Japanese favorite, and, of course, to do some souvenir shopping for friends and family back home, too! With so many delicious and gorgeous looking baumkuchen to choose from, you're sure to find something special. For more examples of the cakes available to buy at the expo, please see the link below! 

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Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

Rebecca is an Australian translator and writer based in Kyoto. In her downtime she likes train travel, karaoke, and horror movies.
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