8 Must-Buy Edible Souvenirs From Tokyo: From Best-Sellers to Traditional Sweets!
Hunting for souvenirs when traveling to Tokyo takes a great deal of effort. We spend a lot of time thinking about what to get our friends and family, but often forget the main purpose of a gift is to bring happiness to the giver and receiver. To save you the hassle, this article will recommend eight must-buy food souvenirs in Tokyo, ranging from the latest best-selling snacks to well-loved traditional sweets from decades-old shops. Follow this guide and you won't have to rack your brains when shopping for yummy souvenirs from Tokyo!
Jun 16 2020 (Sep 30 2020)
※This article is composed by a freelance writer.
Maple Butter Cookie (THE MAPLE MANIA)
THE MAPLE MANIA’s products are often selected as one of the best souvenirs from Tokyo Station. The Maple Butter Cookie is the bestselling favorite, and is made with maple syrup and premium butter. Its aromatic maple syrup flavor is as unforgettable as the cute, energetic little boy printed on the packaging.
Up to 6,000,000 cookies are sold each year. The moment you take a bite, you will smell the sweet maple sugar filling between the rich butter-flavored biscuits. The soft and delicate filling is sweet but not heavy, a perfect match with the butter cookies. And with such adorable packaging, the Maple Butter Cookie would be an ideal souvenir for your friends and family!
The Maple Financier is another popular item from this brand. The aromatic syrup-sugar confection is baked to a crisp finish on top with a soft and fluffy inside. Similar to the Maple Butter Cookie, the Maple Financier’s packaging features a little boy with different lively expressions. Many tourists like to buy these two snacks together.
Butter Sandwich Cookie (PRESS BUTTER SAND)
Opened not long ago in 2017 at the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station, PRESS BUTTER SAND quickly became the most popular souvenir shop at the station. You can also find it at the dessert area on the second floor of Tokyo Skytree’s SOLAMACHI. Its signature product is the Butter Sandwich Cookie, a blend of Hokkaido wheat flour with quality buttercream and butter caramel. Just one bite is enough to make you fall in love with its luxurious taste.
The two layers of tasty filling are a duet performed by buttercream and butter caramel. Made with fresh butter from Hokkaido, the rich and mellow buttercream filling melts in your mouth while leaving a light and fresh aroma. Matching the buttercream is the butter caramel filling, which takes the creamy flavor to the next level with its sweetness and richness. Without any unnecessary seasoning in these two fillings, the original taste of the fine ingredients really stand out. The Butter Sandwich Cookie would be a great gift for your best friends! And don’t forget to save some for yourself!
New York Caramel Sandwich Cookie (N.Y.C. SAND)
N.Y.C. SAND’s New York caramel sandwich cookie is a dessert many tourists line up for at Haneda Airport and at Daimaru Department Store at Tokyo Station. The confection from New York won the hearts of many Japanese people and quickly became a trending dessert in Tokyo.
Between the butter biscuits is a chocolate cream surrounding a gooey caramel filling, which is made by slowly stewing black sugar and fresh cream together. Everything comes together so perfectly for an unforgettable taste!
Available only at Tokyo Daimaru, another must-try is the Scotch & Double Chocolate flavor, which is the classic regular Scotch Toffee Sandwich Biscuit with an added layer of rich and mellow chocolate on top. The slightly bitter dark chocolate and the soft, sweet milk chocolate join together to create an impeccable combination that brings out the best of the sandwich cookie.
Located diagonally opposite the Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa's Senso-ji temple is Kameju, a long-established traditional Japanese confectionary shop. Its unique dorayaki pancake, which comes in white paste flavor and red bean paste flavor, is particularly popular. Some even say it's the best dorayaki in Japan!
Its biggest feature is the extra soft and puffy pancake. The size is very large as well: eating a whole one will make you quite full, so you might want to share it if you are a small eater.
Kameju is one of the few shops that offers both white and red paste fillings. The white filling is made with an ingredient called tebomame (the white variation of green beans), which gives it a refreshingly sweet and light taste. This dorayaki tastes the best on the day it's baked, and can only be kept for three days, so it's better if you buy it soon before you leave Japan.
Chocolate Cake (Ken's Cafe Tokyo)
After introducing Japan’s best dorayaki, it is time to talk about its most delicious chocolate cake! In 2014, Ken's Cafe Tokyo was ranked No.1 in the chocolate shop category on restaurant ranking site Tabelog. Only four ingredients—cocoa, butter, egg and sugar—are used in this flourless cake to create a perfect texture and taste. No wonder it is so pure and rich: simplicity is always the ideal way to bring out the best side of a dessert.
The taste and texture of the chocolate cake changes with its temperature. At room temperature, the cake is like a half-melted terrine chocolate. The exterior has a firm texture similar to a pastry or a soft chocolate cookie, while the filling inside is made of delicate and rich chocolate paste. To taste a different kind of texture, heat the chocolate cake in a microwave at 500W - 600W for 10 to 15 seconds. As the exterior becomes soft and delicate, the molten chocolate filling flows like lava.
You can also put the chocolate cake in the refrigerator before cutting it into thin slices. The chilled cake has a slightly hard texture like nama-chocolate. Letting it slowly melt in your mouth is another amazing way to enjoy the cake. But of course, you're free to choose however you want to enjoy it!
Half-Moon Sandwich Wafer (Kamakura Goro)
In the ancient Kamakura City there is a bustling shopping street leading to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. This is where the popular “Hangetsu” (half-moon) sandwich wafer from Kamakura Goro Main Store was born. After years of popularity and word-of-mouth publicity, the snack has become a must-buy souvenir for many people traveling to Tokyo.
In between the crispy biscuits, there is a creamy filling that comes in different flavors. The thin, crunchy exterior and the light, fresh filling strikes a delicious balance. You simply won’t get enough of the crisp texture! Aside from the regular flavors such as green tea and Kokura red beans, limited seasonal flavors like sesame and cherry blossom butter are also available. The caramel flavor sold exclusively at Haneda Airport is very attractive as well.
Butter Cookie (Échiré Maison du Beurre)
Échiré Maison du Beurre is a famous premium fermented butter brand from France. After coming to Tokyo and under Japanese packaging and marketing, it has transformed into a bakery that continues to draw in the crowds every day! Made with 100% Échiré butter, the Galette and Sable cookies are two of its best-selling signature products. The Sable Échiré in a white tin box is even a limited edition. Its simple flavor highlights the premium texture and aroma of Échiré butter.
Every cookie has the brand name and its iconic cow logo imprinted on top, just like how Échiré butter leaves a deep impression upon our hearts. Galette Échiré in a blue tin box is made with a unique baking technique to create a texture that melts instantly in the mouth. By mixing the molten butter from the first baking into the biscuit batter again, the aroma of Échiré butter is brought to the peak.
At the Échiré bakery you can also find a variety of yummy pastries. The croissants made with Échiré butter are the most popular, as they are all snapped up not long after the shop opens almost every day. There are also many other finely crafted confections: limited-quantity cakes, madeleines, financiers, as well as raw caramel and Échiré butter marshmallows that melt in your mouth. Of course, you can’t miss the classic Échiré butter itself! Being in the dazzling bakery is so enjoyable that you won't want to leave. It would be safe to say that Japan has brought out the best side of the French Échiré bakery!
Original Kuzumochi (Funabashiya)
After leaving Kameido Tenjin Shrine, turn right and walk for less than a minute and you will see an old building with a traditional style. This is Funabashiya, a well-known Japanese-style dessert place with long queues at all times. Its most popular food is kuzumochi, a white mochi dessert made of starchy kudzu powder. Usually served chilled, kuzumochi is dusted with sweet soybean powder and doused in brown sugar syrup. Its chewy texture and mild flavor are simply unforgettable. You may be more familiar with warabimochi (made from bracken starch instead of glutinous rice), which tastes completely different from kuzumochi. The latter has a more refreshing and down-to-earth flavor that reminds you of Japanese downtown folk food culture. Remember to give it a try if you have the chance!
What do you think of our picks for eight must-buy souvenirs in Tokyo? They run the gamut from chocolate to red bean, from soft and gooey to thin and crispy, from centuries-old Japanese tradition to modern Western creations. Even if you're buying for picky friends, there's sure to be something here for them! Make a note of these so you don’t have to rack your brains next time you are shopping for gifts in town!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.