Four Amazing Japanese Sweets   日本の四大銘菓

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The "water cake" is served with brown sugar syrup and roasted soy powder (kinako)

Stuffed with chocolate, ice cream, and whipped cream, the taiyaki parfait is a delight!

What could be cuter than a Totoro cream puff?

It looks just like a bowl of ramen... but it's actually a cake?!

The Fantastic Four

Japanese cuisine is known for its subtlety and refinement. However, the Japanese also like to move away from classic and invent new culinary concepts, especially when it comes to desserts!

In Japan, there are usually no desserts at the end of your meal. Pastries, cakes and ice cream are eaten with friends or family in a tea room - or in the street after being purchased from a street vendor during a matsuri (festival).

The "Water" Cake

Derived from a traditional cake called mizu mochi shingen, the "mizu" (water) rice cake, as they call it, is very popular in Japan. Some travel several hundred kilometers to enjoy it, as it's only sold in two tearooms located in the Japanese Alps . Careful, the mizu evaporates in half an hour if it's not eaten fast enough!

Where to eat it

In Daigahara (Yamananashi prefecture) 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi such. +81 (0) 55 135 2246, from 9am to 18pm.

In Nirasaki: 154 Kotagawa, Nakadamachi such. +81 (0) 55 125 3990, from 9am to 18pm.

The Taiyaki Parfait

The taiyaki is a very famous sweet Japanese snack in the shape of a fish (specifically, a sea bream), typically filled with custard or azuki (red bean jam), and freshly cooked to order. However, recently a new version has been making an appearance: the taiyaki parfait. The outside is the same fish-shaped cake, but the taiyaki is stuffed like a sundae with chocolate, several scoops of ice cream, and finally whipped cream!

Where to eat it

In Tokyo: 2-4 Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba, tel. +81 (0) 43 274 5113, metro line Kenhinmakuhari Keio.

In Yokohama 2-2-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, tel. +81 (0) 45 212 1008, subway Bashamichi online Minatomira

The Totoro Cream Puff

Any self-respecting Japanese pastry has to be cute: from Hello Kitty mochi to Barii-san cake - the little chick mascot of the city of Imabari - Japanese pop culture influences many pastry chefs of the country.

The imagination of Hayao Miyazaki is an endless source of inspiration for many confectioners. At the tearoom at Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory, they offer cream puffs bearing the image of the main character of the animated film "My Neighbor Totoro".

Where to eat it

In Tokyo: Shiro Hige's Cream-Puff Factory, Takaidohigashi 3-21-21, Suginami-ku, tel. +81 (0) 33 334 4689, from 10:30 to 19:30, Setagaydaita Subway, Odakyu line.

The Ramen Cake

Ramen is a culinary institution in Japan. No wonder, then, that this dish has been imitated and turned into sweet form. It is called nanchatte ramen: false ramen. The appearance can be quite misleading, but dig in and your spoon suddenly reveals a panacotta covered sponge cake and a creamy Mont Blanc - as the "noodles" - and a broth made ​​from tea with jam!

Where to eat it

In Tokyo: Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku 1-1-2 beats. B2F, from 10am to 22:30, tel. +81 (0) 33 342 6227, Toei subway lines Shinjuku, Shinjuku and Ōedo.

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