These places we're recommending will remind you that the Japanese capital can be a huge and fluffy cotton candy when it wants to be.
Places to Visit
What does the term KAWAII mean to the Japanese?
In addition to a theme park called Sanrio Puroland located 38 kilometers from the capital, the Keio Plaza hotel chain has themed rooms in its Tama building on the outskirts of the city.
Kawaii has a goddess: Hello Kitty
This art form is becoming as important as ikebana and origami. It consists of preparing a bento box, a ration of ready-to-go food, in a very special way. While traditional bento requires rice and other ingredients in a very orderly and compartmentalized way, kyaraben is more about being creative.
With the usual elements of one of these food boxes, you have to create a character that is edible, in every way possible.
For example, in some of the Miyazaki films or the Pokémon series. On websites like ByFood you can get cooking classes in English and specialized in kyaraben to gain basic knowledge of this way of paying tribute to the kawaii cult. One of them is Japanese Cooking School. In principle, it was intended for children to get food in their eyes and leave nothing on the plate, but every adult retains something of a child inside…
In this restaurant, on the fourth floor of the YM Square building, even the monsters are cute. The colorful characters that populate the place were created by artist and designer Sebastian Masuda (Japan, 1970). During his youth, he noted that Japanese people of his age were very often dressed in black and decided to fix the situation. Following the same conceptual line of the rest of his career, he created this place that is allergic to black and white and straight lines.
The interior is divided into four thematic zones, one of them is a psychotic tea room and another specializes in smoothies. The experience is similar to what you would have if the fairground carousels served food. In keeping with the theme, on the menu you can order phosphorescent drinks and classic dishes in their multicolored versions: From spaghetti to potatoes with the most crazy sauces. It's no coincidence that the Kawaii Monster Cafe is located in Harajuku, Tokyo's funkiest neighborhood, inhabited by as many urban tribes as possible.
DESSERT - WAGASHI
One of the most characteristic things about Japanese cuisine is its selection of traditional sweets. There are so many forms and colors that much of them form part of Tokyo's worship of beautiful things. They are mostly made of red bean paste (anko) and, although it may not seem like it, they have a very sweet taste. They are eaten with the omnipresent green tea and are a fundamental element in the classic tea ceremonies.
Some recommended shops are Toraya, in Tokyo Midtown. Also, the skyscraper in the Roppongi district which, like in many other vertical cities in Japan, includes a shopping mall inside - one that is especially stylish. And Ginza Akebono, a small but intense store.
Like kyaraben, classes can be taken to learn how to make wagashi.
Among the many dualities of Japan (and, more specifically, Tokyo) is the highly developed kawaii culture which loves adorable things. This trend contrasts with the seriousness and tradition on the part of Japanese society and also with the violence often seen in the manga and anime industry.
As for shops on Hello Kitty, visit the one on Odaiba, the artificial island dedicated to leisure, because it has limited editions that are not easy to find in other physical or virtual stores. A closer option is the one located inside the shibuya109 shopping center, in the central neighborhood of the same name. The catalog is so large that you could decorate an entire house with objects dedicated to Hello Kitty.
Tokyo is a city full of neko cafes (cafes that lend kittens to their clients) and their equivalent versions with other animal species, from bunnies to owls to porcupines. It's also a place where you can buy the most unique ice cream, in all possible forms, shapes, and colors. If all this doesn't seem Kawaii enough to you, there's even more to discover!