The themed-cafe/restaurant scene in Japan is definitely a vibrant one. There’s just something for everyone.
- Animal cafes (dogs, cats, reptiles, owls and even hedgehogs)
- Butlers & Maid Cafes
- Ninja, Robot Restaurant
- Cartoon Cafes (Hello Kitty, Pom Pom Purin, Rilakkuma)
Well the list goes on and in my trip, I managed to squeeze in a visit to the cafe which sells adorable Totoro Cream Puff.
The cafe is situated westwards of Tokyo City. It might look a little way off from all the attractions but it is actually not too far away from Shinjuku & Shibuya. The train ride was less than 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station if you’re traveling on the Odakyu Line.
Not many might know but Shimokitazawa area is also known for being a Hipster part of Tokyo. We didn’t have time to explore the area as we were running on a very tight schedule that morning.
The cafe is situated among a residential district (at least it looks like one) and it somewhat reminds me of the neighbourhood of Simon & Martina (although it is not) or perhaps Doremon; where the houses are mainly 2 floors and neatly but tightly built. Anyway, it is about 10 minutes walk from Shimokitazawa Station. You can also stop at Setagaya-Daita station, which is nearer to the cafe but there’s lesser frequency of trains.
It is a two-storey corner bakery/cafe whereby you can purchase takeaway items from the bakery on the first floor. If you choose to dine in (they have lunch sets from 1000Y if I’m not wrong), you will have to go up to the second floor.
Despite reaching the cafe at about 11am, there were no seats available for us. The cafe’s seating capacity was very limited, perhaps 20 or less. We were told to write our names on a paper and waited downstairs for our turn.
We waited for about 20-30 minutes before getting a seat. Thankfully the weather was not too hot and the wait was somewhat bearable.
Green Tea Latte – nothing special.
Pasta – I think it was bamboo shoot and Mentaiko. It might not look like a huge serving but I was struggling to finish that plate! The taste exceeded my expectations and it was all good!
Anyway, do note that the price of the Cream Puff is slightly more expensive if you choose to dine in. If I’m not wrong, it is 485Y for the Matcha Totoro that I ate. Anyway, the method that I use to eat Totoro Cream Puff was observed by the person siting opposite me. Since it is such a kawaii food, it is heart-wrenching to gobble it down the way it is. Thus, I start by eating the back, emptying the cream and leaving the face for the last bite.
#toomucheffort but oh wells.
Taste verdict – to me, the crust was nothing extraordinary but the green tea cream was perfect! there were even some azuki (red) beans inside too!
In all honesty, the puff was seriously overpriced but if you are a fan of studio ghibli and Totoro, you might not want to give this a miss!
Since I “star” many locations in my Google Map as my future to-go places, I noticed that the Fortune Cat Shrine was only 2 stations away from this totoro bakery!
We took the train from Setagaya-Daita to Gotokuji Station. Do note that as Setagaya-Daita is a smaller station, you will have to wait longer as the train frequency is lesser.
The walk from Gotokuji was slightly confusing and we followed the route recommended by Google Maps. Initially, we were walking along the path with banners (featuring fortune cat) but we diverted away from that road after a while, trusting google maps more. However, we ended up at the back entrance of the shrine and we thought that the shrine was closed.
Thankfully, we continued walking around the boundary and finally found the entrance.
Anyway, if you’re fortunate enough to find my blog, please follow the red lines that I have drawn or at least remember the entrance (Red star below) of the shrine or risk walking a big loop.
As you can see in the photo above, I marked out a yellow star and labeled it Fortune Cat Area. Prior to visiting this shrine, I imagined in my head that there would be a massive “Zhao Cai Mao” greeting me at the entrance or that every single corner within this shrine would have the fortune cat but
Prior to visiting this shrine, I imagined in my head that there would be a massive “Zhao Cai Mao” greeting me at the entrance or that every single corner within this shrine would have the fortune cat but reality was far from my imagination. Within this entire area/boundary labeled “Gohtokuji”, the Fortune cat area is only limited to a small section at the yellow star area.
Photos of the Fortune Cat area:
Video of the area – there’s a special snapchat filter when you’re there! Maybe there’s like hundreds or even thousands of them here?
A video posted by flyhoneystars (@flyhoneystars) on
To be honest, it is quite a small area but I guess it is able to earn a record as being the location with the highest concentration of “Fortune Cats” in one area.
Nevertheless, we were glad to find a counter at the main shrine (look for this huge standee below) and they did sell the exact fortune cat design in various sizes. I bought 2 charms and took a fortune slip.
To read more about this shrine and see more photos you can refer to this link: http://aroundtokyo.net/blog/gotokuji/ or here . It is pretty comprehensive.
If you want to know more about this cat – the colour and whether it is raising the left or right hand – please read this other entry.
Anyway, when we were leaving, there was an elderly man who stopped us and pointed us to stare at the top of the pagoda. We couldn’t understand him at all but we soon realise that he wanted us to see this cat which is either stuck or belong to the roof at the pagoda. I’m pretty puzzled as to why it is there but we couldn’t communicate due to the language barrier. Oh wells.
After leaving this shrine, we walked towards Kyodo Station (as directed by Google Maps) to take a train to Harajuku.
Not sure if I will recommend this shrine to anyone as it is kind of out of the way from the other attractions.
However, it is definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of this cute little cat!