Now, as a foodie, you will probably find most meals a pleasure to look at anyway—the glistening freshness of sashimi, the subtle grandeur of pancakes piled high—but some dishes are designed with presentation in mind. Now, this shouldn’t be the priority of food by any means, after all, what use is a stunning cake that’s dry and bland? None. But sometimes there is delicious food that also happens to be carefully crafted into a thing of beauty, and in Tokyo there are plenty. You might need a sweet tooth to appreciate most of these (and an Instagram account wouldn’t hurt) but don’t let that put you off, if you need to brighten your day or fancy injecting some fun into your food, here are some of the most beautiful foods in Tokyo:
King George’s sandwiches in Daikanyama
Starting with the savory option, the sandwiches at King George’s are nothing short of stunning. Packed to the point of ridiculous with artfully arranged fresh veg, sliced meats and cheese, they are certainly going to fill you up. Depending on whether you design your own or opt for a shop favorite, you’ll be greeted with a sandwich that will dislocate your jaw—and that works better turned sideways as a salad bowl (in my opinion). The one above is the vegetarian option so has more veggies than some other options, and definitely more than your five a day!
There is a shop in Roppongi too, and if you go there we strongly suggest you watch them as they prepare your meal (it’s easier than at Daikanyama due to the counter seats!
Cost: ¥1,400 +
Location: Daikanyama or Roppongi
Totoro cream puffs in Setagaya
If you combine the two best things in the world, it might well lead you to this creation: a cute pastry Totoro filled with custard, and often wearing a hat. Made at Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory tucked away in Setagaya, the small cafe and bakery actually sells great-value homemade pasta lunch sets, as well a this adorable treat. Served with some staples like vanilla custard and chocolate as well as seasonal options including peach and chestnut, you can choose your cutest (and maybe a friend to keep him company) and take them home to enjoy!
Cost: ¥400 per Totoro
Location: A few minutes’ walk from Setagaya-Daita Station on the Odakyu Line
Croissant ice cream at Bondolfi Boncaffe
Again, the merging of two of the world’s most excellent creations: ice cream and croissants, need I say more? At Bondolfi Boncaffe in trendy Daikanyama, you can have seasonal soft serve in a freshly baked croissant cone, meaning there’s a delicious reward for eating your ice cream fast! The croissant is actually really crisp and delicious, and is more than just a show, there is one thing to be warned of however: once you eat this, regular ice cream cones will forever be a slight disappointment.
Location: Bondolfi Boncaffe, Tenoha Daikanyama 20-23, Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo
Rainbow cotton candy in Harajuku
Now a more common sight on the busy Takeshita Street of Harajuku, the rainbow-colored cotton candy is a vision of childhood joy as it has never been known before. Made by Totti Candy Factory, it is one of various options including fewer colors (but why) and a heart-shaped option which is pretty cute too. Although it can be a bit of a sugar hit, it’s big enough to be shared easily and makes a nice change from the crepes everyone else will be queuing for! Have a read of our full article on Harajuku treats for more details.
Cost: ¥900 for 5 colors | ¥600 for 3 colors | ¥500 for 1 color | ¥600 for a heart
Location: Takeshita Street, on the second floor (just look for the teenage girls and selfie sticks on the stairs)
A famous park, a former black market and a whole heap of museums—get to know Ueno:
The many creations of the Dominique Ansel Bakery
Creator of the cronut and all things delicious, Dominique Ansel opened his first Tokyo branch in Omotesando followed recently by a second in Ginza. With a cafe/restaurant upstairs, the ground floor has a relaxed cafe and cabinets filled with the latest and most classic of his creations. From cakes as light as air suspended in balloons to watermelon ice cream and hand-fired s’mores on twigs, the ever-changing highlights set this place apart. It may not be a quiet/little-known/off-the-beaten-path “secret” spot, but it is some of the best fun you’ll have with dessert in Tokyo.
Cost: ¥250 +
Location: Dominique Ansel Bakery, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 5-7-14
Rainbow cheesecake at A Works
A surprisingly risky dessert in Japan (beware the cheddar-flavored sponge that occasionally rears its ugly head), cheesecake is a delicious creation to start with, but it’s even better when it’s multi-colored and topped with cotton candy. This small, unassuming cafe near Gakugei Daigaku Station has a simple and warming menu based around curries and soups, but also a distractedly tempting cabinet filled with fabulous cheesecake.
Whether you prefer unicorn cheesecake (stripes of banana, mint chocolate among st others, topped with burned sugar cream and cotton candy) or rainbow (surprisingly a plain vanilla cheesecake) or fruit (banana and cherry) or one of the many other creations, there’s something for everyone here (as long as you like cheesecake, that is).
Cost: ¥480 a slice
Location: A Works, Takaban 3-3-7, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Animal-themed donuts by Ikumi Mama
With many stalls dotted around the city, popping up at food fairs or in train stations, you might have seen these cute donuts before. Created by Ikumi Mama they have gained popularity for obvious reasons and feature animals like penguins and dogs, so don’t worry if you’re not a cat person. The donuts are firm and the decorative casing is quite thick, and they might not be the most delicious donuts you ever eat, but you try telling that to their little faces.
Cost: ¥280 each
Location: Various, including Jiyugaoka and Kawasaki
Monster Cafe madness
This is an intense experience in itself, but if you’re looking for something unusual for lunch, rainbow pasta or a towering sundae of more colors than you thought possible might just do the trick. Set in one of the four individual seating areas (which include a jellyfish bar and milk parlor), you can enjoy reasonable lunches and groups can share the insane desserts is needed, while cocktails and cupcakes are equally enjoyable. There is an entry fee of 500 yen if it’s your first time visiting, but this is a fun way to get that taste of Tokyo’s crazy side without forking out for the famous robot show. Have a read of our full article for more details.
Cost: ¥550 +
Location: YM square building 4F, 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Photograph the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, wander around the curious and quirky love hotel hill, visit Yoyogi park and Meiji shrine...