Tokyo’s strawberry dessert heaven


Entering the ANA Intercontinental Hotel Lobby for the Strawberry Sensations Festival was beyond my expectations. The lobby was filled with the aroma of strawberries, probably because 150,000 strawberries were used to make all the desserts. There was a tower of 6,000 macaroons made from real strawberries standing at the center of the lobby. I enjoyed adoring all the sweets they had on display, including fresh strawberries in cute wooden crates. A woman was playing the harp while many people took pictures of what I could only describe as a small piece of heaven. After enjoying a little bit of champagne, everyone went upstairs for the actual tasting.


I was in immediate disbelief at what was before my eyes. There were perhaps about 100 types of desserts to choose from, all arranged so beautifully that I felt almost guilty for taking one and ruining the perfect harmony that each plate of desserts had to offer.


The most impressive was the strawberry macaroon. I’ve never been a fan of macaroons, but that may be because the ones I had eaten before were all made in America. They were always dry, artificially colored and flavored, and too sweet to enjoy. But at the Strawberry Sensations Festival, I was shocked at how soft the inside was, and how the taste of real strawberries was the main flavor.


I’ve never had such an amazing macaroon in my life, especially one that didn’t leave me thirsty. All the desserts were amazing as well, not too overpowering of strawberry-flavor, just the right amount. Many of the dishes used the strawberries as a whole (not mixed into the dough/cream) and gave a fresh taste to my palate. Some of these desserts that included whole strawberries were the dorayaki, shortcake, mont blanc, and berry tart, to name just a few.



The desserts that did mix the strawberries into the food (such as the vanilla-strawberry cream, cream puff, strawberry fondue or waffle cone) had such a light flavor of strawberry that I could taste its authenticity, as opposed to the artificial flavors I’m used to having in the States. Every single strawberry that I had was consistently sweet and never lost its flavor, even with the addition of the accompanying sugars.


A few of the shocking dishes were still quite delectable. There was a ham and strawberry pizza that did not taste like a dessert at all because the flavor of the strawberry crust was very subtly incorporated into the whole. The other strawberry oddity was a wrap of spinach and cheese. I think the salty flavors were stronger than the strawberry bread, and so it didn’t upset my taste buds. It was just shocking to see pink-colored bread and discover that it was savory instead of sweet. Perhaps this was made on purpose as a mind-game. Personally, I preferred the sweet strawberries over these salty strawberry treats but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

I especially enjoyed the white strawberries. Just the arrangement of the white strawberries in a glass bowl and on a 3-tier plate gave me the impression of elegance, luxury, and refinement. The white strawberries really looked like jewels that were on exquisite display.


I realized for the first time that food can really be a beautiful art that people can enjoy. I had never tried a white strawberry before this day, so to have finally tried one is a complete rarity that not many outside of Japan can experience. The difference was quite extraordinary! I was expecting a subtle and sour flavor, but to my surprise, it was delicately sweet with a pinch of tartness to it. It was honestly like a magic show of flavor happening. The burst of tartness was really something that I’ve never experienced with fruit, let alone any food. It’s an experience that I don’t think I’ll ever forget for the rest of my life.


Strawberry Sensations Festival

Date: From 1 January to 31 March 2018
Place: Restaurants and bars at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel
Cost: Each restaurant and bar offers different desserts individually priced, there are also unique tasting courses, for example, the “Strawberry Afternoon Tea” at the Atrium Lounge features several strawberry-themed desserts for 4,500 per person if reserved online.
Address: 1-12-33 Akasaka Minato-ku Tokyo, 107-0052
Access: One-minute walk from Tameike-sanno Station (Exit 13) on the Namboku and Ginza Subway line.
URL: Visit the hotel’s website here.


Christine Nguyen
After graduating from the States, I came to Japan to teach English. I studied abroad in Yamaguchi for one year and loved it so much that I wanted to return to live here. When people ask me why I love Japan, it’s very hard for me to answer with a quick response. There’s so much- Where do I even begin? I love how considerate, generous and respectful the people are. I love the attention to detail Japan has to everything. I love the sound of the language, as well as the written combinations of hiragana, katakana, and kanji. I love the nature that Japan has to offer, especially the beautiful moss that grows in old places. I love the food, skill and care given to each dish. I love the feeling of cleanliness, heritage, and advancement that Tokyo encompasses. I love how Japan values quality, whether it be from a stationery set to a bag, you can easily find a good one anywhere.
But besides my love for Japan, I also have other things that I’m passionate about. I love to paint using watercolors, especially that of sweets(you can see my paintings on instagram). I also enjoy playing piano, especially Joe Hisaishi songs. I also really enjoy studying Japanese!


Ninja ID: nguyen

Look for sweets made by locals with plenty of love

Expect a vibrant spring and summer after the long and formidable winter!
Be amazed by Tohoku’s sweets and fruits.


The sight of ice cream being sold under colorful parasols on the streets may be reminiscent of tropical countries and seaside resorts, but here in Akita prefecture, the sight of little old ladies selling ice cream on a regular roadside is commonplace.
This ice cream is called Babahera, a specialty of Akita. “Baba” refers to an elderly lady, while “hera” is the spatula that they use to shape the pink (strawberry flavor) and yellow (banana flavor) ice cream into a flower with practiced ease.

Cherry Parfait

A variety of Yamagata’s delicious cherries top this luxurious parfait. Dig deep to discover the different unique ingredients that make up this multi-layered treat and compare the various cherries. The only time to enjoy this piece of art is during the cherry season, which usually starts in June.

Unique Christmas Desserts

Just as the seasons inspire traditional Japanese confectionery, the Western-style shops are inspired as well. Especially during Christmas season!

Snowglobe Dessert (1,200 yen)

PR Times

Working Holiday Connection is collaborating with a café in Harajuku to raise money for people who want to make a change abroad. Only available from Dec. 16th, 2016 – Dec. 25th, 2016. Be quick to grab these adorable snowglobes as the café only has 60 seats. The main components are pistacchio and raspberry mousse, champagne jelly and cake pieces. Truly a Christmas delight!

Working Holiday Connection
Harajuku Omotesando YM square shop
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Jingumae 4-chome 31-10 YM square Harajuku 2F
4-31-10, Jinguumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11am – 11pm every day
TEL: 03-6434-0359

2016 Kid’s Dream Cake (5,400 yen)

Christmas Cake
PR Times

Well-known bakery chain “Ginza Cozy Corner” launched a competition to design your Christmas Dream Cake, and this is the grand prize winner! Chosen from 17,663 participants, 5-year old Manami Hirano’s design won the honor of being realised in cake form. Her “Christmas Rainbow Cake” can only be pre-ordered and there is a limited quantity of 200 cakes. Each cake serves about 6-7 portions.

Ginza Cozy Corner
Shop list (600 shops all over Japan):
Order deadline: until Dec. 18th, 2016
Delivery/Pick-up date: Dec. 23-24-25, 2016

Christmas Doughnuts (190 yen ~)

PR Times

If you’re not into the classic Christmas Cake, here are some Christmas doughnuts! Floresta is known for its animal doughnuts that now received a Christmas twist. Besides the cute designs, there are also walnut and rum doughnuts for a limited time during Christmas. Your friends will be surprised when you bring this tasty alternative to a Christmas party. Floresta uses all-natural ingredients from Hokkaido such as flour and soymilk.

Shop list: (Japanese only)
Limited until Dec. 25th, 2016

Christmas Tree Pancake Parfait (1,790 yen)

PR Times

Since its opening last year the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku has been charming diners with colorful dishes and crazy concoctions. Ingredients of this parfait are green tea mousse, cheese mousee and vanilla ice cream. This Christmas tree and snowman are made from cake and more ice cream.

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku
Shibuya Jingumae 4-31-10 YM square 4F
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am – 4:30pm (lunch) 6pm – 10:30pm (dinner) / Sunday 11am – 8:30pm

Christmas Trifle (800 yen)

PR Times

Cute little strawberry Santas on top of fruit-filled layers. No sugary whipped cream is used so you can savor all the natural flavors.

Nicolas House Harajuku
Limited time menu until Dec. 30th, 2016
address: Shibuya-ku Jingumae 4-26-5 1.2F
Hours: Weekdays 11am – 8pm (last order at 7pm) , Weekends 10am – 8pm (last order at 7pm)

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Special Edition Halloween Snacks

Not only people like to transform during Halloween, food does too! Japanese like to be in touch with the seasons and want their food to reflect that. Resulting in some amazing special edition snacks you can only get during Halloween!

Lipton Tea – Halloween version

Colder times mean warm drinks. Lipton knows this and treats us to some very delicious looking limited edition teas. The new crème brûlée tea got a Halloween makeover and is ready to parade with the blueberry muffin and apple pie tea. Even the tea bags are into trick-or-treating.

Lipton Tea
[Edited] Image Credit: PR Times

Sapporo Otoko Ume Sour

Popular beer brewer Sapporo brings us this “manly” plum drink for Halloween called “Otoko Ume Sour”. During ancient times eating a plum was believed to ward off evil. If you prefer to be one of the monsters instead, Sapporo has made a fun application to turn your photo into a traditional Japanese demon here.

Image Credit: PR Times

Pie no Mi

This popular puff pastry is all dressed up and ready for Halloween. The inside is still the traditional chocolate filling, but here’s an editor’s tip to make this snack more appropriate for the season. Heat the individual pastries in the microwave for a few seconds and you have yourself a snack with a warm chocolate filling that is sure to keep the chills away.

Image Credit: PR Times

Pumpkin Bran Flakes

Jack the Pumpkin King, Jack-o’-Lantern,… Everyone has heard of the famous pumpkins from Halloween. No wonder this orange vegetable is a crucial ingredient in any October-themed snack, or in this case, breakfast. Kellogg’s keeps it traditional with their Pumpkin Bran Flakes.

Image Credit: PR Times


Koala’s March

A staple in Asian supermarkets overseas, these koalas never disappoint in deliciousness. Every individual cookie has a special chocolate imprint with a funny character. This special Halloween edition features new designs, so be sure not to get spooked when you open your package. This snack is also seen as a lucky item.

Image Credit: PR Times

Choco Pie & Custard Cake

These classic Japanese snacks still taste the same during Halloween but their covers are definitely different. Both choco pies and custard cakes are individually wrapped and ready to surprise you with their special October design. Can you discover how many different types of wrapper designs there are?


[Edited] Image Credit: PR Times

Ginza Cozy Corner’s monthly cake-set

Japanese people love food. They’re willing to line up for hours to enter popular restaurants and cafés, and they value taste as well as the appearance of the dishes. Therefore, cooks and pastry chefs are always making new improvements on their creations whether it is the taste or the arrangement of the menu to satisfy the high expectations of their guests.

Ginza Cozy Corner is one of the most popular pastry factories in Japan, establishing its first shop in January, 1948 in Tokyo´s Ginza district. Throughout the decades, the company has opened 400 shops, including cafés, restaurants and take-out shops all throughout Japan.

A cake set which comes with 9 delicacies is one of the highlights of Ginza Cozy Corner’s take-out shops. The variety and taste changes monthly and features a different theme each time.

Until July 31st, the cake set theme was Alice in Wonderland, celebrating the new movie that was recently released in Japan. The cakes come in a beautiful designed box. If you have a long way to your destination, don´t worry, they will put ice packs inside the box, so that the cakes will stay fresh until you arrive.


The artwork is very pretty and promotes the little cakes very well.


Each piece features a character or item of the fairy tale and was additionally decorated with little plastic parts contributing to the atmosphere.


1 Tea jelly (Earl Grey)
2 Tea with milk pudding
3 Banana fresh cream & raspberry jam tart
4 Lemon fresh cream & tea cake
5 Pistachio fresh cream & apricot jam tart
6 White chocolate fresh cream cake
7 White chocolate mint fresh cream tart
8 Raspberry cream swiss roll with strawberry jam
9 White chocolate fresh cream & raspberry jam tart


Now we’re all set for a Mad Tea-Party in the world of Alice!

Starting August 1st, the new line of cakes features a refreshing summer theme, which seems to be a big hit during these humid hot days!


The name of the product is “Petite Selection - refreshing cool fruits” and contains the following delicacies: 1 Lemon Tart, 2 Mango Pudding, 3 Kiwi Tart, 4 Peach Jelly, 5 Strawberry Mousse, 6 Soda Jelly, 7 Fruit Tart, 8 Passion-Mango Mousse, 9 Blueberry Tart.

Get your cake set at your nearest branch of Ginza Cozy Corner!


Ginza Cozy Corner – Shinjuku Station South Exit Branch
Hours: 9am – 11pm
Period: Aug. 1-31
Price: 2,268 yen (tax included)
Access: JR Shinjuku Station – South Exit within the ticket gate area.
Address: 3-38-1 Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0022 Tokyo
URL: Ginza Cozy Corner

Ninja ID: nene16



Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Best Matcha Parfait in Kyoto

Matcha is loved all over Japan and foreigners are joining in on the powdered green tea hype. The delicious multi-layered dessert called “parfait” is very popular in Japan and many cafés have at least one on their menu. Now combine this tasty treat with all the goodness of green tea and you get an amazing Matcha Parfait!

The best matcha – and parfaits – are found in Kyoto at Tsujiri. This shop has been specialized in matcha since 1860. The founder Riemon made many important contributions to the tea industry such as inventing the tea cabinet and enhancing tea flavors. Tsujiri has always used tea from Uji near Kyoto, the best area for green tea in Japan.


Walking in the Gion area of Kyoto you might miss this small shop as it completely blends into the street with similar facades. On the first floor you can buy take-out sweets and souvenirs. But where we really want to go is the second and third floord, Tsujiri Café. If you can’t read Japanese, don’t worry! The café has English menus available.


Out of all the amazing parfaits to choose from I decided to go with the current Spring Special parfait and once the parfait came I did not regret my decision for even a second. It was a beautiful creation of variatons of ice cream, matcha jelly, dango, matcha cream, cookies and crunchy flakes.


Even the coaster was so pretty that I had to take it home with me as a souvenir.


The interior of the shop is very Japanese and just invites you to sit down and relax.

P1050374P1050376If you are in Kyoto, a visit to this café is sure to delight any sweets and tea lover.



573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa Shijo Dori Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074.

Hours: open every day from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.


Ohanami Sweet Treats

Ohanami is the Japanese word for cherry blossom viewing. There is a Japanese saying, “Hana yori mochi”, which means “Rice ball rather than flowers” – referring for the tendency for people’s practical preference for some edible delight rather than enjoying the beauty of the sakura above them.

With sweets as delightful as these, little wonder that the mochi wins our hearts and stomachs!

Sakura mochi


Sakura mochi is a piece of mochi dyed pink, which is filled with sweet bean paste and then partially wrapped with a salted cherry leaf. You can choose to eat the leaf or not. It is said that sakura mochi was invented in Tokyo during the Edo period.

Ohanami dango


A pink, white, and green dango on a stick is called O-Hanami Dango.  There are many stories about the colors of the dango.  The pink and white are said to bring good luck, and green is known to ward off evil.

Ichigo daifuku



Also known as strawberry daifuku, this is a strawberry wrapped in chewy mochi skin. Because of its connection to the seasonal fruit, it is often eaten during springtime.



Nerikiri are Japanese sweets in different shapes that reflect the season. They’re made from white kidney bean paste (shiro-an) and soft mochi.

Sakura manjyu

Manjyu dough is also made with rice but it is different from mochi. Sakura Manjyu is filled with sweet bean paste and sometimes there is a cherry leaf on top.



And many more…

Of course there are many other sakura-themed sweets. Every spring confectionery manufacturers release limited-edition sakura version of food and drinks. So if you look around Japanese stores in springtime, you will see the famous pink flowers everywhere. Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the view though!