Mochi is one of Japan’s most loved treats. They come in various colors, forms, shapes, flavors, and sizes, but common to all are their distinct characteristics of being soft and chewy rice cakes with an often-sweet center. Made of pasty glutinous rice, mochi is enjoyed throughout the year, most especially during seasonal holidays like the New Year. During such times, special varieties are prepared and sold in shops as part of the holiday celebrations.
It is common to find a shop or stall selling mochi in almost every corner of Japan – in subways stations, in depachika (department store food market section), and even at convenience stores. But if the best ones are what you’re after, you can never go wrong with specialty shops and restaurants. Tokyo has several of these establishments – here are the 10 best places to go for mochi desserts in Tokyo.
1. Seigetsudo (清月堂 本店) in Ginza
Seigetsudo Honten is a long-standing confectionery shop in Tokyo. Their flagship store in Ginza has been in operation since 1907 and for over a hundred years, they’ve been serving the public a wide array of traditional Japanese sweets like mochi. Among their selection, the Goma Mochi is one of their bestsellers – a bite-sized mochi with black sesame and azuki bean filling.
Aside from their store in Ginza, they also have stalls scattered all over Tokyo – in Shibuya Mark City, Daimaru Tokyo, and Tokyo Station Ichibangai, among many others. On the other hand, the second floor of their Ginza branch is also a café where you can enjoy matcha and mochi desserts. You may visit their website (address provided below) for more details.
5 min. walk from Higashi-Ginza Station
13 min. walk from Shimbashi Station
7-16-15 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
Monday to Friday 9:30 am - 7 pm and 11 am - 5:30 pm (Ginza branch café)
Saturday 9:30 am - 6 pm
Closed on Sundays & Holidays
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.seigetsudo-honten.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
2. Kuuya (空也) in Ginza
Kuuya’s Monaka is extremely popular that you can’t buy one without a reservation. Monaka is not a mochi cake but is instead a Japanese sweet made of mochi flour wafers and an azuki bean filling. Lots of other dessert shops also make this type, but Kuuya’s is rather iconic because of its 131-year history – first served in 1884 and has been delighting generations of Tokyoites ever since.
3 min. walk from Ginza Station Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
6-7-19 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
Monday to Friday 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
Closed on Sundays
Price: ~ ¥1000 to ¥1999
3. Mizuho (瑞穂) in Harajuku
Mizuho sells one of the best Mame Daifuku in Tokyo. It is often sold out by late afternoon and rightfully so. Compared to others in the market, their version of this mochi ball is generous – almost the size of a fist, with a rich and smooth consistency for the azuki bean paste inside. Just by holding one in your hand and judging by its size, weight, and tenderness, you can already tell that it’s of high quality. It’s definitely worth the buzz.
2 min. walk from Meiji-jingumae Station
6-8-7 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo
Monday to Saturday 8:30 am until sold out
Price: ~ ¥999
4. Michikusa Mochi (みちくさ餅) in Oshiage
Michikusa Mochi is a rice cake shop located on the ground floor of Tokyo Solamachi Mall. Snack on one (or two) of their popular mochi on sticks while sightseeing in and around Tokyo Skytree area. Some of the favorites are Dengaku Warabi Mochi (jelly-like mochi covered in roasted soybean flour), Aburi Mochi (grilled mochi basted in thick sauce), and toasted Michi Kusa Mochi (grass mochi filled with red bean paste).
5 min. walk from Oshiage Sta. Toei Asakusa Line
1-1-2 Oshiage Sumida Tokyo
Monday to Sunday 10 am - 9 pm
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.shinkine.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
5. Shiono (塩野) in Akasaka
Shiono is highly regarded for their seasonal creations. Their sweets are works of edible art that are too beautiful to eat, but at the same time too delicious not to. They always give their customers something to look forward to with the change of the seasons.
Along with these fancy limited editions, they also offer mochi sweets and other Japanese dessert staples to enjoy all year long. For instance, their Mame Daifuku is definitely loved by their customers.
1 min. walk from Akasaka Station Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
2 chome-13-2 Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo
Monday to Friday 9 am - 7 pm
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 9 am - 5 pm
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.siono.jp/ (Japanese only)
6. Oiwake Dango Honpo (追分だんご本舗) in Shinjuku
Dango are Japanese dumplings made of the same type of Japanese sticky rice used for mochi. Technically not mochi, but the two are similar enough to be generally considered one and the same. Oiwake in Shinjuku is a great place to sample this type of dessert. They have a nice selection of sweet and savory pastes, and you can order a set menu of two Dango skewers and tea.
3 min. walk from Shinjukusanchome Station Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line
3-1-22 Shinjuku Shinjuku, Tokyo
Monday to Sunday 10 am – 8:30 pm
Closed on New Year’s Day
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.oiwakedango.co.jp (Japanese only)
7. Gion Tokuya (ぎおん 徳屋) in Harajuku
Originally from Kyoto, Gion Tokuya is a classy dining space in Harajuku that serves quite elegant Japanese dessert dishes. Only made from the finest ingredients, their menu includes Kakigori (shaved ice dessert), Anmitsu (agar jelly dessert), sweet bean soup, and various kinds of mochi. The house specialty is the Hanami Komochi – an eight-piece set of plain rice cakes that you grill on your table, to be paired with five different kinds of ingredients that go well with it.
11 min. walk from JR Harajuku Station
2-31-12 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo
Monday to Friday 12 am - 8 pm
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 11 am - 8 pm
Price: ~ ¥1,000 to ¥1,999
Website: http://www.united-arrows.jp/harajuku/womens/tokuya/index.html (Japanese only)
8. Sentaro (仙太郎) in Ikebukuro
Also from Kyoto and equally refined, Sentaro delivers only the finest and delectable traditional Japanese confections. Their products are known for using only natural ingredients – no preservatives and artificial colors, and not using much sugar. For their mochi, check out their seasonal Uguisu Mochi, a mochi cake made with green soybean powder. It is named after a Japanese bird associated with the coming of spring, and is usually made available from January to February.
1 min. walk from JR Ikebukuro Station
1F Tobu Department Store Main Building
1-1-25 Nishiikebukuro Toshima Tokyo
Monday to Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday 10 am - 8 pm
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.sentaro.co.jp (Japanese only)
9. Shiroi Kuro (しろいくろ) in Azubu Juban
Shiroi Kuro is a concept dessert café that focuses on Japanese sweets and pastries made with black soybeans. They use only high-quality beans sourced from Tamba in Kyoto, and they are most popular for their Shiomame Daifuku – salted mochi with black soybean paste for the filling. It is best paired with Kuromame Cha, a tea that hints of black soybean aroma.
To go perfectly with their classy menu, the café boasts of nice interiors. Its minimalist design goes well with their “white/black” concept, derived from the literal meaning of Shiroi Kuro, as well as the dominant color palette of their creations.
7 min. walk Azubu Juban Station Tokyo Metro Nanbuko Line
2-8-1 Azabujuban Minato Tokyo
Monday to Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.shiroikuro.com (Japanese only)
10. Momotarou (桃太郎) in Asakusa
僕は浅草のこの豆餅と焼きだんごが大好きです。 pic.twitter.com/3pHMySS18O— マドカ (@urdyen) February 24, 2014
Momotarou is a small neighborhood shop near Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It is famous for its Yakidango, grilled Dango rice balls dipped in soy sauce. These savory desserts make for good walking companions while exploring Asakusa’s touristy streets.
5 min. walk from Tawaramachi Station Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
2-13-10 Nishiasakusa Taito Tokyo
Monday to Sunday 9:30 am - 6 pm
Sometimes closed on Wednesdays
Website: https://twitter.com/AsakusaMomotaro (Japanese only)
Thumbnail image is from Flickr