Japan may be known for its colorful bentos, fresh raw fish (Sashimi), and amazing onsen banquet meals. For me, I come because of their variety of desserts offered.
Going to hunt down specific dessert shops in the alleys of Japan may be harder for people who are new to the area and do not know the language well. Believe me, walking around with a Japanese Google Map in hand and asking people, who are scared & tries to run away because they do not know how to speak English, is not an easy task and can obliterate your festive travel mood.
For those who are new to Tokyo and wants to save yourself some pain with bigger, easier to find targets, I recommend start your dessert hunting trip by going to food court levels (usually B1 or B2 level) of the department stores.
This time I found another department store in Shinjuku – Tokyo, known for its high end products but with amazing yet affordable food court – Isetan Department Store. Do not underestimate the quality of the vendors of food court in Japan. ISETAN Department Store’s food court consists of famous pastry names such as Pierre Herme (Yes, the name reminds me the famous bag brand Hermes), Henri Carpentier (Opened since 1969 and vowed to make people’s pleasant with wonderful desserts as its company mission)…etc
I was drooling with fireworks going off in my head when I saw all the beautiful cakes, macaroons, fruit tarts, and more. My first trophy was the Pudding. Unlike the regular puddings sold in plastic containers at shops, the ones here are in tiny glass jars (made them look like tiny bottles of milk actually).
My second trophy was a jaw dropper: Raspberry Macaroon Tower from Pierre Herme. Pierre Herme is famous for its Macaroons, and the Raspberry Macaroon Tower is their unique variation of what potentials macaroons have in the dessert empire. It was hard for me to bite into it since it looked like an elegant piece of artwork!
Last but not least, I got a fruit tart from Henri Carpentier. Henri Carpentier is famous for its Madeline’s, but I decided to go for the fruit tarts because Japan has good quality fruits here (A good peach in Japan can cost $5 USD to $10 USD each).
Best part is: I bought all those at one destination – ISETAN Department Store. Saved me time and the headache of trying to find specific shops.
If you worry about the hassle it is to carry the dessert back to the hotel and it might melt, don’t be. All the vendors in the department stores will pack your dessert securely with ice packs inside so you can enjoy your desserts later. The single portion desserts’ price ranges from $4 USD to $10 dollars each for a small taste of luxury in the glamorous, shining city of Shinjuku.
ISETAN Department Store Website: http://www.isetan.co.jp/icm2/jsp/store/shinjuku/info/iclub/index.jsp
ISETAN Department Store Address: 東京都新宿区新宿3-14-1, 160-0022, Japan
MAP (From Shinjuku Station to Isetan):