As a home baker, I did research before coming to Tokyo on baking supply stores there. Whenever I go to my local Japanese bookstore in New York City, the Japanese baking books I look at have the cutest and prettiest photos that feature cute baking papers, pretty styling, and gift wrapping ideas and whatever else cute or stylish. Even though I can’t read the recipes, I love looking through the books for inspiration, which subsequently makes me wish I could buy such cute paper goods and things in those baking books! After some research, I found out about Cuoca, a baking supply shop with branches all around Tokyo. The main branch is in Jiyugaoka within the Meguro ward, and when I looked up the location on Google Maps, I started clicking around on other spots on the map; one thing led to the next, and I started building a list of places to visit in Setagaya and Meguro.
One of the things I loved most about Tokyo was our quiet walks through neighborhoods discovering quaint temples, little cute places, and small cafes. The neighborhoods here in Setagaya and Meguro had so many stylish and cute boutiques, cafes, design shops, and restaurants. It was delightful to explore these neighborhoods on a sunny late morning. We went to Onibus Coffee before venturing to Cuoca and ended up talking with a local there who welcomed us to come for tea in his home later on in the day!!! My first look in a Japanese home! It felt a little bit like a dream. He boiled water and steeped fresh mint grown out of his garden in it. The mint “tea” was really fragrant and refreshing. I’d have to say it beats any ole mint teabag I’ve had… He served the tea alongside a plate of his favorite nutty cookies from a local bakery down his block. This visit to his home was welcomingly unexpected and spontaneous, and it made our stay in Japan so much more warmer.
We made a brief stop at Hara Donuts for a snack before making our way to Yakumo Saryo for lunch, where we were too early for our lunch reservation so we waited in their teahouse and had tea and sweets. It was quite the best. More on Yakumo Saryo here.
A wonderful coffee shop with three other locations in Tokyo. The branch we visited was quite small but cozy and welcoming. When we came here, only locals other than us were there, and the barista seemed so close and friendly with them as if they’ve been friends for a long time. We ordered iced lattes with the house blend coffee, and while I don’t drink coffee a lot nor am I an aficionado, the latte was perfectly milky and well balanced.
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Okusawa 5-1-4 | Open 9:00–19:00
This place is heaven for any baker! They stock just about every ingredient, supply, and tool you need for baking, including basic wagashi tools. They also have a separate temperature-controlled room for all kinds of baking chocolate which I was so impressed with. I ended up buying gold leaf flakes and powder, wagashi ceramic and silicone molds, colorful gift wrapping bags, and muffin liners.
〒152-0034 Tokyo, Meguro 緑が丘2丁目25-7 スイーツフォレスト1F | Open 10:00–20:00
These are not the typical doughnuts you’d find in America. These are healthy doughnuts! I first heard of Hara Donuts after seeing a picture of their storefront on Pinterest. The storefront is incredibly cute in person, and the donuts are modestly priced. I bought an orange doughnut to save it for later only to forget about it for 10 hours! I still ate it. I can’t speak on the crumb texture of the doughnuts because mine was dry from probably sitting in my bag for so long, but the flavor is on point!
自由が丘1-3-13 Meguro, 東京都 〒152-0035 | Open 10:00–19:00
Lunch at Yakumo Saryo 八雲茶寮
This place is a beautifully-designed teahouse, shop, and dining area. Reservations are required in advance for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is by invite only. The shop in the storefront sells ceramics and sweets and gifts to take home. Walk-ins are welcome at the teahouse, where visitors can order from a selection of teas and traditional sweets. We came early for our lunch reservation, so we sat at the teahouse for a bit. The downside is there are no English menus here, so we just ordered matcha and three pieces of wagashi that they let us pick. The food is traditional Japanese with a modern take, and the service was just perfect. It is one of my best dining and kaiseki experiences. I made a separate post entirely on this place here. Highly, highly recommend this place if you’re a foodie!
〒152-0023 Tokyo, Meguro, 八雲３丁目４−７ | Open 9:00–17:00
Photography by Ray Sison and me