Whether you’re a hardcore Ghibli fan or a casual viewer, you can’t deny that Totoro, the titular character of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film, My Neighbor Totoro and mascot for Studio Ghibli is one of the cutest and most iconic creations to grace Japanese animation.
If you’ve visited the Ghibli Museum and are craving more Totoro – you can get a taste of this kawaii character at Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory in Setagaya-Daita, Tokyo!
Tucked away in a cozy, residential neighbourhood, Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory was opened by none other than the sister-in-law of Studio Ghibli’s founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki. It is the only bakery in the world that currently has official permission from the studio itself to churn out sweets and pastries in the shape of Totoro, so you can be assured you’re getting the real deal.
Like the Ghibli Museum, eating here is like stepping into someone’s home for afternoon tea, with cozy vibes and furnishings all around. The two-storey, Western-style building is home to a bakery for takeaways on the first level, and a compact dining space on the second. Try to spot the various Ghibli-themed plushies scattered around!
With only five to six tables, the cafe is very cozy. Needless to say, be prepared to queue a fair bit if you’re looking to dine in. Otherwise, you can get the cream puffs to go from the bakery. It’s fairly easy to lose yourself in the intimate atmosphere and leave the bustle of the city at the door.
Now for the moment of truth – the Totoro Cream Puff (¥460- ¥500)! There are actually nine flavours available, seven of which are seasonal and rotate throughout the year. You can tell them apart by the hat or leaf ornament on their ears. They are:
- Custard (regular)
- Chocolate (regular)
- Strawberry (seasonal)
- Peach (seasonal)
- Chestnut (seasonal)
- Caramel banana (seasonal)
- Matcha (seasonal)
- Mango (seasonal)
- Raspberry (seasonal)
Safe to say, the Totoro Cream Puffs are absolutely adorable and it’s almost a crime to break them apart to get to the creamy interior! The pastry is firm yet airy, so no worries about them puffs being overly dense. It seems like the secret of a good Japanese-style confectionary is in how light its pastry is.
As for the cream, it’s well-flavoured, yet light. I was able to polish off two puffs without much trouble (and ahem on top of a main course). The custard is a classically sweet flavour, while the raspberry packs some tartness that offsets the richness of the cream. I wonder how they’d hold up in warmer temperatures, though.
There are supposedly only 200 puffs produced each day, so do visit early if you want to get your hands on one (or more)!
While most visit Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory for its titular cream puffs, there are also main dishes that you can have a proper meal with. These are mostly Japanese takes on Western dishes, such as Seafood Pasta (¥1,350) and Croque Madame (¥1,100). They’re pretty ordinary-tasting, as far as Western dishes go in Japan, but enough to keep you full and a nice change from the typical sushi.
With Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory located a five to ten-minute train ride from Shinjuku, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on this cafe. Alternatively, you can also head to their takeout-only outlet in nearby Kichijoji. I sure am glad to have finally checked out these popular puffs after multiple trips to Tokyo!
Address: 5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0033
Nearest Station: Setagaya-Daita
Wednesday to Monday: 10.30am – 7pm
Closed on Tuesday
Contact: +81 3 5787 6221