When I was in Arashiyama I got to try tons of traditional sweets and eat Kyoto Obanzai. What’s Kyoto Obanzai? Obanzai (おばんざい) is the homestyle cuisine of Kyoto. Severed with several side dishes. Kyoto doesn’t really have a lot of local cuisine unlike the rest of Japan. Kaiseki (懐石料理), the process of serving a course meal of traditional Japanese cuisine, started in Kyoto. Kaiseki now that’s pretty much the fancy way of eating and if you visit any onsen (hot bath) they do a Kaiseki.

My Obanzai since it was in Arashiyama was Shojin Ryori (精進料理) which is Buddhist monk food. Mainly tofu based. The Arashiyama district of Kyoto is well known for its Shojin Ryori mixed with Obanzai. Although I’m unsure how the flavor the broth, it was a mostly vegetarian meal.

I also got to savor lots of traditional Japanese sweets at a small sweets stall.

Saga Tofu

嵯峨とうふ (website)
address: 右京区嵯峨天龍寺北造路町46-2

Saga Tofu is on the main drag of Arashiyama near Tenryu-ji

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The top floor was for the savory diners and the bottom was for desserts.

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Obanzai contained

Chawan Mushi (egg custard)
Yomogi and Seitan sticks with fermented soy paste
Light brown miso soup
5-grain rice
Warabi which is peanut powder covered mochi
Big bowl has tofu and fermented miso in a shabu broth
Pickled vegetables
Grayish square Gomadoufu (ごま豆腐) is Homeade seasame seeds crushed and chilled like tofu

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5grain rice. Thank you nice restaurants in Japan for giving healthier options instead of just plain white rice.

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Chawan Mushi or an egg custard. Often filled with fish, this one was vegetarian.

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The main course. A hot pot of tofu, vegetables and ginger in a thick shabu sauce that was bubbling when it arrived to me.

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Warabi covered in peanut powder. The knife was to cut it, but it was still a trial to eat with.

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The Yomogi and Seitan sticks with soy paste. Sweet but not too sweet.

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You could see the lovely koyo (autumn leaves) outside.

Kumiage Yuba

I went back earlier this year with my man and while he got the Obanzai. I got the Kumiage Yuba (the top left option on the menu). Kumiage Yuba is fresh tofu skin in soy milk served warm.

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My whole spread similar to the Obanzai extras. The Kumiage Yuba is on the top in an interesting bamboo-shaped pot.

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Close-up of the Kumiage Yuba and its two flavoring sauces which were were asked to dip in.

This time I got English instructions (on the left). When I was alone eating my Obanzai I didn’t.

It was really tasty and I never thought about warm soy milk as a savory meal.


Traditional Japanese Sweets in Arashiyama

This is a stall that can be found if you turn right once you’re on the main drag of Arashiyama walking from the train station. Left is to Tenryu-ji. Right is several shops and a selection of food stalls open all year. You can also stumble onto it after visiting the bamboo forest.

I really recommend it as a place to get some tasty Japanese sweets and energy up for the hikes ahead in Arashiyama.

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I stopped by this traditional desserts shop not once but thrice to get my fill of tasty desserts. I really love traditional Japanese desserts. I know I post a lot of cake places, but my preference is snacks that are not too sweet.

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Black Koto-imo (古都芋) a sweet potato and black seasame cake. It’s an Arashiyama traditional sweet. It looks like a brick but it was nicely packed with delicious sweet potato.

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Yomogi Mochi Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子) dipped in fermented soy sauce. Bitter and slighty sweet mix.

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I went back to the sweet stall in Spring and luckily I got my man to hold them all so I could take good pics.

Iced matcha for the Spring weather. Along with another Koto-imo, a Hanami Dango (花見団子) and an Imo-Manjuu (芋饅頭) or sweet potato bun. Hanami Dango come always in 3 colors and their only for sakura season. I love sakura season. Thank you traditional sakura season foods!

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All that sweet potato and mochi. It was really delicious!!

I want to eat more traditional desserts.  :loveword:

No matter what time of year you’re in Kyoto I really recommend these two spots. Their delicious and easy to get to if you’re in Arashiyama. I want to try more places when I’m back in two weeks for koyo but I doubt I will find any as convenient.

I have some Hiroshima koyo posts coming up along with contact lens and eating healthy. Stay tuned!

Update! Google Maps of my Kyoto Food and Sweets recommendations

I love Arashiyama! I’ve got more Arashiyama posts coming for Sakura season but please enjoy the previous Fall posts and monkeys

More Kyoto posts? I’ve got you covered from tourist things to gyaru and fashion

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After seeing these animal donuts I wonder if I should just turn this into a food blog, because sometimes this blogger spends the whole day in workout clothes despite only working out for an hour. However, I can always eat! Especially when its super cute animal donuts from Floresta Donuts.

Floresta’s animal donuts are blogged about everywhere scoring a billion notes on tumblr and scoring the adoration of Kotaku. But they’re actually deeper and better than just being cute!

 

Floresta Donuts is Organic, Natural and Local

Floresta (site) was started in Nara, Japan (famed home of the semi-tame deer) in 2002 by a husband and wife who wanted to make donuts that were “Nature Donuts”. That meant using local ingredients and all natural items from organically farmed sources. They focus on small batch regional production. The outcome is a deliciously light and not-too-sweet donut.
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Floresta’s tiny shop in Koenji. Theres no inside just a few sit-down chairs if you’d like to enjoy there. Floresta’s store placement seems to focus on neighborhoods where people can pick up their donuts on their way home.

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They have regular deals on their basics. All Floresta donuts are cake based.

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Here’s their basic lineup, which is tasty.

But I know you’re here for the animal donuts.

Floresta Animal Donuts

 

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The cuteness in edible form! Sakura season special bear and chicken sakura donuts.

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Look at that happy donut hole bear donut. Like he has a pool floaty of donut goodness.

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So simple but so cute! Chicken sakura season gentei Floresta animal donut.

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Their regular animal donuts are still super cute! Pandas, bees, tigers, seals, rabbits and more animal donuts. Each store will list a monthly schedule of what days of the week each animal is coming out. Not all animals are available everyday. For a list of all regular animals check their site.

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Regular animal donut line-up! Cat donut. This was one of their first designs. They use almonds for ears.

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My favorite the Floresta seal donut. Check out that cute expression! Again almonds for flippers.

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Seconds before it went into my mouth.

If you’re not a donut fan, they also do traditional desserts, shaved ice (during summer) and “nature icecream”

Finding Floresta

If you’re visiting Tokyo there are two stores in the area. The closest and easiest is Koenji. Which is a terrific neighborhood with tons of used shops.

If you’re visiting Kamakura to see the giant buddha you can also enjoy them.

Kansai area: Kyoto has one near the Kawaramachi subway station as well as an Osaka store and the main Nara shop.

Nutritional Info:

For calorie counters each donut ranges from 202 calories for the basic ones to more for the animal donuts according to Floresta’s website. If this is too sugary I have a big post about eating healthy in Japan coming soon. I’ve been working on it for months!

Ikumi Mama animal donuts:

Ms. Ikumi Nakao developed the animal donuts for Floresta. She has since left the company and founded her own shop, Ikumi Mama. Which specializes in animal donuts that look exactly like Floresta’s. She has one shop in Kanagawa near the Motosomiyoshi station which is about 25 minutes away from Shibuya.

 

More Doll eats Japan food posts? Get a hungry eyeful here

More Japanese sweets posts? Satisfy your sweet tooth here

 

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Sweets Forest in Jigyuoka (スイーツフォレスト) (website) is in a well-to-do part of Tokyo near Daikanyama. It’s a collection of sweets makers under one sugar-coma roof. Sweets Forest is not like Sweets Paradise with a tabehoudai (all you can eat) system. Instead it’s a pay as you eat system of moderately priced desserts. Expect to spend around 1,000-1,600 yen ($10-$16) to get your fill.

The quality of sweets is definitely much higher so you might have the side effects of feeling fancy. I definitely recommend going during their seasonal themes. Each patisserie and dessert maker puts out their own special dessert for that theme. But it seems they’re always doing a theme. January’s was warm desserts. Sounds amazing!

 

Sweets Forest Sakura Themed Special Desserts

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The macaron cookie from Masayume Sakayume was filled with cream, red bean and sakura blossoms. Very delicious!

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Sakura themed jelly x custard mix from Hong Kong Sweets. Was simply amazing!

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Mix-in Mixcream’s sakura season waffle was a plain Belgian waffle topped with red and sakura mixed in ice cream.

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I always start off my Sweets Forest foray with a savory crepe from Merci Crepe. Their ceasar salad crepe with a soft boiled egg is so delicious!

Sweets Forest Christmas Special Desserts

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The macaron and berry Christmas themed boot from Berry Berry was so-so. The tiny berries were amazing, but the boot was filled with cream. Just cream. YUCK

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A bear shaped pudding from Masayume Sakayume I think was Christmas-gentei (seasonal)

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Pancakes are such a boom in Japan so macaron maker Irina did a chocolate, pistachio and raspberry themed Christmas one.

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Not seasonal but the Kulon from Hong Kong Sweets is so cooling and not-too-sweet. The little pieces of fruit always taste fresh. It’s bestie Alice and mine’s favorite non-seasonal dessert.

Photos from the inside of Sweets Forest

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All the cut-out fall forest decor is there year around. The first image is of Hong Kong Sweets.

Yes during our sakura season visit there was a sumo wrestler there with his handler (man in the plaid). Sumo wrestlers are a bit rare to see, but during tournaments you’ll see them more.

 

If I’ve sold you on Sweets Forest to visit here’s a map and my Sweets Forest recommendations.

sweetsforest-recommendations

Hong Kong Sweets everything I’ve gotten from them is amazing! Berry Berry can be hit and miss and sometimes Nature-Marche is a bit too cake and filling, but it’s usually tasty.

 

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Alice and I went to Tokyo Disney Sea for the day last Spring and it was one of the best Disney Sea trips. The day called for rain and I think that drove away a lot of Disney visitors so we got to ride tons of rides and eat lots of Disney food.

A Mickey-shaped churro?
An edible Sinbad Chandu-tiger tail?

Eat all the fun Disney foods!

 

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Mickey Churros. Delicious and cute! My type of food :bow:

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Ariel’s resort which always looks spectacular.

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Sinbad’s Chandu-man. Or meatbun shaped tail. Not the best, not the worst.

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Our footwear on the merry-go-round. We do Disney in style :bow:

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30 years of Disney Sea! Disney Sea is the only privately owned Disney in the world. It also is my favorite.

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I love kids at Disney. Always so happy!

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Check out that Princess in training!

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Also the well-dressed matching gyaru that visit. Disney is all ages!

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Ahh Marie! My favorite! Marie finished posing with people when I found her.

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At a restaurant we got Mickey shaped salmon jelly in our seafood cocktail, was surprisingly delicious.

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Disney is great during the day, but cool at night too. No wonder it’s a top date destination.

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Spring carnival did a full floral Mickey.

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More floral theme.

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At sunset, Disney Sea is really so pretty.

To be honest I never was the biggest Disney fan until I went to the Japan ones, I have friends who say the same! Disney Sea is definitely my favorite, but all Disney is so magical.

When you wish upon a star… :stars: