Category: Wagashi

3 popular spots in Shibuya where you can buy Japanese traditional sweets, Wagashi!

3 popular spots in Shibuya where you can buy Japanese traditional sweets, Wagashi!

If you visit Japan, I assume Shibuya is on your list of must-visit-places. Shibuya is one of the most popular places, especially famous for the busiest big crossing in Japan.

I will introduce you to department stores where you can buy all sort of Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, in Shibuya! (* ̄∇ ̄*)

Related post: where to buy wagashi, japanese traditional sweets, in japan?


1. Shibuya Hikarie B2F

Shibuya Hikarie is a department store that is directly connected to Shibuya Station. Each floor has trendy clothes, shoes, cosmetics and food!

If you want to buy Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, make sure to check B2 floor. There are many Wagashi brands/makers from traditional long-established ones to modern ones that take inspiration from Western sweets to create unique taste.

On this floor, other than Wagashi section, you can find Western sweets and delicious stands with freshly made meals too. There are a couple of tables and chairs at the B3 floor you can take a rest from walking and enjoy Wagshi at the same time.



[Info]Shibuya Hikarie

Address: 2-21-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Access: Direct access from exit 15 of Shibuya station


2. Toyoko Store, Noren Street

Toyoko Store is a famous department store. Its B1 floor is called Noren Street, where you can find so many food shops. It is just like an inside food market!



Here, you can buy any types of Wagashi from famous popular brands/makers. Some shops also sell freshly made hot Japanese street sweets such as Taiyaki.

Related post: what is taiyaki? the most popular japanese traditional sweets



[Info]Toyoko Store, Noren Street

Address: B1F 2-24-1, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Access: Underneath Shibuya station


3. Tokyu Department Store, Shibuya Main Store

Tokyu Department Store, Shibuya Main Store is categorized as a luxurious department store.

If you want to buy Wagashi, make sure to visit B1 floor. Since this department store is luxurious one, you can find some high-end Wagashi here such as Nerikiri, a beautiful Japanese high-end traditional confectionery.

Related post: nerikiri, an edible art! beautiful high-grade traditional japanese confectionery


[Info]Tokyu Department Store, Shibuya Main Store

Address: 2-24-1, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Access: 7 min walk from Shibuya station


Department stores in Japan are quite popular and you basically can find anything you want. Please make sure to stop by when you visit Japan!

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

My recommended 3 cafes in Tokyo where you can enjoy Matcha and high-grade Japanese sweets

My recommended 3 cafes in Tokyo where you can enjoy Matcha and high-grade Japanese sweets

In Tokyo there are many cafes you can have a delicious cup of Matcha , but there are only a few cafes where you can have Matcha together with high-grade Wagashi. Let me introduce you 3 cafes I recommend you to visit in Tokyo!(*´∀`*)


1. Tsuruya Yoshinobu, TOKYO MISE

Tsuruya Yoshinobu TOKYO MISE is a cafe located on the 1st floor of a department store called “Coredo Muromachi” directly connected to Mitsukoshimae Station. Tsuruya Yoshinobu is a well-known long-established Japanese traditional sweet brand in Kyoto. You can buy this high grade Wagashi at different department stores all over the country now. However, this café offer an artisan made beautiful high-grade confectioneries, called Namagashi. The café offers three different seasonal sweets options, and you can choose the one you like the most.



Since the artisans make the sweets on the spot, it is certainly fresh. You can take photos as well. Your eyes will be glued to the vivid hands of the artisans who create more and more sweets.

Related post: nerikiri, an edible art! beautiful high-grade traditional japanese confectionery

Matcha is served at the same time when your Namagashi is made. The bitterness from Matcha tea match really well with the sweetness from the freshly made Namagashi.



Tsuruya Yoshinobu, TOKYO MISE

Address: first floor of Nihonbashi COREDO Muromachi 3, 1-5-5, Nihonbashi Muromachi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Access: Connected to Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line/Ginza Lines
Menu: Matcha and Wagashi: 1,296 yen


2. Mori-no-Chashitsu

Mori-no-Chashitsu is a Matcha café located 7 min walk from Nishi Sugamo station. Once you enter, the café will greet you with bar-like counter with a very calm atmosphere. Here, you can enjoy both high grade regular Matcha, as well as Koicha, which is thick Matcha tea, together with Wagashi that are made by an owner of this café. Wagashi may change every day and you can enjoy seasonal taste.

Related post: thick matcha tea, koicha? matcha tea you didn’t know




In the back of the café, there is a room for tea ceremony where you can watch the owner making Matcha tea for you in a way of Japanese traditional tea ceremony, Sado. If you want to experiment Japanese Sado tradition to a full scale recommend you to visit this café!




Address: 2-33-11, Nishi Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Access: 7 min walk from Nishi Sugamo station
Menu: Koicha: 1,500 yen


3. Toraya Tea Room, Tokyo Midtown

Toraya is a well-known Japanese-style sweet shop; it is known by essentially all Japanese people. It is particularly famous for Yōkan, and you can taste the delicious red bean that has just the right level of sweetness.

Related post: what is yokan? traditional japanese sweets that can be very arty

Toraya sweets can also be purchased at famous department stores and other places, but if you want to enjoy the sweets with Matcha green tea, the Toraya Tea Room is recommended. Especially at the Tokyo Midtown store in Roppongi Tokyo, beautiful Japanese sweets including Jo-Namagashi and others are displayed.




Here, not only you can have Wagashi that are made with red bean paste such as Namagashi and Manju, but also you can have Japanese style shaved ice. Don’t forget to order Matcha tea together!



Toraya Tea Room, Tokyo Midtown

Address: D-B117, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, TOKYO (Tokyo Midtown Galleria B1F)
Access: Directly connected from Exit 8 of Roppongi Station, Toei Subway Oedo Line


Please let me know how you like them if you visit!

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Where to buy Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, in Japan?

Where to buy Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, in Japan?

You are visiting Japan and want to try some Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) but don’t know where to buy? Let me show you 3 major places where you can buy Wagashi in Japan!o(*´∀`*)9


1. Buy Wagashi at convenience stores

The easiest place to get Wagashi in Japan is for sure convenience stores. You can find convenience stores basically anywhere in Japan. Major Japanese convenience stores are Seven Eleven, LAWSON and FamilyMart. Since there are so many convenience stores, you usually hit one convenience store in every 5min while waking especially in Tokyo.

There is a section which is typically located near snack section in convenience stores and you can find casual and cheap Wagashi such as Dango, Dorayaki, Daifuku and Senbei there.

Related post: what is senbei? super crunchy japanese rice cracker


2. Buy Wagashi at department stores basement

Japanese department stores are usually located in downtown areas such as Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Everything from cosmetics, clothes, food, and more can be found in a building with more than 10 stories. In department stores, you can find medium to high end class of Wagashi that you cannot buy at convenience stores.

Related post: 3 popular spots in shibuya where you can buy japanese traditional sweets, wagashi!

To buy Japanese sweets, you should go to the underground shopping center in department stores. You should be able to find a Wagashi section located separately from the Western confectionaries, side dishes, fruits, vegetables, and other goods. At the Wagashi section, numerous Wagashi makers from all around the country have set up shop, so you will be able to see sweets from various makers all at once. You can buy any kind of Japanese sweets, including Dango, Daifuku, Yo-kan, and beautiful Nerikiri.

Related post: nerikiri, an edible art! beautiful high-grade traditional japanese confectionery



The followings are department stores in Tokyo which has a wide selection of Wagashi. I recommend you try Wagashi located in these stores!


Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store
Address: 1-4-1, Nihombashi , Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3241-3311
Access: 5min from Nihombashi sta.


Isetan Shinjuku Store
Address: 3-14-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3352-1111
Access: 1min from Shinjuku-sanchome sta.


3. Buy Wagashi at confectionery shops

When you walk along the streets of Japan, you will sometimes come across shops of original producers of traditional Japanese confectionery. There are many types of such as shops where you can taste traditional confectionery with Matcha tea in the shop. This Is because traditional Japanese sweets were made to match rich Matcha taste. In these shops you can enjoy piping hot, freshly made Wagashi from local producers that sell products you cannot find anywhere else. If you find a traditional confectionery shop while walking along a street, definitely try going in!




Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

I tried the most-difficult-to-get Monaka in Tokyo! Ginza Kuya

I tried the most-difficult-to-get Monaka in Tokyo! Ginza Kuya

In Japan, some Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, are very popular and difficult to get. This time, I tried the most difficult to get Monaka, Japanese traditional wafers! Let me introduce how you can get it in Tokyo. (゜¬゜)

Related post: what is monaka? crispy japanese traditional sweets


Monaka from Ginza Kuya

The Monaka I tried is from Ginza Kuya, which was established in 1887 and is one of the oldest Japanese confectionery shop in Tokyo. The shop is located near Ginza station, Tokyo.

Ginza Kuya
Address: 6-7-19 Ginza, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo (10AM-5PM, closed on Sunday)
Phone: +81 3-3571-3304
Access: 3min from Ginza sta.


You need reservation at least one week in advance

Why their Monaka is difficult to get? They don’t sell online but sell only at their store and because there are too many people want to buy, you need reservation beforehand.

To make a reservation, you can call them but they rarely pick a phone (I tired so many times but they were always busy…) so I recommend you to visit their store to place reservation.

In the shop, you need to tell them how many boxes you want to buy and the reservation date (it will take 4-6 days to prepare your order), your name and phone number. 1 box comes with 10 pieces for 1,100 jpy (nearly 10 USD), which is not expensive considering their popularity. They don’t accept credit cards, cash only.


ginza kuya shop


OK, it is damn good Monaka…

When you pick up your Monaka, you will notice the freshly toasted aroma coming from the box. The Monakas are so fresh, made in the morning.


ginza kuya monaka box


The wafers of Kuya’s Monaka are fluffier than typical ones. The Anko filling inside is sweet but not too sweet and has a strong taste of azuki beans. YES, it is very delicious and worth the wait.


ginza kuya delicious monaka


Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

Each piece is small so I could eat 3-4 pieces at once. Of course, Japanese tea Matcha goes well with it.


If you are a fan of Monaka and have a chance to visit Tokyo, Japan, please try Kuya’s Monaka!
Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Senbei? Super crunchy Japanese rice cracker

What is Senbei? Super crunchy Japanese rice cracker

Do you know Senbei, Japanese rice cracker? It is very crunchy, crispy and everyone’s favorite! (⌒¬⌒*)

Senbei is a little different from other Wagashi that I am introducing as usually tastes salty, but I am sure you will love it too!


What is Senbei?

Senbei is popular Japanese type of rice cracker that is crunchy and crispy. Usually it is round shaped,flat and made from rice. To make Senbei, you knead rice dough, shape it flat and thin, grill it on an iron pan until it gets nice and toasty, and finally season it with soy sauce or salt.

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

There are various of Senbei in terms of texture, shape and taste. Its texture can be hard and crunchy, or light and fluffy. Typical taste of Senbei is soy sauce or salt, but it also can be seasoned with sugar. In addition, some Senbei have rich flavors of multiple ingredients such as plum, shrimp, seaweed and many others.



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You can buy Senbei almost everywhere in Japan. If you step into a convenience store, you will find many kinds and types of Senbei just like potate chips. You can enjoy Senbei with Japanese tea of course but many Japanese people love Senbei together with beer!



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The history of Senbei

Senbei has a long history, and apparently, have existed since the former Han dynasty in China (3B.C.~ 1A.C). After that, Senbei said to have been passed on to Japan from China sometime between 6-8th centuries. At that time, they were made by mixing water with wheat flour and frying with oil. They were different from the rice crackers today that are mostly made with rice.

As for the birthplace of Senbei made with rice in Japan, it is thought to be Soka city in Saitama Prefecture. Soka city has had abundant rice crops since a long time ago and was visited by many tourists as a sightseeing spot.

Also, it was close to Edo (the current Tokyo), so it is also thought that it was influenced by Edo food culture. Many Senbei(s) are still being sold as souvenirs today in Soka city, Saitama Prefecture.


If you are in Japan, please try fresh Senbei!

Did you know you can have freshly toasted Senbei? You can get it at many tourist places such as Soka city, where Senbei began in Japan. You can have hot and fresh but crunchy Senbei! Fresh thing is always better, right?

If you live or visit Tokyo, I recommend you go to Asakusa which is a very popular sightseeing place in Tokyo, to get fresh Senbei!




Please try to find your favorite Senbei!
Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Japanese candy art, Amezaiku! Too beautiful to eat.

Japanese candy art, Amezaiku! Too beautiful to eat.

I think each country has its own style of candy art, but have you ever seen Japanese candy art, called Amezaiku? It is very beautiful and delicate. Let me show you the world of Amezaiku!

Related post: wagashi – is edible work of art



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What is Amezaiku?

Amezaiku is traditional Japanese candy artistry. A hard candy base is heated until it softens and begins to melt. Then it is taken off the heat and before candy hardens in the few minutes the Amezaiku artist will use their hands and scissors to sculpt small plants or animals.

The artists hands move quickly and the resulting amezaiku is very delicate and delicious. Amezaiku are made from candy, so they are edible, but sometimes they are just too beautiful to eat!



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The history of Amezaiku

There are many different explanations as to where Amezaiku got its start. According to one, Amezaiku was introduced to Japan from mainland China sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century in the Edo era that the artisans began refining their skills to make beautiful pieces. At the time, Amezaiku is said to have been a luxury gift used as an offering.

Until 1980s, it was common to see Amezaiku artists making and selling their candy pieces at festivals and street stalls. It was also sold at story board street performances. Recently however, as there has been growing concern about preparing food outside and the number of festivals has been in decline, sales of Amezaiku have fallen and the number of artists has also declined.



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Where to buy Amezaiku in Japan?

If you visit Tokyo, Japan, please stop by at these stores for Amezaiku!

1: Ameshin
Ameshin has a store where you can buy many types of Amezaiku, not only their signature beautiful-gold fish-shaped one but also more reasonable ones too. Their shop is located near Tokyo Sky Tree which is a popular tourist place.
For the store information, click here


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2: Yoshihara
Yoshihara’s candy art is very cute and has wide selection of animal shaped candies. You can also order your own Amezaiku at the shop and they will make one for you!
For the store information, click here


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Make your own Amezaiku at a workshop!

Both shops above offer a workshop where you can try to make your own Amezaiku. They teach you how to shape candy step by step. Why don’t you try?

Watch me making my Amezaiku!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Nerikiri, an edible art! Beautiful high-grade traditional Japanese confectionery

Nerikiri, an edible art! Beautiful high-grade traditional Japanese confectionery

Have you ever seen showcases of beautiful traditional Japanese sweets in Japanese confectionery stores?w(*゚o゚*)w



What are they? How are they made?


Edible art! What is Nerikiri?

Nerikiri is a kind of bean-jam-based confectionery, and is categorized as “Jonamagashi”. Jonamagashi is a name given to the most artistic and high-grade pieces of Japanese confectionery.



In Japanese tea ceremony, Nerikiri is served together with Matcha especially with Koicha (thick Matcha tea).

Related post: thick matcha tea, koicha? matcha tea you didn’t know


How is Nerikiri made?

Nerikiri is actually 90% Anko, Japanese bean paste. The beautiful outside layer is made with Shiroan (white bean paste) mixed with sweet and soft Mochi (called Gyuhi), colored and finally shaped. By adding Gyuhi, it becomes easier to shape. Also Gyuhi adds smooth and a little bit of chewy texture to it. Typically, Koshian (smooth red bean paste) is added inside for taste.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

So, most of Nerikiri is Anko. You may be surprised that it is sweeter than other typical Japanese traditional sweets. But if you eat Nerikiri together with Matcha tea, Matcha tea clears the sweetness from Nerikiri, so they really well fitting delicious combination!


How Nerikiri is different from other sweets

As Nerikiri has evolved as part of Japanese tea ceremony, it entertains people with both its appearance and taste. Here are some characteristics of Nerikiri.

Each Nerikiri has its own name:
First, the word “Nerikiri” refers to all Nerikiris, and each Nerikiri has its own proper name. These proper names are given by Japanese confectionery craftspeople when they make a new kind of Nerikiri.


Nerikiri represents seasons:
Next, Nerikiri comes in various shapes, most of which represent seasons. Many of them resemble seasonal flowers, and there are also some that symbolize winter mountains or a piece of classical Japanese literature that suits the season.


Every Nerikiri is a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
Finally, Nerikiri never stays the same throughout the year. That is because Japanese confectionery craftspeople get inspired by the changing seasons and make a Nerikiri that suit the time. Therefore, every Nerikiri is a unique and an “Ichigoichie” (Japanese for ”once-in-a-lifetime“) experience.

Nerikiri lasts only 1-2 days so it is hard to buy it as a souvenir but if you visit Japan, please try it!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

In Japan there has long been a tradition of admiring the beauty of the moon called Tsukimi. In 2018, the brightest and most beautiful full moon, known as “chushu-no-meigetsu” in Japanese, can be seen on September 24.( 〃 ❛ᴗ❛ 〃 )

Allow me to introduce you to the sweet relation between Tsukimi, famous Japanese custom in the fall, and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets.


What is Tsukimi?

Tsukimi is an old Japanese custom of viewing the moon when it is bright and beautiful. This takes place in the fall, and offerings of Tsukimi Dango, Japanese pampas grass, and taro are presented to the moon. The offerings are to give thanks to the moon for a bountiful harvest.



What is Tsukimi Dango?

The most famous Japanese sweet eaten during Tsukimi is Tsukimi Dango. These are round dumplings made of Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cakes) that are stacked into a pyramid shape and offered to the moon as a symbol of gratitude. Slightly different from normal offerings, Tsukimi Dango are eaten after being presented to the moon. It is said that this allows one to receive power from the moon and live healthily.



Typically, Tsukimi Dango itself doesn’t have any sauce or toppings, so when people eat Tsukimi Dango they add sauces or toppings of their choice, such as red bean paste.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

However, in these days, eating regular Dango is getting more popular instead of Tsukimi Dango so you see many Dango in this Tsukimi season.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango



Rabbits sweets for Tsukimi

During the Tsukimi season, In addition to Tsukimi Dango, you may find many Japanese sweets are made in shapes of “rabbits” for people to enjoy.





Why rabbits for Tsukimi?

There are many treats featuring rabbits during Tsukimi. This is because there is an old legend that says there are rabbits who live on the moon, and they are pounding rice into Mochi.

First, the origin of this tale is said to be in India. These stories made their way to Japan through Buddhism and were then widely spread in Japan.

The Mochi pounding part of the story appears to have originated in China. In ancient China, it was believed that rabbits could make an elixir of immortality. However, when the story came to Japan, the elixir was changed to Mochi.

Interesting story, isn’t it?



There are many cute and delicious sweets during Tsukimi season. If you visit Japan in Tsukimi season, please try to find Tsukimi Dango and rabbits sweets!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Monaka? Crispy Japanese traditional sweets

What is Monaka? Crispy Japanese traditional sweets

Monaka, or bean‐jam‐filled wafers, are Japanese traditional sweets that combine delicate sweetness and a sense of comfort that both the young and the old enjoy. There are many long-established specialty shops selling Monaka with original ideas.(・∀・)


What is Monaka?

Monaka is Japanese traditional sweets that have bean jam sandwiched with two thin Mochi wafers. You can enjoy the taste of smooth bean jam directly, fittingly accompanied by the fragrance of roasted wafers and their crispy mouth feel.



*Wafers of Moanaka are similar to ice cream cone, but ingredients are different. Wafers of Monaka are made from Mochi rice, while ice cream cone is typically made of a corn flour. Hence, flavors and textures are a bit different.

Typical fillings for Monaka are Anko, sweet red bean paste, however there are Monakas that include Mochi or chestnut to give it a nice and different accent.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home


Fresh Monaka is the best! Then, want to try make-you-own Monaka?

Wafers used in Monaka are prone to damping, so after a while, their crispy mouth-feel will be gone. Therefore, if you are taking Monaka home as souvenirs from Japan, I recommend “make-your-own” Monaka. The bean jelly is packaged separately from the wafers, so you can serve yourself a fresh and crispy Monaka right before you eat it.

Enjoy freshly made Monaka!



Find cute Monaka!

The typical shape of Monaka is rectangle or circle, however, you can find many cute and non-ordinary shapes of Monaka these days. Some express season, and some express lucky charm. Let me show you some cute Monakas!


Whale Monaka


Cat Monaka


Ninja Monaka


Daruma (a traditional Japanese tumbler doll) Monaka


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Castella? Born in Portugal and raised in Japan

What is Castella? Born in Portugal and raised in Japan

Do you know Japanese sweets, Castella? It is spongy-like popular Japanese cake that has characteristics of a Western sweets.(・ε・`o)

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

Castella has unique history in Japan. Let’s learn them together!


What is Castella?

Castella is a slightly sweet sponge cake baked with flour, eggs, milk, sugar and so on. Typically, it is yellow in the center and golden brown above and below. The brown part on the base contains large-grained sugar called “zarame”, and within the fluffy dough there is a crispy texture and caramel-like flavor from zarame.

Castella is different from other Japanese sweets in that it uses wheat flour, milk, and other ingredients not usually used in Japanese sweets. (However, the fats such as butter used in ordinary western confectionery are not used for Castella.) This is because Castella is a sweet that was brought from Portugal long time ago, but developed in its own way in Japan.



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History of Castella

There are different theories about the history of Castella. One popular version says, that Castella have originated as the Portuguese bread called “Pão-de-ló ” and came to Japan during the Muromachi Period (13th-16th centuries).



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Despite having arrived from a foreign country, Castella is regarded as a Japanese sweet, because the term “yogashi”(Western sweets) refers to the sweets that have come to Japan since the 19th century Meiji Period. In addition, Castella has developed in its own way and has become something different to what originally arrived from Portugal.


What drink is good with Castella? Milk, no doubt.

Since it is spongy and has rich and sweet egg flavor, you may think the best drinks that go with Castella are coffee or tea. Just like regular cake, right? Actually, I highly recommend you to enjoy it with a cup of milk! Most of Japanese people like this combination more. Don’t know why, but Castella and milk go really well together! Please give it a shot!



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Where can I buy Castella?

I think you can find Castella at Asian market or Japanese grocery stores if you are outside of Japan. If you are in Japan, you can find Castella basically anywhere, including grocery and convenience stores. Also, there are many stores specialized in Castella!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)