Located about 2 minutes from Setagaya-Daita Station in a small residential area, lies the small and beautiful-looking Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory (白髭のシュークリーム工房). A wonderful and cosy café, which serves up the most delicious cream puffs in the form of one of Japan’s most beloved characters – Totoro.
This café is recognised by Studio Ghibli and is unique quite simply because no other café has cakes quite like those on offer here. When approaching the café, it almost feels as though you are stepping into the world of Mai and Satsuki – it has such a warm feel to it, welcoming you into the wonderful world of Totoro and his friends.
Only problem is they are too cute you don’t want to take that first bite!
Once inside, you can continue through to the bakery located downstairs where they sell homemade Totoro cookies and other goods which you can purchase as gifts. Lovely, original treats are sold here which you will not find anywhere else. If you head upstairs, you are welcomed into the comfortable, atmospheric café where you can rest, relax and have a chilled afternoon drinking tea with friends while enjoying the cream puffs.
The cream puffs aren’t the only thing this place has to offer, in fact they also offer an array of food and drinks for a reasonable price. The cream puffs themselves cost ¥500 which is a very good price for these original and unique cakes. It is important to stress, the Cream Puff Factory’s website does ask you to make a reservation in advance, telling them which flavour cream puff you would like and how many because of the high demand for these little Totoros.
This can be a complicated process if you are a traveller as the website is in Japanese and their contact number is Japanese. However, I believe it would be possible to go into the café a couple of days before to make a reservation or sometimes they may (emphasis on the ‘may’) have enough cream puffs on any chance visit, but it is always best to book in advance given the café's popularity. I was going to visit spontaneously one afternoon with a Japanese friend of mine and we hadn’t booked – when she called around 2pm, all the cakes had already gone.
In terms of flavours, three are offered: custard, chocolate and caramel banana. In the end, I visited here with two friends, one whose first time it was in Japan so we had one flavour each and they were all just delicious. Only problem is they are too cute you don’t want to take that first bite!
My friend and I spent about 15 minutes just trying to capture a good photo of these aesthetically pleasing cakes. Like every other restaurant in Japan, the service is wonderful. The staff are very welcoming.
The Cream Puff Factory was an amazing experience and it is especially good for someone who is coming to Japan for the first time as it is not yet as well-known as Studio Ghibli's official museum itself. Given its unique location and concept, if you are near the Shibuya/Shimokitazawa region, definitely check this place out!
Shiro Hige is a 2 minute walk to the north-east of Setagaya-Daita Station.
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