2021 – Four patisseries in Jiyugaoka, the famous place of sweets
Tokyo’s famous dessert battleground, Jiyugaoka. Setting up shop here is the dream of many patissiers in Japan and even of many from outside the country, too, as those that garner recognition in the area quickly become well known throughout Japan.
On my recent visit to Jiyugaoka, I came across delicious cake everywhere, and couldn’t contain my excitement at the variety and quality. For this article, I’ve selected the patisseries that I particularly enjoyed.
I am Hana, born and raised in the countryside in Okayama, a land of sunshine. After living in other countries, I came to realize how wonderful Japan is. Although I was very bad at history at school, I have recently become interested in Japanese history. I love visiting places in Japan while imagining the historical background of each place.
Mont St. Clair
Many of you may have heard this name. Opened in 1998, this is patissier Hironobu Tsujiguchi’s first-ever store. Although a bit of a walk from the station, it has become such a popular patisserie that it is said to have changed the flow of people around Jiyugaoka.
At Mont St. Clair I really want to recommend the cake, C’est la vie. About two years after the shop opened, sales were temporarily halted due to its tremendous popularity. However, as the store flooded with ardent wishes for the cake’s return, sales soon resumed.
The cake is made of pistachio sponge, raspberry and chocolate mousse, all enveloped in white chocolate mousse. Its mild sweetness and refreshing tartness is truly satisfying.
Address: 2-22-4 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Access: 10-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu)
Opened in 2002, by the same Mont St. Clair’s patissier, Tsujiguchi, this store specializes in roll cake. Beyond the display case, you can see inside the glass-walled kitchen and you can buy roll cake fresh from the oven.
From the classic Jiyugaoka Roll, to the popular Matcha Roll, and the Seasonal Fruit Roll, choosing what to buy is the hardest part. Since you can purchase them in slices, you can combine your favorite flavors and they are also wonderful as gifts. In particular, I highly recommend the rolls made with seasonal fruit.
Address: 1-23-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Access: 8-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu)
Neko Neko Cheesecake
This store specializes in cat face-shaped cheesecake. They will captivate the heart of cat lovers. Not only are they cute, the taste is also authentic. The sweet-and sour homemade apricot jam acts as an accent. Though baked, the texture is smooth like a rare cheesecake and once you’ve tasted it, you won’t be able to resist trying it again.
They also offer other sweets with names that will surely put a smile on your face, including the Basque Cheesecake Nyan-chee and the Financiers called “Fi-nyan-she.” “Nyan” is the way cats “meow” in Japanese. The store offers takeout only, but you can purchase products online as well. Cute packaging adorned with cat illustrations make them ideal as gifts.
Address: 1-16-14 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu)
Online store: https://hbantique.official.ec/
*Products are not available online as individual items. They are only offered as box sets.
Parlour LaurelOpen since 1980, this long-established patisserie is loved by many locals. The exterior exudes a retro atmosphere and the interior is decorated with antique furniture, creating a relaxing environment to enjoy your teatime.
All the cake in the display case are sparkling works of art. You might feel “it’s a shame” to actually eat them and simply continue admiring their beauty. Because of their delicious flavors and gorgeous presentation, many customers purchase custom-made cake for special occasions.
Access: 7-24-3 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Address: 5-minute walk from Kuhombutsu Station (Tokyu)
One stop from Jiyugaoka
Of course, there are numerous other patisseries I couldn’t introduce here. Be sure to visit Jiyugaoka, to discover your favorite cake!
*The information herein is as of Novermber 2021.