Adorable Ghibli Cafe in Setagaya-Daita
Setagaya-Daita is a station still undergoing some reforms, but a stroll around it reveals many small stores and businesses. Shirohige Cream Puff Kobo is one of these establishments, and together with TOLO Bakery they’ve created a cozy cafe that serves delicious meals along with freshly-baked bread.
Here, hidden among trees and private homes, is Shirohige Kobo. Since its start in April of 2007, this store has become a favorite spot for locals and Ghibli fans as it both sells and serves totoro-shaped cream puffs. These baked sweets were inspired by the lovable woodland spirits that appear in the animated film My Neighbor Totoro.
Although this place has somehow managed to elude the attention of mainstream media, it is not uncommon for people to be waiting in line to enter the cafe on the second floor– making a reservation is strongly recommended.
Step inside the building and you’ll be greeted by various Ghibli character art. The walls, floor and winding staircase are all built out of wood, bearing some resemblance to Satsuki and Mei’s old house.
TOLO Coffee & Bakery
The TOLO bakery and cafe located on the second floor has just enough space for seven or so small tables and one private room available by reservation for small parties. There are also tables located outside on the terrace and the first floor of the building.
The menu offers a wide variety of drinks both hot and cold, along with main dishes such as pasta. If you’re only here for a snack, you have the option of picking from a selection of freshly baked bread.
Seasonal Pasta and Salad
For lunch, you have the option of choosing from four seasonal pasta options for 1000 yen. If you’d like a small salad with your order, there is a 150 yen charge. All meals are cooked and prepared within the cafe, ensuring warm, savory dishes with fresh ingredients.
Each dish differs by type of pasta, such as fettuccine to linguini. There’s also a variety of sauces available that range from traditional Italian to Japanese-style.
Every dish, whether it be salad or pasta, is accompanied by a small serving of warm bread that is also baked in the cafe. The type of bread differs by day, but whatever the choice, these baked sides manage to match perfectly with each pasta sauce.
Dessert & Tea Time
It doesn’t matter if you’re here for a full meal or if you’d just like some tea– the main reason for visiting this cafe should be to try the special baked sweets available only in Shirohige. These hand-made totoro cream puffs are what we’re all here for, and there’s no denying it.
Dessert is 485 yen. The exciting part is that there are eight different cream flavors, although availability differs by season. Custard Whipped cream and Chocolate are the two creams available all year, with Strawberry and Caramel Banana served in the spring, Matcha (Green Tea) and Peach served in the summer, and Raspberry Cream Cheese and Marron (Chestnut) served in the fall and winter. These different flavors are all distinguished from the outside by little fondant accessories that decorate each totoro’s ear.
For example, this dainty sakura (cherry-blossom) is adorned by totoro cream puffs that are filled with strawberry cream inside. The outside layer of this dessert is crumbly, similar to a thin pie crust. Beneath the totoro’s adorable exterior lies dense cream that offers just enough flavor while keeping the aftertaste light and airy. It will be slightly heart-breaking to eat these adorable cakes, especially when they’re staring up at you with their little fondant eyes, but your tastebuds will thank you.
Fragrant tea is recommended to accompany your totoro, but there is a long list of other drinks you can choose from.
Shirohige Cream Puff Shop
It may seem impossible to choose just one totoro for your order, especially if you’re indecisive, but here’s information that can help you out: there’s a store available on the first floor that sells totoro cream puffs to-g0. One totoro cream puff is either 400 or 440 yen, depending on the flavor of the cream.
After exiting the cafe and returning to the first floor, drop by the small shop that sells these totoro cream puffs along with other Ghibli-themed baked goods.
These boxed cookies would make ideal souvenirs for Ghibli fans back home.
If you’re ever planning to visit Setagaya-Daita or be in the Shimokitazawa area, make sure to stop by this cheerful cafe and have a totoro cream puff!
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Shirohige Kobo (Shirohige Cream Puff Store)
Address: Setagaya-Daita, Tokyo 5-3-1
Access: 3 minute walk from Setagaya-Daita station
Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
* Closed Tuesdays
Pasta Lunch 1,000 yen + side salad 150 yen
Totoro Cream Puff 485 yen
Drink (Hot Tea) 490 yen