13 Insta-Worthy Dessert Shops in Harajuku for a Sugar Overdose

13 Insta-Worthy Dessert Shops in Harajuku for a Sugar Overdose

Satisfy your sweet tooth with cotton candy, popcorn or ice cream at these dessert shops in Harajuku that give Japanese teenagers the sugar high.

Harajuku is known to be a place where groups of Japanese teenage girls come hang out on weekends dressed up to the latest fashion standards and decked in colourful makeup. These girls often post their adventures with friends on social media to get those “likes” and they use the word “インスタ映え” (pronounced insta-ba-e) in their caption. This is a new terminology which is often used in describing moments that are Instagram-worthy, particularly when posting kawaii (cute) or cool photos online.

For those who have been to Takeshita Street in Harajuku, you must have experienced the crowds of people that gather on weekends to go shopping, eat Japanese sweets, and take photos and selfies. What Takeshita Street does well is to provide many “instabae” opportunities with sweets and drinks that are cute or vivid in colour. These delicious treats are so pretty that they’re more popular for photo-taking than for consumption.

If you are having sugar cravings in Japan, here are a couple of mouthwatering snacks and drinks that are popular among the teenagers in the Harajuku area that you definitely have to try!

1. Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe

Image credit: Sulbing

This popular Korean sulbing (snow ice) shop has many cool treats to try out all year round as well as some seasonal specialties. The photo in the middle is the limited-edition Matcha Sakura Sulbing which is made of powder-like snow-ice covered in green tea powder and topped with whipped cream, cherry blossom flavoured ice cream and red bean mochi cakes. Sounds delicious? Do look out for other limited-edition flavours while you’re there. Of course, there are other classic flavours so bring a couple of friends and order a few to sample!

2. Totti Candy Factory

Image credit: Totti Candy Factory

If you walk down Takeshita Street now, you’ll see masses of teenage girls and tourists in line to buy the rainbow cotton candy by Totti Candy Factory. In fact, because it has gained so much popularity through social media, the queues are sometimes hours long! These days, when it gets really crowded, the store will occasionally distribute tickets to customers to have them come back to buy the special treat at designated timings.

When I walked down Takeshita Street in March, there were little Totti Candy Factory pop-up booths in multiple locations so if you don’t mind not going to the actual store, you can save time by buying it at one of the stands. Make sure to get the largest size, which has five flavours of cotton candy, and take plenty of pictures before gobbling it up!

3. Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku

Next up is crunchy choux à la crème and milky ice cream! The choux à la crème or cream puff served here is a little different from the traditional round cream puffs. It is in the shape of a stick with an extra crunchy outer skin that’s made of baked almonds coated with sugar and egg whites.

In addition, the milky soft serve ice cream here is very popular. Even in winter, there are very long queues at Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku. One reason for its popularity is the photogenic-ness of the ice cream and the other is that the milk used in the ice cream and custard is made from the free-range cattle which are raised in a stress-free environment in Hokkaido, Japan.

Be prepared to wait in line for this popular snack, especially on sunny days!

4. Kanazawa Ice Pops

Image credit: Tabelog

How about trying a cold snack that never melts? This revolutionary ice pop is something you can enjoy even in the midst of the hot and humid Tokyo summer days. There are various ice cream bars to choose from, many that look like traditional Japanese snacks, such as the three little dumplings (dango) pictured below. If you are in doubt of this non-melting ice pop, why not give it a try?

5. Harajuku Denki Shoukai

Image credit: Moshi Moshi Nippon

Another Instagram worthy trend, but this time, a drink! Perhaps you have seen this on social media but have you actually tried it?

Image credit: Moshi Moshi Nippon

The concept of putting a drink into a light bulb is definitely unique and with such colourful drink options, it almost looks like the bulb itself is lighting up. Some of the flavours include green apple soda, lychee soda, orange juice, matcha (green tea) milk and caramel milk. The store also recently added a “snow pot” to the menu, which is milk flavoured shaved ice topped with round Japanese rice crackers and a sauce of your choosing, all inside a plot plant. Grab a mini shovel and dig in!

6. The Zoo Ice Cream Shop

Image credit: Moshi Moshi Nippon

Right next to the Harajuku Denki Shoukai is a new store that teenagers are going wild about. I mean, take a look at it! It’s almost too cute to eat. As you can see from the photo, the ice cream is in the shape of various animals such as koalas, pigs and bears.

Image credit: Mery

All the ice cream is 500 yen (around US$5) and you dispense it from the cute-looking vending machine booth!

7. SweetXO Good Grief

Stores like Garrett Popcorn Shops and KuKuRuZa have made sweet and savoury popcorn quite popular in Japan, making it difficult for other new stores to break into the market successfully. SweetXO, however, has found a way. They provide a new experience with frozen popcorn!

Image credit: SweetXO

Image credit: SweetXO

They have around 30 different flavours to choose from, all with unique and fun names such as “Squad Goals”, “On Fleek” and “Netflix and Chill”. You can order a box of frozen popcorn to munch on while walking down Takeshita Street or you can order the “Frozen Mountain” which is their original gelato topped with frozen popcorns of your choosing!

8. Milk Cafe

This cafe first started as a pop-up store in the summer of 2017 in Harajuku and Shinjuku, testing out whether specializing in milk desserts would be a successful business. Much to my delight, it became widely popular! Similar to Zaku Zaku, the high-quality milk used is appreciated by all and many are willing to wait in long lines even during winter to have a taste.

Image credit: Milk Craft Cream

dessert shops in harajuku

Image credit: Milk Craft Cream

The most popular snack here is the milky cream puff but there are other scrumptious delights that will satisfy your dairy cravings. Try the milky soft chiffon cake or the milky parfait that has tapioca balls, pudding, whipped cream and soft serve ice cream! This store is not just popular among teenagers but also families and couples, as more and more people post these tasty snacks on social media and share how creamy and rich in flavour everything is.

9. Coisof

Image credit: Coisof

Here is another photogenic ice cream popular among teenagers in Harajuku. If you are looking for more traditional Japanese ice cream flavours, stop by Coisof and taste their very rich white and black sesame soft serve. The ice cream is topped with colorful balls called “oiri”, which are Japanese crackers made from rice and it is commonly given out as wedding gifts in Kagawa Prefecture. It is said that by eating this delicious ice cream, “it will bring you love”. Why not give yourself a shot at love at Coisof?

10. Roll Ice Cream Factory

To those looking for a more American-style ice cream with all kinds of toppings to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, check out Roll Ice Cream Factory. They even have an ice cream called “The American Dream”! A dream come true for many teenagers in Japan who are obsessed with Western culture.

First, select your base ice cream out of the four options, then decide what to mix in with the ice cream, such as fruits, chocolates and cookies. After that, select toppings of your choosing from over 40 options and finally, add a sauce to top it all off! If you are not sure what the best combinations are, try one of their recommended combinations!

11. Cafe & Pancake Gram

dessert shops in harajuku

Image credit: Cafe & Pancake Gram

Looking for sweet pancakes in Harajuku? Try Cafe Gram. Their most famous “Premium Pancake”, is only available at the specific store hours of 11:00, 15:00 and 18:00. In addition, only 20 orders are accepted at each time, meaning they only make 60 premium pancakes a day. If you have a strong desire to taste their jiggly pancake, remember to order it specifically when making a reservation in order to guarantee a plate for yourself!

dessert shops in harajuku

Image credit: Cafe & Pancake Gram

Don’t worry, even if you can’t have their premium pancake, there are plenty of other delicious options you can choose from such as french toast, sandwiches, desserts, soups or the even the limited edition “Sakura Dome” (pictured above) which is available in spring.

12. Long! Longer!! Longest!!!

A sister store of Totti Candy Factory, Long! Longer!! Longest!!! opened in March 2018 and it sells snacks that are obviously quite long! There are both sweet and savoury options such as soft serve ice cream, fried potato, churros and rainbow cotton candy. Anything new and exciting will always grab the attention of Harajuku teenagers and I’m willing to bet that this shop will be a big success! Look at the various sizes of the snacks served here. Do you have what it takes to munch on the longest size?

Here’s a peek at their menu:

Soft Serve: long (30cm) 500 yen, longer (34cm) 600 yen, longest (40cm) 700 yen
Tornado Potato: long (32cm) 500 yen, longer (42cm) 650 yen, longest (52cm) 800 yen
Churros: long (35cm) 500 yen, longer (45cm) 600 yen, longest (55cm) 700 yen
Cotton Candy: long (40cm) 600 yen, longer (50cm) 700 yen, longest (60cm) 800 yen

13. Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar

It seems like there are endless opportunities for Instagram worthy photos in Harajaku, and it’s true. The list could go on and on but the final contender in this list is a shop from New Zealand that is famous for all its cookie related snacks. Check out their delicious cookie shakes, hot cookies, ice cream sandwiches, and cookie & cream chocolate shots! If you haven’t noticed already, Japanese teenagers clearly love their sweets, and the more flashy, the better! Cookie Muncher’s strong point is not only the taste of their treats, but also the cute cookie muncher character. How can anyone resist?

So what do you think of all these sweet tooth options in Harajuku? Definitely check out at least one of these places if you can, but of course, there are plenty of other options such as crepes, donuts, cupcakes and bubble tea that will satisfy your cravings as well. Take a stroll down Takeshita Street and find out for yourselves what the Japanese teenagers are all raving about!

About Author

Ray Brooks
Ray Brooks

Ray is a half-Japanese/half-American whose energeticness is swayed by sunshine, beaches and yummy food. During her free time, she is often out and about – whether it is staying fit, travelling or attending events, she spends time outside to enjoy life. Her biggest hobbies are finding different areas to travel to and trying out new restaurants to find food that is absolutely scrumptious.

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