DY 6

While green tea ice cream and the chocolate snack sticks called Pocky are some of the most famous Japanese sweets abroad, they are both fairly recent additions to the cultural landscape of Japan. The history of Japanese confectionaries stretches back for generations before the introduction of those two modern treats, and one favorite of Japanese residents with a sweet tooth is the sweet bean cake known as dorayaki.

But while the upside to the popularity of dorayaki is that you’re never far from a store selling them, with so many suppliers, how are you supposed to pick one, especially when your stomach is growling and your mouth is watering? Simple, by consulting this guide to eight of the best dorayaki shops in Tokyo.

1. Suzumeya / すずめや
Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Minami Ikebukuro 2-18-5
Open 10 a.m.–whenever everything is sold out
Closed Sundays and holidays

DY 2

One of the great things about dorayaki is how simple they are. In its most orthodox form, all you need to make dorayaki are two pancake-like pieces of sponge cake and a dollop of the sweet bean paste called anko to sandwich between them. Cooking up some tasty dorayaki isn’t a capital-intensive affair, as illustrated by Suzuya, which was started 10 years ago when the owner began hawking dorayaki in front of his own house.

Like most of the dorayaki on this list, Suzumeya fans praised the shop’s confectionaries for being flavorful but not overly sweet. At just 150 yen (US $1.45), Suzumeya’s cakes are also a little easier on the wallet than some of the other top-ranking dorayaki in Tokyo.

DY 1

2. Hachiban Koban /八判鼓判
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Daimaru Tokyo Branch, Basement Level 1
東京都千代田区丸の内1-9-1 大丸東京店 B1F
Open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

DY 4

If you’re hopping on the bullet train and don’t have time to head to the back alleys of Ikebukuro to visit Suzumeya, you can stop by the Daimaru department store right next to the turnstiles to Tokyo Station. Tucked away in the basement you’ll find a branch of Hachiban Koban. Their oblong dorayaki are made with rich-tasting egg, rock sugar, and the prized sweet beans from Hokkaido, tokachi an, all of which work together to give them a superbly balanced taste.

DY 3

3. Yoshiya / よしや
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-12-9
Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Sundays, holidays, and some Saturdays

DY 5

If you’ve just finished a big lunch but still have a hankering for some dorayaki, head to Yoshiya. Their version’s thin cake allows the anko to take center stage, leading to an even more traditional Japanese flavor. Yoshiya’s bite-sized dorayaki allow you to elegantly get your sugar rush, making them the perfect fit for the always classy Ginza neighborhood where the shop is located.

DY 6

4. Kameju / 亀十
Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Kaminarimon 2-18-11
Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

DY 8

The polar opposite to Yoshiya in both location and dorayaki style is Kameju, in the boisterous, blue-collar Asakusa district. Unlike Yoshiya’s dainty little slivers, the cake on Kameju’s dorayaki is thick and fluffy. They’re also big and filling enough to justify their 315 yen ($3.08) price tag.

DY 7

5. Sogetsu / 草月
Tokyo-to, Kita-ku, Jujo 2-15-16
Open 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

DY 9

With so many dorayaki makers to compete with, some confectioners put their own spin on the dish. Sogetsu’s claim to fame is its version called kuromatsu, made with brown sugar and honey, giving the cake a distinctly sweet flavor and moistness.

DY 10

6. Kunpu / 薫風
Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Sendagi 2-24-5
Open 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Closed Wednesday

DY 11

While most dorayaki aren’t filled with anything but anko, Kunpu’s come with candied seasonal fruits such as lemon, blueberry, and cherry mixed in. Not into desserts? They also serve Chinese tea, and if you’re looking for something stronger, sake too.

DY 12

7. Misuzu / みすゞ
Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Tachiawa 3-1-11
Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-7p.m.
Closed Sundays

DY 13

Tachikawa is a bit out of the way compared to the other more centrally-located shops on the list, but Misuzu justifies the train ride with their dorayaki filling that’s a mix of anko and whipped cream. They’re served chilled, leading satisfied customers to liken the experience to some kind of dorayaki ice cream.

DY 14

8. Seijuken /清寿軒
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Horidomecho 1-6-1
Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday, and holidays

DY 15

Finally, if you want real old-school dorayaki, there’s Seijuken, where the chefs pride themselves on making their confectionaries entirely by hand, eschewing even a pressure cooker and instead stewing their anko for up to five hours. Some people hold that Seijuken’s dorayaki get better with age, reaching the peak of their deliciousness on the fourth night after purchasing. We’re not sure if our willpower would last that long, but since the dorayaki cost just 168 yen ($1.63) each, buying a pack of four and eating one each day to track the evolution of their flavor is an economically viable solution.

DY 16

Source: Naver Matome
Images: Tabelog (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)