Okay, we know we’ve already introduced on our site countless Japanese treats which we think are irresistibly cute, but once again, we’ve found a little sweet something that we just had to share with you. Take a look at these lines of confectioneries sold by Japanese sweets maker Namikoshiken — they’re called the “Zoo” (dobutsuen) and “Aquarium” (suizokukan) series of  sweet steamed buns, and when you see the confections, we think you’ll understand why.

Yes, the zoo and aquarium packages are a collection of animals and critters alright, and the only problem is that they just may look almost too cute to eat!


Namikoshiken’s “Zoo” packages consist of darling little steamed buns in the shape of various animals containing different fillings such as smooth sweet red bean paste (koshi-an) , unstrained whole sweet red bean paste (tsubu-an) and even Japanese-style strawberry paste. A package of 12 buns comes in a box like the one pictured below for 1,426 yen (US$12.02), and there are also packages of three and six buns available as well for 389 yen ($3.28) and 778 yen ($6.56) respectively.

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▼The process of marking the buns and adding the ears is all done by hand.
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▼Yup, the buns look cute up-close too.wagashi 4 dobutsuen four

▼They’re quite daintily small, about 3cm or just over an inch in diameter.
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▼Here’s what the red bean paste inside looks like. By the way, did you notice there’s even an imaginary animal included in the Zoo package? The green bun with what looks like a star on the top of the head is a Japanese water imp (kappa).wagashi 7 inside

And if they have a Zoo package, it’s only fitting that they have an Aquarium package too, right?

▼The Aquarium buns are available in an adorable package of 12 for 1,577 yen ($13.29) and come in the shape of various sea animals, from sea otters to whale sharks to …
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▼… wait, what’s that in the middle? It’s … it’s a fried prawn! Okay, so the Aquarium package includes a non-animal too! Well, they all look delectable and they contain four different types of filling, the same two red bean pastes and strawberry paste as in the Zoo buns and chocolate paste in addition.
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▼And just in case chocolate really happens to be your thing, they also have a “Premium Zoo” package of six buns all filled with rich chocolate paste, for 972 yen ($8.19)wagashi 10 premium 2

▼Oooohh… look at that image of the melty chocolate filling!wagashi 11 premium

Well, we think these buns are totally and unconditionally adorable, and if they taste even half as good as they look cute, they should be an absolute delight to eat!  Unfortunately, Namikoshiken doesn’t deliver overseas, but if you’re in Japan, you can order the buns online from their page on Rakuten Ichiba. As much as we love real animals and sea creatures, we have to say, these sure look to be the sweetest zoo and aquarium in the world!

Source: Rakuten Ichiba Namikoshiken page (Japanese) via Gigazine (Japanese)
Top Image: Namikoshiken website
Inset images: Rakuten Ichiba Namikoshiken pagei