Specialty sweets maker pops up in Tokyo for a limited time.

In Japan, summer is the time for festivals, fireworks, and fun, but for the past two years the vast majority of summertime festivals have been cancelled, leaving us feeling a little deflated.

So when our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato heard that a cotton candy pop-up store had arrived in Tokyo from Kyoto for a limited time, he figured it might be just the thing to fill the festival-shaped hole in his heart, and so he went to check them out at Shibuya Mark City in Shibuya.

Cotton candy is one of those foods that people usually associate with a Japanese festival, where it’s sold in big bright bags, but the ones on sale at this pop-up come from a specialty cotton candy store in Kyoto called “zarame”.

▼ This gourmet cotton candy hails from Kyoto’s famous Arashiyama district.

Sold in gorgeous bags that vary in size, this cotton candy, or “fairy floss” as it’s known in Australia, caught Mr Sato’s eye with its beauty. He’d never seen such dainty triangular pouches packed with spun sugar, and he found himself instinctively grabbing for one to add to his shopping basket.

According to staff, all the products on display here were filled with cotton candy. Mr Sato had never seen cotton candy packed in boxes before, and made a mental note to remember these for future gifts.

He added a larger bag of cotton candy to his shopping basket, and after paying for his two items, he took them home for a proper taste test.

▼ The “Oni Kinako” (“Ogre Roasted Soybean Flour”) cotton candy pouch cost 400 yen (US$3.63) plus tax and the larger “Men tou ka” (“Cotton Lantern”) cost 750 yen plus tax.

Mr Sato started with the pouch, pulling the triangular mound of cotton candy out and placing it on a plate, where it looked more like a fluffy white cloud than an ogre.

Tearing off a piece of the cloud, Mr Sato was reminded of his childhood, when he would visit festivals at night with his parents and grandmother. He instantly recalled how pulling off pieces of cotton candy was always half the fun of eating it, and this one here had the texture of cotton between his fingertips.

It was so soft it felt as if it might melt from the warmth of his fingers, so Mr Sato popped the delicate morsel into his mouth straight away. It was a good thing he did, as the cotton candy immediately melted on his tongue, leaving him with the delicious taste of kinako. Both the texture and the flavour were simply elegant, and not deserving of the “oni” moniker at all!

▼ Then it was time to move onto the square cloud, which came in a zip lock bag that keeps its contents good for three months if unopened.

The “Men tou ka” flavour Mr Sato selected contains powdered freeze-dried strawberries throughout, which melt on the tongue with a slightly tart, fruity freshness while you eat it.

It’d been a while since Mr Sato last ate cotton candy, and this gourmet variety reminded him that it wasn’t just a confection for kids. In fact, as he tore bits of the spun sugar away to nibble on while he worked, he felt his stresses begin to melt away, and the frustration of not being able to attend a festival or enjoy summer like he used to in pre-pandemic days began to disappear.

If these fluffy morsels of sugar have such power to ease the adult mind, Mr Sato will definitely be buying them again, and sharing their magic with his friends and workmates too. Because, as we’ve seen from his recent reviews of okonomiyaki taiyaki, Doo Wop chicken burgers, and natto ice cream, Mr Sato is on a mission to share foods that’ll keep us in a good mood throughout summer!

Pop-up stand information
zarame (Tokyu Food Show limited time pop-up) / zarame(東急フードショー 期間限定出店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 1-12-1, Special venue for Japanese sweets (Shibuya Mark City 1st floor)
東京都渋谷区道玄坂1丁目12−1 和菓子特設会場 (渋谷マークシティ 1階)
Open: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (only open from 10 July to 11 August)

Reference: Zarame
Photos © SoraNews24
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