Though the 50-plus original flavors of gelato are definitely a major draw, too!

Sweets are a balm for the soul. At least, that’s what our Japanese-language reporter and sweets connoisseur Mr. Sato believes. No matter how irritable, how tired, how upset he gets, the moment a dessert hits his tongue, it all disappears. Every bite is a reward for every trial he’s had to face.

And if you’re looking to reward yourself with some delicious sweets, there’s a really excellent place for that in the Tokyo neighborhood of Musashi-Koyama. There, in a shopping arcade known as Palm (which is ranked as one of the top 10 shotengai shopping avenues in Tokyo), is a gelato specialty shop just in front of a shop that sells school uniforms.

Takeya Dessert Inn is a little stand just in the front corner of a school uniform shop called Takeya, a beloved shop in the neighborhood that has been open for more than 100 years. The gelato shop itself has a lengthy 36-year history, so it’s well-established as well.

Everything they sell at Takeya Dessert Inn is homemade every day by the shop’s owner, Midori, using a gelato machine imported from Italy. They offer three sizes: single (400 yen [US$2.72]), double (500 yen), and triple (600 yen), and a cone costs an extra 20 yen.

The most popular flavor they sell is the yogurt gelato, which is, of course, homemade like the other flavors.

They also have gelato made with fruit ordered from local farmers, and when Mr. Sato went, he saw some made with homegrown mint and roasted green tea, which appeared to be a new flavor.

Typically they have seven or eight flavors in the case on an ordinary day, but Midori has created over 50 original recipes. They also sell baked pudding!

While Mr. Sato was about to approach  Midori to ask her some questions, a couple strolled up to order some gelato. They were ordering a single cup when Midori said,

“The most popular flavor is the yogurt flavor. It’s really good if you combine it with a fruit gelato. It’s only 100 yen to make it a double, so you should try it.”

Clearly she has a lot of confidence in the flavor of her gelato, which is why she can make such a confident recommendation. Midori’s cheerfulness was like a ray of sunshine. It lifted Mr. Sato’s spirits, and made the stores nearby seem brighter too. The couple was only human and couldn’t resist the appeal of such a suggestion, so they ordered a double scoop with yogurt and fruit gelato.

After that, Mr. Sato was also ready to make his order. Since it was a pretty warm day, he ordered a triple scoop with a cone (for a total of 620 yen). Obviously, he had to try the yogurt flavor, and he wanted to try the new roasted green tea flavor too. And though the fruit gelato came highly recommended, he really wanted to try the Italian chocolate flavor. With a cheerful, “Okay!” Midori scooped all three flavors on a cone, but before handing it over, she said,

“You’re going to take a picture, right? Here, I’ll hold it for you.

Flustered, Mr. Sato laughed, “Ah! I feel bad. I’ve never taken a photo like this before,” but he accepted her offer and took the photo.

▼ On the right was the roasted green tea, and on the left the yogurt. In the middle was, of course, chocolate.

Midori then said,

“Do you want to take it from this side too? Just tell me what to do.”

Mr. Sato felt bad, but he quickly directed her to turn the cone and took the shot. But the ever-kind Midori wasn’t finished with him yet.

“Here, I want you to try some fruit gelato too.”

She scooped up a spoonful of yuzu lemon-flavored gelato, and Mr. Sato tried it together with the yogurt flavor. It was really delicious. The sourness of the yogurt paired perfectly with the fruity flavor, giving off a refreshing sweetness. That was a flavor perfect for summer.

The roasted green tea flavor was really aromatic, and each bite was full of rich, tea flavor that wafted up through Mr. Sato’s nose as well as overtaking his mouth. It had a very elegant sweetness, and the aftertaste was light. They were all gentle flavors that soothed the soul. Mr. Sato could feel the tightness in his shoulders melting away with every spoonful.

When he’d returned from his blissfully sweet escape, Mr. Sato had to ask Midori a question she’d likely been asked a thousand times before: “Why did you open a gelato shop inside a uniform store?”

Midori: “Because of the declining birth rate, it was predicted that the demand for school uniforms would decrease too. Plus, I wanted to make everyone happy. Everyone feels better when they eat something delicious. That’s why I gave it this name. Because I wanted to make the people who come here happy.”

Mr. Sato: “You mean the name ‘Dessert Inn’?”

Midori: “Yes. A long time ago there was a hotel in Las Vegas called the Desert Inn, like it was an oasis in the desert. So I modified it a bit to call it the ‘Dessert Inn.”‘

Mr. Sato: “I see!”

Midori: “In this day and age, everyone’s tired. Nobody is happy anymore. That’s why I want this place to be an oasis in the neighborhood, a place to make everyone feel better. And in order to cheer everyone up, I have to be cheerful too.”

Mr. Sato: “That’s very true.”

Midori: “You’re also in the business of communicating with people, right? You have to be cheerful.”

Mr. Sato: “I’ll keep that in mind! Thank you!”

Mr. Sato was really glad he stopped by Takeya Dessert Inn. He felt like a whole new man after eating some delicious gelato, talking with Midori, and being cheered up in a way he hadn’t been for a long time. If you find yourself in this southwestern neighborhood in Tokyo, definitely check out this small stand, whose homemade gelato is soothing in many ways.

Restaurant Information
Homemade Gelato Restaurant Takeya Dessert Inn / タケヤ・デザートイン
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Ebara 3-3-20
Hours: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

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[ Read in Japanese ]