We try one and other items from the limited-time booth in Shinjuku.

On Japanese social media, you may have seen a very photogenic confection which resembles the strawberries covered in sweet bean paste and mochi known as strawberry daifuku. But what sets today’s particular daifuku apart is that instead of the gleaming white mochi coating it, this sweet is layered with a thick coat of brilliant green matcha.

It’s the work of Hatoya, a Kyoto-based shop which also opened a location in Asakusa. For a very limited time, from 24 to 30 January, they’ve opened a location in the basement of the Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku, where the Munigurume Cafe is being held.

This event features other online sensations of the Japanese gourmet scene, but our writer Tasuku Egawa was there for the Hatoya experience. In addition to their famous daifuku, they also sold drinks, pudding, and cakes.

Tasuku settled on getting a Strawberry Matcha Foam Latte for 1,300 yen ($9), a Hatoya Strawberry Daifuku for 600 yen ($4), and an Asakusa Pudding Set for 1,150 yen ($8).

The pudding was packaged to go, but the rest of his order presented a problem in that the Munigurume Cafe was so bustling he couldn’t find a place to sit. Luckily, it was a nice day so he decided to eat his daifuku while standing in the cafe so he could return the dish and then head outside to enjoy his drink.

This daifuku had all the same components of a regular strawberry daifuku, but both the bean paste and mochi were infused with matcha and the whole thing was dusted with even more of the green tea powder for good measure.

Normally, the beauty of strawberry daifuku is that the mellowness of the bean paste smooths out the sharp tang of the strawberry for a very pleasant marriage of flavors. These daifuku, however, take things to a whole other level with a dose of bitterness.

That being said, the bitterness of matcha is unique in that it has a considerable umami taste along with it. That’s why Hatoya could lay it on really thick for a flavor that was the epitome of bittersweet. Rather than pleasing the masses with pure sweetness, these treats went for something more complex, and the results were fantastic.

Next, Tasuku moved outside to try his Strawberry Matcha Foam Latte. There was also a version with matcha ice cream rather than matcha foam that looked really good, but since it’s winter he managed to resist it.

Also, the foam is supposed to stick out of the cup more prominently, but Tasuku’s had settled while he was eating the daifuku inside. It still looked really good though.

Underneath that is the latte, with a reservoir of paste made from Yubeni strawberries grown in Kumamoto. Customers can also have sugar added to adjust the taste, which Tasuku decided to opt for.

But even with that, the bitterness of the matcha shone through in this drink. Hatoya once again refused to let the beauty of matcha take a back seat and it resulted in a delectable taste unlike other matcha lattes. That being said, the strawberry at the bottom of the cup was exquisitely sweet for an irresistible contrast.

Finally, the pudding set was sold frozen, so Tasuku had to wait until he got home and thawed them out.

This set contains matcha pudding as well as hojicha (roasted green tea) pudding.

Both the hojicha and matcha puddings had a thick layer of skin on top for added texture.

Again, there was an overwhelming sense of matcha and the pudding itself even felt slightly grainy for all of it. It might have been the most delicious matcha pudding he’d ever eaten.

Most matcha-flavored sweets err on the side of sweetness and the results are usually still very good. However, Hatoya seems to really understand where that very fine line of delicious bitterness lies, and their offerings are in a league of their own.

Unfortunately, this Shinjuku experience is only open for a short time but at least the Kyoto and Asakusa locations are around for matcha fans to truly indulge themselves.

Store Information
Hatoya Asaskusa / 八十八浅草
Munigurume Cafe / むにぐるめcafe
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Sendagaya 5-242 Shinjuku Takashimaya B1F
東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24­2新宿高島屋 B1F
Open: 24 – 30 January
Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Website (See for other locations)

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

[ Read in Japanese ]