Tokyo, Japan: Wakaba not Wakabi


On my last day in Tokyo, there was a final task that I was set to accomplish: eat taiyaki, a classic Japanese sweet snack in the form of a fish-shaped cake filled with azuki red bean paste. I tried googling some of the best authentic spots to eat it in Tokyo, and decided to venture to the one nearest to me: Taiyaki Wakaba.

Wakaba, situated about a 10-minute walk from Yotsuya Station, is apparently one of the oldest and most popular taiyaki establishments in Tokyo. Go figure, when I asked strangers for directions, they all smiled enthusiastically and were eager to show me the way. “This place must be really good to have locals know its whereabouts upon hearing its name,” I thought to myself excitedly.

Rain was pouring heavily during my adventure to find this renowned gem, but that made the journey ever more exciting. Having warm out-of-the-oven taiyaki on a rainy morning constituted my ideal start to the day. And my ideal morning it was, for when I arrived at the shop, it was nice and empty and quiet — just how I like it. After all, it was still early in the morning and I was the first one there.


The lady at the counter was lovely; upon entering, I was greeted with a warm smile and friendly questions about my country of origin. In turn, I asked her about the history of the shop. After a brief and pleasant exchange, I ordered a taiyaki to-stay, found a comfortable spot in the corner, poured myself some green tea (complimentary of the shop), and then proceeded to spending the next few minutes in taiyaki heaven.


After having tried the original taiyaki, I was bent on trying a progressive version of it: the taiyaki croissant, which I came across at the Ameyoko Market. This version had the same red bean filling as the original, but the pastry was a croissant — an exquisite hybrid!

Takeshita Street in Harajuku District

Takeshita Street in Harajuku Districtimage

I knew I wouldn’t be hibernating in Harajuku for long given the monstrous crowds and my lack of interest in shopping in general (there, I said it), but it was a treat to give it a visit nonetheless — very lively and colourful.

Harajuku, as is often depicted in the tickles and pickles of the media and world of Japanese pop culture, is a district in Shibuya, Tokyo bustling with fashion boutiques, restaurants and cafes, and gift shops. It’s no secret that it’s a joint widely frequented by the young and hip generation with a flair for all-things fashion — and with that comes all-things quirky and unique.

First experience eating sushi at a stand-up booth

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