Beans. The word may not incite the same level of excitement as ‘cake’. But it is small red and white azuki beans that form the basis for Japan’s most delicious traditional sweets. Zen and the art of traditional Japanese sweet making is celebrated in all its glory at Toraya, one of the nation’s most famous confectioners. And a string of sleek architect-designed cafes provide the perfect setting to appreciate the unusual tastes and textures of such delights.
Head to Toraya Café in Omotesando Hills – a sleek concrete development built by cult architect Tadao Ando – for refreshments of the most refined order. Against a modern backdrop of glowing lanterns and light wooden tables, choose from a selection of Japanese green teas and sweets each as poetic as a haiku – from ‘namagashi’ moulded into flowers to rainbow-hued blocks of jellied ‘yokan’. Whether the acquired tastes and textures of Japanese sweets make you swoon or balk, the prettiness of Toraya’s creations is indisputable.