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Daifuku

Daifuku: Only The Best 5 Rice Cake Shops in Tokyo

The Best 5 Rice Cake Shops in Tokyo for Daifuku Lovers

Daifuku
Japanese Rice Cakes (google.com)

Daifuku is Japanese rice cake with sweetened beans in it. What makes these sweets unique from others is rice cake is so soft, it makes you smile every time you take a bite. Nowadays, we have varieties of fill like whipped cream, custard cream, and so on. We will especially take a look at Mame-daifuku (bean rice cake) which is really popular today. Let’s check out the best 5 rice cake shops in Tokyo!

Brief History of Daifuku

Japanese Rice Cake Seller in Tenpo, 1830-1844 in Edo
Rice Cake Seller in Tenpo (1830-1844) of the Edo period

In the late period of Muromachi era (1336-1573), there was already Daifuku-like confection which was called “Uzura-mochi”. Uzura is a quail, so its shape was like a bird and its belly was large. Hence it was called “Harabuto” (large belly) as well. The paste in it was salted beans.

In 1771, a widow started to sell smaller and flattened confection with sweetened beans in it which were named “Otafuku-mochi” (plain-looking rice cake) or “Daifuku-mochi” (large belly rice cake).

Daifuku Seller in Edo
Rice Cake Seller in the Edo period (blog.zaq.ne.jp)

In the late of 18th century, it had been cooked and sold at stools in the evening, and people began to call them “Daifuku” with good luck meaning kanji characters. Some sellers put “Kotobuki” (celebration) on them with red food coloring, used for celebration. So it is believed that eating Daifuku brings a good luck!

Edo Meisho Zue - The Sight Pictures of Edo
Edo Meisho Zue – The Sight Pictures of Edo (www.web-nihongo.com)

The picture above shows the crowded street in Edo. There’s a small Daifuku shop displaying rice cakes at the front. You can see kadomatsu in front of the shop, which is New Year’s decoration made with pine trees and bamboos, and a man carrying salted salmons, which tells you this is at the end of the year.

It is a time for the Saizo fair which is kind of an entertaining talk show a pair of comedians gives by visiting houses. Saizo is a partner of Tayu of Mikawa manzai (cross talk). Entertainment and laughter made this time of the year lively and people prayed for the New Year.

Japanese White Rice Cake Daifuku Mochi 8 Pcs
Japanese White Rice Cake Daifuku Mochi 8 Pcs

Best 5 Rice Cake Shops in Tokyo

It has so many varieties of fill and its texture. But overall, they are so soft and bean paste is so fulfilling. The shops we picked have a long history of making them and make people happy without a fail. You have a lot of options when you are in Tokyo, below is our favorite pick you can start with and we are happy if you find your own favorite one!

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1. Gunrindo – 群林堂

Daifuku, Gunrindo, front view
Gunrindo, front view (tabelog)

Gunrindo’s Mame-daifuku is so popular, it usually is sold out in the early afternoon. They use red peas from Furano, and adzuki beans from Tokachi both from Hokkaido. The taste of salty and sweetness is marvelously balanced.

Daifuku, Gunrindo, Mame-daifuku
Gunrindo, Bean Rice Cake (tabelog)

Gunrindo is located in the district of major publishing companies so it’s said great writers like Mishima Yukio and Matsumoto Seicho loved its daifuku very much. This is the shop you can’t miss if you happen to be in Tokyo!

Daifuku, Gunrindo, Half-cut Mame-daifuku
Gunrindo, Half-cut Bean Rice Cake (tabelog)

Gunrindo – 群林堂
Address: 2-1-2, Otowa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3941-8281
Open Hours: 9:30AM-5PM
Closed: Sunday

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2. Mizuho – 瑞穂

Daifuku, Mizuho, front view
Mizuho, front view (tabelog)

As soon as you enter the shop, you can smell the sweetness of steamed rice. You should visit before 1 p.m. to make sure there is still your share. You can enjoy the elastic texture of the rice cake and strained pea paste, which is rare for Mame-daifuku.

Daifuku, Mizuho
Rice Cake at Mizuho (tabelog)

Mizuho – 瑞穂
Address: 6-8-7, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3400-5483
Open Hours: 8:30AM- till sold out
Closed: Sunday, Middle of August and end of the year and the new years.

Matcha: 5 Delightful Green Tea Sweets Shops in Tokyo/a>

3. Matsushimaya – 松島屋

Matsushimaya, front view
Matsushimaya, front view (tabelog)

Matsushimaya’s Rice Cakes are little smaller than others, but if you really love the red pea, this is the one for you. You can taste the red pea really well with this Daifuku.

Daifuku, Matsushimaya
Rice Cake at Matsushimaya (tabelog)

Matsushimaya is located close to the Imperial Residence. When Showa Emperor was a Prince, he used to reside in this residence and mame-daifuku from Matsushimaya is his one of his favorites.

Daifuku, Matsushimaya, cross section
Rice Cake at Matsushimaya, Cross section (tabelog)
Daifuku, Matsushimaya, millet, mugwort, red pea
Rice Cakes of millet, mugwort, and red pea at Matsushimaya

Millet and mugwort Daifuku are delicious as well!

Matsushimaya – 松島屋
Address: 1-5-25, Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3441-0539
Open Hours: 9:30AM-6PM (Often sold out in the afternoon)
Closed: Sunday and two Mondays

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4. Tsukushi – つ久し

Tsukushi, front view
Tsukushi, front view (tabelog)

Tsukushi uses black soybean for their bean paste, so if the red pea is not for you, you can try this one.

Tsukushi, Mame-daifuku
Bean Rice Cake at Tsukushi (tabelog)
Japanese Rice Cake, Tsukushi, Kanoko
apanese Rice Cake, Tsukushi, Kanoko (tabelog)

Kanoko is a rice cake covered with sweetened adzuki beans since Edo period. It looks like the pattern of the back of the deer, hence the name Kanoko (child of deer).

Tsukushi – つ久し
Address: 4-5-6, Yakumo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3724-0294
Open Hours: 8AM-6:30PM
Closed: Tuesday

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5. Ganso Shio-daifuku Mizuno – 元祖塩大福 みずの

Ganso Shio-daifuku Mizuno, front view
Ganso Shio-daifuku Mizuno, front view (tabelog)

Shio-daifuku is what makes Mizuno famous for. A simple enough rice cake, subtle sweetness and salty taste, it is something you can eat one and another without noticing it.

Daifuku of Ganso Shio-daifuku Mizuno
Shio-daifuku of Ganso Shio-daifuku Mizuno (tabelog)

Address: 3-33-3, Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3910-4652
Open Hours: 9AM-6:30PM
Closed: Irregular Holidays

Ichigo Daifuku!

Oh, we need to add one more, Ichigo-daifuku (strawberry rice cake), which looks so cute and tastes so good. Mellow sweetness of bean paste and crispy sourness of strawberry is a fabulous combination. The video below (no subtitle) show the Japanese confectionary shop Osumi-tamaya, which is considered to be the very first shop began selling Ichigo-daifuku.

It’s a story about who began making strawberry daifuku who always love making sweets since he was small, trying to make new ones. He says when he introduced strawberry daifuku for the first time, people were appalled and skeptic if it could be eaten. But soon after, the strawberry daifuku caught on and you see them everywhere now.
Osumi-tamaya – 大角玉屋

Wagashi-dokoro Osumi-tamaya Honten – 和菓子処 大角玉屋 本店
Address: 8-25, Sumiyoshi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3351-7735
Open Hours: 9AM-7:30PM
Open Everyday

Japanese Fruits Daifuku (Rice Cake)-strawberry
Japanese Fruits Daifuku (Rice Cake)-strawberry

Have you found your favorite store of yours above? We’d love to hear your favorite Daifuku and stores in the comment section below!

References

第55回 大福と才蔵市 (www.web-nihongo.com)
東京三大豆大福の群林堂!三島由紀夫や松本清張が愛した人気和菓子店 (gokokujinavi.com)

Hiroko Matsuyama

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