Let’s face it, we’ve all drooled over the food in Studio Ghibli movies and wondered what it would be like to take a stroll among those whimsical streets. Did you know, though, there are some places in Japan that seem like they’ve been taken directly from those movies into our world? Make sure to check these places out and Ghibli-fy your time in Japan!
1. Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory
Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory is a bakery by Setagaya Daita Station in Tokyo that offers cute pastries and cookies with motifs from Ghibli movies, mostly My Neighbor Totoro. They’re famous for their cream puffs based on the little Totoros that populate the forest in the movie. The bakery itself has a warmly decorated interior so you can enjoy the cute sweets within a cozy atmosphere.
The cream puffs have different fillings and decorations on their heads based on the season, such as strawberry filling with a cherry blossom on top in spring and a chestnut cream with a brown leaf in autumn. They’re so cute that it might seem like a waste to eat them, but one delicious bite of puff is sure to change your mind!
Mori no Alm is a restaurant in Yamanashi Prefecture that isn’t directly connected to Studio Ghibli, but has an atmosphere very reminiscent of one of its movie. You can enjoy delicious Italian food in this whimsical restaurant.
This restaurant is near the shore of Lake Yamanaka, so you can have a rustic Italian meal before or after visiting the lake for a nature-filled day that will make you feel like Totoro is hiding just behind a tree.
The food is beautifully plated in a way that suits the restaurant’s decor, so please eat and drink to your heart’s content.
3. Cat Cafe Temari no Ouchi
Temari no Ouchi is a cat cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo with the concept of being a “forest of mysterious cats.” You’ll feel as though you stepped right into a Ghibli movie – with plenty of cute kitties!
Unlike some cat cafes that only offer soft drinks, Temari no Ouchi has a proper food menu as well as desserts and drinks to enjoy. There are also hidden cats located along the walls, so please search for them as an added puzzle.
There are a number of cats just waiting to make your acquaintance, so please stop by and say hello if you get the chance. Maybe you’ll make a new friend among them!
Spice Cafe is a restaurant specializing in dishes made with plenty of spices near Oshiage Station in Tokyo. The restaurant is tucked away, surrounded by plenty of plants for a cozy atmosphere.
The owner traveled to 48 different countries to come up with his own original menu that he says is international food filtered through a Japanese lens.
The atmosphere of the restaurant as well as the surrounding garden will make you feel like Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service will saunter by as you enjoy your meal.
Coffee Kageki in Karuizawa is a cafe with an elegant, antique interior decorated with dark wood and shades of blue for a relaxing break. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cake served on elegant china.
This cafe may not be as whimsical as some of the others on this list, but visiting it will make you feel as though you’ve slipped back into time.
You can have a lovely visit gazing out at the street over a warm drink and a sweet treat in this cafe that seems like Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle might swoop into at any moment.
Les Grands Arbres is a cafe connected to a tree that even has a treehouse! The tree hugs the facade of the building, and you can go up the ladder to the treehouse which is supported by one of the tree’s branches as well as extra manmade supports.
The entrance is surrounded by plants for a quaint ambiance that continues when you enter the cafe itself. Their menu includes main dishes, desserts, and drinks, so you can stop by for a meal or a quiet tea time.
Usagi is a dining bar in Tokyo that adds cute touches to its food like heart-shaped mozzarella and sparkler candles on birthday dessert plates. The facade is covered in ivy for a homey feel despite being located not far from bustling Shibuya Station.
“Usagi” means rabbit, and true to its name, this restaurant has a rabbit wearing a bowtie as its motif. Despite the fanciful appearance of both the building and the mascot, the food is hearty and healthy. They call themselves an “avocado bar” due to the sheer number of avocadoes used throughout their menu, so this is a perfect place for fans of both the Ghibli atmosphere and the taste of avocado!
With the exception of the bakery and its cream puffs, these places are not directly connected to Studio Ghibli or their movies but still manage to personify its iconic whimsy. Have you added any to your Japan trip plans?
This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article.