I feel kind of sorry for the staff at the Tolo Bakery & Cafe, because how many times can you hear, “Kawaiiiii!” in one day without checking yourself into the loony bin? Seriously, even if you’re not at all the sort of person who squeals it all over everything from coffee foam to pit bull puppies, I dare you to walk in there and NOT SAY IT. Trust me, you will lose this one. It will spring from your lips as though free will were not a Thing.
And because these Miyazakian pastries also happen to be delicious, they are worth every step of the ten minute walk from Shimo-kitazawa Station, even in blazing sun, pouring rain, or raging typhoon.
Tip ‘o the leaf umbrella to Helen Foster of Destination: Differentville, whose intrepid legwork brought to my attention just how worthy this bakery really is. (And psst, she’s got some great posts about what to do while you’re in Japan!)
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist