Tokyo Chocolate: Bean To Bar Guide

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There is no denying that Tokyo is the epicenter of the craft chocolate culture in Japan. The chocolate scene in Tokyo is teeming with opportunities to indulge, and this is true not only in terms of the number and concentration of chocolate makers, but also of the wide range of styles, origins, and methods. Following your exploration of some of the world’s finest restaurants in Tokyo, you will find that the city’s chocolate shops offer more than a dozen distinct options for sweet endings to your meal.

As a result of the explosion that has taken place in what was once just a handful of makers who were influenced by the American craft chocolate movement over the past half decade. It doesn’t matter if someone is only in Tokyo for a day or for a week; it’s become something of an obsession for both the locals and the tourists. Its popularity in the United States may even be comparable to that of Kobe beef, which is now recognized all over the world. In fact, Tokyo was the location of Japan’s very first Craft Chocolate Market as well as the country’s very first large-scale chocolate festival, which is now replicated in other cities and towns across the country.

The chocolate culture in this region, on the other hand, isn’t just based on trendiness; rather, it’s driven by a genuine desire to comprehend the provenance of their food. It is possible to see this fascination in other Japanese chocolate hubs such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuoka, but Tokyo is the place where Japan’s chocolate scene is more developed than anywhere else. Are you hungry enough to take a bite out of this?

Why Bean To Bar Chocolate In Tokyo?

There are locations in Tokyo for a number of well-known European chocolatiers, including Jean Paul Hevin, Pierre Marcolini, and Laduree, in addition to locations for well-known worldwide brands like as Godiva and Max Brenner. But the native chocolatiers in Japan, and in Tokyo in particular, have a level of competence that is comparable to or even exceeds that of the chocolatiers in Brussels and Paris. A good number of them have achieved quite a bit of notoriety throughout the globe and won awards in international contests in chocolate and pastry.

As a consequence of the city’s growing interest in chocolate as a culinary medium, the number of chocolate stores in Tokyo has seen a phenomenal increase over the course of the last several decades. If you count each individual store, you will find that there are hundreds of them. With such a vast population, this makes sense. However, in recent years a significant number of well-known Japanese chocolatiers have developed an interest in bean-to-bar chocolate. As a result, in addition to the arrival of a number of foreign chocolate makers onto the Tokyo chocolate scene, there are now nearly two dozen chocolate makers based in Tokyo, the vast majority of whom operate their very own cafes.

Therefore, in contrast to the previous Japanese Chocolate City Guides that I have written, this post is only focused on chocolate that is made from beans to bars in Tokyo. You could spend weeks in Tokyo just as you would in Seoul trying to eat your way through all of the chocolate stores there. But for the benefit of both my own and your wallets, I decided to narrow my attention to only the handmade chocolate industry. I can’t wait for you to come with me to experience the city of Tokyo since it has more to offer than almost any other city on the planet.

A Note On Tokyo Chocolate

Because there aren’t any real concentrations of bean-to-bar chocolate shops in Tokyo, I’ve separated them according to a line that’s much more helpful: the type of chocolate. After all, the purpose of your visit to this website is to learn which chocolate shops in Tokyo are worth going to. Chocolate shops in Japan can be broadly classified as either French- or American-style establishments, with the latter category predominating in Tokyo. The translations, if any, are provided in either French or English, and the pastries tend toward either traditional French patisserie or traditional American confections.

The only two places that truly deviate from this rule are Dandelion Chocolate Japan and Green Bean To Bar. Both of these establishments offer a stunning French pastry menu in addition to their traditional American-style chocolates and confections. Other notable creative minds include those behind Artichoke Chocolate and Kabuki Coffee, both of which have been strongly influenced by modern art and 3rd wave coffee, respectively. Artichoke Chocolate is a chocolate company, and Kabuki Coffee is a coffee company. They both bring to mind Hayashi-san, who owns Timeless Chocolate in Okinawa, for some reason.

2020 update! Since I was there, Tokyo has welcomed not one, but two new bean-to-bar chocolate shops: Auro Chocolate and The Meadow, both located in Shinjuku. The Meadow is a specialty food store that was founded in the United States of America and features an extensive collection of artisanal chocolate bars from all over the world. Auro Chocolate is a chocolate company that was born in the Philippines and works directly with cacao farmers in the Davao region of those islands.

Tokyo Travel Tips

When Japanese people travel to other countries, they frequently arrive at their destinations having fantasized about them to the point where their actual experiences fall short of what they had envisioned. Even a name has been given to this phenomenon: the Paris Syndrome (). However, the Paris Syndrome does not only affect Japanese people who travel to other countries; it can also affect tourists from other countries who visit Japan.

I don’t want you to develop Tokyo Syndrome, so I ask that you keep the following in mind: Tokyo is, at its core, the same as any other major city. However, there are a few peculiarities that give it a distinctly Japanese flavor. One thing to note is that Tokyo does not even come close to matching Seoul’s level of connectivity. When you first arrive, it is highly recommended that you purchase a sim card or a wifi egg, as public wifi is either extremely difficult to access or not present at all.

Additionally, Japan as a whole relies heavily on cash transactions, and smoking is permitted in the majority of its restaurants. You can expect to be served tea instead of water with every meal you order at a typical meal at a Japanese restaurant. Once I was able to convey what I want to the staff in Japan, they were all very courteous and helpful. This was the case wherever I went in Japan. Sometimes even total strangers came forward to offer their assistance.

Final recommendation: if you plan to visit any of these chocolate shops in Tokyo, make sure to download both French and Japanese onto your offline version of Google Translate. Both languages have proven to be useful at some point or another.

Photo credit

American-Style Chocolate Makers

Cacao Store

This little retail business seems to be the only one in Tokyo that sells a range of foreign bean to bar producers, most of whom are from Europe and Asia. Their own bars line the whole bottom shelf of the shop, making it the only one of its kind in the city. However, in addition to that, they operate a café that offers a range of baked goods and seems to be pretty well attended (not all of the chocolate variety). It’s a wonderful place to hang out, but as far as chocolate sellers go, they only have a very limited variety. This is something that I’m hoping will change over the course of the next few years. One item that is severely lacking in Tokyo is a merchant that sells bars made by manufacturers from all around the nation and the globe! This is not yet the right location, but it is currently the most viable alternative.

Address: 1 Chome-6-8 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0063, Japan

Metro Stop: Yoyogi-Koen

Hours & Prices: 10am-8pm, daily {open until 9pm Fri/Sat} (prices vary)

Dandelion Chocolate Japan

Dandelion Chocolate Dandelion Chocolate, which is based in San Francisco, has a manufacturing facility in Japan that is its daughter business. In addition to the firm’s vast variety of origins, which have all found their way to Japan, the company has become well-known for its two-ingredient method to the production of chocolate. Dandelion’s plant in San Francisco sends the beans straight to their factory in Tokyo, where the beans are processed into chocolate, which is then used to produce bars, hot chocolate, baked items, and a few other more innovative creations, such as nib honey. Their whole production is either enclosed in transparent glass or is located in plain view, and the employees are more than glad to answer any questions that you may have. I strongly suggest getting a s’mores dessert and ordering the Kuramae hot chocolate, which is brewed with green tea. There is access to free WiFi in the area.

Address: 4 Chome-14-6 Kuramae, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0051, Japan

Metro Stop: Kuramae

Hours & Prices: 10am-8pm, daily (¥1200 per 56g bar.)

Minimal Chocolate

When you walk into their very small shop in Shibuya, the staff members who speak English will greet you and offer you samples of all of their products, whether they are bars or collections. For this reason, all of their chocolate has a grainy texture and goes through a minimum amount of processing. Each origin has a predominate flavor profile that is used to describe the differences to customers, and each of those origins comes in a different color and wrapper pattern to differentiate themselves from one another. Additionally, each of their sites provide hot chocolate and coffee, as well as a selection of desserts prepared in-house, ice cream, and cacao pulp juice. Even though it didn’t open its doors until 2014, some people claim that Minimal Chocolate is Japan’s oldest bean-to-bar chocolate maker. This claim, however, is up for debate.

Address: 2 Chome-1-9 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0063, Japan

Metro Stop: Yoyogi-Koen

Hours & Prices: 11:30am-7pm, daily (¥1600 per 50g bar.)

Green Bean To Bar

Green Bean To Bar, which is known as one of the greatest chocolate producers in Japan, was also known for having one of the most extensive and pricey menus of any of the chocolate stores in Tokyo. In addition to the usual offerings of brownies, cookies, and muffins, they also provide a rotating selection of three to four other pastries, each of which has at least one component that is crafted from their chocolate. This wonderful yet variable quality of their food continues into their selection of chocolate bars, and they always have at least one limited edition bar available for purchase at any one moment. A peek at the menu for the hot chocolate and coffee is definitely something you should do. It’s important to keep in mind that their Shibuya location has a true residential vibe; it becomes really gloomy and a touch spooky at night, so I would advise you to go there before the sun goes down.

Address: 2 Chome-16-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan

Metro Stop: Ikejiri Ohashi

Hours & Prices: 11am-9pm, daily (~¥1700 per 55g bar; ¥380 for bonbons)

Craft Chocolate Works

The employees at this cozy little shop are very friendly, but other than the names of the goods they sell, they don’t speak much English. However, everything is made with their bean-to-bar chocolates, of which there are twelve different varieties, almost all of which come from a different country of origin. Although there are a few different candies that are inspired by Japanese flavors, there is nothing that really branches out into the territory of chocolatier. Their ice cream and drinks have a wonderful aroma, but I wasn’t able to try any of them during this trip. Their brownie has a good flavor, but it is extremely dry. A room that is enclosed in glass has a lot of natural light and is quite open, and inside of it, women are cleaning cacao beans and making candies.

Address: 2 Chome-7-4 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku, Tōkyō-to 154-0001, Japan

Metro Stop: Sangenjaya

Hours & Prices: 11am-6pm, Tue.-Sun. (¥900-2400 per 50g bar.)

Artichoke Chocolate

CASH ONLY. This chocolate store is by far the most artistic one in all of Tokyo. It’s not trying to be French like most of the other chocolate makers in Tokyo do, and it’s not even really looking to the United States for inspiration; it’s just got its own vibe. But that’s only because it’s not actually French; else, I’d say it’s more American in flavor. There is a table in the center of the room that features a display of the exquisite bonbons, bars, and most recent confectionary creations, including a chocolate chicken wing and egg. They also sell flavored chocolate balls, which, like everything else in their shop, are made with their chocolate that is made from bean to bar. These chocolate balls are also quite tasty. It is the same as the majority of the other stores in that there is nowhere to sit down; however, it is not really a place that I would want to stop in. It seems as though there is always something being made, and your presence would give the impression that you were interfering with the process of creation. However, you shouldn’t allow it deter you from grabbing a candy bar or a sweet treat.

Address: 4 Chome-9-6 Miyoshi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0022, Japan

Metro Stop: Kiyosumi Shirakawa

Hours & Prices: 11am-7pm, daily {with exceptions} (¥400 per 21g bar.)

Kabuki Yusuke Chocolate

CASH ONLY. This is a one-man operation that specializes in turning chocolate and coffee into an experience for its customers. After beginning his career as a coffee roaster, he recently branched out into the chocolate industry and began offering a selection of rare origins, each of which is intended to complement a specific type of drink. Both his milk and dark chocolates have a coffee that goes well with it, and he can recommend it to you from his coffee menu. I gave the Haiti and the dark roast a try, and I have to say that they make a lovely combination. I’ll admit that for a while, I lost all memory of how truly delicious chocolate should taste. I believe the fact that Kabuki is difficult to classify is simply an indication that it cannot be compared to anything else. Take note that although it might seem like a door to any old building, it actually leads to a restaurant. Therefore, make sure you stick to the location on the map.

Address: 1 Chome-15 Torigoe, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0054, Japan

Metro Stop: Kuramae

Hours & Prices: 11am-8pm, Thu.-Tue {open at 1pm on the weekdays} (¥700-800 for a coffee & chocolate pairing; ¥1350 per 40g bar.)

Mamano Chocolate

A post shared by MAMANO CHOCOLATE (@mamano_official) on Feb 5, 2019 at 11:48pm PST

Mamano Chocolate is considered a bean-to-bar chocolate maker because they supervise the production of their chocolate from the cacao bean all the way through to the finished bar. According to their website, even though they don’t actually make their chocolate in-house, they do have connections to farmers in Ecuador, and after harvest, they hire those farmers to make chocolate for them according to their specifications. This is despite the fact that they don’t actually make their chocolate themselves. In spite of the fact that I was unable to visit this establishment during my trip, I was able to learn from their website that their cafe serves a variety of coffee and chocolate beverages, including frozen beverages during the warmer months of the year. Their chocolate selection includes both bars and ganache slabs (also known as nama chocolate), in addition to chocolate chips, which can be used for either snacking or baking.

Address: Japan, 〒107-0052 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 3 Chome−8−8 赤坂フローラルプラザ

Metro Stop: Akasaka Mitsuke

Hours & Prices: 11am-7pm, daily {close at 10pm weekdays)

Cacao Salon A-Fuku

You should not be like me. Do not walk all the way to this store only to realize that you are in a residential neighborhood and then proceed to wander aimlessly for a while, pondering the possibility that you misread the address. It is true that there is a place called Cacao Salon A-Fuku, which is in fact a home chocolate factory. The proprietor provides chocolate tastings as well as experiences in the creation of chocolate, and she also sells chocolate bars under the brand name Dora Chocolate. Take note that visitors can only enter the salon by making an appointment in advance, and that the shop is in fact located in somebody’s home.

Address: Japan, 〒168-0064 東京都Suginami-kuEifuku, 4 Chome−20, Eifuku, 4 Chome−20−1

Metro Stop: Eifukucho

Hours & Prices: varies; by appointment only


A post shared by OBSCURA COFFEE ROASTERS (@obscuracoffeeroasters) on Jan 30, 2019 at 9:43pm PST

All of the chocolate sold at Xocol is ground using stone, as was the practice among the Aztecs, whose word xocolatl served as the inspiration for Xocol’s name. They create a slightly different item, such as coins or gemstones, for each country or region from which they source their materials. In addition to the more conventional candies and snacks, such as chocolate salami and chocolate-covered nuts, they also sell chocolate drinks, which are similarly influenced by the beverages of ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. These chocolate drinks are sold in their small shopfront. Due to time constraints, I was unable to make it to Xocol during this trip; however, if you do get the chance to check it out, please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me about your experience there!

Address: Japan, 〒158-0081 東京都世田谷区Fukasawa, 5 Chome−1, 深沢5−1−23

Metro Stop: Todoroki

Hours & Prices: 2pm-7pm, Thu.-Mon.

BONUS: Craft Chocolate Market

The Craft Chocolate Market is an event that takes place every year in January at Fleming House in Tokyo. It is a ticket-only event where chocolate makers from all over the world, including Japan, come to sell their bars of chocolate. Each of the international manufacturers brings a selection of three bars that they are willing to sell to the general public, and it is highly likely that this will be the only time that these bars will be available in the country. It is an event that chocolate lovers in Japan just must not miss!

Address: 2 Chome-6-10 Miyoshi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0022, Japan

Metro Stop: Kiyosumi Shirakawa

Hours & Prices: 11am-5pm, one weekend in January (¥700 per ticket)

French-Style Chocolate Makers

Les Cacaos

The only thing that makes this tiny chocolate shop in southern Tokyo stand out as being Japanese is the writing that is on the cards that describe the various chocolates. The space is set with French music, and the menu items are translated into French, which makes it ten times easier to understand what they have to offer. At Les Cacao, you can get chocolate-covered cakes, jams, and the largest assortment of French cookies I have ever seen, all of which are available for take-out, right next to ten or so different dessert creations. The chocolate bonbons and truffles are crafted by the chef using couverture made from the restaurant’s Ghana chocolate. The chocolate bars come from a variety of different origins, most of which are Latin American. The bonbons have ganache fillings that are airy and are bursting with flavor; they are delicious. This is not a cafe; there is nowhere to sit anywhere in the place.

Address: Japan, 〒141-0022 Tōkyō-to, Shinagawa-ku, Higashigotanda, 2 Chome−19−2 第12東都ビル

Metro Stop: Gotanda

Hours & Prices: 11am-7pm, Wed.-Mon. (¥590 per ~30g bar)

Magie Du Chocolat

Magie Du Chocolat is a very traditional and upscale European bakery, the likes of which can be found all over Japan. On one side of the shop, however, there is a large wall covered in single origin bean to bar chocolates. The bars are expensive because they come from all over the world and represent each region of the world in which cacao is grown. The flavors are written in after the tasting has been completed. Because their employees are friendly but don’t speak much English (and because there isn’t much writing in languages other than Japanese), it took some time to figure out that only the bars sold in Japan are made from bean to bar, while the rest of their products are couverture. However, they have a large selection of baked goods and pastries, and for 720 yen you can buy a cacao pulp drink from them. This is a much more cost-effective option than booking a flight to a country that grows cacao.

Address: 6 Chome-33-14 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku, Tōkyō-to 158-0083, Japan

Metro Stop: Jiyugaoka

Hours & Prices: 10am-7pm, Wed.-Mon. (¥1500-2000 per 60g bar)

Patisserie Jun Ujita

It was a friend who first pointed me in the direction of Jun Ujita, which is primarily a patisserie. In addition to that, they offer a selection of beverages made with coffee and chocolate, as well as teas, ice cream, pastries, and chocolates. The assortment of chocolate flavors and pastries available is very French in nature. The bean-to-bar selection of bonbons and bars can be found in the nook, and the bonbons have a hint of bitterness to them while still managing to be very flavorful and not overpowering. The mille-feuille was delicious, but unfortunately they were out of the chocolate cake when I went there, so I couldn’t try it. However, they do have a cake made with their chocolate. Be aware that if you dine in one of their seven chairs, they only serve one drink to each customer as per their policy.

Address: 4 Chome-6-6 Himonya, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0003, Japan

Metro Stop: Toritsu Daigaku

Hours & Prices: 10:30am-7pm, Tue.-Sun. (~¥300 per bonbon)

Chocolatier Palet D’or

Palet D’or is the bean-to-bar chocolate brand created by master chocolatier Shunsuke Saegusa, and it is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious chocolate maker brands in Japan. Since it opened in Osaka in 2004, this store has been making a name for itself in the competitive Japanese chocolate market, thanks in large part to the distinctive chocolate collections it sells. An impressively extensive assortment of baked goods, flavored bonbons, and liquid refreshments is rounded out with items such as melty chocolate disks and single origin “healthy” truffles. There is seating available for customers at each of their locations across Japan, including the one in Osaka, so that they can take in their purchases in comfort. Take note that this location can be found within the shopping mall that can be found directly across from Tokyo Station.

Address: Japan, 〒100-6501 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi, 1丁目5−1 新丸の内ビルディング

Metro Stop: Tokyo Station

Hours & Prices: 11am-9pm, daily {closes at 8pm on Sundays} (¥300-¥400 per bonbon)

Toshi Yoroizuka (2 locations)

Despite the fact that their chocolates are some of the best in the city, this lovely little sit-down pastry shop does a rather poor job of distinguishing itself from the hundreds of other establishments in the city that are very similar to it. They have a variety of baked goods, including cakes, cookies, and other pastries, and there is even a nook where customers can take a seat and enjoy a cup of coffee. But their pastries are not what brought me here; the chef owns a cacao plantation in Ecuador, and he is using the cacao from his plantation to make bean-to-bar chocolates, which he then sells in the form of bars and bonbons. The way that the chef roasts his cacao before he turns it into chocolate is the thing that makes those chocolates interesting, and this is completely unrelated to the fact that they were made in a pastry shop. Because he only uses cacao from a single origin, he can choose to roast the cacao for 0 minutes, 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or 40 minutes before making chocolate. In spite of the fact that the interior of the cafe initially left a negative impression on me, the chocolate bonbons themselves are outstanding.

Address: Japan, 〒107-0052 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 9 Chome−7−2 東京ミッドタウン・イースト 1F B-0104

Metro Stop: Kyobashi

Hours & Prices: 11am-8pm, daily (~¥400 per bonbon)

Presquile Chocolaterie

CASH ONLY. This quaint patisseries only has a little display case where they keep their most recent sweets, but just above that there is a row of cakes and jams. They offer cookies and other baked products, chocolate-covered fruits and other delights, and a lengthy row of bonbons in addition to the regular menu seen at patisserie establishments. Bean to bar chocolate is used in the production of their chocolate cakes, bars, and one of their bonbons, and they do in fact have the elusive red chocolate. There is a little table tucked away in the corner displaying their bean-to-bar chocolate bars, and in front of each bar is a dish containing a sample. The bonbons are tasty, and the bars themselves have a wonderfully rounded and smooth texture. Of the bonbons, the ones that had a coating of pate de fruits were by far the most delicious. In any case, a visit to this business is well worth the effort.

Address: Japan, 〒180-0004 東京都武蔵野市Kichijōji Honchō, 2 Chome−15, 本町2-15-18

Metro Stop: Kichijoji

Hours & Prices: 11am-6pm, Thu.-Mon. (¥800 per 35g bar)

BONUS: Salon Du Chocolat

Every winter, Tokyo and every other major city in Japan gets swept up in a chocolate craze, and the rest of Japan follows suit. There are hundreds of bakeries, chocolatiers, and other types of businesses that participate in Tokyo’s Salon Du Chocolat, making it quite possible that this event is the largest celebration of European chocolate in all of Japan. The collection is quite enormous, and going there is definitely time well spent. The entrance fee is 600 each session that is one hour long.

Address: 3 Chome-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0022, Japan

Metro Stop: Shinjuku

Hours & Prices: 10am-7pm, daily; click their name above to see upcoming dates and buy tickets (¥600 per session)

Online Chocolate Shops in Tokyo

Setting a business in Tokyo is not an inexpensive endeavor. These days, a significant number of chocolate manufacturers in Japan are selling their products on the internet. Bean to bar chocolate in Japan is both costly to sell and expensive to create, much as it is in neighboring South Korea. In notably the city of Tokyo, many artisans solely sell their wares either online or in person at collaborative popup markets, boutique cafés, or both.

But to tell you the truth, there are moments when I feel like I’m going insane when I keep clicking through on these websites just to discover that there is no new material or posts for years. How are people even expected to locate these individuals who produce things? Do they just utter their hopes into the ether and then keep their fingers crossed that others will understand what they mean? Emily’s Chocolate, ChocoReko, and Salagadoola Chocolate are a few examples of chocolate producers situated in Tokyo and the surrounding areas that sell their wares on the internet.

This is a wonderful website that lists the majority of bean to bar chocolate businesses in Japan. If you speak Japanese or are interested in getting into bean to bar chocolate in Japan, this is a tremendous resource that you should take advantage of.

Tokyo Chocolate Map

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