If you love fruits, going to Takano Fruit Parlor in Shinjuku should be on your list of things to do in Tokyo. It serves quite possibly the best fruit parfaits in the city. Takano's desserts are renowned for being made with high-grade seasonal Japanese fruits. Here's a look inside!
Takano Fruits Parlor is on the 5th floor of the Shinjuku Takano complex where there are Takano stores located on the second and first basement floors as well. Shinjuku Takano was established in 1885, the same year the Shinjuku Station opened. It has been a landmark in the city ever since, now recognized as one of the best fruit specialty stores in the world.
It takes a 2-minute walk from the East Exit of the JR Shinjuku Station to get to Shinjuku Takano.
If you don't have a reservation, you might have to queue for a while before you can get in, especially on weekends.
My first impression when I got in was that Takano Fruit Parlor has a slightly retro vibe that is extremely inviting. The interior is cleaned-lined, spacious and bright too.
I was particularly fond of and drawn to the large oval-shaped windows from which you get a good view of Shinjuku. If you can, I'd recommend getting a seat by the windows. The view must be really nice at night time as well.
Distinction Between The Fruit Parlor And The Fruit Bar
Here's an important distinction. The Fruit Parlor pictured above is adjacent to the Fruit Bar on the 5th floor. They are two separate stores run by Shinjuku Takano. The Fruit Bar offers an all-you-can-eat buffet, whereas the Fruit Parlor serves more elaborate creations that you order a la carte. Below are the menu items I tried at the Takano Fruit Parlor.
Takano is recognized not only in Japan but around the world for having some of the most exquisite fruit parfaits. The concept is simple: to serve aesthetically beautiful dishes made from supreme quality, in-season ingredients. To achieve that, chefs at Takano are masters in the art of fruit cutting, and the company gives the foremost importance to the production area and the producers of the fruits and other ingredients it uses. Most of the fruits you can enjoy are produced in Japan.
Miyazaki Mango Parfait (Seasonal Item)
I wanted to have a taste of Japanese summer, so what better choice than this mango parfait made from fruits that are produced in Japan's southern prefecture of Miyazaki. This is a specialty only served in the summer. As expected, the presentation was outstanding. It comes with a generous amount of juicy, ripe mango and some fresh whipped cream.
¥1,900 (taxes not included)
Turn it around and what I discovered was a mango sherbert topping. I was expecting ice cream, but this was even better. Apparently, the sherbet is made mainly from mango juice with just a little sugar added, so it tastes extremely fresh and light. Takano lets the supreme quality fruits in its parfaits have the upper hand - which is a really good move! The unsweetened cream blends in perfectly with the fruits and sherbet too.
Fruits Sandwich (Standard Item)
Takano Fruit Parlor's fruit sandwich is another signature item of the store that I really wanted to try. Maybe it's something about their retro image but there's something kind of endearing about these. I had had crustless white bread fruit sandwiches in Japan before, but only the commercial ones you can get at convenience stores.
The fruits used for Takano's sandwiches were kiwis, mangos and strawberries. The spongy soft bread, the whipped cream and the top quality fruits of Takano's deluxe fruit sandwich did not disappoint!
Fruits Gifts Specialty Store
Before I left, I had a look at the gift shop on the basement floor. I highly recommend you at least have a look at this place... and perhaps buy a present for a special someone.
The expensive fruit displays are extremely interesting.
This gift box of 108 cherries is worth ¥16,200 (after taxes), or put another way, ¥150 per cherry. The card next to the box reads: "for a special someone, a special gift". Indeed! To say the least, seeing this gives an insight into the importance of Japan's gift-giving culture.
Among the more affordable products of the store are these cute madeleine fruit cakes made at Takano's own factories. At ¥3,672 for a box of 12, these could make good souvenirs to bring back home if you are visiting Japan as a tourist.
Shinjuku Takano is an iconic establishment of Tokyo with a tradition of excellence that has been past down for four generations. If you want to enjoy the "supreme taste" of Japanese luxury fruits, make sure to mark Takano Fruit Parlor on your list of place to visit while you are in Tokyo!