All About Japan

Hop on the Catbus at New Ghibli-Themed Bakery

Cafés Sweets Ghibli Tokyo Kanto

There are a few spots that Ghibli fans should visit when they come to Tokyo, and while one is the famous Ghibli Museum, another is located 10.5 kilometres (6.5 miles) away from the museum, in a little two-storey café tucked away in a residential area of Setagaya.

Called Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory, it requires at least 30 minutes on public transport to get there from the museum. But the journey is totally worth it, as this is where they’ll be able to buy adorable Totoro cream puff pastries, and sometimes they have limited-edition Ponyo sweets too.

Now, though, there’s some very good news for Ghibli fans: Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory has just opened up a new branch out in Kichijoji!

And because this new location is just 1.6 kilometres away from the Ghibli Museum, right near the train station that gets you back into downtown Tokyo, you can enjoy twice as much Ghibli fun in one trip!

Endorsed by Hayao Miyazaki, Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory is able to produce some of the most adorable sweets in the likeness of some of Studio Ghibli’s most well-known and beloved characters. And like the main store in Setagaya, the new branch at Kichijoji is also decked out with beautiful Ghibli artwork and displays.

While Totoro is the star of the show at the main store, here at Kichijoji there’s more of a focus on Totoro’s fellow castmate, the magical Catbus.

The reason why the Catbus is so predominant at this new branch is revealed on Totoro’s belly on the signboard outside the shop: this store’s exclusive one-of-a-kind product is a Catbus biscuit called “Nekobus Sand” (Catbus Sandwich).

There are only 50 of these available each day, and only at the Kichijoji location, so when we arrived at the store when it was due to open, there was already a line of about 10 people waiting to get in.

What everyone was here for, though, was the Catbus Sand, and when we arrived at the front of the queue, we saw that they were in the cabinet display, beneath rows and rows of cute Totoro Cream Puffs.

Despite arriving early, the Catbus biscuits were already nearly all sold out, with only five left inside the display!

We purchased one of the cute biscuits and rushed back to the office to find out what the Nekobus Sand would taste like!

The “sandwich” biscuit came in some very beautiful packaging, with a picture of the Catbus along with an image of a soot sprite, a mini Totoro and Mei, from Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro.

Popping the Catbus out of its pouch revealed the true beauty of the biscuit. There was so much attention to detail in the design, including a little Totoro on board in its stomach! And like all of Shirohige’s sweet bakes, this one looked perfectly made, with three very even layers making up the raisin butter sandwich biscuit.

The Catbus was as tasty as it was adorable, with the crunchy shortbread biscuit being the purr-fect partner for the very buttery rum-raisin filling in its center. While the delicious rum-raisin flavors were prominent, they weren’t overpowering, nor were they too alcoholic, hitting a sweet balance that had us devouring the Catbus in seconds. The raisins also provided a wonderfully chewy texture to the smooth buttery filling and with the crunch of the biscuit, this was an excellent sweet, and one we’d definitely line up for again.

So next time you’re out at the Ghibli Museum, be sure to make some time to visit Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory at Kichijoji. And if you’re not able to make it there when it opens to get your hands on the Catbus biscuit, the good news is you’ll still be able to pick up some Totoro Cream Puffs and cookies, right up until the store closes at 7:00 p.m.

Store Information
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory Kichijoji / 白髭のシュークリーム工房 吉祥寺店
Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Minamicho 2-7-5
東京都 武蔵野市 吉祥寺南町 2-7-5
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (Closed Tuesdays)

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Photos © OonaMcgee/SoraNews24

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