Translated by Lester Somera
Stroll Around Kagurazaka With A Peko-chan Snack From Fujiya
Written by Mai Kawabe
Milky, a soft milk-flavored candy, is a beloved Japanese treat. You can find snacks featuring Milky's mascot, Peko-chan, at Fujiya in Kagurazaka, a charming neighborhood in Tokyo.
Who is Peko-chan?
Japanese sweets are famous all over the world, and many people have probably seen the face of Peko-chan, the cover character on the packages of Milky. Milky is a milk-flavored soft candy that is made using condensed milk from Hokkaido.
Photo: Milky package with Peko-chan from the official homepage
The slogan “Milky tastes like mom” is quite well-known in Japan. Milky’s gentle flavor evokes the warmth of a mother’s love, and the candy is supposed to evoke the nostalgic feeling of mother’s milk (from their website). Milky is beloved by many Japanese people, and they also love the cute character Peko-chan, with her puffed-up cheeks, wide eyes and stuck-out tongue. Developed in 1950, she has actively served as the storefront mascot for Fujiya ever since.
Peko-chan Greets You at the Front
Fujiya, the company that makes Milky, has expanded its group of sweets shops throughout Japan. These shops sell cakes, soft serve ice cream and other sweets, and some branches even offer all-you-can-eat cake buffets.
However, you’ll only lay your eyes on Peko-chanyaki here at the Kagurazaka branch.
On this day, a clown-attired Peko-chan came to greet us! Peko-chan’s outfit changes along with the seasons and various occasions. Variations on her outfits have increased throughout the ages. Peko-chan might be six years old forever, but she’s a very stylish kid.
There are so many delicious cakes inside the shop! Two of the most popular items are the “Peko-chan’s Cheek” mini-cake and the pure white Milky cream roll.
Peko-chanyaki is Only Available in Kagurazaka
Peko-chanyaki is obanyaki (*1) molded into the shape of Peko-chan’s face.
*1 Obanyaki: a Japanese sweet made of flour, sugar and eggs, poured into a round mold and baked. It contains bean paste or some other filling.
As you look through the glass pane and watch the Peko-chanyaki cook, your stomach will start to growl. They give off a tantalizing aroma.
There are typically six varieties lined up on display. In addition to the standard four, there are also seasonal items and daily/monthly special items. In general, there will be a total of 21 items in the rotation. Every time you visit, you’ll be greeted by different flavors, making you struggle to decide on your purchase.
Peko-chanyaki was actually created around 40 years ago, and sold at Fujiya branches all across Japan. However, the shops selling it gradually started to go out of business, and at present, only the Kagurazaka branch sells Peko-chanyaki.
Let’s Try Some Freshly Baked Peko-chanyaki
Well, then, let’s sample the real thing! The shop always has a line, and is bustling with customers buying cakes to take home.
The take-home bags are cute, too.
They look exactly like Peko-chan!
Price for reference: 125-135 yen
It’s a bit scary, isn’t it? It’s so cute we almost couldn’t bear to eat it! If you’re lucky, you might find Poko-chanyaki, shaped like Peko-chan’s boyfriend Poko-chan, in stock.
First is the popular cream cheese flavor. We apologized to Peko-chan as we broke her in half, and an ample amount of cream oozed out of the fluffy dough!
The exterior of a freshly baked Peko-chanyaki is crispy, and the dough is fluffy like a sponge cake. The thick cream filling pairs well with the dough. There is just the right amount of saltiness contained within the sweet cream, making it an addictive flavor.
There is a soft bean paste filling inside the green tea-flavored Peko-chan. It uses green tea from Uji in Kyoto, giving it a refined sweetness.
There Are Savory Peko-chan Flavors Too
After eating something sweet, you want to follow it up with something savory, and Peko-chan has more than just sweet flavors. In addition to the 21 standard varieties, there is a robust menu of savory fillings. Vegetable curry, bolognese, German potato, beef stew, and onion curry are on a daily rotation. When we went, the beef stew Peko-chan was giving us the eye as if to say “Eat me!” We bought it, and it was full of a strongly-flavored beef stew.
Kagurazaka, with its refined townscapes, is the perfect place to go for a walk. You should stroll from Kagurazaka to Kitanomaru Park, a route which will take you through the Imperial Palace Plaza. Why not take a Peko-chanyaki along with you for a snack?
Fujiya, Iidabashi Kagurazaka Branch
Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kagurazaka 1-12
Hours (All months except August): Mon-Thurs 10:00-21:00, Fri 10:00-22:00, Weekends/Holidays 10:00-20:00
(August: Weekdays and weekends 10:00-20:00)
*The shop stops making Pekochan-yaki about two hours before closing.
Closed: No fixed holidays
Nearest Station: Iidabashi Station (JR and subway lines)
Access: To the right of the B3 exit of Iidabashi Station (subway), two minutes from JR Iidabashi’s west exit (JR)