Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Akarimado In Akasaka: Delicious Desserts And Romantic Taisho Charm
Written by yuri
The elegance of the Taisho era awaits you in this gorgeous Japanese cafe that offers a menu rich in cute Japanese and Western fusion sweets.
In Japan, it has become a trend to renovate warehouses and old private houses into cafes, as the nostalgic atmosphere of the former building adds to its charms.
We would like to introduce an example that has an old-Japanese air to it.
Akarimado quietly stands in the back streets of Akasaka, Tokyo. It used to be a Japanese-style restaurant offering Tosa (Kochi Prefecture) cuisine, as you can see from its exterior.
This large stone wall at the entrance is made with stones that were used for the rampart of Osaka Castle.
The interior is filled with the romantic style of the Taisho (1912- 1926) period. Wood is used everywhere, with solid sofas and tables. The lighting fixtures use Japanese paper for lampshades. Wooden puppets are placed here and there, and the sliding doors are decorated with drawings that look like they were cut out from paper.
Akarimado boasts a coffered ceiling. This is a traditional design that can be seen in Japan and Taiwan, where the ceiling is divided into squares by timber.
Even though the coffered ceiling can typically only be seen in very prestigious settings, the owners decided to use it in the renovation process. The chandelier hanging from the ceiling adds a slightly Western taste to the interior.
A Menu Blending Japanese and Western Styles
With a professional patissier in charge of the sweets, this cafe offers fusions of Eastern and Western confectioneries.
The photograph shows Ukishima Dolce, priced at 450 yen each. Ukishima is a Japanese-style sponge cake, and the dough is made from sweet bean paste. With a Western-style decoration, this confectionery has a soft and smooth taste compared to an ordinary cake.
This is wa-caroon, priced at 200 yen each. As the name suggests, this is a macaroon using Japanese ingredients. The flavors are unique, such as sweet bean paste, citron, and white miso, which you can eat only at Akarimado.
This is Daifuku Mont Blanc, priced at 450 yen. It is a daifuku (soft rice cake filled with sweet bean jam) decorated in Mont Blanc cake style.
There are Japanese-style confectioneries as well, such as ground tea served with wasanbon (fine-grained Japanese sugar), priced at 570 yen.
A Tea-Ceremony Room Inside the Cafe
There is a small, heart-shaped window in the back of the cafe. Warm light shines through the sliding door, and a pure Japanese atmosphere emanates from the room. The entrance is very small, so visitors may need to stoop quite low to enter this room.
This is a tea-ceremony room. In the days when this was a restaurant, the VIPs were shown to this room. During the renovation, a fireplace was made on the floor and a gong was hung on the wall. Also, a storage cupboard with a pine-bamboo-apricot drawing (three trees that bring good fortune) was added, making the room fit for a tea ceremony.
This is an akarimado, the namesake of the cafe. The skylight which draws soft light into this room is one of the characteristics of traditional Japanese architecture.
Customers who wish to use this room should make reservations, or ask the cafe staff if it is available.
Actual tea ceremonies are regularly held in this room, so participating in that event may also be interesting.