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Eki-citing Tokyo: 6 Omiyage that you can only buy in Tokyo Station

Eki-citing Tokyo: 6 Omiyage that you can only buy in Tokyo Station

Giving and receiving omiyage (お土産 souvenir) is a distinctly Japanese custom—in Japanese workplaces, it’s common practice to bring back a box of omiyage from wherever your business trip was, to express your gratitude to coworkers who have covered for you in your absence. On a more personal level, Japanese natives and foreign visitors alike would often spend a considerable amount of time deliberating over omiyage choices for friends and family members that could not join the trip.

 

(Image credit: JR East Retail Net Co. Ltd.)

 

With literally thousands of omiyage in all shapes and sizes to choose from, it’s easy to fall back on to “safe” choices like all-time favourites Tokyo Banana (東京ばな奈) from Tokyo, assorted Kit Kat flavours from different prefectures and seasons, common snacks that are easily available in supermarkets and konbini (コンビニ convenience stores), or even resort to last-minute shopping at the airport’s duty-free shops.

 

Since most of us are not travelling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we say that it’s time to reflect, research, and up your omiyage game! In this article, we'll introduce six new omiyage that are exclusively sold at Tokyo Station (東京駅 Tokyo-eki). 

 

But… Tokyo Station is HUGE!

 

It really is. In fact, at 182,000 square meters and serving over 450,000 passengers every day, it’s one of the largest stations in Japan with 28 platforms. Even Tokyo natives can get overwhelmed and surprised by the station's complex structure and high human traffic during the rush hour, so there is absolutely no need to feel bad about getting lost in Tokyo Station—we’re here to help!

 

Firstly, know that the whole area is so well-connected and self-sufficient that it is a city in its own right. The entire Tokyo Station complex is extensively linked by an underground network that merges with its neighbouring shopping centres and commercial spaces. That makes it the one and only “Station City” in the world. 

 

On the lower half of this photo is the Marunouchi Area on the west, where the majestic Tokyo Station Hotel sits. Toward the east lies the Yaesu Area, which is the main exit for all Shinkansen lines, as shown on the top half of this image. (Image credit: Tokyo Station City)

 

In a nutshell, Tokyo Station City is flanked by two sides: the Yaesu Area (八重洲エリア) and the Marunouchi Area (丸の内エリア). You’ll probably recognise the iconic Tokyo Station Hotel (東京ステーションホテル), which is a part of the Marunouchi Area. Conversely, if you’re on the side of the Yaesu Area, try to spot the Tokyo Branch of JAPAN RAIL CAFE.

 

(Image credit: JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO)

 

Things get especially exciting in the Ekinaka Area (エキナカエリア). Literally translated as “within the station”, ekinaka (エキナカ) is basically the answer to your shopping and dining needs without needing to exit the station’s gantry. Our omiyage shopping pilgrimage will begin at Gransta Tokyo (not to be confused with Gransta Marunochi), which is just one of the many underground retail complexes within the Ekinaka Area. 

 

If you’re entering Tokyo Station from the outside, you should ideally tap in from the Marunouchi North Gate (丸の内北口改札 Marunouchi Kita-Kaisatsuguchi) or Marunouchi Central Gate (丸の内中央口改札 Marunouchi Chuo-Kaisatsuguchi) to have easy access to Gransta Tokyo. If you’re already inside the station, make your way towards the direction of the easily-recognisable Yamanote Line (山手線 Yamanote-sen) on Platforms 3 and 4, and follow the signs that point to Gransta Tokyo without tapping out. 

 

You can download a larger, printable version of the map here prior to your trip. (Image credit: Tokyo Station City)

 

Voila, it’s Gransta!

(Image credit: Tetsudo Kaikan Co. Ltd.)

 

If you’ve been to this area of the station before, you might notice that the space seems different. In August 2020, Gransta has undergone an area expansion and facilities upgrade to introduce 66 shops and restaurants, new waiting rooms and event spaces, and widened passageways for easier access.

 

Feeling peckish? Stop by some of the new restaurants like Kaitenzushi Haneda Ichiba (回転寿司羽田市場) or Station Restaurant The Central (ステーション レストラン ザ セントラル) while omiyage-shopping. (Image credit: Tetsudo Kaikan Co. Ltd.)

 

And now… it’s time to introduce the mighty six. 

 

1. JAGA BOULDE

The first product on our list is the child of a long-awaited collaboration between two familiar brands—Calbee+ and Tokyo Banana. Beneath its immaculate packaging, you’ll find ridge-cut potato crisps seasoned with a very characteristically Japanese flavour: Bonito and Kelp Umami Broth (鰹と昆布のうまみだし味 Katsuo to Konbu no Umami Dashi Aji). 

 

(Image credit: GRAPESTONE Co. Ltd.)

 

Shop Name: JAGA BOULDE (じゃがボルダ)
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: Calbee+ X Tokyo Banana JAGA BOULDE (Katsuo to Konbu no Umami Flavour)
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1FPrice: ¥756 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 4 packs per box

 

2. Grilled Cheese Financier

Savvy travellers who can tell their camembert from brie will be pleased to know that there is a new specialty store that sells cheese confectionery in Tokyo Station, called “Now On Cheese♪”. This adorable brand is so excited to join the Tokyo Station family that they’ve named their outlet “Hello,Tokyo Station!”. It’s easy to catch on to their excitement once you’ve tasted their signature product, Grilled Cheese Financier (焼きチーズフィナンシェ). Made with camembert and French butter and honey, the financier is baked moist and perfectly golden with a mild savoury sweetness.

 

(Image credit: KCC Co. Ltd.)

 

Shop Name: Now on Cheese♪ Hello,Tokyo Station! (ナウオンチーズ♪ハロー トウキョウステーション) 
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: Grilled Cheese Financier (焼きチーズフィナンシェ♪)
Price: ¥1,620 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 8 pieces per box

 

3. Hagi no Shirabe Koh White

(Image credit: KASHO SANZEN CO. LTD.)

 

Omiyage-connoisseurs who love Sendai Prefecture’s famous confectionary, Hagi no Tsuki (萩の月), will be delighted to find that the same company has recently launched a sister brand: Hagi no Shirabe Koh. Compared to the yellow-coloured original, Hagi no Shirabe Koh has a custard filling that is made with “White Eggs”, a variety of eggs with distinctive white-coloured yolks. Its creamy and fragrant egg custard is complemented by a white fluffy dome of castella cake, making it a perfect bite-sized snack. 

 

Shop Name: Kasho-Sanzen (菓匠三全)
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: Hagi no Shirabe Koh White (萩の調 煌 ホワイト)
Price: ¥800 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 4 pieces per box

 

4. Maple Castilla

(Image credit: Bunmeido Tokyo Co. Ltd.)

 

Bunmeido Tokyo (文明堂東京), a castella specialty store with over 100 years of history, has launched nuevo by BUNMEIDO—a new concept that retains their signature castella products and assorted casual gifts. True to tradition, their castella is made with four simple ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, and sugar syrup. The addition of the fifth ingredient—maple syrup—in their Maple Castilla gives it a softer bite and moist texture, while not being too sweet. Pair this luxurious maple-scented confection with a cup of hot tea for an idyllic afternoon break. 

 

Shop Name: nuevo by BUNMEIDO 
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: Maple Castilla (メープルカスティーラ)
Price: ¥1,080 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 6 pieces per box

 

5. Fuwa Shari Sando

(Image credit: Bijuu Co. Ltd.)

 

MIYUKA is a new concept launched by Kyoto’s renowned confectionery makers, Bijuu (美十). Born with the concept of fusing the traditional to the modern; the east to the west, MIYUKA’s recommended omiyage is the MIYUKA Fuwa Shari Sando (美結菓ふわシャリサンド) in two flavours: Azuki Butter (生バターとあずき) and Caramel Butter (生バターとキャラメル). Unlike most crispy langue de chat cookies, this particular one has a distinctively moist texture with a generous layer of east-meets-west filling—homemade azuki paste with raw butter, or fragrant caramel with raw butter. 

 

Shop Name: MIYUKA 
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: MIYUKA Fuwa Shari Sando in Azuki Butter (美結菓生バターとあずきのふわシャリサンド) and Caramel Butter (美結菓生バターとキャラメルのふわシャリサンド) 
Price: ¥350 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 1 piece

 

6. Sand Cookie in Hazelnut and Raspberry

(Image credit: Sucrey Co. Ltd.)

 

See anything interesting in the packaging design? The iconic illustration features a lady with a nut-loving squirrel for hair—so yes, you’re right for guessing that COCORIS specialises in confectionery made with nuts. This sand cookie features a creamy, rich hazelnut cocoa and tangy raspberry filling, lightly coated with chocolate from Spain, and then sandwiched between two hazelnut cookies. Started by the same team behind the best-selling “The Maple Mania”, this is one omiyage that should go on your to-buy list. 

 

Shop Name: COCORIS 
Shop Location: Gransta Tokyo, 1F
Item Name: Sand Cookie in Hazelnut and Raspberry (サンドクッキー ヘーゼルナッツと木苺) 
Price: ¥1,269 (Inc. tax)
Qty: 6 pieces per box

 

The six shops recommended above are all situated here. (Image credit: Tetsudo Kaikan Co. Ltd.)

 

Final Tip

One of the perks that foreign shoppers all look forward to: Duty-free shopping! If you’ve spent ¥5,000 and above in Gransta Tokyo, go down to Basement 1 level (B1F) and look for the cloakroom (手荷物一時預かり所 Tenimotsu Ichiji Azukarisho), or temporary baggage storage area, where the duty-free counters are located. Do note that you’ll need to have your passport on hand to prove your eligibility for the tax rebate. 

 

As you plan for your future Tokyo trips, we hope that adding these notable omiyage into your souvenir haul would bring a smile to the faces of your family, friends, and coworkers. Bon voyage, and bon appetit to all! 

 

The Japan Rail Fair by JAPAN RAIL CAFE

–A Virtual Trip to Japan–

20–22 & 27–28 November 2020

 

 

JAPAN RAIL CAFE proudly presents The Japan Rail Fair—the first ever online rail travel fair—to your screens! Learn more about the different aspects of Japan’s railway in this fun-filled week—where there will be exciting activities as well as informative webinars, sharing sessions, and engaging workshops that celebrate the wonders of Japan rail travel. More details will be released in early November, so in the meantime mark your calendars and we’ll see you rail-ly soon!

 

 

Join us for a virtual “0km” trip starting from Tokyo Station—the starting point of all Shinkansen lines in Japan! Hop onboard and be fully immersed in Japan’s unique “rail travel culture” at one of the most important stations in Japan: from omiyage-shopping in Gransta Tokyo, an ekiben introduction by JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO, and a tour into the majestic Tokyo Station Hotel. Our special guest, Ghib Ojisan, will be introducing some yummy Tokyo Station souvenirs as well!

 

Tokyo Station: The “0km” Trip
Organised by JAPAN RAIL CAFE
Date: 21 November 2020
Time: 3-4pm
RSVP: https://fb.me/e/3pp8MG27Q
Join us LIVE on The Japan Rail Fair or Facebook

 

Header image credit: KCC Co. Ltd.

 

This article is written in collaboration with Tokyo Station City. 

All information presented is accurate as of October 2020.

 

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