Today, is the year anniversary of the opening of Café Barbapapa in Lake Town Koshigaya. It was the first and remains the only Café Barbapapa themed cafe in all of Japan. The French character is quite popular in Japan and the cafe has proved to be a huge hit. It can get quite crowded at times, but you can avoid having to queue or, even worse, being turned away, if you book by telephone in advance.
The cafe has a number of draws, including the Barbapapa motifs and decorations, character goods and a fun menu. The menu is quite decent for a themed cafe. For kids the curry kids plate with dessert is one of the favourites and is reasonable enough at 734 yen. Its not a huge portion so is best suited to smaller children. They have a “vegan meat” burger plate for children too, unfortunately they don’t have details of the ingredients of the burger on their website so I can’t attest to how authentic it is. The maple choco pancakes are a bit more expensive at 1166 yen, but are a popular dish with children. They have some novelty drinks including the original cotton candy soda and their latte art selection: Papa Cafe Latte, Mama Maple Latte and Moja Cafe Moka.
Address: 4-2-2 Kaze 2F Aeon Lake Town, Koshigaya, Saitama 343-0828
Hours: 9 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week
Parking for 10,400 cars, free for the first 5 hours then charged 100 yen per 30 minutes except for weekends
ãInformation Shareã A JAPAN FIRST in Koshigaya, Saitama. The first ever flystation indoor skydiving centerÂ in Japan will open by the end of March 2017 in Koshigaya Saitama. Soon we will have the raâ¦
The kids are fairly exhausted after seven weeks of play dates, play centres, day trips, weekends away, special treats and seasonal activities. For their last day of holidays I wanted to treat them without physically exerting them, before the older three go back to school and preschool tomorrow. So rather than a play centre or physical activity, I settled on treating them to food pleasures and their first visit to a cat cafe. We had a dentist visit slotted in between too, but that proved to be quite a pleasure for them with the play area and toy to take home.
In this article:
Clean Bread Bakery Kawagoe Raku Raku Bakery
Family and child friendly Lion Dentist
Rescue Cat Cafe Neko Katsu
Retro American Diner MDT Cafe and Dining
*All mapped on a Google MyMap at the bottom of the article.
KAWAGOE RAKU RAKU BAKERY
Our first stop after a leisurely walk through the always pleasurable Sweet Street (Candy Alley / Kashi Yokocho) was at the Raku Raku Bakery for a spot of light lunch before the dentist. This bakery is known far and wide for its homemade clean bread and flour based food. Raku Raku bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies are made from 100% Hokkaido wheat flour. They don’t use any artificial additives, colouring or preservatives. They provide allergy information and have some bread and pastries that are dairy free. An excerpt from City-Cost reviews;
They have a fantastic selection of flour-based food baked in an oven and even have some dairy free goods, which are quite hard to come by in this area of Saitama. They have lots of fruit and vegetable flavoured breads and cakes. My kids particularly enjoy the melon pan and sweet potato bread. Most of their business is take out by locals and tourists, but you can eat your take out on site in the small garden at the side of the bakery. The garden has some wooden tables and chairs and is protected from the sun by groves and sun umbrellas. During this hot season they have a mist spray that cools the entrance to the bakery and the seating area, too. You can help yourself to complementary tea or coffee from self service machines. They are just little cups, but the coffee is quite good. If you prefer sitting in to eat, they have just opened a sandwich deli on the opposite side of the laneway. For purchases exceeding one thousand yen, you can receive a 10% discount with a Saitama Mama and Papas card. There is a little bit of English available in store.
The reason my kids enjoyed this dentist so much from my Lion Dental Clinic review on City-Cost.com
It is located within minutes walk of the West exit of Kawagoe station. There are free parking spaces for up to 15 cars. They have a kids play area. Kids also get a toy on leaving the dentists. One of the dental booths can fit a buggy or stroller. The booths are bright and colourful and have flatscreen TVs which plays cartoons for kids, news programmes for adults. If you need any work done, you can get it done then and there, or you can make an appointment for another day. They do implants. They have equipment for taking scans. Every patient can receive fluorine coating for free. They are open until 8.30 pm. I have saved the best for last: the dentists and dental nurses are very skilled, very patient and thorough, and some of them speak English. One has international accreditation. My 3 year old was terrified of going to the dentist and wouldn’t open her mouth at first. I was suitably impressed by her dentist’s patience and technique. She even said after, she wants to go again.
If only I had a video of my 22 month old child’s reaction when she entered this cafe. It was classic. She squealed with delight and danced on her toes. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who doesn’t have any pets at home, but want to give their kids an experience with animals or animal therapy. An excerpt from my Neko Katsu City-Cost Review;
There were more cats than I had expected and they all seemed quite placid. Because they are rescued cats they do ask that you don’t force a cuddle with them. If the cat is in the mood for a cuddle then it is fine to hold them. They have some toys that cats enjoy that you can use to play with the cats. The room is quite basic with only one or two seats and a few poufs, but it is not a cafe in the typical sense. You do get a drink included with the charge. Due to the fact that it is a cat cafe they are bottled drinks or juice packets. You help yourself from a decent selection in a fridge. Children under twelve are half price. They have a decent stamp card, one stamp per visit and if you get 5 stamps you get an hour free. You can actually adopt a cat if you become attached to one.
MDT Cafe and Dining
We finished the day with an ice-cream sundae for the kids and a latte art for me, in a 1950s style American diner. It looked like a nice place for drinks with a couple of friends. Unfortunately, due to its size it wouldn’t be suited for a big group. An excerpt from my MDT City-Cost review:
The rock and roll music adds to the ambience. I quite enjoyed listening to half the Grease film album and classics such as Footloose, Johnny Be Good, Shake Rattle and Roll to name, but a few. The menu is mixed. The billboard outside says that it is a taco rice cafe. They offer a lunch menu, a cafe menu and a night time menu. They have a good selection of beer, including locally brewed Coedo Beer and some foreign beer such as Heineken. We went for a Ice-cream sundae to share, and boy am I glad we were sharing; it was huge. Myself and 2.5 kids (the 1 year old didn’t eat much) struggle to finish the delicous Berry Sundae we ordered. I also ordered a latte art. They have a selection of latte flavours and I think you can also get art on other coffee based beverages. I was very touched, by the picture the Barista drew for me. He drew my 3 girls on the coffee around the words “Welcome” with today’s date. A small, but very touching gesture. They do plate art for birthdays. Within the shop there are lots of collectible toys.
The kids were on a high coming home, but not too tired thankfully. They agreed they want to go back to all the places we visited today… including the dentists! For hours and average costs, please visit the City-Cost.com articles linked.
How did you spend your last day of summer holidays? Please do share in the comments below.
There is a huge choice of cafes in Kawagoe, too many for one article. Part 1 introduces THREE of my favourites, simply chosen for the first article as they are the ones I visited most recently. The featured photo with the parasols is the last entry; Tsubakiya. Each of these 3 cafes are mapped in a My Map at the bottom of the article.
1. Hatsuneya Garden The Cafe
For a bit of peace and quiet off the beaten track awaits a chic cafe with a terrace at the front and a garden from the Edo period at the back. The cakes are delicious and the coffee strong. It is a place you can visit alone or on a date or with friends. Take out is also available.
Average price: about 600 yen per beverage or cake Hours: 11 am to 6 pm seven days a week
Shimano Tea Room has won a place in my heart as it reminds me of tearooms I visited with family during my childhood in Dublin. The servers are dressed in the old traditional wear of black tights, black dresses and white frill aprons. They even wear the white laced head piece. The selection of tea is fantastic too and their sandwiches are decent. I recommend trying the tea here, but if it’s not your thing they also have coffee and soft drinks.
Average price: Tea averages at 580 yen a pot (about 3 cups to a pot) Hours: 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 7 pm on weekends
Enjoy a foot spa with your tea, coffee, soft drink or beer in the small zen garden with beautiful Japanese parasols. You can enjoy a speciality of Kawagoe, sweet potato, in the form of a light treat, or an original ginger ale made from kochi ginger. The small cafe, seating only 8 people, is located out the back of Tsubaki no Kura, a colourful and unique souvenir, trinket and amulet store. This shop is on the main tourist strip and is serviced by tourist and public buses. It is mapped on the Google map at the bottom of the article.
Average Price: from 400 yen for a beverage, from 680 yen for alcohol, from 350 yen for a snack
Hours: 10 am to 7 pm on weekdays and until 8 pm on weekends
There are many more fun, unique, quaint, chic and cozy cafes in Kawagoe. I hope to feature more over the coming weeks. If you have a favourite or a place you’d like to share, please do comment. Comments are always welcome. 🙂
This is my go-to cafe for a bit of break from the kids, while with the kids. It is one of the few places I know that allow children play unsupervised, unless they are 3 years old or under. The play area is sectioned off from the cafe area, but it is clearly visible. You can sit facing the area and watch your kids while you enjoy a coffee and cake. You have to pay per child to use the play centre.
The menu isn’t very extensive, but its really only a place for a light snack or treat. The cakes are quite nice and they change the options periodically. Despite having a play area, it doesn’t have much in the line of children’s food or drinks. They do lay out a jug of water that you can help yourself to for free. It is also one of the few places I know with a dedicated work space, with laptop connections, chargers and wide desk space. The cafe area has large stuffed animals dotted all over the seating area of the cafe. Among there is a large giraffe, elephant, pig, horse and cow. The ambiance of the cafe is quite nice. The staff are friendly enough, but as far as I know none of them speak English.
It opens 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week. The nearest parking is car parks number six and seven. Both are indoors. All parking in Lalaport is free. By train you would also need to get a bus and the buses are not very frequent so when possible coming by car is much more convenient.
Review – Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure in Japan. This is my go-to cafe for a bit of break from the kids, while with the kids. It is one of the few places I know that allow children play unsupervised, unl
I was living in the Kawagoe area many years before I stumbled upon a curious little shop off the beaten track, which has intrigued and enthralled me ever since. The name of the shop is as ambiguous as the products and services they offer. The kanji over the door 浪漫 can be called “Roman“, the Japanese version of Romantic, but nowhere on their webpages is this name used. So I call it Kasumi, which is the most common name I can find associated to the shop.
Kasumi (or Kasumi Flower) seems to have originally been set up as a management shop for some of the rickshaws in the area. However, one of the many signs over its door says its a “stone grill” restaurant. This indeed seems to be one of their better trades, serving hungry customers, but here’s the curious bit, its stone grilled… curry?? Just another conundrum of this unique and mysterious shop near the tourist area of Kawagoe.
One of their key products is honey and I have to say its about the best I’ve ever tasted. The beekeeper seems to be the owner of the shop, he is certainly the key character there. He is a formidable and charismatic man, albeit slightly egocentric, but he reminds me of the Moore Street traders. He delights in talking and prides himself on his produce. He has excellent English so he can explain quite a lot about beekeeping and the killer hornets he displays in jars at the front of the shop. He is also the owner of the famous healing dog Priya.
Priya is said to have healing and magical powers. In exactly what way I do not know. The signs above and outside the shop brag of the Goddess Dog of Good Luck Priya. Inside the shop, cum restaurant cum rickshaw depot, they sell Priya goods and amulets. If you buy lunch or purchase honey you get to have your photo taken with Priya. There are a number of photos of Priya with famous people and she has been on the TV and in the media a number of times. All I can say for sure is that she is a very lovely and placid dog. I can’t attest to her powers. She does fascinate me though, they way she sits up in the chair almost regally, perfectly poised and ready for a souvenir photo.
All in all, Kasumi (aka Roman Ishiyaki aka Kawagoe Jiryokuya) is worth a visit if you enjoy bantering with shopkeepers, like something a bit quirky, want to try stone grilled curry or delicious honey, are fascinated by killer hornets and/or want to meet a (maybe) magical dog!
KASUMI / ROMAN ISHIYAKI / KAWAGOE JIRYOKUYA
HOURS: 11am to 5pm. Please note that while they don’t have an official day off, they tend to take days here and there. Especially after a busy weekend. There are quite a lot of shops like that in Kawagoe.
One of the many fun and unique attractions of Lalaport in Fujimi is the Steam Locomotive Cafe on the 3rd floor. The cafe, which is also a train shop, features a number of different model railway towns and a plarail display. You can enjoy the displays as you eat your lunch or have a coffee (see the video at the bottom).
On weekdays, the children’s plate (800 yen in 2015) comes on a bullet train plate, as pictured below. They also have a “Nori Tetsu Meat” dish served with a train made out of seaweed. That comes with a half cooked egg though, so if you are buying for a child you might want to request they fully cook the egg! They have a bullet train cake on the menu too. They provide bumper chairs, and crockery and cutlery for children. You help yourself to water. They don’t have toilets in the cafe itself, but you can use Lalaport’s toilets, 2 of which are close by.
The Steam Locomotive Cafe is open daily from 10am to 9pm, last order for food is 8pm and for drinks it is 8.30pm. The nearest parking is probably car park lot number 2 or 3. The latter is outdoors. All parking in Lalaport is free. TEL: 049-257-6801