‘Tapioca and Tart’ at Layer cafe, located along the Arakawa riverbed on the grounds of a Karinto factory in Fukaya.
Layer cafe opened on the grounds of Asahi Karinto’s Hanazono factory in April 2020. Karinto is a type of sweet deep fried traditional Japanese snack food. The front of the cafe is a Karinto shop, selling all types of karinto from the factory next door. Some of it is very nicely wrapped and would make a lovely souvenir. I would imagine that the building was there before the cafe opened in 2020 and was repurposed to attract more customers. It is certainly working. Layer cafe is the kind of trendy cafe that IGers can’t resist.
The outside of the shop is very photogenic with a little pond, old gate, red lanterns and lots of paraphernalia. The inside isn’t as exciting, but there is a nice high loft with wooden beams. You can sit along the window and look out at the Arakawa gushing by. There are also two booths indoors. Outside is very small with just a bench, one table and a swinging chair. Bamboo affords some privacy, but you can still see the Arakawa river bed and the energetic river through the trees. It didn’t matter too much that there isn’t a lot of seating, I had no intentions of sitting indoors anyway. I would have sat outdoors if there had of been nobody there, but there was. But what drew me to this cafe is that you can get take away, so that’s exactly what I did… after taking a few photos!
Tapioca drinks have been all the rage in Japan for the last couple of years. Plenty of places have opened up offering the bubble drinks. I’ll straight up say: Tapioca is not for me, so I can’t comment on the taste of the tapioca drinks here. But I can tell you that they use a special brown sugar, said to have medicinal values, to make their tapioca. Furthermore, they source the brown sugar from Okinawa. Something the cafe seem to be very proud of. Moreover, the tapioca is hand made fresh on the premises daily. They have six different flavors on offer: brulee, brown sugar milk, milk tea, strawberry milk, matcha milk and matcha strawberry milk.
They also sell other drinks including a bubbly lemonade which seems to be particularly popular at the moment. You can get organic coffee too. They also have deep steamed green tea, oolong tea and a blend of Assam and Earl Grey tea. In addition, they have juices such as pineapple, orange and apple juice.
Furthermore, as if the drinks were not sweet enough, the cafe sell a couple of treats. Most of which include the “special brown sugar”. They have a couple of different flavors of ice-cream, including a brown sugar flavor. They are served in cones. The popcorn chicken can be ordered on its own or with skewers of fresh “negi”, long green onions, a local specialty. Then there is their signature item: Layer Tarts. Their Layer Tarts are a rich egg custard tart. They are also made fresh daily on site.
Between the Tapioca, the tart and other insta-friendly food and drinks, there is plenty to draw customers even if the cafe is a little – in my humble opinion – overpriced. Moreover, the view of the Arakawa River, is an added bonus. Not to mention the shop front with an array of quirky statues, currently donned in masks, is sure to satisfy the most click happy of customers.
|Address:||509-2 Omaeda, Fukaya, Osato District, Saitama 369-1246|
|Hours:||9 am to 6 pm seven days a week. However, in winter they close at 5 pm.|
|Cost:||On the expensive side. From around 400 yen for a drink|
Layer Cafe is located less than a minute drive from both the Hanazono Roadside station and Sweets Forest Hanazono, but on the far side of the road. As such it is also close to the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. The cafe is just off a side road of the Saikai Kaido aka route 140. You can see the yellow flags for the karinto factory. The cafe is located in “car park #1”, which is the car park nearest the river – clearly visible as you come down the hill. You can walk from car park #2 too.