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Tokyo Banana: bring home the Japanese version of a Twinkie

Tokyo Banana: bring home the Japanese version of a Twinkie

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Tokyo Banana– an irresistible Tokyo Souvenir

tokyo banana shop japan souvenir

The Tokyo banana employees are very friendly and helpful. Plus they look adorable in their uniforms

When passing through Tokyo station, you can’t miss the Tokyo Banana shops– the super-cute, bright yellow shop fronts are designed to attract attention. During rush hour, you’ll even see long lines of locals queuing up for these baked banana treats. Although I was ready to stockpile the bananas for gifts based on the packaging alone, I decided to taste-test them first. For research of course.

Taste-testing Tokyo Bananas

tokyo banana souvenir twinkie

Tokyo bananas look like a cross between a banana and an amoeba. Photo by Ari Heliminen.

Think of a Tokyo Banana as an upscale version of a Twinkie. Like a Twinkie, the Tokyo Banana’s custard center is surrounded by moist sponge cake.

But unlike a Twinkie– which is so hopped up with preservatives that you can stash them in a bomb shelter for the next 50 years– Tokyo Bananas are perishable, and even date-stamped for freshness.

The freshness of a Tokyo banana really makes a difference in the flavor– instead of the artificial-tasting fluff in a Twinkie’s center, a Tokyo Banana’s center is made with a rich, velvety cream, flavored with just a hint of natural banana.

tokyo banana bag shop store souvenir best sweets

The Tokyo banana bags are perfect for gifting.

Tokyo bananas easily passed my taste-test, so I picked up several boxes to bring home as souvenirs and gifts. I loved the adorable bag they came in and ended up requesting extra bags so I could present each  gift with its own matching bag.

tokyo banana bag souvenir japan japanese best sweets

Photo by Karen A. Stafford

My friend Karen also saved her cute bag from Tokyo Banana– she lucked out and got a special-edition reusable bag.

tokyo banana bag engrish best japanese souvenir

Photo by Karen A. Stafford.

A close up shot of the back of Karen’s Tokyo Banana bag reveals some fun “Engrish”:

[quote style=”boxed”]People gather to TOKYO from here and there with memories of their home. And then, Tokyo gets the everyone’s home town.[/quote]

Have you tried a Tokyo Banana? Share in the comments below!
[typography font=”Trocchi” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Pinterest-Friendly Images[/typography]
tokyo banana souvenir from Japan

Photo Credits:
Photos #1 & #3 by Souvenir Finder Copyright 2014 and may not be used without permission.
Photo #2, Tokyo Banana, courtesy of Ari Helminen Photography, used with permission.
Photo #4 & 5, Tokyo Banana bags, courtesy of photographer Karen A. Stafford (link to Karen’s flickr portfolio here).

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Friday 25th of December 2015

Never heard of this until now. Thanks, I live to explorer with my taste buds. Thanks!!!

nazreen nazwani

Sunday 6th of September 2015

hello there, can i know where to find this shop? thanks! ????

Sarah Curtis

Monday 24th of August 2015

My dad brought some back with him when he came back from a trip to Japan. I love them immensely and they're more satisfying than a Twinkie. Anyone who calls them a "Japanese Twinkie" or similar is insulting Tokyo Bananas. The spongecake is moist and the cream isn't heavy, making for a satisfying snack.

I wish they were easier to buy in the US.

A Guide to Regional Omiyage from Across Japan | Whisked Abroad

Friday 5th of September 2014

[…] The Twinkie of Japan. But don’t let that statement deter you, these soft cream-filled cakes are actually good unlike their American distant-cousins. You’ll see stands for these treats everywhere in Tokyo, and even Tokyo Banana merchandise like cellphone charms and plushies. They are truly the perfect Tokyo souvenir. […]


Thursday 10th of July 2014

Oh, and they look like giraffe skin. Ha Ha!