tokyo travel

The Best Combini Sweets to Try in Japan

If you’re heading to Japan, don’t forget to hit up the combini!
Posted January 8, 2020 by Stephanie

Everything you’ve ever heard about Japanese Convenience stores is absolutely true: they are full of magical, wonderful, delicious, cheap eats! They’re a must visit when you go to Japan and probably one of the easiest and most rewarding things you will do. Locals go to them, tourists go to them, they are an essential service opened 24/7, 365 days a year.

There are three main combini chains: 7-Eleven, FamilyMart (Famima), and Lawson. Everyone has their favorite chain and combini loyalty. And to be honest, they all excell at different things. Our favorite happens to be Famima – we exclusively eat onigiri from them. But if we’re talking sweets, it’s Lawson all the way.

Lawson is known for their sweets and even has their very own house brand called UchiCafé SWEETS. They recently (as of last year) launched a new series of treats that are packages in a signature bright package with a big bold san-serif font title. The first treat they started with was “BASCHEE” which is a Japanese pun for Basque Cheesecake (bas + chee = baschee). I love basque cheesecake and so does Japan because when they released the Baschee, it sold over 1 million cakes in just three days. Mike and I were actually in Japan when Baschee came out and I remember dragging Mike from Lawson to Lawson hoping to snag a package. We finally found one on our fourth Lawson and I wasn’t disappointed.

Since the launch and success of Baschee, Lawson has made more and more sweets in the same style, sometime for a limited time only. While we’re here in Tokyo, I’ve made it my mission to try and rate all the new UchiCafé SWEETS in this particular range; I’m so excited!

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BASCHEE
The cheesecake that started it all, Baschee. I am obsessed with Basque cheesecake and so are the Japanese apparently. There are speciality Basque cheesecake shops that routinely sell out of their cakes. They’re fashionable and delicious and considered high-end so it was really smart of Lawson to make a Basque cheesecake for the people that is both affordable and yummy. If you are new to Basque cheesecake, it’s a super creamy (oozy in the middle when you do it right) cheesecake that has a burnished almost creme brûlée type top. Lawson’s version uses Hokkaido cream and cream cheese and while it’s not super oozy in the middle, it is still very good, considering it’s just over ¥200, which is about $2. 8.5/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

SNOW BASCHEE
This is a limited winter take on the classic Baschee, with a cute little fluffy snowball on top made of fluffy cream cheese. It’s just a regular Baschee with extra whipped cream cheese and some roasted almonds for a bit of crunch. Personally I could have done without the extra cream cheese, but it is really cute and very appropriate for the winter season. I loved the crunchy bits of almonds. 7/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

TOROTELA
Torotela is a take on castella, a Portuguese sweet eggy sponge cake that has a cult following in Japan. There are beloved castella shops that have been around since the 1900s. Castella is a really popular souvenir – you’ll see it sold in the department store food halls. I always try to buy some before we fly home because they’re perfect with coffee or tea and it’s a nice reminder of Japan when you’re back home dreaming about your Japan trip. Lawson’s new take on castella is this Torotela, a super soft and fluffy castella encasing a sweet egg sauce. It’s meant to be eaten both hot or cold, but I recommend hot because the egg sauce flows and is a really nice compliment to the spongy castella. This is easily one of the best desserts I’ve had that came from a cellophane bag. I’m definitely going to buy more while we’re here! SO GOOD. 9.5/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

SAKUBATA
This one was a thick cream cookie sandwich: crispy (and a little bit hard) cookies sandwiching cream mixed with roasted and caramelized almonds. Officially it’s a buttersand caramel – butter sand is butter sandwich cookie and caramel is just caramel. It looks kind of a like an ice cream sandwich but it’s cream instead of ice cream. The cookies were crisp and the cream was nice and solid, but also melty. I loved the nuts as a savory foil. It was crunchy, creamy, and also had hints of coffee. Pretty good! 6.5/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

TOROCHEE
This is a cheesecake with a flowy cheese sauce in the middle made of mozzarella, gouda, emmental, and cream cheese. The cheesecake was thick and fluffy and the cheese sauce (after microwaving for the recommended time) was oozy. The sauce was a bit sweet for me and tasted kind of like frosting. I preferred the Baschee and Torotela but if you like a more classic cheesecake and love cream cheese frosting, you should give this a try. 6/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

MOCHEES
Mochees is a combination of mochi and cheese and this cute little twin pack is supposed to be cheesecake flavored mochi. That package has a Hokkaido shape in the “O” so the cheese is from Hokkaido. If you like soft and chewy mochi, this is probably going to be a winner for you. They’re kind of like those ice cream mochi that are so popular, but with a sweet cheese filling. Flavor-wise, slightly sweet with just a hint of cheesecake flavor. Texture-wise, very soft, mochi-mochi, and fun to squish! This was one of the harder ones to find and not at many of the Lawsons. 6/10

best combini sweets to try in japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

SNOW HOBOCLIM
This is another one of the Winter seasonal specials, as you can tell by the name. They have a regular Hoboclim too, I think. The name, like everything else in this series is an abbreviation: HOBO = almost only/just about and CLIM = cream, so it’s ALL CREAM. It’s essentially a very soft cream puff that is over stuffed with 2 types of cream. The winter version has strawberries mixed in. The choux is super thin yet nice and chewy with that mochi mochi texture that they love so much in Japan. The cream is fluffy, lightly sweetened, but not too sweet and the little bits of strawberries are delightful. I thought I wouldn’t like this because I’m not a huge fan of cream puffs or cream, really, but it was tasty and I finished the whole thing. 8/10

That’s it, those are all the ones I found, but if I happen across anymore I’ll update this post!

PS – I think it would be a dream to rate combini food. I mean, it would probably be the most unhealthy thing ever, but there are these Japanese instagrammers that do just that: rate all the new combini items. SO FUN.

PPS – This not sponsored in any way. We’re in Tokyo and I love trying out all these sweets and wanted to share! Let me know if you want to see any other Tokyo review posts!

6 Comments

  1. Emily says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter – yes to any and all Tokyo reviews! US citizen here who will be visiting Japan (mostly Tokyo, but hopefully Kyoto as well) for the first time in early April :)

  2. V says:

    Who are your favorite combini instagrammers?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i follow hashtags like: #ローソン #ファミリーマート #ローソンスイーツ #セブンスイーツ #セブンイレブン #新発売 which are essentially hashtags for lawson, familymart, seven eleven, seven sweets, new products, etc :) hope that helps!

  3. Sophie says:

    Seconding the combini instagrammer question! This is fun!

    1. Stephanie says:

      i follow hashtags like: #ローソン #ファミリーマート #ローソンスイーツ #セブンスイーツ #セブンイレブン #新発売 which are essentially hashtags for lawson, familymart, seven eleven, seven sweets, new products, etc :) hope that helps!

  4. B says:

    While in Japan in November, we discovered the deliciousness that are 7-Eleven’s black sesame parfait, matcha parfait, pudding parfait, and Famima’s pudding crepe. Still dream of those desserts…

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