Usually I prefer nice little shops with a comfortable atmosphere to big food malls and usually I am not at all a fan of theme parks and things alike, BUT how can I resist a wonderland of sweets, pastries, icecreams, puddings, cremes, cakes, shakes... You are right: I can't! That's why nothing and no one was able to hold me back when I was standing in front of the Sweets Harbor in Kobe. Dream and nightmare in one place! Dream for all the lovers of sugar in its best forms, of delicate beauties, nearly too wonderful to be edible but yet they are! Perfect little works of art, created with all the good things in this world: sugar, cream, fruits, chocolate, matcha (we are in Japan, don't forget that), love and passion - you name it!
Nightmare for everyone on a diet or short of cash, cause the prices are just about as high as the amount of calories of the goodies we are talking about. But at least the entry is free of charge unlike in other food theme parks in Japan that I avoided so far, because I think it is kind of stupid to pay to enter shops or restaurants where you have to pay for the food again!
Most sweets sold in the Sweets Harbor are European style (with a Japanese touch of course), and there are also typical Chinese sweets with Tapioca, soymilk, sweet beans and the like, but when it comes to traditional Wagashi you might search there in vain. Kobe, being a harbor city trading with the rest of the world for quite a while, is one of the more "international" places in Japan with a lively and touristy Chinatown and some European influences to be seen in architecture and cuisine. Although internationaly more or less only known for the devastating earthquake back in 1995, (and the most expensive beef in the world, but we won't talk about that here..), within Japan it is also famous for good sweets. Especially pudding (Purin - that's the Japanese pronounciation) from Kobe is said to be the best far and wide and is a staple in the range of souvenirs available there.
After at least three laps all through Sweets Harbor and long and intensive staring on all those little wonders that might not only delight me but also dentists and cardiologists near and far, I decided to take the beautiful dessert you can admire on the photo above. It was a buttery, flaky pastry filled with lots of rich custard and topped with fresh strawberries.. I think I don't have to describe the taste. I am sure you can imagine the creamy, sweet goodness with the fruity touch of the juicy berries.
Harborland [click for map
open everyday: 11:00-20:00
weekends and holidays: 11:00-21:00