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Japanese confectioneries lure tourists with new antenna shops

Publication Date : 25-05-2012


Major confectionary companies have recently opened antenna shops at popular tourist sites in Tokyo to attract foreign customers as the domestic market shrinks amid Japan's aging and declining population.

Major chocolatier Meiji Co. opened its "100% Chocolate Cafe", Tuesday at the Tokyo Solamachi commercial complex at the foot of the newly opened Tokyo Skytree tower in Sumida Ward, Tokyo.

The cafe offers customers original chocolate-inspired sweets, light meals and drinks. It also sells 56 kinds of chocolates and other items such as mugs.

Seeking to further its progress in the Asian and North American markets, Meiji hopes to make its brand famous among tourists. The cafe's interior was created by a famous designer, and English-language menus are also available. As Tokyo Skytree is expected to become an international tourist spot, the firm aims to become famous as a Tokyo brand.

Morinaga & Co. and Ezaki Glico Co. opened stores selling limited or special edition items at Tokyo Okashi Land, located in an underground mall at JR Tokyo Station, on April 14 and at Diver City Tokyo Plaza in Tokyo's Odaiba district on April 19. Glico's shop at Tokyo Station features a kitchen for cooking demonstrations to entertain visitors.

The first such store was Calbee Inc.'s antenna shop "Calbee Plus", which opened in Tokyo's Harajuku district in December. The store features the company's signature potato chips and Jagarico potato snack, as well as character goods. Calbee also opened shops at Tokyo Okashi Land and Diver City Tokyo Plaza in April.

Calbee made a full-scale entry into the South Korean market in 2011, and plans to do the same in China later this year.

Many young Chinese and South Korean tourists frequent Harajuku, and some have blogged about the store after returning home, calling Calbee a "hot, popular Japanese brand".

Though the store was originally targeted at Japanese high school girls, the number of foreign visitors showed a sharp increase thanks to positive word of mouth on the Internet. In fact, the number of visitors to the store is now double what it was when it first opened.

As "Cool Japan" pop culture, such as anime, has gained many young fans in other countries, confectionary firms are now planning to boost overseas sales by targeting younger generations in foreign countries.


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