In late January, I got the incredible opportunity to travel to Tokyo, Japan with my company to help launch an innovation center for a large software company. This meant I got to take my donutal exploits across the world. Now, Mmm… Donut is not to be a blog per se with chapters and epics. However, it’s worth noting that during my 6-day jaunt across the earth, I got to experience four different donut shops:
Business-wise, this was a great trip. Personally, this was a fantastic trip. Donut-wise, this was a good trip. I expected only visiting a single donut shop during my entire stay, but when Japanese puts donut shops wherever I walk, open wide.
In fact, my first morning in Tokyo, I found a listicle (article that is generally a list of some subject) with the top donuts in the area. Hocus Pocus was in the top two and within 15 minutes walking from our Airbnb. Oh, when I say, “our”, I mean my two colleagues, too. Big shout out to them for being not only supportive but very motivating to stop into more donut shops.
Anyways, we ended walking down the gridded streets of the Akasaka neighborhood / choke of Tokyo (Southeast of the city center). Given this was each of our first forays to Tokyo, a jaunt to a donut shop 15 minutes away was a fantastic introduction to the great city of Tokyo.
Just so happened, too, that we walked a bit faster than expected (and we left earlier than expected). This meant we were more than 30 minutes early to Hocus Pocus. The employees at the shop saw us, but felt absolutely no pressure to slow roll their donuts till 830AM. This meant we got to explore the neighborhood Hocus Pocus is nestled in. In short — in the morning, it’s very quiet with very little traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian.
We even got to practice a little zen meditation outside Hocus Pocus while waiting. The shop is situated on the first floor corner of a larger building. Surrounding the shop were various foliage including real aloe plants. Tucked into the foliage were short pathways to little sitting areas. It was a nice zen-like setting.
To the side of Hocus Pocus, you get a direct view into the kitchen from the outside. I didn’t really spend too much time looking into the kitchen as I didn’t want to stare at them like I do at the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium. However, from what I could from the outside of the rest of the shop (read: the whole shop), it was a very clean, modern space. The donuts were carefully placed in pairs or trios on plates under viewing glass boxes. Then, there were donuts “in-stock” on a hovering shelf behind the counter.
What makes Hocus Pocus more special besides their manicured designs is that their donuts are steamed. Yes, you read that right — steamed. They aren’t fried. Not baked. Steamed. It makes the donuts slightly more dense but soft, not chewy. You can read more about the two donuts I got this time for more details on the donuts. In short: they were good with a thick crunch to them due to the frosting they used.
The employee we interacted with was very friendly. It was fascinating to watch how carefully he selected the donuts I was (and my colleagues were) selecting. He carefully placed each donut into a small envelope. Then, placed each donut on separate bamboo-like plates. Like I said, “manicured” down to the service. The coffees my colleagues ordered were very good so they told me. I should hope so given the coffees took about 8 minutes to prepare.
I enjoyed my visit to Hocus Pocus. It was just about the first thing I did in Tokyo, and it really set the tone and experience throughout my time in Tokyo. Everything was well presented with the highest courtesy in service.