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After months of staying in my neighborhood, I’ve begun exploring beyond my immediate surroundings. This mostly means walking to the next train station over, but it has led to some sweet dessert discoveries.

Kichiraku opened in Tokyo’s Koenji neighborhood in April, specializing in amazake (sweet, low-alcohol sake) yogurt and smoothies. It’s a simple concept, but one it pulls off well. The store offers dozens of fruits and toppings, and though it has its own creations, feel free to go as tart or as sweet as you’d like. If you show up in the morning, you can also enjoy hazelnut spread on toast or a black sesame sandwich.

Even the plainest offering satisfies: The base yogurt delivers a nice, slightly sour punch. But I think the better option is blending in pieces of Oreo cookie. It seems like it would be too sugary, but the flavors pair together surprisingly well. If you’re not up to making the trek out to western Tokyo, don’t worry — Kichiraku delivers via Uber Eats.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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