Japan’s First Yakult Cafe: Probiotic Ice Cream and Wellness in Utsunomiya

Ever since Yakult was first introduced in 1935, it has been a beloved staple in Japan and beyond. Now, the iconic probiotic drink has found a new way to delight its fans: the Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe & Gallery in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. This unique establishment, opened in September 2023, promises a delightful mix of culinary treats, wellness services, and cultural experiences.

Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe & Gallery

Located just a 25-minute walk from JR Utsunomiya Station, right next to Utsunomiya Castle Ruins Park, the Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe is hard to miss. A giant bottle of Yakult 1000 stands proudly out front, attracting both locals and tourists. This eye-catching landmark, combined with the cafe’s convenient parking, makes it an easy stop for drivers and travelers alike.

Inside, the cafe offers a menu designed to promote health and wellness. Highlights include bagels made with Yakult cream and strawberry-flavored Joie smoothies. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the “Ice de Yakult” — a refreshing probiotic ice cream priced at 420 yen.

Served with a Yakult-shaped cookie, this ice cream has a tangy twist that sets it apart from regular vanilla flavors. It’s so popular that up to 20,000 units have been sold in a single day!

But the Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe is more than just a place to eat. The establishment also features a beauty salon offering facials with Yakult’s lactic acid bacteria cosmetics and a gallery that can be rented for events. The salon underscores the brand’s commitment to wellness, while the gallery hosts wellness lessons for local residents, making it a community hub.

Is Utsunomiya Worth a Day Trip from Tokyo?

Absolutely! Utsunomiya offers a unique blend of modern attractions and traditional charm, making it an excellent day trip destination from Tokyo. Here’s why:

  • Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe & Gallery: Experience the only place in Japan serving Yakult ice cream, alongside beauty treatments and a charming gallery.
  • Utsunomiya Gyoza: The city is famous for its gyoza (dumplings). Numerous restaurants specialize in these delicious treats.
  • Historical Sites: Explore the Utsunomiya Castle Ruins Park and the surrounding historic areas.

Practical Information

Yakult Gohonmaru Cafe & Gallery
Address: Tochigi-ken, Utsunomiya-shi, Honmarumachi 1-43
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Last orders at 6:30 p.m.)

With its innovative attractions and convenient location, Utsunomiya is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. So, if you’re in Tokyo and looking for a unique day trip, head to Utsunomiya and indulge in the Yakult experience!

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