Most teenagers can’t wait until they’re 21 so they can have a legal ID, but here’s one shop in Japan that will make them want to stay young forever – an ID proving that they’re a sixth grader or younger. Because that’s how young you’ve got to be to enter Japan’s Future Sweets Factory – a magical place filled with all things sweet and delicious. Kids get to enter the factory alone, leaving their parents behind in the lobby area.
Future Sweets Factory is located on the premises of the hugely popular Patisserie es Koyama (famous for its special roll cake), in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture. The entrance to the factory is through a large, colorful egg-shaped dome. Beyond the dome lies a waiting hall where children bid goodbye to their parents for a few hours. The kids proceed through a special kid-sized door to where all the magic happens, just like in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!
Inside the factory, away from their parents’ watchful eyes, kids are treated to samples of freshly made sweets. True to its name, at the Future Sweets Factory kids get to sample all kinds of sweets that are yet to hit the market. They also get to watch the chefs bake three special surprise sweets that cost only 150 yen each. The factory is decorated to suit the kids’ tastes – with cartoon characters and robots.
Meanwhile, the parents get to have a taste of the magical sweets, as well – the waiting room has a vending machine that dispenses a fluffy milk biscuit called ‘Matteru’. The snack comes in two flavors – plain with a milk-butter filling and chocolate with a caramel filling. The Matteru are sold in attractive boxes shaped like milk cartons, at 500 yen for a pack of three. That should keep the parents busy until their children are finally ready to leave.
Once they are out, the kids are encouraged to describe their exciting adventures to the adults. In fact, this communication between parent and child was the actual motivation for Chef Susumu Koyama to create Future Sweets Factory. “Nowadays, adults are so busy that they don’t always have time to listen to what their children are saying,” he said. “As a result, I feel like kids have trouble expressing themselves. I want to foster more communication by encouraging an ‘I want to tell you something’ attitude in children and an ‘I want to hear what you have to say’ attitude in adults.”
Chef Koyama said that when he was younger, he would tell stories about school to his mother and other ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ in the neighborhood. “They were always willing to listen. Growing up in that kind of environment is the reason why I am who I am today. At this new shop, I hope to revive the atmosphere of those good old days and become one of those neighborhood uncles for the new generation.”
It’s nice to know that someone who makes sweets also has such a sweet disposition. Future Sweets Factory is a wonderful idea, giving children an exciting experience to cherish forever. I wish it had existed 20 years ago – I’d have queued up to get in every day!