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Allergy information provided, some allergen free bread
Price: 450 yen
Seven years ago this was the only bread shop in this area of Saitama that sold allergen free bread. They have since reduced the choice available, possibly as there are now many places you can buy allergy friendly bread and they no longer have that unique selling point.
All of their bread, cakes and baked goods have allergy information on display. The bread is baked fresh in store and you can watch them at work from a window on the consumer side of the store. There is a small area where you can sit down and eat, but their main business is take away. They have a great variety of breads from all over the world. At Christmas they even sell a Christmas strudel and they have other seasonal breads on offer too. Anyone can obtain a point card and earn points with each purchase.
They are open from 10 am to 9 pm, seven days a week. Free parking in the Peony Walk parking area.
In the Area
Apita is the headline store of the Peony Walk mall. It is separated into three large shops. Two are beside each other on the first floor and the third is on the second floor. The first floor shops are a supermarket and toy, interior and stationery store. The second floor store sells clothes, shoes, underwear, baby goods and maternity wear.This is a great store if you need to pick up a few different items. Although, the supermarket and toy/ household store are beside each other, the clothes / baby store is completely separate and you have to use the mall's stairs or esculator or elevator to get to it. There is no connecting stairs in the downstairs stores. It is not suited for a quick shopping trip due to the size of the stores and how they are split, but also because the parking is in the mall and a bit of a walk from the stores. They have a few useful services and facilities for parents. For example in the first floor toy and home ware store they have lots of sample toys out for the kids to play with. There are also some coin operated video game machines here as well as a Yokai Watch and Pokemon lottery type game that do not require money. In the second floor toy and baby store they have two padded play areas. One is for toddlers up, one is for babies and toddlers who can't yet walk. The latter is in the nursing and diaper changing room.The mall opens from 10 am, but there is a special entrance to the supermarket area of Apita that opens from 9 am and closes an hour later than the rest of the mall at 9 pm.
I had heard much about Kaldi before I ever visited the place, as it is a beacon to foreigners living in rural Japan. And when I first visited this branch I didn't even realise it was the acclaimed Kaldi; I got drawn in by the aroma of and sign for free coffee and noticed the name after. Kaldi is a haven for foreigners seeking a taste for home, especially if you don't have a Costco or other foreign produce near you. The Kaldi Coffee farms are all over Japan, they even have some branches overseas. You will probably be able to find a Kaldi within commutable distance of where you live. The selection of coffee is very good and each day they give a free sample of different types of coffee at a stall usually located at the front of the shop. You are not even obligated to enter the shop to get the coffee. You can collect points specifically for coffee at all their branches. As far as I am aware they don't have a point card for other produce in their store.They sell produce from all over the world. I was very surprised to find even a few things from Ireland, which is very rare in Japan. Their cheese is quite popular as is their cooking produce such as baking soda. They sell Arm & Hammer a popular brand in the West. They sell Heinz White Vinegar which is very hard to come by now that Costco have stopped selling it. They have a great selection of pasta and wine too. This branch opens the same hours as the Peony Walk mall: 10 am to 8 pm. Parking is free and shared with Peony Walk Mall.
Peony Walk in Higashimatsuyama is a relatively new mall. It used to be surrounded by rice fields, but in the last two to three years they have built housing estates on two sides as well as adding a retail park. Due to the selection of shops within the mall and the retail park, and the lack of malls in surrounding areas, it does have quite a constant flow of customers. What I like about this local mall with a family feel is that it is easily accessible, with lots of free parking including wider car spots and priority parking for wheelchair users and lower mobility patrons as well as for pregnant women and those with small children. Inside the family friendliness continues with family toilets and rest areas, baby friendly shopping trolleys, free play areas for toddlers, and an area for small children to eat in the food court. There are a number of places you can change a baby's nappy as well as nursery rooms with a microwave and burco. There is also a good selection of shops with baby or infant products and clothes. The malls corridors and aisles are wide and it is easy to navigate with a stroller. However, on the 2nd floor one side of the mall is carpeted and it is more difficult to push a shopping trolley in that section. The signature shop of the mall is Apita. They are a reasonably priced department store with ladies, mens, kids, babies, maternity, funeral and business wear and shoes as well as baby goods on the 2nd floor. They also have a supermarket and toy store on the first floor.The nearest train station is Tobu Tojo Line's Takasaka Station. There are buses that go from the station to the mall regularly during the day.
I am not a foodie, never have been, but this shop calls to me! Whether you are into food or not, this shop is bound to tempt you into buying something, their stuff is that divine. And let me tell you; it tastes as good as it looks.Karuizawa Farmers market sells farmer's products from the Karuizawa region that extends Gunma and Nagano. They sell mostly condiments and fruit preserves and products made from fruit. They are high end products in both taste and packaging and as such you will pay more than normal for one of their divine products. It is a popular place to buy a really nice gift for someone and / or for an "okaeshi" gift (a gift given in return for another gift!). They have gift boxes made up or you can make your own up. I have been very fortunate to have been gifted jams, preserves and sauces over the years. I instantly fell in love with their fruit sauces and I occasionally treat myself to some now and then. Their juices are gorgeous too. They often have samples out in the branches so you can taste their wares.The branch in Peony Walk Higashimatsuyama is larger than most that I have been to. However, their selection seems to be fairly standard and the extra space goes to wider aisles and lower displays. The store opens the same hours as the mall; 10 am to 8 pm. It is located on the 1st floor beside Kaldi Coffee Farm. Parking is also shared with the mall.
Who doesn't love a Mister Donuts? These donuts were my first in Japan when I arrived 15 years ago and will always hold a special place in my heart. If you are a first timer, I recommend the Angel Cream, which is one of the all time favourites, but the Pon De Ring is the best seller. One of the attractions in the past of this cafe was that they had a radio station with an American DJ and English songs on constantly, but nowadays it is so easy to listen to English music anytime anywhere, that it is not as much of a selling point. In fact, on my visit today, the radio wasn't even playing. That is a first in my long history with Mister Donuts! In the past I have met a member of staff there who is a native speaker of English, I didn't see her today though. There is another member of staff with basic English. This particular branch has a nice seating section with plain and relaxing decor, somewhat comfortable seats and bright and airy. They have the usual selection of donuts, food and drinks. They run seasonal campaigns and have discount days, when the most popular donuts are sold for a 100 yen. They are normally somewhere between 120 and 180 yen. They sell other desserts that are not donuts at a higher price. This branch opens from 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week, closing only when the Peony Walk mall closes, which as far as I know is only one day a year at New Years. Access by bus from Tobu Tojo Line Takasaka station. Buses are quite frequent. By car; its close to route 407. Parking is free and plentiful. There are spill over car parks for busy times of the year.