Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

Characters from popular animal biscuits turn into traditional Japanese sweets! [Review]

You might know that Japan’s convenience stores carry almost everything to eat: Fried chicken, meat buns, rice balls, melonpan chocolate, and more can be purchased 24 hours a day.

However, did you know that you can buy cute 和菓子 wagashi (Japanese traditional confectionery) as well?

Starting from May 24th, Japan’s beloved animal characters are turning into wagashi, and they will be available at Family Mart for a limited time.

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

The lion and hippo are not just cute. When Japanese people see the cute yellow and pink animals, they'll probably say, “Oh, I love these biscuits! They're Tabekko Dōbutsu, right?”, or “Wow! I ate these a lot when I was a child!”

Made by Ginbis Co., Ltd., たべっ子どうぶつ Tabekko Dōbutsu is a long-selling Japanese product. Ginbis is a traditional snack company founded all the way back in 1930. Tabekko Doubutsu is really popular and it even appears in the smash hit anime, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!

Tabekko Dōbutsu are animal-shaped cookies, the equivalent of animal crackers in North America and Europe. They have been loved by children and adults alike for their cuteness, butter-rich flavor, and educational purpose. As you can see in the picture below, English names of animals are printed on each biscuit, and they are often used to teach kids the names of animals in English.

The Tabekko Dōbutsu key visual is printed on the wagashi package too.

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

I’m a fan of Tabekko Dōbutsu biscuits and the characters just like many other Japanese people. I couldn’t resist buying this newly inspired Japanese confectionary.

The cute Lion

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

The tilt of his head is so cute. This mascot’s name is Laion kun らいおんくん.

According to the press release, he is filled with red bean butter paste.



Maybe a little bit too revolutionary? Is it going to be ok?

Normally, traditional Japanese sweets, especially red bean sweets, don’t use butter. Well, the original Tabekko Dōbutsu were butter cookies, so perhaps this is unavoidable... I hope it's more delicious than it sounds.

To check the taste, I decided to cut one in half. However, I struggled to decide how to do it. Maybe I watched too many horror and suspense movies recently, but I could only think of scary ways to cut it open. The poor lion is too cute to cut him in half so brutally.

In the end, I settled on cutting him open from the side.

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

I cut the poor lion open while feeling guilty, and its insides look like this.

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

Based on the appearance, it looks exactly like normal red bean paste. When you actually taste it, you can discern a hint of butter and saltiness mixed with the rich sweetness of red bean paste. It’s very delicious. The special outer layer is made from a mixture of white bean paste, chickpeas, and sugar. The layer is usually called 練り切り nerikiri.

The adorable hippo

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

Next is the hippo. Her name is Kaba-san かばさん since kaba means hippo in Japanese. Her face is actually quite famous even among the Tabekko Dōbutsu.

After staring at her cute face, it was once again time to cut...

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)


Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

It’s white! This is the taste of butterscotch. Compared to the lion, this definitely has a much stronger taste of butter. In fact, it resembles caramel. The butter is not overbearing in both the hippo and the lion. It is a very refined snack.

This is the before and after.

Photo by Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki)

This delicious and special wagashi can be purchased only at Family Mart convenience stores in Japan. One pack will set you back 398 JPY. I managed to snag the last one available at my local Family Mart. They are only going to be available in limited quantities, so don’t forget to get yours before they sell out.


By - Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki).