Animal donuts! Japan has animal donuts, and holy mackerel, they look adorable. Delicious, too.
In Japanese, they're called "doubutsu doonatsu" (どうぶつドーナツ) or, literally, "animal donuts." And recently, these cute snacks have been delighting those with a sweet tooth and a love of things kawaii.
The two donut shops in Japan known for their animal rings are Animal Doughnut of Ikumimama and Floresta. There's a reason for that: Both have a shared history and a shared employee.
Floresta, which has locations throughout Kansai, apparently debuted this style of animal donuts in Japan. Floresta's main shop in Nara told Kotaku that a customer suggested animal donuts a few years back. Thus, the shop gave it a whirl and began making their own cute critter treats.
One of the Floresta staffers who helped create the animal donuts, a woman named Ikumi Nakao, has spun off an animal donut specialty shop called Animal Doughnut of Ikumimama, which opened in Kawasaki this past June. Floresta, on the other hand, servers a variety of different donuts.
In August 2012, Ikumi started uploading her animal donuts to Twitter, and they soon caused an internet sensation. Her handmade animal donuts were viewed over 200,000 times online and appeared on television in Japan. But she wanted to return to Kawasaki to raise her family and was able to with her own adorable animal donut shop. How sweet!
For those in Japan, there are Floresta locations throughout the country; however, call ahead to see if the location nearest you makes animal donuts as not all Floresta shops do (for example, the main branch in Nara does not).
If you don't fell like leaving your home, Animal Doughnut of Ikumimama ships its donuts across Japan in chilled packs (four cat donuts, for example, costs around the equivalent of $9).
And for a limited time, real donut versions of the Donyatsu characters are going on sale in Tokyo and Osaka. It's like we've come full circle, which makes sense. You know, with donuts being round and all.
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.