Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes
Ningyo-yaki - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa
Ningyo-yaki （人形焼） is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift.
Ningyo is the Japanese word for doll, so the name of this sweet reads "baked dolls". Ningo-yaki are small cakes baked in small molds and are filled with sweet anko bean paste. Ningyo-yaki are popular souvenirs and it is fun to discover the different shapes made by different shops. At some of the shops you can watch Ningyo-yaki being made and try them fresh.
For souvenirs you can buy anything from a single cake to a big decorated box. The cakes will keep for a few days and do not loose their shape.
Baking Everything from Pagodas to Doraemon
I have seen cakes in the shape of Doraemon, Hello Kitty, birds, turtles, and faces. There are also many Ningyo-yaki in the shape of local attractions. In Asakusa at Senso-ji, shops in the Nakamise-dori sell small cakes that look like the temple's five-story pagoda and the big lantern of Kaminarimon. There are many more "baked dolls". You can find some fun new shapes. Pictures here are from shops at Senso-ji temple.