It's hard to put the words "gourmet" and "donut" together, but if one place gets close to it, it's Mister Donut.
Starting off as a tiny shop in a suburb of Boston in 1955 (Bostonians love their donuts), this chain eventually made its way over to Japan in 1971. The first Mister Donut in Japan opened in Osaka, but over the past 46 years, it has spread all over Japan, and you'll be hard pressed to miss one in any of Japan's major cities.
The first thing you'll notice walking up to the store is signage for the seasonal options. Mister Donut is BIG on limited edition options, from Halloween Donuts to Christmas Donuts to Snoopy and other character donuts. Spring is a popular time for tea ceremony, so the current theme for Mister Donut's limited fare is Matcha (powdered green tea) and Azuki (red beans).
Of course, there are a lot of other options available for you. Like any self-respecting donut shop, Mister Donut offers glazed, chocolate frosting, jelly, and other basic favorites. From there, however, the options increase and vary.
There are Pon-de-Rings, which are mochi (pounded rice)-based donuts that have a bit of chewiness to them. There are also a ton of variants in terms of fillings and coatings. Interestingly, the most popular donut for Mister Donut is the old fashioned cake donut dipped in chocolate, which they call, "Choco Fashion." That is the favorite in our household, so we stocked up, though I grabbed one of the special "Matcha Fashions" because I am a sucker for seasonal options.
I should note that Mister Donut also serves good coffee and tea, but that it has also started to branch out and offer savory lunch and dinner options like Mabo tofu and Ramen. I cannot say that I have tried them yet (when I go to a donut shop, I'm getting donuts!), but they must be okay because they have seemed to hang in there as menu options.
Even if you are not a big fan of donuts (though I venture to say that few people actually dislike donuts), I recommend making a pilgrimage to what has become a mainstay in Japanese culinary tradition: Mister Donut. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my Matcha Fashion. Until next time!