Although March 3rd is more commonly known in Japan as "Girls Day," it's also commemorated for other reasons. The date 03/03 can be pronounced mimi, which coincides with the word for "ear." By association, lagophiles (rabbit-lovers) all over the land also celebrate March 3rd as "Rabbit Day."

For one shop in 新高円寺 Shinkōenji, a laidback neighborhood in Tokyo's Suginami Ward, it's a very special occasion.

Now celebrating their 5th anniversary, ベーカリー兎座Lepus (Bakery Usagiza Lepus) is a cozy bakery selling rabbit-themed breads and baked goods. The interior also features artwork and various displays and objects with a rabbit motif.

Adorable rabbit-shaped cakes

In a Tweet that has over 23,700 likes at the time of writing, the bakery fêted Rabbit Day by showing off a fresh batch of adorable rabbit-shaped cakes:

Reproduced with permission from ベーカリー兎座Lepus (@inabashiro)

"Today, March 3rd, is 'Rabbit Day!'

We hope you enjoy our bunny bread and baked goods!
The chocolate-flavored Suginami Ward Black Rabbit will be on sale this week.
Mail order will also be available until the end of this week, so buy them while you can!"

With their subtle gradation and coloring in warm yellow to brown colors, their cute ears and beady eyes, the rabbits are perfect and quite a sight when lined up in a row.

They even have little stub tails...

Reproduced with permission from ベーカリー兎座Lepus (@inabashiro)

As explained in a sign, attached to the display case with a hand-drawn color illustration of a rabbit, the cakes combine the features of a madeleine and a financier, have a rich flavor of browned butter, and come in three varieties, two of which (presumably displayed behind the glass) are the plain-flavored スギナミノウサギ suginami no'usagi (Suginami hare) and the black tea-flavored コウエンジノウサギ kōenji no'usagi (Kōenji hare).

Reproduced with permission from ベーカリー兎座Lepus (@inabashiro)

Different varieties for different occasions

In the Tweet below posted in January, they introduced a special New Year's version of the cake with a darker color.

If you buy a drove, you can even arrange them in a circle and imagine them having a little hare pow-wow:

Reproduced with permission from ベーカリー兎座Lepus (@inabashiro)

"The Suginami hare gained colors and turned into an 'amazake hare' after imbibing some rice malt from the production of Echigo Hakkaisan as well as premium Ginjo local artisan sake. They're on sale throughout January. The alcohol content is all gone, so (everyone) can safely enjoy them."

For Valentine's Day, they featured a version with a fruity, bittersweet chocolate made with 70% cacao from Ecuador:

A connection with Akihito Tsukushi

Another attractive feature of Bakery Usagiza Lepus is its special connection with manga artist, illustrator, and designer つくしあきひと Akihito Tsukushi. The artist is famous for Made in Abyss, one of the most recognized characters from which is the rabbit-like Nanachi.

Every year since the bakery opened, they have had regular collaborations with the artist, such as this one they had last October.

For the bakery's 5th anniversary, they are selling commemorative goods featuring an original illustration by Akihito Tsukushi of 稲宮素兎 Moto Inamiya, the mascot character from the bakery's in-house manga series penned by the artist YOUMS.

The commemorative goods are on sale here until March 31st.

Bakery Usagiza Lepus

Bakery Usagiza Lepus also sells a wide variety of non-rabbit-themed breads and baked goods, both savory and sweet, so be sure to stop by if you're in the neighborhood.

By - Ben K.