Tag: 株式会社パスポート

Sweetie Pies!

Meat pie

Australia doesn’t really occupy a prime place in the mind of most Japanese people’s eyes, and the same goes for Australian cuisine. But for a short while, meat pies here were, well, the flavor of the month.


Meat pies are, of course, probably the Australian national dish, or at least an iconic item on the everyday Aussie menu.


They’ve been pretty hard to come by down through the years, though. My first memory of Aussie pies in Japan came from watching a World of Sport segment on Channel 7 in the 1980s which showed Four ‘N Twenty pies being sold at a stall in Ginza.


By the time I got here, though, there were no more Aussie pies around.


Then I made it to Tama Zoo, which a couple of years earlier had scored some koalas and opened an Australian animal section and featured Aussie critters heavily in its marketing. A kiosk outside the zoo sold Aussie Beef Pies, which were sort of like a meat pie, but good enough for the deprived. I also found the same pies at an expressway service area around the same area, but forget the details now.


For years, I couldn’t find pies anywhere, but rapidly gobbled down any I could when I did manage to get my hands on the dish.


Villi’s pies were sold early into the millennium, then disappeared again.


And that was the state for me at least through the Noughties and into the Twenty-Tens.


A chance mutual acquaintance, though, took a huge move and started Punk Doily, which makes Japan’s nicest Australian pies and other tuck shop favorites.


About the time of the pandemic, though, the iconic Four ‘N Twenty suddenly assumed a more prominent role in Japanese retail than ever before.

しかし、コロナ感染拡大が起こった頃、日本の小売業では、「Four ‘N Twenty」のアイコンが以前にも増して重要な役割を担うようになりました。

You could go to your local 7-11 convenience store, which are almost ubiquitous in Tokyo, and get a meat pie for about 340 yen. They were on sale in about 3,300 stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area from June 2020.


Costco Japan sold six-pack boxes of Chunky Angus Beef pies…and cheaper than those in Oz!

コストコジャパンでChunky Angus Beef pieの6個入り箱が売られていた!しかもオーストラリアで買うより安い。

Costco food courts even offered an Aussie Beef pie as part of their regular menus (but they were gross and resembled the true meat pie in half a name only).


Gyomu Super, possibly Japanese bargain hunters’ favorite supermarket chain, carried beef and cheese pies.


And Hanamasa offered Garlo’s pies.


From 2019 until the autumn of 2022, it was finally pretty easy to pick up a pie in Tokyo.


And then they disappeared again.


Purely by coincidence, I attended an Aussie Sports Day last month, and was surprised to learn it was sponsored by Four ‘N Twenty Japan, which suggested the pie company still had a presence in Japan.


Not only did I have a pie, I was impressed by the golden beanies the company was using for promotion, so fancied getting my hands on one.


I contacted Four ‘N Twenty Japan through their website to ask about the hats, and also figured I’d kill a couple of birds with one stone by asking how I could buy myself a pie on a regular basis again.


The company got back to me really quickly, letting me know that new packaging negotiations had postponed pies’ appearance on Costco shelves, but the Gyomu Super pies were also from the same company even if not under the same brand.


As a frequent Gyomu Super user, this was music to my ears. My local store, however, was not keen on carrying the pies. And though online sales were possible, they were only available by case, which is 12 boxes of 8 pieces apiece and we just don’t have the refrigeration storage space for that.


But I was onto something. And I found out the actual pies are made just down the road from me. Thinking I might be able to buy a packet directly from the producer, I contacted the company, Passport, which runs a number of Gyomu Super franchises.


I told an employee my dilemma and asked if it would be possible to buy individual packets of pies from the producer. She asked me to wait and said she would call back.


To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything.


Imagine my surprise, then, when the lady from Passport rang me back.


“Kangaeroo, the Hino Mogusaen store will have meat pies waiting for you on Saturday. Thanks for using our services.”


Can you imagine my delight? I went to the store as soon as I could today and thanked the store staff, asking that my gratitude also be passed on to Passport.


And look who followed me home this morning? Can we keep them? Not for long, I reckon.



Just a week after this post came out, the Australian Financial Review did a ripper story on how meat pies are making their mark in the Japanese market. From my experience, with the service that goes with their sales, it’s little wonder the humble Aussie pie is carving its own niche here.

Why Japan is tucking into Aussie meat pies