Kyoame

September 17, 2017

by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa and Kanako Wakamatsu

If you come to Kyoto, what are you going to buy as a food souvenir? There are very popular food souvenirs in Kyoto, such as yatsuhashi, matcha, and so on. However, have you ever heard of kyoame? Kyoame is a candy and is one of the historical Japanese sweets in Kyoto. It has a pretty design and a very beautiful color, such as pink, purple, green, and yellow. Also, in Chinese characters, ‘candy’ means ‘be delighted by eating’. Therefore, you can be happy by eating the candy called kyoame.

Yatsuhashi

 

History of Kyoame

There wasn’t any such thing as candy in ancient Japan. Instead of candy, there was starch syrup (the literal translation is ‘water candy’ in Japanese) that was made with rice and malt. However, it was used only as seasoning. In the late Muromachi era (1392~1573), Portuguese explorers came to Japan, bringing their religion and culture. One of the things they introduced was white sugar. However, it was not famous among the common people at that time. It was not until the end of Edo era (1600~1867) that ordinary people found out about white sugar. However, it was very expensive, so some of them could not eat it yet, much less see it. In the Meiji era (1868~1911), Japan began to engage actively in foreign trade. In addition, the skill of making candy was developed, so many kinds of candy were produced. In this way, kyoame was born by using traditional candy-making techniques with starch syrup and the new ones with white sugar.

How to Make Kyoame

At the beginning, the kyoame craftsman makes the paste of the candy. First of all, she boils the sugar up to 110° C, which is raw material of kyoame. Then he keeps boiling the sugar until it reaches 160° C. Then, she uses a special machine to drain the candy of its water. After that, she puts the candy paste on a cooling plate and blends in the flavor and food coloring. This is the basic process of making the kyoame candy paste.

Once the candy paste is made, what happens next depends on what type of Kyoame is desired. In general, there are two methods of making kyoame. One is made by pouring the candy paste into a variety of molds. Another is done by combining some big candy parts together, which differ by color and taste, to make one big candy paste mass. The craftsman then makes the candy paste long and thin and then cuts it into small pieces. That part is very similar to European-style candy making.

The craftsman work is very sensitive because the craftsman needs to adjust his work to a variety of conditions, such as season, temperature, humidity, and so on. To be a kyoame craftsman is a very difficult job because it requires both technical skill and management skill. As proof, some kyoame craftsman have been commended for their sensitive skill by officials from Kyoto city.

Of course, making kyoame is very difficult and almost impossible for ordinary people. However, there is one kyoame store that offers visitors the experience of making kyoame themselves. So, if you go there, you can try to make your own original version of kyoame. Many kyoame stores do not use machines much, as mostly the candy is made by the craftsman’s hand.

Kyoame is popular souvenir for foreigners because the design is very beautiful and it really has the feeling of a traditional Japanese souvenir. On the other hand, kyoame is also a popular souvenir amongst the Japanese, because it is so affordable. Often, Japanese people feel guilty for receiving a souvenir that is too expensive. And in the season of school trips, students often buy kyoame as a souvenir for their family or for their seniors. Kyoame is not so expensive, but the design is beautiful, so it is easy to buy for students. In sum, kyoame is suitable as both a formal or casual gift.

Kyoame

 

Where to Buy Kyoame

In Kyoto there are several famous Kyoame stores. We would like to introduce two of them.

Ayanokouji

The first one is called Ayano Kouji. It was founded in 1876. They have 5 kinds of kyoame and the names of each are related to traditional Japanese culture. For example, Shun is related to the change of the seasons, so you can enjoy a different taste at different times of the year. They also make specific Japanese tastes, like like plum, yuzu, kujyou welsh onion, etc.

http://www.ayanokouji.co.jp

TEL 075-351-0593

Open 9:00-18:00 (Monday-Friday)

Crochet Kyoto

The second kyoame shop is named Crochet Kyoto. Unlike Ayano Kouji, it is a very new shop, just founded in 2013. They offer 21 kinds of kyoame. All of them are flamboyant and their name is related to both Japanese and European culture. For example, Shiromuku is kind of traditional clothing that brides wear, and it’s taste is that of sakura, or cherry blossom. Another is named Antoinette, from Marie Antoinette. It is related to Europe and its taste is strawberry.

http://crcht.com

TEL 075-744-0804

Open 10:30-19:00

Kinds of Kyoame

 

Surprising Fact About Kyoame

In 2004, a company that makes fashion accessories with kyoame was established. It is called Nanaco Plus+. It reproduces traditional Kyoto confectionery with their accessories. If you go there, you can see jewelry or key rings that look just like kyoame. They want us to watch, wear, and eat kyoame. Their goal is to revive the heart of beauty and sensitivity that Japanese felt in times long ago.

Their accessories are made with real kyoame. The company invented a technique to cover the real candy with clear resin. Each piece is hand-made, so you can enjoy differences in size and design. In addition, they also sell cosmetics, such as a lip cream which smells like kyoame. In this way, traditional kyoame can be loved forever.

As you can see, kyoame is a traditional sweet in Kyoto that requires a special technique to make. There are a variety of kinds and tastes, and they have names related to both Japanese and European culture. In addition, you can enjoy Kyoame not only by eating them, but also by wearing them as accessories. Therefore, we recommend you buy a beautiful kyoame as a souvenir during your stay in Kyoto.

Enjoying Tabe-aruki

by Yukari Kimura and Shoko Ota

 What is “Tabe-aruki”

In English, tabe-aruki means ‘eating while strolling.’ It may seem similar to food sold on the streets because it is bought and then eaten right on the spot or while walking. However, the concept of “tabe-aruki” did not exist in past. The action of eating while walking was considered bad manners for Japanese people even just a decade ago. So, this can be viewed as a new trend in Japanese culture.

 

 Selected Tabearuki-foods

 

 Shinkyogoku street

 

Rondon-yaki

Rondon-yaki is a bite-size castella filed with white bean paste. Its taste is light and sweet. It is very cheap, so it is suitable for snack time! One piece is ¥50!
This shop does not accept credit cards, so please prepare cash.

 

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Rondon-ya (Location:京都市中京区新京極四条上ル中之町565)

Rondon-yaki

Rondon-yaki

Mamezen Cafe

Mermen cafe is an excellent soft ice cream shop.

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Mamezen Cafe (Location: 京都市中京区新京極六角下る中筋町487-4 TEL: 070-5263-1552 Open: 12:00〜18:30)

We recommend the Kuromamt-Kinako and the Chirimen-Sansho flavored ice creams.

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Kuromamt-Kinako

Chirimen-Sansho flavor

Chirimen-Sansho flavor

 

 Kiyomizu area

清水順正 おかべ屋(’Okabe-ya’ A Tofu restaurant)

This restaurant is a tofu restaurant but also has the cafe and the souvenir shop next to it. You will enjoy tofu, yuba, kinako (soybean powder) and other soy foods there.

Okabe-ya

Okabe-ya(Location: 京都府京都市 東山区清水2丁目239 TEL: 075-541-7111 Open: 10:30〜17:00 )

The shop, which you can see on the right side in this photo, is their souvenir shop. And you can buy some tabe-aruki food there.

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The Kyo-yasai castella is ¥350 for 15 pieces.

The Kyo-yasai castella baked in the shape of Kyoto vegetables. And the castella contains some kinako. So, it is savory and tastes like soybean powder a little bit.

 

馬鈴 (‘Bazu’―A Japanese sweets cafe)

Bazu

Bazu(Location: 京都府京都市東山区五条橋東6丁目583−37 TEL: 075-525-0100)

You can sample various kinds of Japanese sweets in this cafe. For example, rice dumplings, warabi-mochi, shiratama and so on. We want to introduce warabi-mochi. In this cafe it is made in the shape of a rabbit. You can choose from three different kind of sauces: Kuromitsu-kinako (black honey-kinako), matcha (green tea), yuzu (citron).

 

 

Fushimi area

Kyomame-an

Kyomame-an is a sweet made from soybean milk. They use only soybeans grown in Japan. This shop’s most popular item is soft ice cream made from soy milk. You can chose from many different flavors.  They also have monaka (wafer) with silky tofu and green tea tofu.

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Black Sesame, Yuzu, Purple potato, soda, mango, cassis, chocolate, apricot, strawberry

 

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monaka(wafer) with silky tofu & green tea tofu

 

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Kyomame-an (Location: 京都市伏見区深草祓川町16-20)

Matsuya

Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the largest and most famous shrines in Kyoto. It is a fox shrine, so a lot of souvenirs with a fox motif are sold there. That is the same for foods; the shrine’s famous miso rice cracker is modeled after the face of the fox. Matsuya has been selling these miso rice crackers for a very long time. Of course it is the stores most popular item. It comes in two sizes: large, Kitsune-chan, and small, Kogitune-chan―kitsune means fox in Japanese; kogitsune is a young fox. They are parent and child and are the representative characters of this shop.

 

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Kitsune-chan rice cracker

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Matsuya (Location: 京都市伏見区深草一の坪町27)

Nishiki market street

花よりキヨエ(’Hanayori Kiyoe’ An olive oil shop)

Hanayori Kiyoe

Hanayori Kiyoe (Location: 京都市中京区御幸町通蛸薬師下ル船屋町399番地さしあのビル1階 Open:10:00-18:00(Mon-Fri)/10:00-19:00(Sat-Sun))

Although this shop sells mostly olive oil, it also sells a variety of tabe-aruki food. For example they sell nishiki-ika (fried squid), karaage, (fried chicken) Nishiki croquette,  and many other flavored croquettes. All croquettes made by this shop use olive oil. (When Japanese people make croquette, they often use salad oil or lard.)

Soy milk skin cream croquette

湯葉クリームコロッケ One is the soy milk skin cream croquette which costs ¥290.

コロコロコ(’korokoroko’ A traditional snack shop)

korokoroko

korokoroko(Location: 京都市中京区東魚屋町185-3-1 TEL: 075-256-2108 Open: 10:00-18:00)

 

Hannari soft icecream

はんなりソフト The Hannari-Soft is a type of ice cream that has 3 flavors: milk, matcha, and matcha and milk swirl that costs ¥380. The Hannari-Soft ice cream is covered with a topping called arare (rice ball cracker).

井上佃煮店 (‘Inoue’ A prepared food shop)

Inoue

Inoue(Location: 京都市中京区錦小路通柳馬場西入ル中魚屋町485 TEL: 075-221-4357 Open: 9:00-18:00 Close: every Wednesday/first Sunday, Third Sunday)

This shop began on Nishiki street in 1884. You can buy many prepared foods that use kyo-vegetables (vegetables grown in Kyoto). In addition, we would like to focus on a special product from this shop: the chocolate croquette (¥100).

the chocolate croquette

the chocolate croquette cost only ¥100

The croquette’s middle is chocolate! Does that even go together? We would like to recommend this and want you to try it and judge if it’s good or not.

Ohagi-A Japanese Confectionery Related to Flowers

By Hikari Isaka and Maya Ito

Ohagi is made from boiled rice and red adzuki beans.

Ohagi is made from boiled rice and red adzuki beans.

Recently most Japanese eat ohagi. But in the old days, it was known as an expensive, luxurious sweet that Japanese only ate on special days. Ohagi is made from boiled rice and red adzuki beans. Its name comes from the bush clover, which blooms in September and is called ohagi in Japanese.

Japanese started to eat ohagi during the Edo period. People believed that red color of ohagi, which came from the red adzuki beans, was good luck, and helped prevent disaster from visiting upon them. It is said that ohagi is a foods exorcised the bad spirits. It is typically eaten during the autumnal equinox.

Botamochi is another kind of ohagi, but is eaten in the spring and named after “botan” or the peony flower. Japanese always eat botamochi during the spring equinox. The color of the adzuki beans to resembles the reds of these the seasonal flowers. However, in recent days, people are usually eating ohagi throughout the year.

The harvest season for Japanese adzuki beans is usually in the autumn. The sweetened bean paste of ohagi is made from these beans because these are fresh and soft. Therefore, the bean husks give the sweet bean paste a chunky texture. We call it tsubu-an in Japanese. On the other hand, the sweetened bean paste of botamochi is made with beans that have been kept through the winter. They are not so fresh. In addition the husks of beans kept throughout the winter have hardened, and so the texture on the tongue is a bit too rough, unlike the texture of the beans harvested in autumn. Accordingly, the sweetened bean paste of botamochi excludes the bean husks and is called koshi-an in Japanese. Japanese ate botamochi in spring a long time ago. However, we can eat both of these types of bean paste throughout the year due to current development preservation techniques. Nevertheless, the expiration date of Ohagi is short, and it must be eaten within a day.

The long-established store Imanishiken specializes in ohagi. Imanishiken was established at Karasuma-Gojo in1879 and recently opened up a branch in the and Takashimaya Department Store in Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo for a limited period. It sells just three kinds of ohagi: Koshian, Tsubuan and Kinako-flavored. The shop hours are from 9:30a.m. until they are sold out. It is closed on Tuesday.

Imanishiken specializing in ohagi at Karasuma-Gojo

Imanishiken specializing in ohagi at Karasuma-Gojo

We visited this store twice because we could not purchase anything on our first trip since all of the ohagi had sold out within thirty minutes of the store opening. On the second day, we could buy only a few pieces of ohagi—the last remaining two. If you purchase ohagi at the main store we recommend you go before opening time.

All of the ohagi had sold out within thirty minutes.

All of the ohagi had sold out within thirty minutes.