Japanese Sweets of Kyoto origin

April 20, 2019

by Kanae Hamano & Shiho Fujinami

Do you know about the Japanese sweets called, wagashi? Wagashi is a whole category of confectionary made using traditional production techniques in Japan. In addition, Kyoto is famous for wagashi, as there are many well-established Japanese sweet shops throughout the city.

About Wagashi

Wagashi is a term used to differentiate traditional Japanese sweets from European-style confectionary, which first made its appearance in Japan after the Meiji period. Wagashi includes mochigashi (Japanese rice cake), youkan (azuki bean jelly), manju (sweet buns) and senbei (rice crackers). Wagashi rarely uses oil, fat, spice or dairy products in comparison with European-style confectionery. Instead, grains, beans, starch and sugar are its main ingredients. Also, green tea is commonly used to make Wagashi. Finally, wagashi is closely associated with the four seasons of the year. This is because it is often used for annual functions and as gifts in Japan.

History of Wagashi

In 1800, an envoy from China, named Kentoshi, brought some sweets to Japan. One of those was danki, which was a fried sweet with persimmons, chestnuts, and apricot with black sugar. It was the first time for sugar to come to Japan. In modern times, Japanese people eat yokan with Japanese green tea. But originally, yokan from China contained mutton and was eaten with meat soup. When the Chinese envoy brought yokan to Japan, Japanese people avoided eating meat. So, the Japanese substituted azuki (red beans) for the mutton. In the latter half of 1500, Christian culture had begun to take root in Japan. At that time, kasutera (Japanese sponge cake), was brought in by Portugal. Once in Japan, these sweets spread all over the country. These are the origins of wagashi.Below are some famous wagashi shops in Kyoto.

Mangetsu (満月)

The first shop is Mangetsu, which is a famous shop founded in 1856. It specializes in making Ajarimochi, which is a specific type of manju. Manju itself is a traditional Japanese sweet made by wrapping flavored ingredients, such as azuki bean (red bean) jam in kneaded dough made from wheat or other ingredients. Ajarimochi, however, is baked and it consists of sweet bean paste sandwiched between chewy dough. The bean paste in Ajarimochi is tsubuan (mashed sweet bean paste) made from Tanba dinagon azuki , which is a local red bean of a large grain. It also happens to be very delicious and very affordable. Just one piece costs 108 yen. It is wonderful that you can taste something so delicious, yet so inexpensive. In addition, there are sets of 10 pieces for 1,188 yen, 15 pieces for 1,836 yen, 30 pieces for 3,456 yen, and so on. The expiration date is only five days from the date of manufacture, and it is possible to store it at normal temperature. We recommend you to buy it as a souvenir, but it should eaten soon.

Mangetsu(満月)

 

 

 

 

Tsuruyayoshinobu (鶴屋吉信)

In 1803, this Japanese confectionary store was founded in Kyoto. It is famous for yokan, which is like a bar of gelatinous sweet bean paste. One of its main characteristics is that its design and taste are associated with the 4 seasons. They are also iconic of Kyoto confectionary, so you can experience Kyoto by eating yokan. This shop is famous for not only yokan, but also kyokanze, which is a Japanese sweet shaped like a spiral, giving an image of water ripples. The black part is Ogura bean paste and the light-colored part is a type of candy called murasame. It is a wagashi which allows us to enjoy its texture. One piece is sold for 260 yen. It is a representative wagashi of this shop. The taste of Kyokanze changes with the seasons, so you can enjoy the taste of each season when you visit in Kyoto at different times of the year.

Tsuruyayosinobu(鶴屋吉信)

 

 

 

 

Toraya (虎屋)

This shop was founded in Kyoto in the late Muromachi period (1338-1573) and has been in business for five centuries. Currently it is opening stores in Tokyo, too. They are famous for their yokan. They offer many flavors, so you can get your favorite taste. In addition to Yokan, they also sell monaka (red-bean-paste-filled wafers), baked goods, and green tea. Each monaka has a nicknames, for example Yasaka, which is the most basic one. It is made by stuffing sweet bean paste into chrysanthemum shaped leather. ‘Yasaka’ means flourish and because the chrysanthemum flower is a noble and congratulatory flower, so it was named Yasaka (弥栄). Therefore, if you celebrate someone or some event, I recommend you to purchase it.

Toraya(虎屋)

 

 

 

 

Shop Information

Mangetsu (満月)

Address Imadegawa Marikouzidori, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto prefecture

Phone number: 075-791-4121

Business hours: 9:00-18:00

Nearest station about 7 minutes on foot from Keihan Demachiyanagi station

 

Tsuruyayoshinobu (鶴屋吉信)

Address Imadegawadori Horikawa Nishi, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto prefecture

Phone number: 075-441-0105

Business Hours: 9:00-18:00

Nearest station about 10 minutes on foot from Kyoto subway Imadegawa station

 

Toraya (虎屋)

Address 415 Hirohashidono-cho, Ichizyokado, Karasumadori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto prefecture

Phone number: 075-441-3111

Business hours: 9:00-19:00 (weekdays)

9:00-18:00 (weekends, holidays)

Nearest station about 7 minutes on foot from Kyoto subway Imadegawa station

Demachi Futaba – Traditional Sweets Shop

by Misaki Horita & Yusa Inoue

What kind of Japanese food are you interested in? There are many Japanese foods that are popular among many foreigners in Japan, for example, sushi, udon noodles, tempura, flour-based foods, andso on. Certainly, these Japanese foods are very tasty and highly popular among foreigners. However, many foreigners do not know about Japanese confectionery culture. Meanwhile, there is a store in Kyoto that has been specializing in Japanese confectionery for almost 200 years. Founded in 1823, it is called Demachi Futaba, and it is located in the Demachiyanagiregion of the city. Since then, the store has been making Japanese confectionery by traditional methods. This store has been chosen as the most delicious Japanese confectionery for the fourth consecutive year at the Japanese Confectionery Competition in Kyoto. Also, this store has been given many awards at the Japanese confectionary competition in Japan.

Rice Cake with Beans

Because Demachi Futaba is so famous, there are often long rows of people waiting in line to buy their products, even on weekdays. There are usually 10 types of items for sale on any given day in Demachi Futaba. The most popular item is a rice cake with beans. This Japanese confectionery has lots of sweet bean paste inside the rice cake. And the rice cake is covered with big black beans. The white color of the rice cake and black color of the beans create an excellent color balance. Also, the texture is so soft that it feels like a cheek of a baby. However, rice cakes have elasticity. The taste is very elegant. This rice cake with beans uses good quality rice with salted beans that balance the sweet bean paste. This rice cake with beans has a very good balance of taste all around.

A rice cake with beans

It is one of the most wonderful Japanese sweets among the many in Japan. Therefore, all people can enjoy the rice cake with beans of Demachi Futaba, from children to old people alike. However, as soon as you buy this sweet, you must eat it right away. These kind of Japanese sweets don’t keep for a long time. So, it may not be suitable as a souvenir for someone the day after. This short shelf life is because this Japanese confectionery is using a delicate technology. It is an advanced technique of craftsmen who have developed it over many years. I recommend eating your freshly bought rice cake with beans on the banks of the nearby Kamoriver. Eating a rice cake with beans while watching the beautiful view next to the river is particularly special. This Japanese confectionery can also be bought at department stores in Kyoto Station. However, you cannot buy it in other places except Demachi Futaba and department store in Kyoto station. Therefore, we can understand that craftsmen value the quality of rice cake with beans.

Enjoy with the Five Senses

There are many types of Japanese sweets other than bean cake in Demachi Futaba. For example, pink-colored sweet rice cake wrapped in a cherry leaf, rice cake stuffed with sweet adzuki paste and wrapped in an oak leaf, three color dumplings, and so on. The appearance of rice cake with beans is very simple. However, these other Japanese confectioneries are more colorful and beautiful than a simple rice cake with beans. They are especially popular amongst women, and can be enjoyed with eyes in addition to our tongues. The colors of pink, green and yellow stimulate our appetite.

Three color dumpling

Furthermore, this shop also has seasonal Japanese confectionery. A lot of foreigners can experience the aesthetic qualities of the four seasons of Japan. If there are no seasons in your country, we would like you the experience the seasons of Japan through the Japanese confectionery of Demachi Futaba. This store is a special place for foreigners who are interested in Japanese food culture. Please visit to experience the appearance, flavor, seasons of Japan.

Information of Demachi Futaba

Demachi Futaba is one of the most famous Japanese confectionery stores in Kyoto. So, this store can have long lines, even on weekdays. You should except to stand in line for at least 15 to 30 minutes. But it is no matter, as you will surely will be satisfied with the taste, appearance, flavor of the sweets. A lot of people say, it is worth lining up for. And the price is also reasonable. I think easy for anyone to buy sweets there, so it is popular among all generations. And although Demachi Futaba is a little away from the center of Kyoto, it is still easy toaccess because it is very near the train station and the bus stop.

In sum, Demachi Futaba is a place where you can learn Japanese traditional Japanese confectionery culture. If you are interested in Japanese confectionary culture, you should go to Demachi Futaba.

Access

Keihan Railway, Demachiyanagi station. It’s a 7-minute walk to the west. Cross the Kamoriver and Kamo bridge

Kyoto city bus, Aoibashi Nishizumie bus stop. It’s 2-minute walk to south. And Kawaramachi Imadegawa bus stop. It’s 3-minute walk to northwest.

Opening time:              8:30
Closing time:             17:30
Regular holidays:    Tuesday, the fourth Wednesday
Seats:              Only takeout

Malebranche

by Saki Hiorta & Mai Taniguchi

Malebranche is a famous Japanese Western-style confectionery shop in Kyoto. Malebranche was originally built in 1982. The main store is on Kitayama Street, in the north part of Kyoto. The name ‘Malebranche’ comes from Nikolas Malebranche, a well-known French philosopher from the 17th century. In general, this shop is best known for its delicious Mont Blanc cake.

Malebranche Products

Malebranche offers its customers many delicious and wonderful products, many of which are various kinds of baked confectionery, such as:

  • Cha no Ka Langue de Chat Cookies
  • Green Tea Confectionaries
  • Mont Blanc Baked Confectioneries
  • Mont Blanc Baked Cakes
  • Kyoto-style Sable Cookies

CHA no KA

Cha no ka is a type of langue de chat style cookie in which strong green tea is used. It is made by a Malebranche team that takes great care when selecting tea leaves used in the manufacturing process. They call the method ‘Kyoto Quality’, and they use carefully selected tea from the Uji region of south Kyoto, famous for its green tea. First, its producers grow the tea leaves, and the Malebranche team goes straight to the farmers to buy the best tea. Second, to make strong matcha (powdered green tea) from the tea leaves they selected. When making matcha, much depends on the weather and a number of other conditions. They have found special method for that. Third, they strive to make Cha no ka with a clearness of color, a depth of taste and a great flavor combining matcha and white chocolate with a sincere heart and refined method. Finally, they wrap each individual cookie immediately to keep freshness and special design. Only then is the Cha no ka ready to be sold to customers.

Green Tea Confectionaries

Malebranche specializes in using green tea to make many of their products. These products are kept cold, like Fondant Chocolat and chocolate cake, as it is perishable. Therefore, it must be eaten soon after buying it. Malebranche staff visits tea plantations on a regular basis to select and purchase tea leaves for their products. This product is made with a lot of dark tea from Uji, a famous tea-growing region in the south part of Kyoto. It is also popular product.

Mont Blanc Baked Confectioneries

This product’s name is Malon de Male. These confectionaries have the flavor of chestnut and the smell of rum. Mont Blanc has a strong image of being a cake, but these are in fact baked confectionaries, which are original creations of Malebranche.

Mont Blanc Baked Cakes

This kind of baked and confectioneries can only be purchased at the main Malebranche shop on Kitayama Street. It recommended as a gift or souvenir, as it is carry to easy.

Kyoto-style Sable Cookies

Malebranche also makes and sells Kyoto-style sable cookies in five different varieties: milk chocolate and matcha, plain sugar, strawberry and white chocolate, chestnut and milk chocolate (autumn season only), and pumpkin and white chocolate (autumn season only). We can enjoy choosing and tasting these many flavors. They express the season of Kyoto with important smells and flavor. Malebranche delivers season-by-season the face of Kyoto.

Seasonal Events and Products

Visiting many Malebranche Spring is the name of an event that happens in the Spring. Customers can collect a series of stamps at various Malebrance shops. They must visit at least three of sixteen stores in Kyoto and Shiga. Then, if they buy products of over 500 yen in each one, they can get one stamp for each store. If they collect three stamps, they can receive a present of something sweet, like a special cheese cake or cheese ball, or some baked cheese sweets.

Ryo Cha no Ka

This is the summer version of Cha no Ka. The original Cha no Ka is made with chocolate, which too easily melts in the summer heat, so Ryo Cha no Ka has chocolate blended into other ingredients and baked until it becomes crispy. It will not melt, so it is perfect for the hot summer months.

Autumn Two

In the autumn, Malebranche uses chestnuts and sweet potatoes to make some unique fall confections. Chestnut and sweet potato are mixed with butter, which creates a very smooth cake in which you can taste most of the original taste of the ingredients. It’s delicious.

Christmas Products

At Christmas time, you can buy Jingle Bells Chocolate at Malebranche. It is a caramel chocolate cake. It made of chocolate-flavored sponge cake with caramel cream and chocolate chips, and there are strawberries, caramel cream, and chocolate on the top of the cake. This cake is made for both kids and adults, so it is good for a family.

Another Christmas time product from Malebranche is the Hex House. It a little house made of six kinds of sweets. Its contents are the matcha fir tree tart, the crescent moon mango shortcake, the strawberry tart, the Buche de Noel, the snowman cheese tart, and the witch hat chocolate tart. It very cute and filled with dreams of children and adults with a child’s heart. It is a little expensive, but very much worth buying. There are many other beautiful and delicious products to purchase at Christmas time. However, the numbers are limited, so you should act quickly to reserve your own from the Malebranche website.

Conclusion

Malebranche products are perfect as representative souvenirs of Kyoto or Japan. All these products are made with great care and are delicious. Not only does the store have high quality sweets that taste great, but also has product events that provide visual pleasure to customers. There are over 20 store branches in places other than Kyoto. So, you can visit many places and you can try these products.

Access Information

The main shop is located on near Kitayama Station on the Karasuma subway line. It is across from the north entrance to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens. Visit their website for more information: Malebranche Kyoto

Kyoame

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.

 

IMG_3744

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.