November 24, 2019
by Yuka Nakamura and Sakura Nakatani
When you come to Kyoto, where do you want to go? Actually, there are many famous spots such as Kiyomizu temple, Kinkaku temple and others. However, why don’t you go to Imamiya shrine and Shimogamo shrine? These are famous for dango (rice dumpling), so if you like eating sweet, please go there.
Moreover, when you go to these shrines, sometimes you will take a bus. Our recommendation is to use 1 day bus card, so we will introduce these shrine with using 1 day bus card. (600 yen for 1 passenger)
- Kyoto station → Imamiya shrine
Take a bus from station B3, Kyoto City Bus 205 or 206, get off at Funaokayama (take about 45~50 minutes)
- Imamiya shrine → Shimogamo shrine
Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)
Take Kyoto City Bus 1, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)
- Shimogamo shrine → Kyoto station
Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 31 minutes)
Take Kyoto City Bus 4, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 32 minutes)
Aburimochi at Imamiya Shrine
Imamiya Shrine is also called “Tamanokoshi shine”. How about taking back some traditional Japanese sweets home? These are called Aburimochi. Aburamochi also are reputed to have a benefit of driving out evil spirits. If you come here, please try it.
“Aburimochi” is a famous Japanese sweets shop at Imamiya Shine in Kyoto. It is rice cake that is just as big as the thumb, coated with soybean flour, grilled over a charcoal fire, and dipped in white miso sauce. Long ago, there was an ancient tradition that Aburimochi were provided to the public at the approach to a shrine.
There are two shops selling Aburimochi across from the approach to Imamiya Shine. The delicious smell of grilled sweets drifts out from the edge of the eaves, as you approach the shrine, so you may suffer from having two choices. My advice is to enter both shops if you have enough time.
Kazariya is a shop which serves Aburimochi with tea. Aburimochi is grilled and coated with soybean flour. It is a bit sweet. The point of taste is the good flavor of rice cake and mild sweetness of white miso.
- Shop name: Kazariya
- Price: 500 yen
- Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine” 3 minutes by walking
- Adress: 96 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
- Phone number: 075-491-9402
- Business hours: 10:00~17:30
- Closed: Wednesday
Aburimochi have been made for 1000 years with an unchanged recipe. They are coated with refreshing white miso and sweet sauce. The white miso sauce matches the mild and good flavor of rice cakes.
- Shop name: Ichimonjiwasuke (Ichiwa)
- Price: 500 yen
- Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine ” 2 minutes by walking
- Address: 69 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
- Phone number: 075-492-6852
- Business hours: 10:00~17:00
- Closed: Wednesday
Which shop is tasty? In conclusion, both stores are delicious.
Kazariya’s Aburimochi are simple and look like they are handmade because of their irregular shape. The sauce is a bit sweet. On the other hand, Ichiwa’s Aburimochi have a uniform shape and good condition. Their sauce is a bit lightly seasoned. If you prefer sweeter sauce, you should go to Kazariya.
Both shops’ aburimichi cost 500 yen. Both shop offer free parking for 1 hour.
Mitarashi-dango at Shimogamo shrine
Mitarashi-dango (rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce) came from the Mitarashi festival, which was held by Shimogamo shrine at Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city. Although, there are other an ancient traditions, one story is that Mitarashi-dango were originally made and imitated the bubbles in Mitarashi pond in the precinct grounds.
The birthplace of Mitarashi-dango
Kamo Mitarashi Chaya
Mitarashi-dango came from Shimogamo shrine. Kamo Matarashi-chaya is an old-established teashop that was started in 1922. It is located in the west part of Shimogamo shrine. When you go inside that shop, you can smell roasting rice cakes. You can eat mitarashi-dango at this shop but also you can take some away if you want.
The wrapping of each mitarashi-dango has a picture of Shimogamo shrine and that shape looks like a chimaki (a cake wrapped in bamboo leaves) of Gion festival. A feature of this mitarashi-dango is that the top rice cake and the other four rice cakes are separate. There are two theories to explain this. The first theory is that the Kamakura period when emperor Go-daigo tied to draw from Mitarashi pond, one big bubble and four small bubbles appeared. Another theory is that mitarashi-dango imitated human body. Thus, the top rice cake symbolizesthe head and the others symbolize the arms and legs.
In addition to mitarashi-dango there are other sweets available here. These are are chestnut rice cakes, chestnut sweet bean jellies and bracken-starch dumplings.
Their mitarashi-dango is covered in brown sugar and soy sauce. It is matching with a rice cake and kuro mitsu (black syrup, similar to molasses).
- Shop name: Kamo Matarashi-chaya
- Price: 420 yen
- Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shine mae” by 3 minutes walking
- Address: 53 Matsunoki-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city
- Phone number: 075-791-1652
- Business hours: 9:30~19:00
- Closed: Wednesday
In Kyoto, there are many sweet shops including these shops that we recommended. If you have an interest of Kyoto’s sweets, please search for them. After that, please come to Kyoto and try to eat a lot of sweets and find your favorite sweets!