Oimatsu and Ohta Toru—Preserving a Kyoto Legacy

October 3, 2016

By Shiori Iwawaki, Mina Ito, and Hinako Uematsu

Wagashi

Wagashi

Did you know that Japanese sweets are taking over the world? They are colorful and beautiful and often eaten with a cup of green tea. We would like to introduce wagashi. Most wagashi consists of a combination of some or all of the following ingredients; azuki bean paste called anko, a fiber-rich gelatin called kanten, and a special type of Japanese sugar called wasambon. Wagashi is becoming known all over the world because it is unique, beautiful, has a long history and many shops.

A Very Short History of Wagashi

Ohta Teru

Ohta Teru

The origin of wagashi dates back to the Yayoi Era. Wagashi was influenced by the skills that people learned from China after the 7th century. At that time, Buddhist culture entered Japan during the Nara Era, and people started to make mochi(steamed and pounded glutinous rice cakes) and dango (rice-flour dumplings).Also yokan and manjuwere introduced from China during the 12th to 16th centuries. However, these were used for religious purposes. Japanese sweets became more common during the late Muromachi Erawhen Japan was had trade with Portugal and Spain, these countries introduced new recipes to Japan. However, the art of making wagashi became very refined during the early Edo Era. Back then there was great competition among sweet businesses in Kyoto and Edo, as well as in other regions. Wagashi was still expensive for average people, but gradually they came to afford them. Wagashi started to appear in tea ceremonies, as afternoon snacks, and gifts. During the Meiji Era, Western cakes and desserts came to Japan. These influenced the development of wagashi. Although wagashi has been influenced by foreign cultures up through today, it has always retained the Japanese sense of beauty.

Wagashi Oimatsu

Oimathu

Oimathu

Nowadays there are many wagashi shops in Kyoto. One of them is the traditional shop called “Oimatsu.” Oimatsu was established in 1904 and there are three branches in Kyoto ―Kyoto Kitano Kamigyoku, Arashiyama and Daimaru Kyoto.In the Kitano shop, there are about 43 employees and in the Arashiyama shop there are about 10 employees. We interviewed the head of the company, the fourth generation to run this shop, Toru Ohta. He is a leader who protects Kyoto tradition and Kyoto sweets.

Through talking with him, we could find out many interesting things that we could not find on the Internet. Oimatsu has about 120 varieties of wagashi and an average of five custom orders per day. This shop has the greatest variety of wagashi in Kyoto, and Oimatsu offers wagashi that other shops don’t have. One example is honbuku iwai. This type of sweet is often given people who have recovered from illness. However it has been sold only one time within the past 20 years. Many people ask Oimatsu, “why don’t you stop making this,” but Mr. Ohta said if Oimastu stop making this kind of wagashi then it would be gone from Japan. Even though they make the some wagashi that do not sell so well, their average sales per year is five hundred and forty million yen.

In Oimatsu, they make wagashi by hand, never using machines, so they just make it when they get an order. There is a difference in purchases between Japanese and foreigners. Japanese purchase wagashi for tea-ceremony sweets, and for foreigners, they want to bring cute wagashi samples back to their own countries.

We asked what is the secret of making wagashi delicious? Then Mr. Ohta told us that his core staff study about ingredients, classics, art and go to places where the ingredients are made with their employees. So Oimatsu could continue long time and many customers love this shop.

However, Oimatsu also faces serious problems. The management of Toru Ohta’s father was very bad, so the shop was almost closed down, but Mr. Ohta succeeded in rebuilding the business. As the head of the company he has tried keeping the place where employees can work happily and remember each employee’s face.

Oimatsu has a strength that other shops don’t. Every employee in Oimatsu can make wagashi even though they are just selling a package wagashi in Kyoto Daimaru, but they can also make wagashi. It is because when customer comes to consultation about wagashi, they can write a recipe or draw a sketch. Mr. Ohta said that he doesn’t think about just sales, but just tries to protect traditional culture with creative ideas. Moreover, wagashi connect peoples so he would like to spread wagashi culture all over the world.

In side of Oimasu

In side of Oimasu

In this research, we could find how wagashi became popular in Japan and the feelings of a man who is concerned with it. We are very proud of such a person like Mr. Ohta who is trying to keep our Japanese culture. We hope that wagashi will continue spreading all over the world.

Gastronomía de Kioto

por Yohei Goto

La Comida Típica de Kioto.

Para empezar, yudoufu es una comida famosa en Kioto. Las tiendas famosas son Toufuryouri (豆富料理) y Rengetsudyaya (蓮月茶や)  que cocinan youdofu. La manera de ir más rápido es  andar quince minutos por la calle Shijo hacia el este desde la estación de metro de Kawaramachi. Está cerca de Tionin (知恩院). El lunes y de jueves a domingo, la hora de almuerzo es de 11:00~14:30, y la hora de cenar es de 17:00~21:00. Los martes y miércoles están cerradas, pero el día feriado están abiertas. Cuesta aproximadamente cuatro mil yenes.

Yudofu

Yudofu

En Rengetutyaya uno puede relajarse en un cuarto individual con varias comidas de tofu en las que se utiliza soja nacional. Esta tienda tiene un ambiente del viejo Kioto, esa es la razón de su popularidad. Aunque el cuarto individual se puede reservar desde tres personas, uno puede gozar de las comidas con calma. También hay un cuarto hasta para veinte personas, por eso si vienen ustedes en un grupo, no habrá ningún problema.

Wagashi

Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango

Wagashi es una cultura típica de gastronomía de Kioto. Se puede cocinar wagashi en una tienda que se llama七条甘春堂(Shitijo-kanshuudo) en la ciudad de Kioto. Cuesta 2.160 yenes/1hora por cada persona. Se puede participar desde dos personas hasta cuarenta personas. La hora de empezar si se va solo es: 10:00~, 11:00~, 13:00~, 14:00~. Si se va en grupo, 9:00~. No hay días fijos de cierre, pero el fin de año y el año nuevo del 25 de diciembre al 5 de enero está cerrada. La manera de ir más rápido es coger el número 206 ó 208 de autobús y después de diez minutos aproximadamente bajarse en Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendoumae (博物館三十三間堂前). A partir de aquí está cerca. Esta tienda es una casa solariega de wagashi-ya. Dado que se puede experimentar una tradición de Kioto, se ha convertido en un lugar popular.

Taiyaki

Taiyaki


Wagashi Dango

Wagashi Dango

Wagashi

por Takuma Osawa y Masataka Sugimori

¿Qué es el Wagashi? Wagashi es una comida tradicional de Japón. Casi todos los Wagashi son dulces. El nombre Wagashi nació después de la segunda guerra mundial. La ciudad más conocida por Wagashi es Kioto. Wagashi es un dulce muy querido por la gente japonesa y también por los extranjeros. Se suele comer después de la comida o cuando tenemos un poco de hambre. Wagashi tiene algunas características. La primera característica es su bonita apariencia. Podemos disfrutar de la forma y del sabor del Wagashi, porque suele cambiar dependiendo del fabricante. Disfrutamos del Wagashi junto con té o zumo. Además, podemos sentirnos felices y tranquilos comiendo Wagashi.

Sabor
En comparación con los dulces de España y México, la confitería japonesa no es tan dulce. Además es buena para la salud.

Lugar
Wagashi se come en las casas tradicionales de té donde se acoge a los invitados. Durante la primavera, la gente disfruta de la confitura japonesa debajo de los cerezos.

RECETA DE ALGUNOS DULCES JAPONESES (WAGASHI)

Mitarashi Dango

Ingredientes
*100g de arroz glutinoso (shiratamako)

*90-100ml de agua

*100g de polvo de jyoshin (Jyoshinko: una clase de harina)

*90-100ml de agua hirviendo

Salsa Dulce
*50g de azúcar

*Una cucharada de katakuriko (fécula de patata)

*Tres cucharadas de salsa de soja

*Una cucharadita de mirin (vino de arroz dulce)

*120ml de agua

1)Echar el arroz glutinoso y agua en un bol y mezclar bien hasta tener una masa.

2)Echar el polvo de jyoshin y agua hirviendo en otro bol y mezclar bien hasta tener una masa.

3)Anadir 1 y 2. Amasar bien hasta llegar a una textura similar al lóbulo de la oreja.

4)Cortar la masa en el tamaño deseado.

5) Meter la masa en agua hirviendo. Cuando flote, esparar otro minuto y después meterlo en agua fría.

6)Asarla en la parrilla

Para hacer la salsa
7)Meter todos los ingredientes para la salsa en la olla. Mezclar bien a fuego lento con una espátula.

8)Poner la salsa encima de la masa y fin!

Manjyu (otro tipo de wagashi)

Ingredientes
*10g de polvo de ñame

*30cc de agua

*50g de azúcar

*40g de jyoyouko (un tipo de polvo de arroz)

*140g de anko (pasta de judías dulces o pasta de judías rojas)

*Colorante de color rojo

1)Dividir el anko en 2 partes de 20 gramos y hacer una bola.

2)Echar polvo de ñame y agua en un bol y mezclarlo bien usando una batidora.

3)Añadir azúcar y mezclar bien. Envolverlo en un film de plástico y dejarlo descansar durante 15 minutos.

4)Añadir el jyoyouko y mezclar bien usando una espátula.

5)Dividirlo en siete partes y hacer bolas

6)Envolver las bolas en anko y ponerlas en papel de horno. Cocerlas al vapor durante 8 minutos

7)Poner colorante y fin!

Cafetería para tomar y comprar Wagashi.Les recomendamos la cafetería “Yoloken”. Está abierta de las 9 de la mañana a las 18 de la tarde. Está cerrada los miércoles y los jueves. Tome el tren de “Hankyu” en la estación de “Kawaramachi” y vaya hasta la estación de “Saiin”. Cuesta 150 yenes y se tarda 7 minutos. Después de llegar a “Saiin”, tiene que andar 1minuto.

Precios

Un pieza de Wagashi con una taza de té o casa cuesta alrededor de quinientos yenes. También se puede comprar para llevar a casa. Una caja de 5 ó 6 piezas cuesta alrededor de unos mil yenes.

The Story Behind Ajari-mochi

by Chihiro Kitagawa and Maya Inoue

Ajari Mochi

Ajari Mochi

Ajari-mochi (阿闍梨餅) is a unique Kyoto wagashi (traditional Japanese confection) in which the sweet flavor of roasted tsubuan paste made form Tanba dainagon azuki beans, is harmonized with the taste of a dough wrapping that is made from a mixture of glutinous rice, powdered sugar and eggs. After kneading the dough, it is cut into flat round pieces and filled with sweet bean paste. The dumplings are baked, packaged and sold in one of the most famous confectionary shop in Kyoto — Mangetsu. Its name means “Full Moon.”

Ajari-mochi has a fascinating history. Mangetsu has been in business ever since 1856. Although the first family who owned it was from neighboring Shiga Prefecture, they opened their shop near Demachi-cho in Kyoto. And then to avoid the conflict at the end of the Edo period, in which their was a struggle for political power, the family moved the shop and reopened near Demachi-yanagi in the first year of the Meiji era in 1868. Its present location was established during the Second World War, and this shop continues to display its original noren, or a traditional protective shop curtain. Ajari-mochi was created by the head of the 2nd generation of the family in the Taisho era— it soon became famous and representative product of Kyoto.

The mochi of the name Ajari-mochi means ‘pounded rice paste’, but the term Ajari is much more interesting. Ajari means  ‘Great teacher’ in the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Dai-Ajari is the term conferred on any monk who completes the 100 circumnambulations of Mt. Hiei in northeastern Kyoto over a period of seven years. The very few monks who have completed this arduous training, called sennichi kaihogyo, are considered purified and virtuous, and thus are sanctioned to bless people who come to them for advice. Mangetsu, wishing to produce a pure product, adheres to a policy of “making only one kind of confection with only one kind of bean paste.”

All the craftspeople at Mangetsu pour all of their knowledge and skill into making this single product. Since only one kind of bean paste, or an, is used, much care and thought are given to its flavoring and the process of making it. At times, Mangetsu had to struggle to produce Ajari-mochi because there weren’t enough skilled artisans available. Also since its business model is based on the principle of prioritizing the craft, manufacturing expenses were often considerable, especially in the early years of the shop.

But by continuous effort, and all the while maintaining high standards and high quality, efficiency improved and many more people came to know about Ajari-mochi. Kyotoites as well as tourists came to the chop to sample this confection that was growing in popularity. Mangetsu believes that by ensuring quality and by being a long-established store in Kyoto, people will be convinced in the value of its product.

Because of its long history international visitors can experience real traditional Japanese culture here. Even if you don’t have a taste for Japanese sweets, Ajari-mochi is worth trying at least once.

OPEN 9:00 A.M.~ 6:00 P.M.
TEL 075-791-4121

Sweet mochi

Sweet Mochi

Photo of Store

MAP

Both Sweet and Salty

by Minako Ueda and Ryoko Umekawa

Eirakuya's logo

How can we encounter the varieties of Japanese food culture in Kyoto?

Perhaps two of the best-known foods associated with Japanese cooking are rice and macha (powdered green tea). Both of these foods, however, are not usually served alone. Tsukemono (pickles), furikake (a seasoning mix sprinkled on top of rice), or tsukudani (vegetables, mushrooms, meat or seafood that has been simmered in a thick, dark soy sauce) are all condiments that go well with rice. And they all tend to have a very salty taste.

Macha or green tea, because of its bitter taste, is almost always served with wagashi (a Japanese confectionary). There are many shops in Kyoto that specialize in wagashi and others that specialize in rice condiments. Eirakuya, however, is a unique Kyoto food shop that sells both traditional salty rice condiments and confections for tea. It is rare to find a shop that sells both sweet and salty products under one roof. Yet these foods are essential for Japanese cuisine. Eirakuya makes and sells a wide variety of both condiments and sweets that use only local ingredients.

Sweet Flavors

yuzu jelly

The beautiful sweets created at Eirakuya include traditional Yokan and Mizuyokan (a gelatin dessert), Manju (steamed buns filled with sweet azuki bean paste) and Yuzu Jelly, which is made from domestically produced citrons. After you take a bite of this jelly, the distinct fragrance of yuzu will spread in your mouth. The price of Yuzu Jelly starts at ¥315. Yokan and Yuzu Jelly are served cold and so are especially popular in summer.

Kohaku

However, the most popular confection at Eirakuya is Kohaku, which means “amber” in English. It consists of a block of clear, transparent jelly with different ingredients suspended inside it. So there are several varieties: “bean,” “bitter orange,” “chestnut” and “yuzu citron.” Each variety is made according to one of the four seasons. The price of Kohaku starts at ¥819.

Salty Flavors

 

chirimen-sansho

Eirakuya has a wide variety of mixed seasonings, pickles and tsukudani. Souvenir boxes include from two to six different condiments. One type of condiment is Chirimen-sansho, small baby fish like sardines that have been boiled and dried and mixed with pepper. Cost is ¥1050. This is excellent on rice. Another condiment on sale at Eirakuya is Kyoto Obumiso, which is a paste made from miso. It is often served on pickled cucumbers. Cost is ¥735.

Hitokuchi-shiitake

The most famous condiment at Eirakuya, however, is Hitokuchi Shiitake (bite-size shiitake buttons). These, small shiitake mushroom buttons, boiled in a thick and sweet soy sauce, are a perfect accompaniment to rice. 100 grams cost ¥788.

Eirakuya`s cafe space

Café Space

The café space on the second floor of Eirakuya gives customers a chance to leisurely sample some of its tastiest products. Although the menu is limited, visitors can try  Dekitate Warabi-mochi. Warabi-mochi is a popular gelatinous sweet that is dusted with soybean flour. Its color is usually light brown or greenish, however the Dekitate Warabi-mochi served at Eirakuya’s café is black! This rare type of warabi-mochi, served with green tea, costs ¥1200.

Next on the menu are Japanese-style parfaits, including Green Tea Parfait and Yuzu Parfait. Price for a parfait is ¥980. On the summer menu is “Uji-no-Kintoki (shaved ice with azuki beans and milk). Price is ¥980. All of these items are an especially good way to cool off during the hot months of summer.

Access

Eirakuya is located on Kawaramachi Street just north of Shijo Street, about a five-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station of the Hankyu Train Line.
Shop hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
http://www.eirakuya.co.jp/

Süßwarenläden in Kyoto

by Shiori NAMBU

Haben Sie schon einmal japanische Süßigkeiten gegessen? Wenn nicht – wie stellen Sie sich japanische Süßigkeiten vor?
Heutzutage sind die japanischen Süßigkeiten ein bisschen dem westlichen Gaumen angepasst. So sind sie für ausländische Touristen leichter zu essen. Hier will ich Ihnen drei bekannte japanische Cafés vorstellen.

Saryō Tsujiri

Das Saryō Tsujiri ist ein traditionelles japanisches Café mit insgesamt drei Niederlassungen in Kyoto. Das Café wurde im Jahre 1978 gegründet, um möglichst vielen Menschen neue und schmackhafte Verwendungsmöglichkeiten des japanischen Tees nahezubringen. Im Sairyō Tsujiri kann man Eis-Parfaits, Anmitsu (Gelee mit süßen Bohnen und Sirup), Kuchen und andere japanische Süßigkeiten essen. Dazu gibt es den berühmten japanischen Matcha aus grünem Pulvertee. Auch die meisten der Süßigkeiten selbst werden aus japanischem Tee hergestellt. Samstags, sonntags und feiertags muss man einige Zeit warten, weil viele Menschen vor dem Geschäft Schlange stehen. Unter den Wartenden sind auch viele Ausländer, besonders aus Europa. Offenbar hat sich herumgesprochen, dass sich bei diesen Köstlichkeiten das Schlangestehen lohnt.

Saryō Hōsen

In diesem Café kann man im Tatamizimmer mit Blick auf den Garten sehr gemütlich japanische Süßigkeiten essen. Die beliebteste Spezialität des Geschäfts ist Warabimochi – eine Art von Gelee, das aus den Wurzeln des Adlerfarns hergestellt wird. Es ist durchscheinend und sieht sehr erfrischend aus. Traditionell isst man Warabimochi mit süßem Kinako-Sojamehl und Kuromitsu-Sirup. Die Warabimochi im Saryō Hōsen haben eine angenehm feste und doch nachgiebige Konsistenz und sind stets sehr frisch, weil für jede Bestellung neues Gelee angerührt wird.

Umezono

Dieses Kyotoer Geschäft ist sehr berühmt für seine Spezialität Mitarashi-dango. Das sind kleine Reisklöße, die auf Holzspieße aufgereiht mit einem Sirup aus Sojasoße, Zucker und Stärke verzehrt werden. Ihren Namen haben die Klöße von einem Teich, den es früher einmal in Kyoto gab, dem Mitarashi-Teich. Die Klöße symbolisieren die Schaumtupfer des Teiches. Daher ist ihre Form auch stets rund, doch im Umezono sind sie seltsamerweise viereckig. Aber sehr lecker!
Drinnen im Café ist es ein bisschen eng, aber die Innenausstattung ist traditionell und hat sehr viel japanisches Flair, sodass Ausländer hier wahrscheinlich richtig auf ihre Kosten kommen.