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Full of Kendama Goods! How to Enjoy Hiroshima’s Kendama Shotengai in Hatsukaichi

More and more people around the world are becoming kendama aficionados. So this time, we introduce Kendama Shotengai, a place in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima, that is irresistible to kendama fans! Here are some ways of enjoying the shotengai, such as unique kendama-themed products and events.

2017.04.20

What is a kendama?

A kendama is a toy with a cross-shaped "ken" (sword) and a ball (tama) with a hole. The ken has a "kensaki" (sword tip) and three "sara" (dishes) and is played by swinging the ball into the sara or kensaki. Today, it is popular not just as a toy, but also as a competitive sport based on the level of difficulty of the movements. There are apparently more than 1,000 different kendama techniques!
Kendama is based on a toy that made its way to Japan from China during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The original toy consisted of the kensaki and tama, and was improved by adding the sara. Kendama were first made in Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima, known for its superior woodworking lathe technology and as a producer of wooden toys.


Walk around Kendama Shotengai!

Kendama Shotengai (official name: Hatsukaichi-shi Ekidori Shotengai) is a commercial district with approximately 80 shops on a 500-meter stretch from JR Hatsukaichi Station. It has a variety of initiatives related to kendama, and is an area all kendama fans will want to visit at least once.
The kendama store that has a space for playing kendama is a must see! In addition, there are many shops that sell products that were developed in collaboration with the district, such as kendama-themed shochu, sweets, and food and drink menus. Keep an eye out for the limited quantity original kendama that is released several times a year.

Walk around Kendama Shotengai!

Perfect to Take Home! Kendama Monaka

The recommended item to take home is the Kendama Monaka (172 JPY (incl. tax) and up) by the Japanese sweets shop, Nagao. A monaka is a Japanese sweet made by filling a thin pastry made of mochi rice flour with sweet bean paste. At Nagao, you can purchase a unique kendama-shaped monaka!
There are several flavors including the standard ogura (azuki sweet bean paste), matcha green tea, and yuzu citrus, as well as the"caramel milk influenced by Western sweets. A strawberry milk flavor is also released during the strawberry season. Each monaka has plenty of filling! Their appeal is the crisp texture and aroma of the pastry and the soft sweetness of the filling.


Perfect to Take Home! Kendama Monaka

Check Out the Kendama Events!

Kendama events are also held around Kendama Shotengai. At the annual Nihyaku Hatsuka Honen Shimin Matsuri (held on the second Saturday of September), the shotengai sets up a special stage for kendama tournaments and performances. Numerous stalls open up at the event, making it one of Hatsukaichi's largest and most festive events.
The Kendama World Cup (to be held on July 22 and 23 in 2017), held at the local sports center is an event worth watching out for. This is an opportunity to see the techniques of top players from around the world in person. There are many more programs in addition to the super exciting competition, including live performances and mini games that anyone can participate in. Many of the shops in the shotengai have booths indoors or outside.


Check Out the Kendama Events!

In Hatsukaichi, you'll find kendama motif products and artwork all around. It will be fun to walk around and discover them, regardless of whether or not you are a kendama fan. *The information introduced is based on products and events that have been available or held in the past.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: nomura

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