The wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) culture in Kanazawa has developed along with the prosperity of the chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony) culture. Wagashi is not only tasty but is pleasant to the eye, just like a work of art. Check out these 5 awesome wagashi shops in Kanazawa.
This is a traditional wagashi shop with about 390 years of history in Kanazawa since its establishment in 1625. The shop was constructed reflecting the image of a Kanazawa merchant house; natural wood and mud walls are used to give it a warm atmosphere. You can relax and enjoy wagashi and green tea in the shop. One of the recommendations is the matcha tea and high-grade namagashi (fresh confectionery) set for 700 JPY (incl. tax). When you visit the shop, you can see what kind of namagashi comes with the set, since it changes seasonally. For souvenirs, they sell the Chouseiden Namajime (starting at 1,167 JPY (incl. tax)), which is made from mochi rice and starch syrup, and is considered one of Japan's top 3 confections. They also offer a rakugan-making workshop (rakugan is a dry type of wagashi) for 1,296 JPY (incl. tax), and a Kanazawa Kashikigata Museum on the 2nd floor which showcases traditional wooden tools for making confectionery. Admission to the museum costs 200 JPY for adults and 100 JPY for children, both incl. tax. This shop allows you to not just enjoy tasty confections but also learn about the confectionery culture in Kanazawa.
The Higashi Chaya area is being preserved as a cultural cityscape property. This area retains an Edo atmosphere, and is home to the Fumuro Chaya, where customers enjoy sweets made with Kaga seitan, a traditional Kanagawa specialty. This shop offers Nadai Misodare Dengakufu (480 JPY (incl. tax)), which is roasted, aromatic seitan mixed with slightly sweet white miso sauce. The light texture of the seitan and the thick miso sauce go very well together, and you'll have no problem finishing the 5 skewers. Another popular dish is the Awabu no Oshiruko, seitan and millet in a sweet red bean soup (550 JPY (incl. tax)). Its chewy texture resembles mochi, and is just as addicting!
2. Fumuro Chaya
Recently, soy sauce made for the exclusive use as an ice cream topping was a hot topic in Japan, but actually in Kanazawa, soy sauce soft-serve ice cream has been popular for a long time. At this shop, you can try it for 350 JPY. It's made with tasty soy sauce from a company that's been in business for many years. It's thick and milky, and you can definitely taste the rich soy sauce flavor. It's similar to caramel. Walking and eating is prohibited, so please enjoy eating it inside the shop. You can also buy Kanazawa specialty goods and souvenirs such as pure soy sauce and raw brown rice amazake.
3. Yamato Soy Sauce & Miso Higashiyama Chokubaijo
For those who would like to enjoy Kaga tea along with wagashi, please try Sabou Issho. It's run by Maruhachi Seichajo, a tea company that presented Kenjo Kaga Bocha tea to Emperor Showa ("Kenjo" means to present).They pride themselves on providing the best tea. The shop is decorated beautifully with tea utensils, and there a staff will pour you the tea of your preference like Kaga bocha, sencha, or matcha, using an iron kettle. A set of tea with wagashi is 1,080 JPY. After savoring your tea, you can take a look at the gallery featuring art by local artists on the 2nd floor. You'll feel as though time has stopped while you're enjoying yourself here.
4. Sabou Issho
Kanmi Cafe Chayu is famous for their unique ice creams that use local ingredients such as tofu, gyokuro green tea, miso, and soy sauce. Their best seller is Higashiyama Ice Cream Monaka (330 JPY incl. tax), which is an ice cream of your preference sandwiched by monaka wafers blackened with bamboo charcoal. The taste of the crisp monaka made from aromatic mochi rice will definitely have you hooked! The site used to be a storage room for a public bath that dated back to the Edo period, but was renovated to become this shop. The ice cream shop is on the 1st floor and the tatami room on the 2nd floor is a chic area where you can relax and enjoy dishes such as cold matcha cream red bean soup (800 JPY (incl. tax)) and syrup-covered sweet bean paste, fruit, and mochi (730 JPY (incl. tax)).
5. Kanmi Cafe Chayu
Thanks to the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, going to Kanazawa is easier than ever before. Please stop buy and enjoy a taste of their traditional wagashi.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.