Five Standard Nagoya Souvenirs You Can’t Go Wrong With
Some people may have a hard time coming up with souvenirs from Nagoya, even though it’s famous for its unique dishes that are collectively referred to as Nagoya-meshi. In fact, there are many outstanding products that both look and taste fabulous, such as long-selling items from established stores with histories of over 300 years, as well as adorable gifts from cafes beloved by Nagoya locals. Here are five standard souvenirs from Nagoya that you can’t go wrong with!
A Historic Japanese Sweets Store in Nagoya
Ryoguchiya Korekiyo was founded in 1634 (11th year of Kanei). It is known as an established wagashi (Japanese sweets) store with a history of more than 380 years. It has a variety of famous sweets, including the standard Nagoya souvenir item, Sennari, as well as Ochikochi and Futari Shizuka, so it's a must-visit spot to select gifts to take home from Nagoya.
A Standard Sweet Branded With a Bottle Gourd
The dorayaki (red bean pancake), Sennari (starts from 820 JPY for 5), is the famous sweet that this store is known for. The bean paste filling made by carefully cooking azuki beans (procured specifically for Sennari) is combined with fluffy and aromatic pancake buns. Although they were branded with the image of a chrysanthemum when they were first introduced in the early years of the Showa Era, use of chrysanthemum images were later banned, as it was the crest of the Imperial Family. After doing some research, Kiyoji, the founder and president at the time, discovered that the image of a bottle gourd is similar to a chrysanthemum. He then changed the brand to the war flag of the warrior lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, which was a bottle gourd. The dorayaki also got the name, Sennari (bottle gourd), at that time. In addition to the version with azuki bean paste, there are ones with matcha-flavored filling made with local matcha green tea, as well as a Beni-tsubuan version with white azuki bean filling.
Hours: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
(Cafe and Gallery) 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Days Closed: New Year's Day
Seating: 24 *Non-smoking
Access: 1 minute on foot from No. 13 Exit of Sakae Station on the subway
Ryoguchiya Korekiyo Sakae Branch
Aoyagi Sohonten, a Famous Store that Made Uiro a Nagoya Standard
Aoyagi Sohonten is an established store that was founded in 1879 (12th year of Meiji). It has a history of over 130 years. It has many long-selling sweets, including the Aoyagi Uiro that was introduced a few years after the store’s opening, and the Kaeru Manju that is modeled after the store’s logo of a frog jumping on a willow. Aoyagi Sohonten originally manufactured steamed yokan (jellied red bean dessert), but began making uiro (steamed cake made with rice flour and sugar) and selling it at Nagoya Station in 1931 (6th year of Showa). Thus, Uiro, which was just another Japanese sweet, became a Nagoya specialty. A turning point arrived in 1964 (39th year of Showa). The Aoyagi Uiro was the only sweet that was given permission to be sold on the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train). It became famous around the country through sales on the shinkansen, and the image of Uiro as Nagoya's representative sweet was established.
The Kaeru Manju Based on the Store's Logo. Notice Its Adorable Expression!
Aoyagi Sohonten's logo of a frog jumping on a willow was designed by an artist specializing in Western-style Japanese paintings, Kenkichi Sugimoto, in 1951 (26th year of Showa). It should be noted that "willow" in English sounds similar to Uiro. The Kaeru Manju (frog manju buns) (270 JPY/package of 3) were created based on this logo. They were introduced in 1989 (1st year of Heisei) and have been popular for their adorable shape since then. They are now considered to be the shop's signature product, with seasonal flavors such as matcha green tea available from mid-April to late August, potato from early September to mid-December, chocolate from mid-December to mid-February, and cherry blossom from mid-February to mid-April.
Hours: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM (last order 8:30 PM)
(Weekends, Public Holidays) 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM (last order 7:30 PM)
Access: Directly connected to Nagoya Station on various lines
Aoyagi Sohonke KITTE Nagoya Store
Bankaku Sohon-po, With a History Tied to Shrimp Crackers
Bankaku's Yukari comes to mind as a Nagoya souvenir for many people. Yukari is a shrimp senbei cracker made by carefully grilling fresh shrimp meat. It is a famous snack created by Bankaku Sohon-po, which has been dedicated to shrimp crackers since its founding.
The Glamorous Yukari Ogonkan, Which Symbolizes Nagoya
Yukari Ogon-kan (starts from 918 JPY for a can of 10) has further enhanced the image of Yukari as a standard Nagoya souvenir. The glamorous golden package symbolizes the history of Nagoya through a golden shachihoko (beast with the head of a tiger and body of a carp). The illustration on the front depicts Nagoya Castle and Tokugawa Ieyasu. The wrapping paper, packaging, and paper bags all have designs specific to Ogon-kan. Together, they create an Ogon-kan experience that starts from the time the purchase is made and carries through the process of carrying and unwrapping it.
Hours: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
(Weekends, Public Holidays) 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Days Closed: July 16, August 21, August 22, January 1 - 3
Parking: Approximately 370 spots (JP Tower Nagoya Parking is 320 JPY/30 minutes, with 30 minutes free for spending 3,000 JPY or more)
Access: 3 minutes on foot from Senshu Station on the Higashiyama Subway Line and JR Chuo Line
CAFE TANAKA Main Store, A Traditional Cafe That Represents Nagoya
The main store of CAFE TANAKA opened in 1963 as a coffee shop that roasts its own coffee beans. It has retained its characteristics as a traditional Nagoya-style cafe, while at the same time introducing French-style macarons and cakes produced by a female pastry chef. Although a majority of the customers were men at the time the cafe was founded, female customers have increased considerably since the introduction of the cakes. It now has a wide customer base, with some of the regulars from the time of the store’s opening bringing their children and even grandchildren!
Special Nagoya Sweets Created by a Female Pastry Chef
The Nagoya Financier (1,242 JPY for 5), a famous Nagoya sweet, is a French baked sweet made in accordance with the pastry chef's original recipe. There are two flavors that are unique to Aichi Prefecture – matcha green tea from Nishio and hatcho (soybean miso) from Okazaki – that can be purchased individually at the store. The sponge is full of butter and almond powder, and the sweet is characterized by a moist texture.
Hours: (Cafe) 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM (last order 6:30 PM)
(Weekends, Public Holidays) 8:30 AM - 7:30 PM (last order 7:00 PM)
(Cake Shop) 10:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Days Closed: None
Seating: 66 *Separate smoking area
Parking: 25 spots (free)
Access: 3 minutes on foot from Kamiida Station on the Meieki Subway Line
CAFE TANAKA Main Store
Cafe Gentiane, Popular For Its Adorable Flan
Cafe Gentiane is in the concourse of Nagoya Station. The cute chick-shaped flan, Piyorin (320 JPY), is made with Nagoya Cochin chicken eggs and is its signature product. It is a super popular souvenir from Nagoya Station. Each cake is handmade by a female pastry chef.
Piyorin, Born Out of a Wish to Create a Nagoya Specialty Product
Piyorin (320 JPY) is a chick-shaped sweet made by wrapping flan (made with Nagoya Cochin chicken eggs) with Bavarian cream and mixing in crumbed sponge cake. They can only be transported for 2 - 3 hours, and come with an explanation that reads "Piyorin is a newborn chick and doesn't like to travel long distances. Please transport with care." There are some Piyorin fans who say that it is cute even when it falls apart. The Piyorin Sable (822 JPY for a pack of 10) is recommended for those who need to transport the gift for a long distance.
Hours: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM (last order 9:30 PM)
Days closed: None
Seating: 40 *Separate smoking area
Access: Right by Nagoya Station on various lines
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 08.04.2017]
*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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