When you’re in Osaka and you eat takoyaki (octopus dumpling), okonomiyaki (savory pancake with meat, seafood and vegetables), kushikatsu (pork cutlets on skewers) and various other local dishes, you’d probably crave for something a little sweet after. So, here are five wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) that you must try when you visit Osaka in the spring.
1. Shochikudo's Mikan Mochi
Shochikudo is a well-established shop for Japanese-style confectioneries that was opened in Osaka’s Suita district in 1889. Its specialty product is the Fruit Mochi and it is a daifuku (stuffed mochi) that is stuffed with only the most delicious fruit in season, so the fruit inside the mochi and appearance of this item change depending on the season. It has become a hit among consumers as it offers them strawberry, kiwi, pineapple and a wide range of other fruits in mochi all throughout the year. If you visit in the spring, then the recommended sweet would have to be the Mikan (Mandarin Orange) Mochi (250 JPY) that is only available from winter until spring. This product uses different types of ingredients depending on the season, so your Mikan Mochi might have Beni-Madonna, Setoka, Dekopon or other kinds of Mandarin orange inside. With the exquisite balance of the melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the sweetness and acidity of the juicy fruit inside, it will surely become an unforgettable taste once you’ve tried it.
2. Souhonke Tsuriganeya Honpo's Tsurigane Manju Sakura-An
Souhonke Tsuriganeya Honpo is a Japanese sweets shop that is famous for the Tsurigane Manju that is shaped like the large bell of Shitennoji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. Manju usually refers to a steamed cake with red bean paste filling called anko. The Tsurigane Manju is a type of soft sponge cake, which is baked using the classic hand-baking technique as much as possible, that is filled with smooth anko that uses only the finest ingredients. This item comes in different flavors corresponding to the season, and in spring, the Tsurigane Manju Sakura-An (cherry blossom anko) (216 JPY) comes out as a limited item. The red bean paste inside the manju has chopped pickled cherry blossom leaves, giving this confection a rich aroma. Don’t you think it would be great with Japanese tea?
※Photo shows the Tsurigane Manju
3. Mochisho-Shizuku's Sakura Mochi
Mochisho-Shizuku is a shop that offers a wide variety of sweets in every season, including mochi that is made fresh every morning, monaka (wafer cake filled with bean jam). and seasonal confections. Its physical shop has also been catching a lot of attention for being a fancy and stylish place where customers are surrounded by refined interior design. This shop makes and sells creative Japanese-style confections such as the bright red-colored, raspberry-flavored daifuku, as well as standard Japanese sweets, all of which use carefully selected ingredients. During spring, its staple product is the Sakura Mochi, a Japanese confection that is made by combining chewy mochi rice with anko made with pickled cherry blossoms and leaves. However, the Shiroi Sakura Mochi (White Sakura Mochi) (230 JPY (excl. tax)) that you see here is characterized by its beautiful white exterior and sophisticated sweet taste. It’s a masterpiece that will let you feel the sensation of spring.
4. Kawaido's Ichigo Daifuku
Kawaido is a wagashi shop in Sakai that is well-loved by the locals. While the Sakai specialty Sakai Todai Monaka, a kind of monaka with coarseanko, is famous in this shop, if you come in spring, you have to try the Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Daifuku) (150 JPY). With a large, fresh strawberry wrapped in shiroan (white smooth bean paste that is made by boiling white navy beans or white azuki beans, straining them and then adding sugar or honey to give them a sweet taste) and mochi, this is a Japanese sweet that boasts of gorgeous contrast between white and red. The usual ichigo daifuku uses red bean paste that uses azuki beans, but this shop uses white bean paste for its daifuku. When you eat it, you will see the perfect balance of the strawberry with the other ingredients and taste the satisfying sweetness of the strawberry. This shop’s Ichigo Daifuku is so delicious that even if you buy a lot, you will surely gobble them up in no time.
※Photo is for illustration purposes
5. Kikujudo Yoshinobu's Hanami Dango
Founded in 1830, Kikujudo Yoshinobu is a long-established Japanese-style confectionery shop in Osaka. It is a place where you can eat inside its quaint shop that is filled with a traditional atmosphere.
This shop boasts of making high-grade namagashi (fine wagashi that mainly use bean paste with high water content that are used in tea ceremonies and other events) that are all made by hand. It is quite famous for the Korai Mochi (700 JPY (incl. tax) for five pieces), a Japanese confection with a unique shape that is made by filling mochi-an with gyuhi (a kind of rice cake made from glutinous rice). During spring, the Hanami Dango (400 JPY (incl. tax)), which is made by wrapping soft gyuhi in mochi-an in three bright colors (the colors of cherry blossom, azuki beans. and green grass) and then skewering them on a stick, becomes available. The sweetness of this confection is adjusted so as not to overpower the flavors of the ingredients, making it the perfect accompaniment to tea time and hanami (cherry blossom viewing).
※Photo is for illustration purposes
If you are ever close by, then please drop in and enjoy these delicious traditional Japanese-style sweets!
*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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