Jan 1, 2017
When you’re travelling along the agriculturally rich Oi River, it would be a shame if you didn’t bring home a souvenir or five!
A must-buy at this bright and cheery 90-year-old sweets shop in Shimada City is its green tea yokan, which is made using green tea from Kawane to lend the yokan a delicate bitterness. Another special feature of this green tea yokan lies in its award-winning original packaging designed by the owner and his father in 1980 – tiny cylinders that resemble miniature loose tea cylinders. Traditionally, yokan is cut into 55g dices, but the ones at Miura Seika are presented in 32g cylinders, which make for easier, more hygienic consumption. Other yokan flavours such as yuzu and azuki are also available here.
A tea manufacturing factory/wholeseller/retailer founded in 1957, Kanesu Seicha has amassed an impressive bevy of accolades for green tea products, including Real Matcha Chocolate – tiny squares of heavenly chocolates that are handmade using top-grade matcha from Shimada City with no artificial flavourings, sweetners and preservatives. These chocolates are also available in Hojicha and Amazake flavours. Another award-winning item is Ibuki, an incredibly rare hybrid green tea in a wine bottle that costs 17,280 Yen (SGD 230)! It took Kanesu Seicha 20 years of research to create this perfect hybrid green tea, which has an unusually rich umami flavour and looks almost gold in colour – a shade that’s befitting of its exceptional quality.
Kanesu Seicha products
Department stores and selected shops in Shizuoka
(Kanesu Seicha Office)
Comprising a set of dishes made of clay, a traditional tea set handmade by an artisan is hard to find these days – much less an artisan with direct family relations to Lord Enshu Kobori, a highly revered tea master during the early Edo period (1603-1867)! Meet Ritou Aoshima, the owner of Ritou Shitoro Pottery who hopes to revive the lost art of traditional tea ceremonies. He has been handmaking Enshu-style tea sets for over two decades, with some of his creations being exhibited in a gallery in Tokyo. The clay he uses, sourced from the region, contains certain pigments that give his creations a lovely sheen; furthermore, this type of clay becomes markedly compressed when fired in the wood oven, making it suitable for producing thin ware that’s hardy.
This 110-year-old sweets shop is now run by the fourth generation of the family, a pair of young brothers who have different sweet-making styles: one of them specialises in Japanese sweets, and the other, in Western sweets. A must-buy is Shimada Obi, which separates the red bean paste from the shell so the latter remains crispy for longer. As its name implies, this snack is shaped like a Shimada Obi – an ernomous sash commonly seen at Shimada Obi Matsuri, a highly celebrated festival that takes place onces every three years in the city.
Whether it’s a miniature version of the harmonica played by the friendly train conductor, or a digital alarm clock in the shape of a steam locomotive, these rare finds are available exclusively on board the train, so remember not to alight without buying one! You can also get other Oigawa Railway souvenirs at Plaza Loco.
Shimizuya is one of the oldest sweets shop in Shimada City, having been around for more than 300 years. It sells over 20 different kinds of items that change according to seasons, with bestsellers such as Komanju (miniature steamed red buns) and Antou. The latter is essentially red bean yokan with a unique centre known as gyohi – made using starch, gyuhi boasts a slightly chewy texture that’s lighter than mochi.
The only soy sauce brewery in Kawane, this brewery produces quality soy sauce and miso paste under natural temperature and speed, and in the same sugi (Japanese cedar) barrels – only 12 of them – since it was founded in 1910!
From Shizuoka Cola that’s made with green tea to a banana-flavoured lemonade whose bottle packaging can be peeled off like a banana skin, Kimura Drink’s eye-popping variety of bottled drinks can be found in its entirety at the flagship store in Shimada City. Definitely a must-buy for your family and friends!