Sweets from port towns ―Yokohama, Hakodate, Niigata
In the mid-19th century, Japan, which had been restricting interaction with other countries, opened the ports to open its doors to the outside world. Some of the first cities that opened its ports were among the first to incorporate Western culture into its food culture, and now they are battlefields for sweets.
Ariake Harbour Studio YOKOHAMA HAMMERHEAD branch
Located at YOKOHAMA Hammerhead, a facility combining a cruise terminal and commercial facility, this shop is directly operated by Ariake Harbour, a confectionary famous for “Yokohama Harbour,” a ship-shaped chestnut cake. “Yakitate Harbour,” which was baked in the kitchen within the shop, and “Harbour Soft,” a soft-serve ice cream containing a whole piece of Yokohama Harbour, are both available only at this shop.
Moreover, you can create your own “my Harbour,” an original ship-shaped package, by taking a photo at the photo booth and entering the date and message! You can add your photo in the center of the package in the shape of “RMS Queen Mary 2.”
Address: 2F, YOKOHAMA HAMMERHEAD, Shinko Pier Cruise Terminal, 2-14-11 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 12 min. on foot from Bashamichi Sta. or Minatomirai Sta. (Minatomirai Line)
https://harbour-world.jp/shops/dire_shop23(only in Japanese)
SAKURA, Japanese Tea Shop & CafeteriaThis Japanese tea shop is located on Motomachi Shopping Street, which developed with shops and stores mainly for foreigners during the opening of the port. Together with various kinds of sweets, such as parfaits and an-mitsu (red bean jam, agar, and pieces of fruit served in syrup) sets with matcha, you can enjoy Japanese tea for its original deep flavor and aroma.
Matcha parfait with cotton candy on top is outstanding. Each of the ingredients, such as ice cream, gyuhi, matcha bavarois, and black sugar agar, is made by hand to enhance the characteristics of the individual ingredients, creating a parfait that offers various tastes and textures to the last bite.
Address: 1F, 2-107 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 3 min. on foot from Motomachi-Chukagai Sta. (Minatomirai Line)
Hours: 10:00-19:00 (L.O. 18:00), 11:00-18:00 for winter
https://www.sakura-yokohama.com/ (only in Japanese)
Hakodate Pastry Snaffle’s Ekimae BranchThe first branch of the popular souvenir sweets shop in Hakodate. The most popular “Cheese Omelet” is a souffle-type cheesecake made with fresh ingredients from Hokkaido, including cheese, eggs, and milk. Once you put a piece of fluffy cheesecake into your mouth, the sweetness and richness of the cheese spreads through your mouth and melts down. The Ekimae Branch offers a cafe on the 2nd floor where you can enjoy the sweets you bought on the 1st floor.
Address: 18-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
Access: 3 min. on foot from Hakodate-Ekimae Sta. (Hakodate City Tram Line)
https://www.snaffles.jp/(only in Japanese)
Hakodate Sensyuan Sohonke, Horaicho Main BranchDuring the bustle after the opening of the port, Hokkaido’s representative traditional Japanese confectionery opened in 1860. The warehouse-style building with an historic atmosphere is impressive.
The signature item “dorayaki” contains a generous amount of tsubu-an (chunky sweet bean paste), which was carefully made with local Dainagon beans from Hokkaido, mainly Hakodate, over three days, between a pair of pancakes, which were also made one by one by hand.
Another popular item is “Ganso Yamaoyaji,” crispy cookies with a characteristic rich buttery flavor. The dough is made with shiratamako rice flour and wheat flour along with butter and milk, which are used instead of water.
Address: 9-9 Horai-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
Access: 1 min. on foot from Horaicho Sta. (Hakodate City Tram Line)
http://www.sensyuansohonke.co.jp/(only in Japanese and Chinese)
hickory03travelers“Ukiboshi” is small pieces of rice cracker coated with sugar, making a star shape like konpeito sugar candy. If you pour hot water or juice over these star-shaped pieces, they float, looking cute, so it was named “Ukiboshi,” or “floating stars.”
This candy used to be called “Yukari” and it was a standard souvenir of Niigata for more than 100 years. There used to be many shops making “Yukari,” but now there is only one, “Meijiya Yukari,” a traditional Japanese confectionery shop in Minatomachi, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, which started business in 1900. After the renaming and renewal, the candy is wrapped in a cute package and has various new flavors, such as cafe au lait and mint, allowing the tradition to be handed down to the next generation.
Address: (distribution: hickory03travelers) 3-556 Furumachidori, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 20 min. on foot from Hakusan Sta. (JR Echigo Line), 10 min. on foot from “Furumachi” bus stop
Hours: 11:00-18:00 (11:00-17:00 on Sundays and the last day of consecutive holidays)
https://ukihoshi.com/(only in Japanese)
*The information herein is as of December 2020.
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