13 Delicious Treats in Hakone Yumoto
Just a couple of hours away from Tokyo, the small mountainous town of Hakone is a popular destination for a scenic getaway. Within Hakone is a hot spring area called Hakone Yumoto, which is a great place to start exploring the neighborhood with its many souvenir shops and food stalls. Here are 13 snacks to try while you're in the Hakone Yumoto area!
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1. Coffee Ice Cream [Cafe Andante]
Coffee lovers looking for dessert in Hakone Yumoto won't be disappointed with Cafe Andante, a small store selling coffee flavored ice cream. You'll be able to enjoy an irresistable blend of milk and rich roasted coffee flavors. You can even purchase souvenirs such as Japanese hand towels and drip coffee.
2. Hakone Manju [Kikukawa Shoten]
”Manju” is a traditional Japanese steamed bun typically filled with bean paste. Kikukawa Shoten's Hakone Manju is a delightful variation made with a light sponge cake and a sweet white bean paste filling. This tiny confectionery fits in the palm of your hand, and is branded with the Japanese hiragana characters for "Hakone" and the symbol for hot springs.
3. Kuzuryu Mochi [Fukuya]
Fukuya is a Japanese confectionery shop. One of their specialty products is a type of baked manju called Kuzuryu Mochi. Chewy dough is wrapped around a sweet red bean paste filling for a truly delicious treat! The azuki beans are from Hokkaido in the north, the rice is grown in Kagoshima's rich soil to the south, and the potatoes are both sourced from Hokkaido and locally!
4. Hakone no Otsukisama [Nanohana]
If you can't get enough of the different varieties of manju available in Hakone Yumoto, it's worth stopping by Nanoha, a confectionery store which uses hot spring water to make the buns. One popular snack is Hakone no Otsukisama, a manju with a moist and chewy dough that tastes healthy and fresh from the natural ingredients they're made with.
5. Yumochi [Chimoto]
Chimoto is a cozy teahouse where you'll find plenty of matcha (powdered green tea) flavored items. One of their must-try sweets is Yumochi, a sticky mochi made with rice flour and filled with sweet red bean jelly. You can enjoy this as a set with a cup of warm green tea, which is perfect if you're looking for somewhere to sit and take a break from shopping.
6. Hakone Onsen Manju [Marushima Honten]
Marushima Honten has been serving their delicious onsen (hot spring) manju since the store opened in 1900. They take great care in preserving the original recipe as well as the building's traditional atmosphere. The onsen manju served here is particularly sweet and made with brown sugar. You can enjoy these sweets in the tea room on the second floor, or buy one of their gift sets as a souvenir.
7. Nama Tofu Shakes [Deli and Cafe Mitsuki]
There's also plenty of food on offer within Hakone-Yumoto Station itself. Deli and Cafe Mitsuki, located by the station's scenic food terrace, is where you can find these delightful Nama Tofu Shakes, which contain tofu that was made with the delicious fresh water of Hakone. While tofu might not be the first thing you think of when you want a refreshing beverage, it's definitely worth giving these slightly sweet shakes a try. There's a variety of flavors to choose from including vanilla, strawberry, and matcha.
8. Honey Cheese Tart [Grande Riviere Hakone]
Grande Riviere is a store famous for its crispy Hakone Rusk. However, the must-try item at their Hakone Yumoto branch is their Honey Cheese Tart! When you bite into the crust and the tasty cheesecake filling, you'll immediately be hit with the sweetness of authentic French honey. It is a popular choice as a quick snack. You can only purchase it at this location, so make sure to stop by!
9. Eva Soft Serve [Hakone Yumoto Eva Store]
As well as being known as a hot spring town, Hakone is also famous as the setting of the anime "Evangelion." A must-visit for fans of the anime is Hakone Yumoto's Eva Store, which sells Evangelion-inspired sweets and goods. One unique item you can try is the Eva Soft Serve, a green and purple ice cream with a delicious swirl of matcha and purple sweet potato flavors.
10. Tamanegi-bo [Kagoya Seijiro]
Tamanegi-bo (literally translates into "onion stick") is essentially deep-fried onions on a stick. These savory snacks are easy to eat and surprisingly more filling than you'd expect, giving you enough energy to walk around more. Other popular items you can try deep fried and skewered include sardines (iwashi) and spicy burdock root (pirikara gobo).
11. Himono [Yamayasu]
Himono is a traditional custom of preserving fish. By slicing and curing fish such as mackerel or sardines and leaving them to dry overnight, it concentrates the delicious flavors and creates a texture unlike fresh fish. Yamayasu is a popular store for selling a variety of marinated himono at a low price, and you can even sample it freshly grilled from a hot plate at the front of the store.
12. Shiokara Croquette [Minoya Kichibe]
At Minoya Kichibe, you can enjoy these donut-shaped croquettes, freshly made to order and filled with the unique tasting "shiokara." Shiokara is made up of a mixture of seafood fermented in salt and its own innards. It has a powerful smell and strong flavor. Although it's often considered an acquired taste, you won't want to give it a miss as it is a rare treat that you won't come across too often during your travels.
13. Soft Boiled Bakudan [Marukiya]
Marukiya is another store where you will have the opportunity to taste some of Japan's seafood cuisine. As well as the himono you can buy here, another recommended dish is their Soft Boiled Bakudan. It's a little similar to a Scotch egg in that lightly fried kamaboko (a pureed white fish cake) with flecks of seaweed is wrapped around a soft boiled egg. Bakudan appropriately translates into English as "explosion," as you will experience an explosion of flavors when you bite into it.
While you may be visiting Hakone to relax and enjoy a dip in a Japanese hot spring, it's also worth taking the opportunity to try some of the local specialities! The foods introduced in this article can all be found only a few minutes away from the station, and you're sure to find some really tasty sweet and savory treats.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.