20 Weird, Wonderful, and Delicious Souvenirs to Pick Up from Hiroshima
When it comes to souvenirs in Hiroshima, there are almost too many options to choose from. But not to worry—whether you need to get something small for your workmates or a nice present for your friends and family, this article has you covered! Read on for the 20 most coveted items to buy while you're in Hiroshima!
Nov 18 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Top 10 Hiroshima Snacks
1. Kameta Shoten
This jelly is made from the flesh of a whole hassaku orange. Grown in Setouchi, these oranges can be as big as a grapefruit, and the kind folks at Kameta Shoten have decided to use a whole one for each jelly! They can be very refreshing in the hot summer, offering a sweet and sour treat. The locals love this dessert, as the sweetness is more controlled in jelly form, and the contrasting textures of the juicy fruit and smooth jelly just bring this snack to a whole new level.
These jellies last for around 180 days post production, which make them a great present for people of all ages. Chill them in the fridge before serving to enjoy them at their best.
Hassaku Daifuku is a wagashi (traditional Japanese dessert) made at Kashihara. An entire hassaku orange is mixed in with shiro-an (white bean paste) and then wrapped in mochi (rice cake) mixed with mandarins. This luxurious dessert only uses hassaku oranges produced on Innoshima Island in Hiroshima Prefecture, and this gives each daifuku a wonderfully mellow flavor.
This place has even been featured in magazines like Shinya Tasaki Wine Magazine and Shinya's Notes on Premium but Remote Food. Their hassaku daifuku has earnt the stamp of approval from several celebrities, so why not stop by if you happen to be in the area?
A few years after Nagasakido opened, the staff wanted to develop the castella cake into something more nutritious. This butter cake was subsequently created and became one of Nagasakido's signature foods. Within 2 years, word of this delicious souvenir cake spread far enough that long lines started forming at the shop every day.
For 40 years, they have strived for something that can't be found elsewhere, and the result is a moist cake with a creamy, buttery flavor. Not once did they change the process nor the ingredients that go into this cake, instead preferring to perfect this winning formula. Just one try is enough to get you hooked for life, so rope some of your friends in, too!
Kameya's Kawadori Mochi is said to be one of the oldest sweets that is still sold today in Hiroshima. It is a rice cake that comes covered with mounds of soybean powder, but since each one needs to be prepared individually, it can sometimes take a bit of time to get your hands on one.
The name Kawadori Mochi dates back to the Sengoku period (1467-1600) when the treat was designed to look like pebbles from a river, and it is now eaten on celebratory occasions. Its shelf life is only 7 days, so it's best to consume it as soon as possible. They also do deliveries across Japan, so you can give them a call even if you aren't in Hiroshima.
Kyorakudo offers a very pretty wagashi: a Single Muscat Grape. This petite souvenir is composed of a single, large Muscat of Alexandria wrapped in a layer of gyuhi (soft mochi).
For 40 years, they kept the recipe a secret, with every single one carefully hand-crafted by skilled artisans. They last around 9 days at room temperature after purchase, so please give it a go if you bump into the store, as the balance between the succulent Muscat grape and sweet, delicate gyuhi is exquisitely refreshing.
6. Backen Mozart
The packaging pictured above is called the Carp design, and it depicts one of the mascots of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team. They last for over 30 days after purchase and make for great presents for baseball fans!
Hattendo created this cream bread after three years of trial and error, but the resulting fluffy bun filled with a smooth cream was worth the wait. Don't let the cream fool you though, as it's so light that you can end up forgetting how many you've had already!
This plain cream bread has the perfect balance of sweet light custard and whipped cream, earning it a place as a local favorite. It only lasts for around a day and a half, so it's best to grab some on the way to meeting friends or family.
8. Melonpan Main Branch
Yes, the store itself is called Melonpan (literally "melon bread" in Japanese).
This store has been offering its namesake pastry since 1936 when it first opened. Melon bread is a football shaped bun covered with a layer of cookie dough and filled with custard cream.
It's actually quite filling! Since Melonpan first opened in Kure, they have continued to offer the same melon bread, and over the years, the locals have become so accustomed to the flavor that its popularity never wanes. Of course, they offer plenty of other types of pastries, too, so be sure to look out for this auspicious green building when visiting the area!
9. Oyatsu to Yamaneko
Oyatsu to Yamaneko offers a box of 4 separate puddings called Yamaneko Shirushi no Onomichi Pudding. Soft and creamy, their pudding somehow comes off as a little nostalgic, and anyone who tries it invariably ends up with a smile on their face.
Even the packaging has cute written all over it, and the attention to detail they've put into it can be clearly seen from the box all the way down to the little glass bottles with the pudding inside. While they last for around 7 days when kept in a fridge, they are still pudding, so the fresher the better!
Momiji manju, a staple when it comes to souvenirs from Hiroshima, actually has more than one variety. Nishikido's take on the classic snack is called nama momiji, which falls under the category of a namagashi—a type of moist wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet). These nama momiji have various rice flours in them, so not only are they moist like a rice cake, but they're also chewy like one, too. Indulge in the blend of flavors that can only be achieved with the best ingredients!
Nishikido first opened its doors back in 1951. These days, they offer 3 varieties of nama momiji: matcha, yuzu with koshian (smooth azuki paste), and yuzu with tsubuan (crushed azuki paste). Great as a gift, they last around 14 days from the production date.
Top 5 Products of Hiroshima
1. SUBARU COFFEE
If you are looking for a gift that's popular but also a little strange, look no further than SUBARU COFFEE's Kaigun-san's Coffee. Opened in 1959, this shop has specialized in coffee from the very beginning. Many of their customers stock up on coffee beans through them, as they always get their supply straight from the producers.
Why Kaigun-san (navy personnel)? Well, the story goes that while the owner was serving coffee one day, he overheard one of his regulars—a navy officer—mention, "Back in the day, the coffee aboard the Yamato was very nice..." The owner decided to spend the next 5 years researching flavors and aromas to come up with this mythical coffee. Definitely drop by and give it a go if you're in town!
2. Kurasaki Kaisan Hiroshima Airport Branch
Oysters are another popular food to come out of Hiroshima, and these bottles of Oiru Ando Oisuta don't disappoint. Raised at the company farm, these oysters are grilled and flavored with soy sauce and then preserved in corn oil. This retains their rich oyster flavor while also giving them a foie gras-like texture. Needless to say, they go incredibly well with alcohol, and while the oysters are indeed exquisite, the oil that they've been sitting in can be taken and incorporated into any number of dishes of your own design, making this a very good pick for a present.
They've even shown up a few times in Japanese dramas and TV shows!
3. Hiroshima Nori Co., Ltd. Outlet Store
The guys at Hiroshima Nori Co., Ltd. have something perfect for those who love the flavor of oysters. Hiroshima is famous for its oysters for a reason, but these guys have taken it a step further, extracting the essence of these beautiful oysters and applying it to make their seaweed snack, Kaki Shoyu Ajitsuki Nori (Seaweed Flavored with Oyster Soy Sauce).
These, along with 2 other products—the Wasabi Nori (wasabi seaweed) with its unique flavor and spice, and the Yaki Nori, the proud creation of the 5th generation store owner—make up their 3 top sellers. Each of these products are crafted with all the tradition and skills that can be brought to bear, so get your hands on some whille you can!
If you still can't get enough oysters in your system, why not grab a bottle of this oyster soy sauce by Asamurasaki? More than just your regular soy sauce, they have decided to balance the flavor with bonito flakes, kombu seaweed, mirin, and of course, oysters. It can be used in all sorts of ways, and you can even find it lining the shelves of local supermarkets.
This Oyster Soy Sauce has earnt a Grand Gold award for 5 years and running at the Monde Selection. Whether you use it as is, add it to your stir fry, or use it as a base for broiling, this product will improve the dish by much more than you might expect out of soy sauce.
The address we've given below actually leads straight to their factory, where you can even join in a guided tour and learn more about their brewing process.
This is a very unique miso, made using soybeans from Hokkaido, domestic wheat, rice, and salt from Okinawa named "shimamasu". Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is also played to the miso as it ages, revealing a level of care that you won't find in many other places.
Hiroshima may not be known for its miso, but an exception should be made for this standout item. The vibrations from the music is supposed to help speed up the fermentation process and thus deepening the flavor, and you can judge the results for yourself.
5 General Souvenir Goods
1. Fude no Sato Kobo
When it comes to the general goods in Hiroshima, the Kumano Fude, made by the masters at Fude no Sato, makes for one of the best souvenirs around. The entire culture of making these ink brushes started in the Edo period when it was recommended to the people in the Hiroshima domain, and these days, they have become the top producers in all of Japan.
Kumano Fude are sold all over Hiroshima, and they also come in a wide variety, such as for writing, painting, or even for applying makeup and cosmetics. They've even earnt the approval of people all over the world for their excellence, so check out the level of quality of these brushes for yourself at Fude no Sato Kobo.
Another traditional art form in Hiroshima is the Dochu, a type of copper craft. The name is made up of 2 characters that translate into "copper bug". It is said that the name came from back in the Edo period, where a lord spotted a coppersmith who was engrossed in his craft, and so the lord commented that he was "like a copper bug" (read: workaholic).
After shaping the metal alloy, the craftsman uses hammers and chisels to create the patterns on the surface. They then smoke and polish the surface to bring about that unique hue. Plates, vases, and various small dishes can be created using this technique and they make for exquisite souvenirs.
3. Shakushi no Ie Co., Ltd.
The highest producer of shakushi (ladles) in Japan is actually Miyajima in Hiroshima. This makes the shakushi from Shakushi no Ie a very well-known souvenir. The motif of these shamoji (rice paddles) is said to have come from the biwa (type of lute) that the Benzaiten (Saraswati) in Itsukushima was holding. Benzaiten (Saraswati) is the Japanese goddess of everything that flows, such as water and words, and the Itsukushima Benzaiten shrine is one of the Three Great Shrines of Benzaiten in Japan.
Part of the reason why the shamoji from Shakushi no Ie is such a popular souvenir is that they are said to bring good luck. This has even extended to weddings, where a ritual based off the ancient Roman ritual of confarreatio is performed. Called Chikai no Shamoji (rice paddle of vows), the bride and groom would feed each other the first portions of the wedding cake using the rice paddles. This is popularly believed to symbolize one's devotion to not letting the other ever go hungry and their commitment to always make delicious food for each other.
4. Yamane Taigendo - Gallery Yo
For smaller items, the Osuna-yaki (Osuna pottery) from Yamane Taigendo - Gallery Yo is recommended. This particular type of ceramics started in the Edo period, when travelers took a bit of sand with them from under the main shrine hall of Itsukushima Shrine as a good luck charm. These travelers from western Hiroshima would then go off to their destination and collect some sand while they were there. When they returned from their travels, they would bring the mixed sand, now twice the volume, back to the shrine. This custom is called osuna-gaeshi, or, returning the sand.
Osuna-yaki is the practice of using this sacred sand from osuna-gaeshi in pottery. They knead this sand right into the clay before turning it into special pottery to be used in religious festivals. These days, Yamane Taigendo makes and sells a wide variety of ceramic goods made this way, such as cups, pots, plates, vases, tea pots, and more.
5. Morita Orimono
Out of all the wonderful souvenirs that we have listed, this might be the rarest of them all. Bingogasuri from Morita Orimono is a double cross pattern created by tying parts of the fabric with bamboo sheaths and dyeing them. Separate sheets are then weaved together to generate a shape known as "igeta". This technique became popular in the late Edo period.
By the time that the Meiji period came around, Bingogasuri had become so popular for its simple design and appealing aesthetic that it spread across the entire country. These days, however, the number of stores that offer bingogasuri have been steadily decreasing as the traditional skills and techniques of this art form is slowly dying out. Get your hands on one at Morita Orimono while you still can for a truly precious gift!
There's so Much to Try in Hiroshima!
These were 20 of our top souvenir picks in Hiroshima, but that's not to say that there isn't more out there! Just remember to look out for a few things like expiry dates, design, popularity, size, and style while you shop for your friends and family. If you can do that, then you can freely explore Hiroshima to its fullest, eating and feeling your way through this wonderful city!
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Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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Header Image: Tataya Kudo / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.