7 Unique Souvenirs That You Can Only Get in Okayama
The Tale of Momotaro is one of the most famous folk tales in Japan. Okayama is one of the places in which the tale is said to take place, which is why it has a lot of old landmarks that are associated with Momotaro. One confection from Okayama called "kibi dango" (millet dumpling) plays a crucial role in the tale, and because of this, Okayama produces a lot of kibi dango-related goods. This list will introduce several souvenirs that were born out of ideas that could only come from Okayama.
Aug 30 2018 (Apr 15 2020)
1. Kibi Dengaku [Okayama]
Kibi Dengaku is a square-shaped mochi (sticky rice cake) covered with kinako (soybean flour). Each one is wrapped with a paper with drawings of Momotaro and his animal companions. The soft mochi has shredded walnut inside, which is not only delicous, but also adds a satisfying crunchy texture.
You can choose from 2 sizes - Kibi Dengaku With Kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup) (200 yen), which has 4 pieces, or Kibi Dengaku (1,200 yen), which includes 30 individually-wrapped pieces. Kibi Dengaku lasts for 30 days after the production date.
2. Shimizu Hakuto Pudding [Okayama]
Shimizu Hakuto Pudding (540 yen for 4 pieces, 1080 yen for 8 pieces) is a small pudding that uses local white peaches from Okayama. It perfectly recreates the sweetness and rich flavor of white peach! The gooey texture matches really well with the rich peach taste, and its milky-white color goes well with the image of white peach as well.
The package is a vivid red in contrast to the white pudding inside, and the box is quite easy to carry around. The pudding also lasts fairly long, as the expiration date is about 13 months after the production date.
3. Riku no Hoju [Okayama]
Riku no Hoju (270 yen) is a confection made with muscat of Alexandria grapes, which are grown in the warm climate of Okayama. It is a beautiful light green kibi-dango with a big white wine grape inside. The juicy and fresh taste of the fruit, together with a small sprinkling of sugar added on the surface, is really nice. This sweet yet slightly sour treat is almost more of a fruit than a confection!
This is a rare and delicous treat, even compared to other wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). It is offered only for a certain period of time (early May to mid-September), so it is highly recommended to pick some up as a souvenir if you get the chance! Note that the expiration date is only 4 days after the production date.
4. Ganso Kibi Dango [Okayama]
Kibi dango is the iconic local confection of Okayama. Koeido is a confectionery founded in 1856, and their Ganso Kibi Dango (411 yen for 10 pieces, 1,232 yen for 30 pieces) has been their signature item for years. It is a chewy, sweet mochi that goes well with Japanese teas like green tea.
The product is packaged with a cute illustration of Momotaro, his animal companions, and an oni (ogre-like creature in Japanese mythology). This confection lasts 20 days after the production date, so it makes for a great souvenir.
5. Mura Suzume [Kurashiki]
Mura Suzume (140 yen for a piece, 3,600 yen for 24 pieces) consists of a soft pancake wrapped like a crepe around some sweet red bean paste. They pay extra attention to the quality of the ingredients, using red beans shipped all the way from Hokkaido. Each piece is handmade with fresh eggs and flour, resulting in less chewiness in the finished product.
It is still a Japanese sweet, hence why it was made to go really well with tea. The combination of the red bean paste's well-balanced sweetness with the soft dough is quite delightful. Note that it lasts roughly 14 days after the production date.
6. Ohte Manjyu [Okayama]
Ohte Manjyu is one of the best-known local confections of Okayama. You can buy them at various places, such as Okayama Airport and various department stores. The design is visually pleasing, as each one is individually wrapped in paper.
One distinct feature of this confection is the thinness of its outer layer. It’s so thin that the whole thing looks like a dollop of sweet red bean paste, yet the sweetness is well balanced. The expiration date is 7 days after the production date.
7. Muscat Kibi Dango [Oku]
As the name suggests, Muscat Kibi Dango (162 yen for 1 pack with 4 pieces, 1,200 yen for 24 pieces) is a kibi dango that uses Muscat grapes produced locally in Okayama. The packaging is made to look extremely refreshing.
Each of the light-green colored balls is filled with white grape nectar, and when you bite into one, you can enjoy the syrupy texture. The sweetness is pretty light, with a refreshingly sour aftertaste. Each pack last roughly 20 days after the production date.
Okayama is said to be the place where the tale of Momotaro was born, and that tale has become a valuable cultural property of the prefecture. A lot of goods and foods related to the tale are produced in the region, so it is recommended to read the actual tale prior to sightseeing around the area. That way, you'll have an even better trip!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.