An omiyage is a gift from a trip, to give to family and acquaintances when you reach your destination, whether it’s home for you or not. The kanji that make up the word omiyage are 土 (earth or ground) and 産 (product), so theoretically it’s a local product from wherever you went to.
The best omiyage you can never go wrong with is food!
These are Tokyo Banana, small sponge cakes that look like mini bananas and filled with banana custard. They are cute and also very yummy. The ones above are called Tokyo Banana Tree and have a leopard print design. They are known as Tokyo Sky Tree’s Tokyo Bananas, but you can find them in other places like big stations.
An omiyage for each region
Here are some sweets from different regions of Japan that are super famous. They make the perfect omiyage!
It is made from glutinous rice flour (上新粉 jōshinko), sugar and cinnamon. Baked, it is similar to senbei. Raw, unbaked yatsuhashi (Nama yatsuhashi) has a soft, mochi-like texture and is often eaten wrapped around red bean paste (餡 an), and may come in a variety of different flavours.
It has many flavors such as green tea, cherry blossom, chocolate etc. and also different fillings like red bean, chestnuts etc.
Chinsuko (ちんすこう Chinsukō) is a traditional sweet often sold as a souvenir (miyagegashi) in Okinawa, Japan. It is a small biscuit made of mostly lard and flour, with a mild and sweet flavor very similar to shortbread.
Shiroi Koibito (white lover, Japanese: 白い恋人) is a European-style cookie manufactured and sold by Japanese confectionery maker Ishiya Co., Ltd. in Sapporo, Hokkaido. It consists of chocolate sandwiched between langue de chat. There are two types: Shiroi Koibito White with white chocolate in the centre and Shiroi Koibito Black with milk chocolate in the centre. The package design has a white and light blue base with a picture of Rishiri Island’s Mount Rishiri arranged in the centre.
The boxes are beautiful and can be reused as a storage box after!
Hiyoko Honpo Yoshinodo’s famous sweet, the Hiyoko (pictured above), was born in Iizuka City in 1912. It is a small cake shaped like a baby chick and characterized by its cute beak and small eyes.
The smooth yolk bean paste in the center is made from pea beans (carefully selected based not only on their taste but also their size) and fresh eggs. This is then covered with dough made from “Hiyoko flour” (prepared especially for use in Hiyoko cakes), honey, and so on. With its practically unchanged taste, the Hiyoko cake has been well-known and loved by everyone since its birth.
What is Unagi Pie? A long, thin, sweet pastry-like biscuit .
What is the connection between unagi and pie? Apparently there are traces of unagi in these biscuits. Personally I can’t taste it at all. I like the flavour of unagi but as far as I am concerned it is 100% missing from this sweet, light, crisp biscuit.
The Aomori prefecture is well-known for its delicious apples!!
This apple pastry is made by taking a fresh Aomori apple, drilling out the inside, and dropping it in a vat of a sugary syrup for several months. They pull it out when it has gone sweet and soft. Then they fill the inside with a sweet pastry and breaded filling and wrap the outside with layers like a croissant. After that, the delicious contraption is baked until crispy on the outside.