Winter is the perfect season for sightseeing in Tohoku! From snow festivals to hot springs, skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of winter activities to enjoy. Do not forget to check out the shopping districts after you have enjoyed a day of sightseeing in Akita prefecture or Iwate prefecture! The Tohoku region is famous for its unique traditional sweets and other photo-worthy souvenirs!
Tohoku is famous for its three largest festivals: the Sendai Tanabata festival, the Aomori Nebuta festival, and the Akita Kantou festival. The region is filled with old traditions, including “Namahage” (a demon-like being in the local folklores), an event in which the Namahage goes from door to door on New Year’s Eve in Akita’s Oga City. Let’s have a look at some sweets associated with the festivities!
Akita has a variety of long-standing confectionery shops. One of the favorite specializes in the Namahage Manju, a type of Japanese sweets in shape of the face of Namahage demon! Domestically produced red bean paste is wrapped in a soft, light-tasting castle cake. The varying flavors of white bean paste and chocolate banana are also delightful!The Akita morokoshi, a traditional cookies made from pressed red bean flour, is also a famous local treat and has plenty of varieties to choose from, such as the shio morokoshi which uses salt directly from the Oga peninsula. Some may find the Namahage festival frightful, but these cute and tasty sweets possibly can lighten up the mood!
Aomori is famous for its apples and is responsible for approximately 60% of Japan’s total apple production (according to data from 2017). Thanks to this ,the prefecture has a vast selection of apple-themed souvenirs and treats to choose from. Let’s have a look at the “Kingyo Nebuta”: a Japanese sweet made from azuki (red bean) jelly and fashioned after the goldfish-shaped lanterns that adorn the streets during Aomori’s famous Nebuta Matsuri.Open the adorable round-eyed goldfish lantern packaging to reveal the sweet inside! The azuki jelly is combined into a paste with Aomori’s Jonathan apples. We recommend chilling it in the summer for a refreshing snack!
Let us now take a look at some cute, photo-worthy gifts your social media savvy friends will love!
Koiwai Farm is perhaps one of the biggest sightseeing attractions that Iwate has to offer. The more than 3000 hectare-wide farm offers a variety of activities, including a hands-on butter-making experience.One of the most popular souvenirs from the farm is “Ushi-san no Okurimono”, a chocolate cookie filled with sugar-crème, four varieties of nuts and dried fruit. Other tasty, farm-fresh dairy offerings include the cowhide patterned butter cookie “Ushi-san no Kimochi”, the “Junryo Hakko Butter Cake” made with fermented butter, and Koiwai Farm’s Milk Caramels!
Kimuraya is a confectionary store located in Yamagata’s Tsuruoka City with a history of more than 130 years. The shop’s famous product, Hanagori (literally “ice flower”), is a jelly treat made of pink, blue, and yellow pastel-coloured jellies, making for a cute snapshot to add to your social media timeline! Although the sweet initially looks like rock candy, it is actually only crunchy on the outside while the inside has a unique bouncy texture!
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