All About Japan

10 Signature Sweets of the Tokai Region

| Sweets , Tokai Region

The Tokai Region is the central part of Japan between Tokyo and Osaka, and consists of four prefectures: Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie. The area is famous for its natural beauty, history and mouthwatering food, along with its traditional sweets. Here are our top 10 recommended sweets of the Tokai Region.

10. Hamaguri Shiruko (Mie)

Hamaguri Shiruko is a crisp wafer (monaka) shaped like a clam shell and filled with powdered sweet red bean paste. This treat from Kuwana City in Mie is placed in a bowl, has hot water poured onto it, and is then enjoyed like red bean soup, or zenzai.

9. Ryo-guchi-ya Kore-kiyo Ninin-shizuka (Aichi)

Ryo-guchi-ya Kore-kiyo Ninin-shizuka is a traditional Japanese sweet (wagashi) made with wasanbon, a type of refined sugar made from sugar cane in Japan. It’s very light and soft, literally melting in your mouth with its fine texture. This delicacy is very popular in the Nagoya area of Aichi Prefecture and dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1868).

8. Myoga-bochi (Gifu)

Myoga-bochi is a Japanese rice cake (mochi) flavored by steamed Japanese ginger (myoga) leaves that’s mild and sweet. This Gifu delicacy hails from the Mino area and contains fava bean filling instead of the sweet red bean filling commonly used. Many rice cakes eaten in Gifu are wrapped in leaves for added flavor and to prevent spoilage.

7. Awayuki (Aichi)

Awayuki is a popular Japanese sweet that looks like white snow. In fact, the name “Awayuki” means light snow fall (泡雪) in Japanese, and hence the name of this sweet. This Aichi delicacy is soft and fluffy, with its whipped egg whites and sugar meringue outside and soft jelly like inside.

6. Kokko (Shizuoka)

Kokko is a steamed cake that's a very popular souvenir from Shizuoka Prefecture. Kokko, also called “chick cake,” is a very soft cake containing milk cream. There are many variations of Kokko made using local specialties such as powdered green tea and strawberry cream instead of the original milk cream.

5. Yukari (Aichi)

Yukari is a Japanese shrimp cracker made with the wish to bring people together, as its Japanese character (縁) means “bond” or “destiny,” representing the connection between two people. This snack dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1868).

4. Uiro (Aichi)

Uiro is a traditional Japanese steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar from Aichi Prefecture. These sweet, jelly-like blocks are very chewy and similar to mochi in texture. They come in delicious flavors such as red bean (adzuki), green tea (matcha), citrus (yuzu), strawberry and chestnut. Nagoya, the capital of Aichi, is particularly famous for Uiro, which is considered the perfect sweet to accompany some hot green tea.

3. Mizumanju (Gifu)

Gifu’s most famous treat is Mizumanju, a type of Japanese-style confection (wagashi) made of sweet red bean paste wrapped in a transparent ball of arrowroot (kudzu). This delicacy is almost liquid in form and is traditionally eaten in the summertime to beat the heat.

2. Unagi Pie (Shizuoka)

Unagi Pie, known throughout Japan, is a butter cookie made with eel (unagi) and crushed garlic. This might sound like a strange combination, but it’s a very tasty treat and a regional delicacy. Unagi Pie is a symbol of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is famous for its freshwater eels. The pie dough is made with eel extract, giving the crunchy texture a refreshing sweetness.

1. Akafuku (Mie)

Mie Prefecture is home to the famous Akafuku dessert. This traditional sweet is made from sweet bean paste and pounded rice (mochi), and has been a treat for pilgrims to the sacred Ise Jingu Shrine for hundreds of years. The sweet’s shape is designed to symbolize the Isuzu River, which flows through the region.