11. Shingen Momo (Yamanashi)
Yamanashi, the prefecture known as the home of Mount Fuji, is also famous for its lush, delicious fruits. The Shingen Momo is a popular local souvenir (omiyage), and represents an interesting riff on the time-tested classic, the manju. Manju are a type of sweet cake made out of flour, rice powder and buckwheat, usually filled with sweet red bean paste. This one, however, is filled with white bean and a gooey peach jelly made from Yamanashi’s finest white peaches. If you want to share with friends, make sure you buy more than one pack, as ¥600 will get you just six, and you’ll definitely want more than one each!
10. Tsuki Sekai (Toyama)
Tsuki Sekai, or Moon World, is brought to you by a landmark confectioner over 100 years old in Toyama Prefecture, called Tsuki Sekai Honpo. It’s a type of cake made out of eggs, molasses, white sugar and wasanbon, a traditional Japanese sugar known for its buttery sweetness and golden color. It gently melts in your mouth and goes perfectly with traditional green tea or your favorite cup of coffee. At ¥400 per piece, it comes at a bit of a premium, but come tea time on a rainy afternoon, it’s more than worth it.
9. Wari Gori (Ishikawa)
Don’t be fooled by the appearance of Wari Gori, or Wari Ice. Although this omiyage from Ishikawa Prefecture bears a striking resemblance to rock candy, any similarities between the two ends at the surface. Where rock candy is crystallized sugar, Wari Gori is made out of agar, which is a gelatin-like substance used in many Asian desserts. It has a much softer texture (which means that it has to be carefully separated to maintain its ice-like shape), and a subtle flavor perfect for those who don’t need an overly sweet way to beat the summer heat.
8. Awa Yuki (Aichi)
Awa Yuki, or “light snowfall,” is from Aichi. This traditional sweet is made from tofu, egg whites, sugar and, depending on the type you purchase, agar or marshmallow. The final product is similar to a meringue. The texture is meant to mimic freshly fallen snow, and the flavor is quite mild. It was historically served to travelers journeying the Tokaido road when they stopped at inns to rest.