All About Japan

Witness the Fastest Hands in Japan!

Sweets Video Nara

Mitsuo Nakatani has been pounding mochi sticky rice in his shop, Nakatanidou, since 1993. Located in Nara, the master mochi maker attracts huge crowds whenever he and his colleagues make a new batch of green-colored mochi, putting on an incredible display of synchronized hand-and-mallet pounding at such high speeds that the process whirls by the naked eye in a wondrous blur.

He's now the star of a brand new video that gives us an insight into the man himself and the amazing technique and passion behind his craft.

The type of mochi Nakatani specializes in is yomogimochi, mochi mixed with mugwort, which gives it a distinctive green color.

The process that transforms the glutinous rice into chewy “cakes” is called mochi-tsuki. The special technique requires two people to work together, with one turning, moistening and hand-pounding the large ball of sticky rice in a wooden bowl, while the other hits the mound full-force with a mallet.

The end product is a smooth, fresh mochi rice cake, covered in kinako toasted soybean flour, which draws customers from all around Japan and brings a smile to everyone who visits his store. Nakatani says this is the happiest moment for him, when he sees the happy faces of those who eat his handmade product.

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