June is over already! I can’t believe it. Today’s matcha set is a bit of children’s classic: Konpeitō・金平糖, which is a cute little sugar candy. Sometimes Japanese sweets are about the delicacy and nuances, and sometimes you just need a sugar hit.
Rounding out the month of June, or in the ancient Japanese calendar Minazuki, where this sweet gets its namesake from, I got this one from Takashima・高島屋菓子舗. I really encourage you to look at the pictures in the link, its in a very old school covered wet market alley that mainly sells produce, fish, tea and coffee and of course sweets. I love these types of places, they are always fun to explore and the quality and prices are usually much better than major supermarkets.
It’s a beautiful day out so I went outside so I get could get a view of my growing beans. To try something different, I had bought the matcha flavoured minazuki instead of the typical azuki because I am no stranger to that one! As usual its all wrapped up in a bamboo leaf. It was really a lovely change, even if having iced matcha with a matcha flavoured sweet is a little funny. It had little azuki beans throughout the jellied matcha and a really smooth taste.
I got this classic version of a Hakata minazuki from Takoshōgetsu・鮹松月, the name literally translates to ‘Octopus Tree Moon’. It’s located in the city centre on the same old street I got the matcha minazuki from, the little wet market street with little shops. Before I lived here when I came to Fukuoka to visit I actually bought my New Years (Kagami) mochi from them. They do all of the classics very well and I will definitely come back to try their namagashi, it looked so beautiful.
A picture perfect mint mizu yōkan・水羊羹 from Tugi. Like I’ve said before, chilled mizu yōkan is one of my favourite summer treats, very very smooth, jellied red bean paste that’s nearly the texture of a pudding. Adding a minty fresh flavour was a first for me, and a perfect patio dessert.
Another more creative take on Hakata minazuki from Fūki・富貴, the beautiful shop in Yakuin. They also offer a classic version, which has been cut up and covered with light green tea milk pudding, topped with coarse sweet red bean and then lightly wrapped in a bamboo leaf.
Pudding, and milk pudding is not always my first choice, but this really blew me away. It made me really want to go back and try their original minazuki they sell because it tasted fantastic in the cool pudding- slightly sweet red bean jelly with a nice bounce.
Another unbelievable wagashi from Tugi, this time their classic ‘Black’ flavour, which is creamy chocolate, wrapped in red bean paste with walnuts and dusted with coconut. Served chilled with some iced matcha on a summer day is pretty alright. Everything about Tugi is really breathtaking, even their packaging.
One of the most beautiful annin dōfu puddings I’ve ever had, unsurprisingly from Rabbit Moon ・兎月. It has a bright, tart mango puree on top that was really the perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness and brightness. On the walk home from getting this, I saw the most beautiful and interesting hydrangeas, with funny little spots on them.
This one stole the show for me. In my joyous, life-affirming quest to try all the Hakata minazuki in the city, this beautiful, sweet peach one from Mountain Moon・山月堂 is completely unique and perfect. It has a deep sweetness that tastes like mountain berries or more specifically, tastes even better than my memory of Baies des Champs, a frangrance line from Fruits and Passion that I really loved as a child. It seems like that line is long discontinued, but it always wonderful when a sense memory pops up like that.
Well, I loved this sweet, the beautiful leaf its wrapped in, the memories it brought back. What a treat!
There’s a first time for everything, and today was the day I woke up at 3:00am to go chase the sunrise. A few of us avid hikers drove up and made the quick hike up. Full disclosure! Most of these are my incredibly talented friend’s pictures from his amazing camera and the boring unedited ones are mine.
The sun rises very early in the summer so it was a little brighter than we planned on the way up, but incredibly beautiful.
Even at such a low elevation we were above the clouds, which in this sunrise pic look like the ocean I think.
I’ve been to this area a few times, it’s a pretty popular hike because if it’s accessibility and being beginner-friendly. It was really nice to have the place to ourselves.
It was such a nice start to the day and I would definitely go on another sunrise trek again.
As always, here is my hike on Yamap!
My wonderful, kind and supportive friend went to pick this up for me when I was busy with work. It was a 2 day only, limited edition for Wagashi (Japanese sweets) Day from Kanou Shōjan・叶 匠壽庵 and it is a special kind of daifuku. It’s called a ni-azuki-ni-mochi・煮小豆に餅, with slightly sweet boiled red beans covered with the lightest, spongiest, fluffiest mochi I’ve ever had. A really beautiful sweet that I am so grateful I got to try, I’m such a sucker for limited edition sweets.