Here are a few ideas from Asakusa for snacking on autumn flavors.
Autumn in Japan has a lot to offer, especially if you are a foodie. Try some of the season’s ingredients that are especially popular in Japan like sweet potato, pumpkin, Japanese chestnut, or yuzu. They are used in sweets as well as in savory dishes.
Try some traditional sweets made with sweet potato. In Asakusa there are several shops that make them, including cakes, “taiyaki” waffles, and ice. Funawa for example has been making “imo yokan” desserts for over 100 years. You can buy some at their store on Senso-ji Temple’s Nakamise Street or try them at their nearby cafe on Shin-Nakamise Street. Here you can also eat soft serve ice cream with “imo yokan” flavor. If you need a break from the sweetness, go to one of the cafes on Shin-Nakamise. Some are all about coffee, and others serve green tea.
Another classic sweet you might want to try is “daigaku Imo”, literally meaning university potatoes. There is a small shop called Chibaya located behind Senso-ji Temple on Kototoi-dori Street that specializes in this snack. Daigaku imo are candied pieces of fried sweet potato.
Stay on Kototoi-dori and walk from Chibaya towards Sumida River and you will pass several other shops worth checking out if you have a sweet tooth. There is a tiny bakery that makes Japanese chiffon cake. Every day there are a few different flavors on offer. Then there is a cafe that sells matcha ice cream in several versions ranging from light to super rich matcha flavor. Another bakery makes “anpan” bread, filled with sweet bean paste. This shop always has some seasonal flavors so you might find anpan with sweet potato, pumpkin, or yuzu.
If you prefer savory flavors, check out one of the many sushi shops in the area. Ask what fish the sushi chef recommends. Pacific saury (sanma), sardine (iwashi), and mackerel (saba) for example are especially tasty in this season. If you are not sure what to select, take an “omakase” set. This is the chef’s selection and a great way to explore seasonal flavors.
Have fun finding your favorite Japanese autumn flavor.