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Ningyo-yaki, the iconic specialty confectionery from Asakusa



2022.05.12 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Japan has many traditional confectioneries called wagashi, with senbei and daifuku being among the most well-known. We will introduce ningyo-yaki, one of the specialties of Asakusa in Taito City.

To begin with, ningyo-yaki is a wagashi made by putting sweet red bean paste inside castella which can be described as a sweet sponge cake. Ningyo-yaki come in a variety of different shapes, often based on famous tourist attractions or popular characters.

The name ningyo-yaki is said to be a reference to its place of origin, in what is now Nihonbashi Ningyocho, located just south of Taito City. As the center of the entertainment industry shifted from Ningyocho to Asakusa, the area became increasingly packed with entertainment halls and theaters. As a result, confectioners also began moving to Asakusa and making ningyo-yaki. There, they used designs based on motifs of famous Asakusa landmarks such as the Kaminarimon Gate and the Five-Storied Pagoda for their sweets, which eventually developed into one of the area's unique specialties.

At Kimura-ya Honten, which has been doing business in Asakusa for over 150 years, you can enjoy freshly baked ningyo-yaki in shapes unique to Asakusa, and depending on the time of year, you can also enjoy special ningyo-yaki such as green tea-flavored. Why not consider coming to Asakusa to experience Japanese traditional wagashi, ningyo-yaki shaped in a variety of motifs?

Click the following links if you wish to know more about Kimura-ya Honten.

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