March 29, 2019
The 10 Best Must-Buy Souvenirs in Kumamoto, Japan
When we are discussing Kumamoto, the [Kumamon] has been gaining popularity nation-wide. But it’s not just that. There are many delicious foods in Kumamoto, such as the regular Japanese sweets, the sweets well known in the town and the Kumamoto soul-foods. I’m introducing the carefully selected souvenirs in ranking. When you visit Kumamoto, please buy some, not forgetting some for yourself as well!
1. The regular souvenir from Kumamoto is this one. [Mushagaeshi]
The [Mushagaeshi] has been produced and sold by the [Okashi-no-koubai] which keeps creating innumerable popular sweets. [Mushagaeshi] is both a Japanese and a western-styled sweet. Its motif is the stone-wall of the Kumamoto Castle. The bean-jam is wrapped with the crispy pie sheet in a square shape and baked to a beautiful brown. It really looks like a stone from the stone-wall of the Kumamoto Castle.
The sweet made with the bean-jam, the pealed skin red beans and the layered pie sheets by hand with the rich butter flavour is exquisite. This sweet has been loved by the locals, regardless of the generation and it has been sold at the special products shop or the kiosk at the airport in the Kumamoto city. Please buy one without any doubt.
Price: ¥1,113 per pack for 8
2. The Kumamoto soul-food, harusame (bean-starch vermicelli) soup! It is excellent as a souvenir! [Taipiien]
The [Taipiien] which is widely enjoyed at the Chinese restaurant in Kumamoto is a noodle dish which has been originated in the Fujian Province in China. On the bean-starch vermicelli soup, various ingredients such as a quail egg, cabbage, carrot and pork-meat are topped. In the local area, it is a soul-food which appears on the school catering lunch as well as home-cooking. You can buy this Taipiien as a souvenir, but the recommended one is the mug-cup-sized instant one.
The flavour has 5 different variations, such as the chicken, yuzu (small citrus), tomato, takana (leaf mustard)-tonkotsu (pork bone) and paitan-tonkotsu (pork bone white soup) tastes. The cute package with a Kumamon character creates the image from only Kumamoto. It is easy to carry, so you may want some for yourself as well. Please buy some as souvenirs.
Maker: Ikeda Shokuhin
Price: ¥1,892 for 5 portions
3. Take a fine cheese made from the high-quality raw milk as a souvenir! [Cacio a cavallo]
The [Aso-milk Bokujo (pasture)] is on the field in the Nishiharamura in the Aso city from where you can command a view of the Kumamoto plain. There is a milk factory on the site and the fresh milk brewed with the fresh raw milk is sold. The 9 different types of cheese, using the milk which is particular about being home-made has been produced and sold. You can enjoy the rich flavour and full-bodied taste.
The most recommended one is Cacio a cavallo (cheese on a horse in Italian language). Cacio a cavallo is a thready cheese when it is warmed up and is made in hot water, using the freshly squeezed raw milk in the factory. The quickly matured cheese has a sour taste and a firm texture. When it is moremature, the texture will change into the chewy one. The round shape looks cute and the genuine taste will please the recipient as a souvenir.
Name: Cacio a cavallo
Maker: Aso Milk Bokujo
Price: ¥1,800 for 250g
4. The Kumamoto sweet with the 4,000-year-history makes a good souvenir [Chosen-ame]
The [Chosen-ame] is the famous Kumamoto sweet with the chewy texture and gentle sweetness made from the glutinous rice, glucose syrup and sugar. In the 16th century, when it was produced at the [Shinise Sonoda-ya], it used to be called [Chosei-ame (longevity)], but then Kiyomasa Kato took some of them with him when the Japanese troops were dispatched to Korea and after he praised them, they came to be called, [Chosen-ame (Korean sweet)].
Even now the [Shinise Sonoda-ya] has been keeping the method of kneading depending on the season as the family inheritance. It is a superb sweet with the original chewy texture and the plain less-sweetness, superimposes the history. Another recommended sweet is the Kaki-gyuhi, using the dried persimmon.
Maker: Shinise Sonoda-ya
Price: ¥648 fro 200g
5. The new texture with Chocolate and rice-cake! The [Nakadake Chocolat] as an Aso survenir.
The [Kashin Nakamura] which has the Japanese-styled appearance near the Aso station has been producing and selling the western as well as the Japanese styled sweets. The sweets related to Aso have been displayed at the shop and have been loved by the locals. Especially, the [Nakadake Chocalat] has been gaining popularity nation-wide.
The [Nakadake Chocolat] is a new type sweet which has the rice-cake underneath the fondant au chocolat, using plenty of chocolate! When it is warmed up for 10 seconds in a microwave, the rice-cake swells and lifts the chocolate dough. The rice-cake overflows out from the top. The overflowed rice-cake looks like the lava from an erupting volcano. It is a cute sweet with an active volcano motif.
The fluffy rice-cake texture and the rich chocolate create a new texture! The cream puff is also popular, so when you visit this shop, please taste both of them. It must be the souvenir which will please all who receive it.
Name: Nakadake Chocolat
Maker: Kashin Nakamura
Price: ¥1,371 for 6 pieces
6. The deliciousness of the Dekopon (sumo Mandarin) produced in the Kumamoto prefecture has been condensed [Ashikita-no-Dekopon Jelly]
The [Kumamoto Kabou] has many branch shops dotted around the Kumamoto-city. Their flagship sweet is the [Ashikita-no Dekopon Jelly]. The Dekopn produced in Ashikita in the Kumamoto prefecture is a large fruit with a cute shape and the plain sweetness is popular. The [Ashikita-no Dekopon Jelly] was born from the cooperation of the [Kumamoto Kabou] and the [JA Ashikita].
Plentiful Dekopon is used in the thick jello (jelly). The plentiful fresh pulp and juice of the Dekopon are used and the texture of the Nata de coco (coconut gel) is an accent. It has a refreshing taste and is easy to eat. As it is simply cooked, you can enjoy the original sweetness of Dekopon. Please take the melting flavour in your mouth as a souvenir!
Name: Ashikita-no-Dekopon Jelly
Maker: Kumamoto Kabou
Price: ¥1,404 for 3
7. If you like a sweet-potato, please try this one! It is the welcome souvenir! [Kinkira Imo-mushi Yokan]
The [Higo Mokkosu Honpo Antagatadokosa] has been producing and selling various sweets. The well-known brand includes the [Higo-daiko] where freshly toasted peanuts and the arare (sweetened rice-flour cakes) are coated with the glucose syrup and the [Goma-daiko] which you will become addictive with has the rich sesame taste. And the [Kinkira Imo-mushi Yokan] is also a very popular sweet.
On the top of the less sweet Yokan (a bar of sweet jellied azuki-bean paste) with the kneaded sweet-potato, there is a thinly cut sweetened boiled sweet-potato. You can enjoy the rich, natural taste and if you are a sweet-potato lover, it is a superb item. As the sweetness of the Yokan is suppressed, you may be capable to eat 2 pieces easily. It has an addictive deliciousness, please buy a larger quantity as souvenirs.
Name: Kinkira Imo-mushi Yokan
Maker: Higo Mokkosu Honpo Antagatadokosa
Price: ¥194 for one
8. The original Furikake (seasoned powder for sprinkling over rice) contains a lot of calcium! Please choose this one as a souvenir! [Gohan-no-tomo]
The [Gohan-no-tomo] which was produced in Kumamoto in the Taisho-era has been the original Furikake authenticated by the All Japan Furikake Association. It is the familiar Furikake to the locals which has been produced and sold by the Futaba Co., Ltd. It was created from the thought that the powdered fish bones are good to sprinkle over rice in order to supplement the calcium in early Taisho-era when usual foods weren’t sufficient.
The powdered dried small fish has been seasoned and mixed with the dried seaweed and the sesame as a finish. As iriko (dried young sardine) is also used, it has plentiful calcium. Sprinkling it over rice is tasty, but you can also use it on bread or pasta. They have the sachet-type and the subdivided packaging-type, but the recommended one is the reissued octagonal jar of its first release.
They are selling the [Aonori-goma] with more dried seaweed and the [Higo-no-Akaoni] in which the chilli pepper is contained. Please choose your favourite. This would be a very popular souvenir.
Maker: Kabushikigaisha Futaba
Price: ¥119 for 28g
9. The seasoning which suits any type of cooking! As a souvenir [Kakurezato-no-Yuzukosho]
The [Kakurezato-no-Yuzukosho] received the French Award in the [VJC Attractive Japanese Souvenir Contest 2008]. The main ingredient, yuzu (small citrus) is 100% produced in Izumi and every procedure is done by hand. Every year, from mid-September, the purchase of the Yuzu starts and their skins are carefully pealed one by one by hand after washing them. The chilli pepper is also 100% produced in the local area and has no additive except some salt.
In the local area, it is the regular seasoning and is used for the hot-pot, miso-soup and udon-noodles dish. It goes with the cold or plain taste cooking very well. Also, the other seasonings such as sansho (Japanese pepper) and togarashi (chilli pepper) have been produced. The local taste is just right as a souvenir. Please try it just once.
Maker: Kabushikigaisha Izumi
Price: ¥648 for 80g
10. The dressing which looks attractive produced in the Kumamoto prefecture. [Hatake-no-kifujin]
The healthy dressing, [Hatake-no-kifujin] has been developed testing their brains by the women from the Kashimamachi which has been producing soy-beans. This dressing which was made focusing on the local products such as the 100% Kashima produced soy-bean paste, grape-seed oil, the salt from Amakusa and the light brown sugar and brewed vinegar has the mellow and rich taste in the mouth. It tastes like mayonnaise but no eggs are used.
It is a body-friendly dressing for women, because it contains low calories, low cholesterol and vitamin E which is twice as much as olive-oil. They also have the creamy-type dressing and the potage-soup made from the Kashima soy-beans. They have been producing and selling the high quality products which only the local area can produce. It will be suitable to give to women as a souvenir.
Maker: Kabushikigaisha Daizu Kobo Kashima
Let’s find the souvenirs which only the Kumamoto prefecture can offer!
What was your impression about this article? I’ve introduced the 10 recommended local souvenirs which I’d like you to buy when you visit the Kumamoto prefecture for sightseeing or on your holiday. The souvenirs which were introduced are all popular, so, you may be confused which one you should buy, I guess. In such a case, please think about the recipient’s face to whom you will give it! I believe you know which one is the best now! Please choose the one which only Kumamoto can offer!