8月 10, 2019
10 Most Popular Food and Specialty Products for Souvenirs You Must Buy in Gunma, Japan!
Gunma prefecture is situated in the right middle of the Japan Islands, and owns lots of tourist attractions and historical sites including Tomioka Silk Mill designated as a World Heritage Site in 2014. Also, it has several famous onsen areas such as Kusatsu Onsen, Ikaho Onsen, etc. To top it all off, a variety of souvenir products mainly made by taking advantage of Gunma’s specialty food are available. There are so many popular items, and below you will find a list of Gunma’s best selected souvenir products.
Motsukko, Nagai Shokudō
Nagai Shokudō is a famous diner for its specialty simmered innards. Located close to the World Heritage Site, Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma, and so popular that there is always a line. They serve the super soft and tasty simmered innards at the diner, and customers can buy the cuisine in bags, too. Its product name is “Motsukko”. It is very popular as a souvenir and available at a shop attached to the diner.
“Motsukko” is probably Japan’s best simmered innards product that can be eaten easily. The ingredients are pork intestines and konjac chunks. Tastes a bit hot and goes really well with plain cooked rice. The porky smell is completely removed, which makes it perfect to enjoy the innards. The texture is really tender but still nicely chewy, and that would be the proof of its high quality. It also makes a great match with alcoholic drinks such as beer, sake, etc.
Name: Nagai Shokudō (Attached Shop)
Address: 4477-1, Kami-shiroi, Shibukawa City, Gunma
Time: Weekdays and Saturdays 9:00am-6:00pmSundays and National Holidays 10:00am-6:00pm
Access: 15-minute drive from Akagi IC
Map: map to Nagai Shokudō (Attached Shop)
Coffee Jelly, Yamato-ya
Yamato-ya is a coffee shop that offers a variety of items including coffee beans, tea leaves, Japanese pottery products, etc. Their specialty is a fantastic “Coffee Jelly” and highly recommended as a souvenir from Gunma. The coffee specialty shop’s coffee jelly tastes really authentic and the flavor is gorgeous.
The jelly made with charcoal roasted coffee tastes deep and nice. The bitterness of the coffee is moderate, and the richness and the scent that spreads when having the jelly in your mouth are excellent! It also has a nice and relatively firm texture of agar agar. It might get you addicted.
Shop Name: Yamato-ya Takasaki Honten
Address: 66-22, Tsukunawa-machi, Takasaki City, Gunma
Close: Open 365 days a year
Access: 10-minute drive from Takasaki Station
Map: map to Yamato-ya Takasaki Honten
Tamura-ya is a well known pickles shop that offers quality pickles. Established in 1890 and their specialty is “Miso-zuke [miso marinated pickles]”. Its wide variety includes: traditional miso-zuke pickles, “Cheese Miso-zuke (miso marinated cheese)”, “Miso-zuke Furikake (minced miso-zuke pickles)”.
There are various ways to enjoy their matured tasty “Miso-zuke”. Wash off the miso covering the pickles, and slice into bite-size pieces, or mince and mix with natto (fermented soy beans), relish, or tartar sauce. Also, the miso left in the package bag can be used for many recipes. You can use it for soup, or marinate meat with it. It’s all up to you! Also, “Cheese Miso-zuke” is popular and highly recommended. It goes really well with alcohol drinks, and of course, tastes incredibly nice with plain cooked rice, too.
Name: Tamura-ya Chiyoda-machi Honten
Address: 4-9-5, Chiyoda-machi, Maebashi City, Gunma
Access: 15-minute walk from JR Maebashi Station
Map: map to Tamura-ya Chiyoda-machi Honten
Gouter de Roi, Gateau Festa Harada
Gateau Festa Harada is a nationally well known pastry shop and is one of the most famous long standing shops in Japan. Located in Takasaki City, Gunma. Its specialty product “Gouter de Roi” is called Harada’s rusk. Many people have been loving this French bread rusk that is also famous as a staple souvenir from Gunma. Its stylish package and pretty tin box also make people smile.
The flavor choices include: traditional “Plain”, low butter “Léger”, “Milk Chocolate”, “White Chocolate”, basil and cheese flavor “Hors d’oeuvre”, etc. Being made of french baguette, all of them has nice crunchy texture. They also offer seasonal products. It would be clever to check their website sometimes.
Name: Gâteau Festa Harada, Shin Honkan, Chateau du Bonheur
Address: 1207, Shin-machi, Takasaki City, Gunma
Close: New Year’s Day
Access: 15-minute walk from JR Shinmachi Station
Map: map to Gâteau Festa Harada, Shin Honkan, Chateau du Bonheur
Ice Manju, Shirofuji
Shirofuji is Gunma’s well known bakery shop that offers handmade frozen pops. Their super famous specialty is called “Ice Manju”, which is a frozen pop filled with azuki bean jam. Though its name says “manju (Japanese steamed buns filled with azuki beans)”, azuki bean jam is filled in a frozen milk based mixture instead of buns. The texture is a bit stiff but the taste of milk with azuki bean jam is really nice.
This product has been produced since Showa 20’s (1945-55), and been very famous. The letters and design on the package look retro and an atmosphere of good old days can be felt. It would be a nice souvenir from Gunma. Refrigerated courier service is available for some countries.
Address: 1-298-9, Aioi-cho, Kiryū City, Gunma
Access: 8-minute walk from Shimo Shinda Station
Map: map to Shirofuji
Gunma is a famous production area of silk cocoons. One of the reasons is the existence of Tomioka Silk Mill, which is currently designated as a World Heritage Site. And there is a famous confectionery associated with the silk industry. Its name is “Mayu komori [staying in a cocoon]”. It is one of the excellent confectioneries made by a long standing Japanese confectionery shop, Tajima-ya, established in 1892. The major characteristic is its cute oval shaped appearance. Dissolve it in hot water when you eat. The thick soup like kuzu (arrowroot) drink tastes elegant and moderately sweet. Flavor choices are “Plain”, “Ginger”, “Matcha Green Tea” and “Cherry Blossom”.
Arrowroot is said to be good for health, boosting blood circulation and removing a swelling. Perfect for those who are suffering from bad circulation. The Japanese paper box package is beautiful and looks luxurious. It can be a formal gift, too.
Name: Tajima-ya Honten
Address: 243-1, Takumi, Tomioka City, Gunma
Close: Wednesdays, New Year’s Day
Access: 1-minute drive from Tomioka IC
Map: map to Tajima-ya Honten
Karintō Manju, Marukyu Bussan
Marukyu Bussan is Gunma’s long established souvenir maker. Among their various products, “Karintō Manju (deep fried crispy buns flavored with brown sugar and filled with azuki bean jam)” is really popular. Its appearance is manju, but the texture of buns are crispy instead of fluffy. The crispy texture is really close to other Japanese sweets, karintō (deep fried sweet snack). The filling azuki bean jam is silky smooth with no bean skins. Its brown sugar flavor makes a perfect match with the sweetness of the smooth azuki bean jam.
Unfortunately, Karintō Manju only lasts about four days, but the longer lasting “Soft Karintō Manju” is also on offer. Though the buns are not as crispy as Karintō Manju, still it tastes great. It is wrapped in a vacuum package and lasts about 60 days, which is perfect for souvenirs!
Name: Marukyu Bussan
Address: 802-2, Kanmaki, Minakami Machi, Tone Gun, Gunma
Map: map to Marukyu Bussan
Tabi Garasu, Tabi Garasu Honpo Seigetsu-dō
“Tabi Garasu [wanderling crows]” is Gunma’s staple souvenir product of a confectionery shop, Tabi Garasu Honpo Seigetsu-dō. It is a flour cracker sandwich with milk cream inside. Being born in 1958, it has been hailed over 50 years. The crackers are made with spring water and the texture is nice and crispy, making a perfect match with the excellent cream. It would go well with various drinks including tea, coffee, etc. If you cool it in a fridge, you can enjoy a different taste.
There are several flavor variations including: orthodox Milk Cream, Chocolate Cream, Lemon Cream, and Buttercream. The last three flavors were recently added and are sold in a pack called “Gold Tabi Garasu”. Each one tastes great and original.
Name: Tabi Garasu Honpo Seigetsu-dō, Kotori-machi Location
Address: 66-11, Nishiura, Shimo Kotori-machi, Takasaki City, Gunma
Access: 15-minute drive from JR Takasaki Station
Map: map to Tabi Garasu Honpo Seigetsu-dō, Kotori-machi Location
Shimonita Nattō is a fermented soy beans made in Shimonita area, traditionally being wrapped in a super thin wood sheets called Kyōgi of Japanese red pine trees. This product is made only with safe reliable ingredients. Its beautiful triangle-shaped package is also popular and it can be a great gift for nattō lovers. Open the package, and you will see the fermented soy beans filled tightly in it, which means they are filled by hands. It’s such a beautiful artisan work.
To eat Shimonita Nattō in the best condition, the way of stirring is important. The maker’s president recommends to stir 51 times in clockwise, 15 times in counter-clockwise, and 5 times in clockwise again, and repeat it 3 times. It seems not easy to count, but can be fun. The best partner of Nattō is thin sliced Japanese leek. So, it would taste better with the famous local product from the same area, Shimonita Negi (Japanese leek)!
Name: Marché Maebashi Location
Address: 1-20, Minami-cho, Maebashi City, Gunma
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Maebashi Station
Map: map to Marché Maebashi Location
Kozu Jersey Butter
At Kozu Farm in Shimonita, Gunma, various high quality dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream are made. Among their products, “Kozu Jersey Butter” is highly recommended for a souvenir. It is packed in a retro looking orange tin box. Its letters and design are brilliant with a luxurious touch.
Their products are all made from fresh milk of jersey cows that are gentle and relatively small. Their milk contains abundant proteins and nutritious fats and taste rich and deep. Since they don’t produce a lot of milk, their dairy products are very valuable.
Name: Kozu Bokujō (Milk Farm)
Address: 250, Minaminomaki, Ōaza, Shimonita-machi, Kanra Gun, Gunma
Access: 35-minute drive from Shimonita Station
Map: map to Kozu Bokujō (Milk Farm)
Get Nice Souvenirs from Gunma and Wow Your Friends and Family!
Gunma prefecture is located in an easy access area from Tokyo. It takes less than an hour by Shinkansen Bullet Train. Since Gunma’s souvenirs have a wide variation, there are various choices according to the person to whom you are giving the gift. Also, Gunma has many shops that offer souvenir products, and many of them are made by long standing makers. It is fun to get traditional staple products easily!