Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Learn to Make Traditional Sweets at Tajimaya Roho in Taketa, Oita!
We took part in a traditional sweets making workshop at the oldest Japanese confectionery shop in Oita: Tajimaya Roho. Here you can enjoy the fresh-made sweets on the spot, as well as appreciate the wonderful skills of the craftsmen!
Written by Norihisa Hasegawa
Experience Making Japanese Sweets!
When traveling in Japan, you will have the chance to enjoy various hands-on experiences. Food-related events, such as cooking workshops, are especially popular. The best part about the experience is of course, eating the fresh-made product on the spot.
Today, we'll be introducing a mikasano making workshop, where visitors can take on the challenge of creating a type of traditional Japanese confectionery. The experience takes place at Tajimaya Roho, a long-established Japanese confectionery shop located in Taketa, Oita, which boasts a history of over 200 years.
Making Mikasano at Tajimaya Roho
Tajimaya Roho is the oldest Japanese confectionery specialty store in Oita prefecture. All of the sweets found here have been created in the same traditional way since the shop's establishment in 1804. For this hands-on experience, we will be creating the popular mikasano with the help of a craftsman.
What is a Mikasano?
A mikasano is a sweet that wraps around anko in the same way as the well-known dorayaki does. Dorayaki uses a thick, pancake-like bun, but the mikasano has a rather thin one, allowing the eater to enjoy a stronger taste of the anko.
To take part in this experience, you must make a reservation at least 10 days before the day you want to participate. Bookings can be made by contacting the Taketa City Tourism Department. You will be able to make five mikasano for 1200 yen per person. After the hands-on experience, you can enjoy the fresh-made mikasano with some matcha tea. The experience can be booked starting from groups of four, and takes roughly an hour to complete.
Let's Try It!
In the actual experience you will be working in pairs to wrap up anko in the thinly spread dough. Applying a certain amount of anko swiftly onto the dough is actually quite difficult, so today we'll be experiencing spreading the dough and wrapping up the anko.
We put on aprons and cleaned our hands with hand sanitizer. After hearing the explanation of the procedure from the craftsman, we're ready to go.
2. Spread The Dough Carefully But Confidently
First we put the dough on a very hot iron plate and spread it evenly into a circle. There are circular frames on the plate, so this part isn't too difficult.
The key to this procedure is to not hesitate and spread the dough at once!
3. Quickly Wrap It Up
After the craftsman lays the anko on the dough for you, it's time to quickly wrap it up and shape it nicely. This has to be done before the dough gets burnt. The craftsman will make it look easy, but wrapping the dough is actually pretty difficult, not to mention hot!
You will be able to create five of your own mikasano here, and you'll be sure to appreciate the skill of the craftsman more once you have. Having a look at our mikasano, ours were not closed tightly enough (because the dough was so hot), and the anko inside can be seen. This is the difference the skill of a craftsman makes.
4. Enjoy Fresh-Made Mikasano
The best part of this experience is that you can enjoy fresh-made mikasano! You can only taste the delicious combination of the crisp bun and moist anko here. You'll be able to have matcha green tea along with it later, so be careful not to eat all of them at once.
Enjoy Your Sweets with Matcha at Sabo Dandan
After the hands-on experience, we moved to the Tajimaya main store, which is located about five minutes away on foot. We enjoyed mikasano with matcha in the tearoom, Sabo Dandan.
While we were walking the mikasano buns became nice and soft, so you'll be able to enjoy a different taste from right after they were made too. The not-too-sweet anko and matcha go well together, and really left us craving more. They will prepare a box for you if you want to take some home, but we ended up eating them all on the spot, because they were that good.
The staff who taught us how to make mikasano.
Senior managing director Nishimiya-sanand department manager Watanabe-san in front of the Tajimaya main store.
Mikasano continues to offer the same delicious taste since its establishment. I felt the secret to the taste was the craftsmen continuing the tradition and the clean and abundant water supply of Taketa. If you are visiting Taketa, we recommend stopping by to create some sweets and enjoy the traditional tastes of the city!
|Address||Oita, Taketa, Taketamachi 40|
|Business Time||Main Store 8:00-18:30|
|Fixed holidays||New Year's Day, a few days throughout the year|
|Accepted Credit Cards||-|
|Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages||No|
|Nearest station||Bungotaketa Station|
|Access||10-minute walk from Bungotaketa Station|
|Price||6 Mikasano 1,080 yen, Mikasano Making Experience 5 for 1,200 yen|