Sweets from Shikoku


Sweets from Shikoku

Tokushima 徳島

Naruto Kintoki satsuma imo 鳴門金時 サツマイモ
Cheese cake with sweet potatoes

uzu imoyookan うず芋羊羹 yookan from sweet potatoes
goma imoyookan ごま芋羊羹
yokan from sweet potatoes with sesame
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


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wasanbon 和三盆 refined sugar from Awa no Kuni, Tokushima, Kamiita-cho in Itano and the Asan mountains.
四国・徳島 阿波和三盆糖 Since about 1775.

It is also produced in Kagawa prefecture.
Sanuki Wasanbon 讃岐和三盆
. . . CLICK here for products with Sanuki Wasanbon !

wasanbontoo, wasambontoo, wasanbontoh 和三盆糖 Japanese Wasanbon sugar

During the Edo period, brown sugar (kurosato, "black sugar" 黒砂糖) was made from cane grown in the Southern Islands of Okinawa. The 8. Shoogun Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751) encouraged other areas to try and grow sugar cane, so the two provinces in the north of Shikoku island tried it out, first Takamatsu han, then Tokushima han. They could grow it but did not know how to make refined sugar out of it. So Maruyama Tokuya, a young man, gathered secret knowledge of sugar refinement in Hyuga (now Miyazaki, Kyushu) and succeeded with it in about 1800.
Since then refined sugar WASANBON became a speciality of Kagawa and Tokushima.

In the language of the island, a variety called "bamboo sugar, chikutoo 竹糖" ( or 竹蔗(ちくしゃ)chikusha or "thin cane" hosokibi. Saccharum sinense Roxb, Chinsese sugar cane) is grown until it is about 2 meters high. The stems are quite small like a man7s finger, but this is the sugar cane grown most northernly in the world, Saccharum officinarum. Some is planted in spring and harvested in winter, some is planted in summer and harvested in winter of the following year.

The processing of this sugar is all made by hand.
The sweet liquid is squeezed out in the "shimeba" maschines, formerly with the use of cows to provide the power. Shimeko are the people in charge of squeezing the cane.
Then the liquid is boiled to remove bitterness. first pot (aragama) and then fukashi for about 30 minutes. To remove sand and mud, the liquid is poored into a barrel (sumashi-oke). Then the pure liquid is boiled again (nakagama, agegama) and then finally to the hiyashigama to cool. The cool liquid starts to chrystalize, it is put into an earthen pot to cool more (hiyashikame). The liquid becomes slightly brown when cooling.This is the "one step before white sugar, coarse sugar" "shiroshitatoo 白下糖" and similar to brown sugar and called "kanmitsutoo 含蜜糖". Shiroshitatoo has to stand for a week before processing.

This "one step before" is layed on a tray, water is added and it is kneaded so the sugar chrystals get very fine, the sugar is polished "togi 研ぎ". Thus it retains its taste of cane sugar.
The polished sugar is put into a bag of hemp and put in a box called "squeezing ship", oshibune 押し舟, covered with heavy stones (aragake). Thus a brownish liquid is squeezed out. This process is repeated many times and finally the crystals are let to dry for one week.
Since the sugar is polished on a tray (bon) for three times (san), the name "wasanbon (Japanese three trays)" came into being. Lately, to get more whitish sugar, it is polished for 5 times or more. It has to be dried in the shade on the same day. It absorbs humidity very fast and can start to grow mold.

This sugar is close to powder sugar 粉砂糖 and very sweet. It became the base of the high quality Japanese tea sweets. Eaten just like this it is called "dried sugar sweet" higashi 干菓子(ひがし)/ 乾菓子(ひがし), as opposed to "raw sweets" namagashi 生菓子.
The best known are little sweets pressed in molds (uchimono 打ちもの), similar to the rakugan sweets. Two little pieces are wrapped in a piece of washi paper, the ends twisted like a shuttlecock (Federball), so they could easily be put in the breast pocket of a kimono and carried around.
. . . CLICK here for "uchimono" Photos !

Wasanbon can only be made in the cold dry months of winter. It is harvested in December and has to be processed by February. So many sweets factories now use a different unrefined sugar, sotoo 粗糖(そとう. Rohzucker), one step before becoming wasanbon sugar, which is slightly golden in color.
wasanbon tasts a bit like butter and honey and is quite creamy. The sugar is now also used for other sweets, like roll cake and pudding.

Wasanbon was widely used in all of Japan before the war, but after WWII, cheap sugar was imported.
Sanbon shiro is a word used for white refined sugar from other parts of the world. Wasanbon is made in Kagawa (Sanuki Sanpaku 讃岐三白(さぬきさんぱく)) and in Tokushima (Awa Wasanbontoo)

arare koboshi 霰(あられ)こぼし from rock sugar
gofuku senshoo 五福仙掌(ごふくせんしょう)
shoochikubai 松竹梅 Pine, Bamboo and Plum
source : www.kumoii.com

Wasanbon Sesame Mochi "Rakanmochi" 羅漢餅

Other types of dried sweets
落雁 rakugan
雲平 unpei
有平糖 (アルヘイとう、ありへいとう)ariheitoo
金平糖 konpeitoo
金華糖 (きんかとう)kinkatoo
生姜糖 (しょうがとう)shoogatoo / Izumo region
煎餅 (せんべい)senbei
八ツ橋 yatsuhashi sweets
おこし okoshi sweets
甘納豆 amanatto beans with caramel coating
五色豆 goshikimame, beans with five colors of sugaring: white, yellow, red, brown, green 白、黄、赤、茶、青.

also spelled as konpeito (Japanese: 金平糖, 金米糖, or 金餅糖 in Kanji, or こんぺいとう, コンペイトー in kana, konpeitō) is a Japanese candy.

The word "konpeito" comes from the Portuguese word confeito, which means a sugar candy. This technique for producing candy was introduced to Japan in the early 16th century by Portuguese traders. The infrastructure and refining technology of sugar had not yet been established in Japan in those days. As konpeito uses a lot of sugar, it was very rare and expensive as a result. In 1569, Luís Fróis, a Portuguese missionary, presented a flask of konpeito to Oda Nobunaga in order to obtain the permit for mission work of Christianity.

In Meiji period, konpeito had already been culturally-prescribed as one of the standards of Japanese sweets - the character Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker was translated into konpeito no sei (Japanese: 金平糖の精, Fairy of konpeito). Konpeito is also the standard of the thank-you-for-coming gift which is given by the Imperial House of Japan. The gift of konpeito comes in a small box called
bonbonieru (Japanese: ぼンぼニエール), from the French bonbonnière, meaning candy box.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


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rakugan sweets

Mugi rakugan 麦落雁 (むぎらくがん)
Dried sugared cakes with barley

rakugan are hard, dainty sweets made of soybean and rice flour mixed with sugar. They can be pressed in beautiful small molds to get seasonal patterns.
kigo for summer

More sweets from Fukuya Awa Sweet store:
月あかり, あい舟, 文化の森, 遊菓人, 二十五万石, 藍楽, gofuku imo 五福芋, 雲井.
source : www.kumoii.com

Read more : Okada Sugar Manufacture

From my photo album

199 sweets wasanbon making
CLICK for enlargement

140 Shikoku wasanbon stick cake
Wasanbon Stick sweets with powder of black beans


yookan ようかん
Made in the southern parts.
made from mochigome and rice flour mixed together, kneaded with hot water, put in a wooden form to give it a figure. Color is added.



Kochi / Tosa 高知

ichigo keeki イチゴ ケーキ cake with strawberries

Koochi aisu 高知アイス 南国土佐のアイス /
shaabetto シャーベット sherbet ice cream
made with local citrus fruit 土佐文旦、小夏、ゆず、ぽんかん、みかんの
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

also made from soybean milk with vanilla flavor, black sesame and freshly cooked rice.
豆乳バニラアイス / 豆乳黒ごまアイス / 炊きたてお米アイス


Ehime / Iyo 愛媛

Hakata no shio sofuto kuriimu 伯方の塩ソフトクリーム
soft icecream with salt from Hakata, also normal icecream
Big chunks of salt are sprinkled on the ice. A waffle in the form of a heart is added for easier eating.. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Hakata no Shio, Daifuku 伯方の塩 純生大福
Manju with sweet tsubu an red bean paste paste. The outside is made with salt. Sold in Matsuyama
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Matsuyama Botchan Dango

shigure しぐれ(お菓子)志ぐれ square sweets "winter rain"
愛媛県大洲市の特産, Oozu Town a kind of mochi
CLICK for original LINK
also shigure daifuku 志ぐれ大福 round shigrue sweets
from dango flower, azuki beans flower, sugar and some salt, put in a square box and steamed.
The red soy beans come from Hokkaido, cooked for 3 to 4 hours. Then mochigome,dango flower is added and all is steamed.
Prepared by the store Kiharu for more than 200 years.

taruto, タルト roll cake
..... mahoo no rooru keeki 魔法のロールケーキ
CLICK for original, Kiharu store
Roll made from wheat flour, eggs, sugar, trehalose, baking powder and fresh cream
With fresh cream and flavored with green powder tea, black sesame paste, chocolate and cheese. (抹茶、チョコレート、ゴマのペスト、チーズ)
The cheese flavor is favored by elderly people.

..... kuritaruto 栗タルト sweet roll with chestnuts
A kiji of castella cake with anko sweet bean paste rolled inside. In the anko pieces of sweet chestnuts are added.
another roll cake has yuzu flavor in the an.


Kagawa 香川

Ishimatsu manjuu 石松まんじゅう
Manju in memory of Ishimatsu
at the shrine Kompirasan, Kotohira shrine, Konpira 金毘羅
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Mori no Ishimatsu, on behalf of his oyabun boss Shimizu no Jirochoo came to Konpira. He prayed and was on his way back when he realized he had forgotten his sedge hat. When he returend, whow, it had turned into three delicious steamed buns (manjuu).
So even now they are sold in three pieces as a portion, all filled with sweet red bean paste.

Ishimatsu (right, with only one eye) and Jirochoo as Daruma Dolls
But this is a different story.
Jirochoo and Ishimatsu Daruma 次郎長だるま . 石松だるま

Oiri, yomeiri おいり 嫁入り sweets for the bride
from Marugame, Sanuki, Shikoku

oriibu chokoreeto オリーブチョコレート
Olives Chocolate, Olive chocolate !
from Shodoshima 小豆島

Shimahide Senbei 志ま秀せんべい えびせん

wasanbon sweets, see Tokushima above.

Worldwide use

Süßigkeiten aus Shikoku

In Tokushima werden viele Süßkartoffeln angebaut und teilweise in Süßigkeiten verarbeitet, z. B. Käsekuchen oder Geleestücke (yookan) mit Süßkartoffeln und Sesamgeschmack.

In Koochi gibt es verschiedene Eissorten und Sorbets mit dem Geschmack der lokalen Zitrusfrüchte und Mandarinen. Eis wird auch aus Sojabohnenmilch gemacht oder mit schwarzem Sesam und sogar mit frisch gekochtem Reis vermischt.

Das Salz von Hakata soll im Sommer die Eiscreme „versüßen“, wie es der japanische Geschmack empfindet. Große Salzkristalle werden auf die Eiscreme gesprenkelt und alles mit einer Waffel in Herzform dekoriert.
Auch die normalen mit süßem Bohnenmus gefüllten Mochi (daifuku mochi) bekommen in Hakata einen Mochi-Teig mit mehr Salz als normal, entsprechend einer Tradition von mehr als 200 Jahren.

Matsuyama ist bekannt für die Biskuitrollen mit verschiedenen Geschmacksrichtungen, z. B. grüner Pulvertee, Sesampaste, Käse oder Schokolade. Manchmal kommt sogar noch etwas frisch gepresster Saft von Yuzu-Zitrusfrüchten in die Mischung. Der frische Käsegeschmack ist bei den älteren Kunden besonders beliebt.

Die Insel Shoodoshima in der Präfektur Kagawa ist bekannt für ihre Süßigkeiten mit einem Zusatz von Oliven, Oliven-Schokolade und Oliven-Pudding.

Manjuu-Küchlein in Erinnerung an Mori no Ishimatsu.

Things found on the way

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amanatto, sugar-glazed beans

sangatsu no amanattoo no ufufufufu

sugar-glazed beans
of March
u fu fu fu fu

Tsubouchi Nenten 坪内稔典
Amanatto and Haiku

ufufu ... imagine some old ladies eating sweets and giggeling "hehehe".

This haiku is very famous, but also very difficult to understand, even for Japanese. Maybe it is one of these "unfinished" ...


hazakura ya Kyoo yori todoku wasanbon

cherry tree with leaves -
from Kyoto I receive
wasanbon sweets

source : Holly Garden

Related words

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes

***** WAGASHI ... Sweets SAIJIKI



Anonymous said...

Okada Sugar

Wasanbon toh is presently produced only in the Tokushima and Kagawa prefectures. It contains "Chikutoh", which is cultivated in the northern and southern parts of the Asan mountains bordering these prefectures.

That which is produced in the southern part of the mountains on the Tokushima side is called "Awa wasanbon toh." To be more precise, Awa wasanbon toh is produced in the town of Kamiita-cho in Itano county of Tokushima prefecture.

Although sugar cane is generally considered to grow only in tropical areas, it also grows well in Shikoku. The sugar cane used for Wasanbon toh called "Chikutoh" is different in appearance and taste from other sugar cane cultivated in the southern countries such as Taiwan or Cuba.

The production center of Awa wasanbon toh is located in a basin that extends from the Asan mountains to the south. It is a sunny, well drained location. Because of the good drainage, it was difficult to grow rice during the Edo period, when there was no irrigation system.

It is said that when an ascetic monk passed through Tokushima, he told the local people that sugar cane was produced in Kyushu in soil similar to theirs. A young man named Maruyama Tokuya, who had heard about this, went alone to Hyuga(present Miyazaki prefecture) and returned having mastered the way to produce sugar cane. This is said to be the origin of sugar cane cultivation in Tokushima.

The history of cultivating sugar cane in Japan started during the Edo period when Shugun Tokugawa Yoshimune encouraged its production all over Japan. It seems that since that period "Chikutoh", the ingredient in wasanbon toh, has remained the best suited kind of sugar cane for the soil there.

Approximately 230 years has past since cultivating sugar cane first began in Tokushima. It seems that sugar cane was being cultivated in several places in western Japan before the war. Due to its disadvantage in terms of productivity thin "Chikutoh" is seldom cultivated except in the production of wasanbon toh.

Blessed with lucky geographical condition of sunny, well drained basin on the south side of the mountain range, farmers have increased gross area for cultivating sugar cane. Harvesting is intentionally delayed until about December in order to increase the sugar content of the sugar cane. Long ago, farmers harvested the sugar cane after the regular harvest season, squeezed it, and boiled down the juice to make sugar. At that time only "Shiroshita toh(coarse sugar)" was produced, which required only simple production facilities.

Later, the technique of refining coarse sugar to make white sugar was invented. Thus began the production of Wasanbon toh. The method of refining sugar by using water is quite rare in the world. It is not known how this method was discovered.

One story is that while carrying "Shiroshita toh" in the barrel, a person dropped it into a river by mistake. When the person picked it up, the top part had turned white from being washed by water. This is, however, only a story. The technique of squeezing out the syrup using the principle of leverage is obviously one application of equipment used for extracting sake lees called "Oshifune" at sake shops in those days.

Having acquired this technique, farmers who had the facilities for refining sugar started to buy sugar cane other farmers and began to produce and sell wasanbon toh under commercial names. This is the origin of the sugar manufacturing industry.

At one point Awa wasanbon toh's production spread widely and became a special product of Tokushima prefecture that rivaled the other special product, "Ai(indigo)". After the war, however, production decreased rapidly as cheap refined sugar began to be imported from places such as Taiwan. Although wasanbon toh is no longer used as ordinary sugar, its unique flavor and taste make it indispensable in Japanese sweets. It is still produced as special domestic sugar for Japanese sweets. As quality is more and more sought after, only the best centers for sugar cane cultivation continue to produce.

The production centers of Awa wasanbon toh are at present the towns of Kamiita-cho and Donari-cho in Itano county in Tokushima prefecture. With people's increased concern for quality foods, wasanbon toh has recently gained fame. It is sold in some department stores as a luxury food. On the other hand the aging farming population and the decreasing number of farming households is likely to lead to the further reduction in sugar cane production.

Anonymous said...


丸山徳弥の碑 Maruyama Tokuya







Anonymous said...
Exotic Sugars

ugar can be so much more than just white and brown, cane or beet. There are all kinds of things you can use to sweeten your food or coffee, from a South American tuber to a substance processed from corn cobs. Many contain fewer calories and more nutrients than the traditional sweeteners you’re probably using.

1. Yacón. Typically sold in syrup form (unlike the other sweeteners here), yacón is an edible tuber that grows in the Andes. The sweet syrup is not highly refined or cooked, which makes it a good sweetener for raw foodists, and it’s lower in calories than sugar-based sweeteners. It tastes like a spicier, fruitier molasses, and can be substituted for it in recipes.

2. Turbinado Sugar. Clear, tan-hued, refined cane sugar crystals with a higher molasses content than white sugar. Turbinado is sold under the Sugar in the Raw brand in the United States, and is referred to sometimes as Demerara sugar. Azúcar morena (from Mexico) is a similar product. All three can be substituted for light brown sugar when baking, with decent results.

3. Xylitol. An alternative clear-crystal sweetener made from a sugar alcohol that’s refined from botanicals like corn cobs and birch tree bark. It has fewer calories and carbohydrates than sugar, but has a bizarrely wet mouthfeel and tastes slightly synthetic on its own. It can be substituted for white sugar in recipes, and is often used in chewing gum, as it’s been shown to reduce plaque.

4. Date Sugar. Not sugar at all, but rather ground-up dried dates. It’s used by raw foodists to sweeten dishes, because it’s made without the use of high heat, and contains fiber and other vitamins and minerals present in the fruit. It tends to clump and not dissolve, so it’s not great for baking, but it will work for things like a crumble topping or sweetening a bowl of tart berries.

5. Muscovado. Made from sugarcane, muscovado is a darker, stickier, and hardier version of brown sugar. Unlike brown sugar, where the molasses content is added back in after first removing it, muscovado is minimally refined. Sugarcane is pressed and cooked, with impurities skimmed off the top, and the resulting dark liquid is dried, then crushed into sugar. You’ll find recipes for gingery cakes, puddings, and rich syrups calling for muscovado, but its increased moisture content makes it tricky to substitute in most other baked goods.

6. Piloncillo, a.k.a. Panela. Unrefined blocks of dark caramel–colored sugarcane juice that’s been boiled and reduced. It’s often sold in cones at Mexican grocery stores near the cash register, and can be used in desserts, like flan, or boiled with cinnamon, anise, and coffee to make a delicious beverage called café de olla. (Panela is also the name of a type of Mexican cheese.) Southeast Asian jaggery, often called for in Indian and Thai recipes, is a similar product, although sometimes it is made with palm sap. In Burma, this sweetener is called htanyet.

7. Japanese Wasanbon. Similar in look and texture to powdered sugar, only more cakey and crumbly, this Japanese sugar is considered a specialty item used mostly for classy sweets, like higashi, a confection served at Japanese teas. Wasanbon is refined using traditional techniques, from a species of sugarcane plant called chikuto, which only grows in a few areas of the Asan Mountains.

8. Stevia. Derived from the South American herb Stevia rebaudiana, stevia is a powdery white sweetener not approved as a food by the FDA; you’ll find it in the nutritional supplement section. It’s considered a healthy sugar substitute because compounds that make the plant intensely sweet (steviol glycosides) don’t raise blood sugar levels, nor do they cause tooth decay. Stevia has a slightly bitter flavor, and though it’s a natural product, it can taste synthetic to some. It’s also a lot sweeter than sucrose (up to 300 times as sweet!) and lingers in your mouth after you taste it. The Coca-Cola Company is apparently working on a diet soda that contains stevia.

9. Superfine Sugar. Granulated white sugar that’s been ground into very fine crystals. In British recipes it’s called castor sugar. It’s also sometimes called baker’s sugar, because it gives baked goods a denser, finer texture. Bartenders use it to rim cocktails, like the Sidecar. Its finer crystals stick more readily to the glass, and it dissolves better in liquids.

10. DIY Flavored Sugars. A unique twist on crème brûlée topping, or a treat for your buttered toast, flavored sugars can also make a crafty gift when packaged up in a jam jar. You can create vanilla sugar by scraping the inside of vanilla bean pods into your sugar jar and letting it sit. Other botanicals can be ground up and mixed into sugar, like dried rose petals, lavender, or cinnamon and ginger. When you start to think about it, what wouldn’t be good ground into sugar? Coffee? Black pepper? Chile?

Lessley Anderson is senior editor at CHOW.
© 2009 CBS Interactive Inc.,

Unknown said...


Thanks Gabi san!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your information. I didn't know Wasanbon in detail even though I'm a Japanese.

Katherine McGonigle said...

Thank you so much for your posting on Wasanbon. I wanted to learn more after starting tea ceremony lessons and really enjoyed reading it.