Japanese traditional confection "Rakugan". It's often seen as a sweets and offerings, isn't it? But what is Rakugan made of? As a more fashionable Japanese confectionery, it is in the spotlight again. This time we are going to get close to the charm of Rakugan.
What is Rakugan?
"Rakugan" is an irresistible sweetness that melts in your mouth. Rakugan is a confectionery made by putting sugar, starch syrup, etc. in grain flour, kneading it, and pressing it into a wooden mold to dry it.
It can be seen as an offering of the Bon Festival in the summer, but it is said that Buddha's disciples acted as monks in the Bon Festival.
When there was no sugar, fruits were offered. As Rakugan lasts longer, it will be used as a substitute for fruits and lotus flowers.
When Rakugan began to take root as a sweet in the Edo period, various shapes such as flowers of the four seasons, cranes, turtles, sea breams, and Shochiku plums were made for offerings to temples and shrines. Depending on the area, some may also contain bean paste. In various parts of the country, various geese have been created that take advantage of the local taste.
Origin of the name
・ Chinese “Nanrakukan” sweets have been called “Rakugan” for short since they came to Japan.
・ It was named after the scene of a wild geese landing on Katata, one of Omi's eight scenic spots.
There are various theories about the origin of Rakugan's name, but it is said that these two points are influential.
Shops where you can buy Rakugan in Japan
Here are some shops where you can buy Rakugan in Japan.
〇Kyoto "UCHU wagashi"
"UCHU wagashi" is a Japanese sweets brand in the ancient capital of Kyoto. The modern and sophisticated appearance of the shop and the cute Japanese sweets are popular mainly among young women. As a famous store in Kyoto, many people come from far away.
The concept is "Japanese sweets that excite and make people happy." Cute and fun products are created by taking advantage of the characteristics of Rakugan that you can see and feel, and thinking about the future of the customers you pick up. While valuing traditional manufacturing methods, we are making new and fun Rakugan tailored to the present times.
■ Store name: UCHU wagashi Kyoto Tower Sand Store
■ Address: 721-1 Higashishiokoji-cho, which descends from Article 7 of Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-Shi, Kyoto-Fu
■ Phone number: 090-8129-2169
■ Business hours: 9: 00 ~ 21: 00
■ Regular holiday: Open all year round
■ Official HP: http://uchu-wagashi.jp/
〇Ishikawa "Rakugan Moroeya"
A long-established Japanese confectionery store founded in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, established in 1849 (2nd year of Kaei). The tasteful atmosphere of the teahouse makes you feel the history and tradition that has been loved by the locals.
The traditional essence of Kaga confectionery and its manufacturing method preserve the taste of the long-established store, but its unique essence is that it doesn't stick to things (confectionery) that don't fit the modern day. The raw materials are domestic products and Kanazawa's specialty products such as datan soba tea and kaga vegetables are incorporated.
Finding a new feeling in the tradition is the heart of "Won Chi Chi Shin". It is made with the traditional manufacturing method, using porridge and Wasanbon sugar. The unique sweetness of each grain melting in the mouth and the appearance wrapped in Japanese paper resemble a cute rabbit. I feel the Japanese style in the purse-type package with the image of flowers and the Chiyo box that can be used for small items.
■ Store name: Moroeya (main store)
■ Address: 1-3-59 Nomachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
■ Phone number: 076-245-2854
■ Store holiday: New Year's Day
■ Business hours: 9:00 to 19:00
■ Official HP: http://moroeya.co.jp/
■ Internet shop: http://moroeya.net/
※Uchu Wagashi and Moroeya have mail-order shops, but unfortunately the delivery is only within Japan.
Difference between Hakusetukou / Hakusenkou and Rakugan
Hakusetukou is a type of Rakugan that is made by adding white sugar and lotus seed powder to a sticky rice flour and then adding it to a mold and drying. When I put it in my mouth, it became moist and melted like a bit of snow.
In some areas, it is crushed, melted in hot water, and used as a substitute for breast milk. In some areas, Hakusetukou and Rakugan are not distinguished, and all are called Rakugan.
What is the difference between dried sweets and Wasanbon?
The difference between dried sweets and Rakugan
Dried sweets are dried Wagashi with little water. Mainly refers to Wagashi with a water content of 20% or less, and Rakugan, Konpeito, Senbei, Yatuhashi, etc. are included in the types of dried sweets.
There are raw confectionery, semi-raw confectionery, and dried confectionery among Japanese confectionery, and Rakugan, Wasanbon, Yatuhashi, etc. are among the dried confectionery.
The difference between Wasanbon and Rakugan
Wasanbon is the name of sugar made from sugar cane that can only be eaten in Tokushima and Kagawa prefectures. It has a unique flavor like mellow brown sugar. Appearance is pale yellow, characterized by finely defined crystals and good melting in the mouth.
The name "Sanbon" comes from the ancient refined sugar process of "grinding sugar three times on the tray".
Rakugan is made by mixing powder of rice, wheat, beans, etc. with sugar and starch syrup and pressing the mold to dry.
On the other hand, the Wasanbon is made by pressing the Wasanbon of sugar into a mold and hardening it. There are sweets made by simply hardening the Wasanbon itself, and it is sometimes called "Wasanbon."
Did you get a little more knowledge about Rakugan?
Rakugan is made of sugar, and it turns out that it is a historical sweet. Until now, sweets used to have a strong image of offerings to graves and altars, but in recent years, many Japanese sweets companies have made Rakugan, which has a very cute shape and pattern, so you can enjoy it with coffee. It seems that Rakugan is also selected as a souvenir for travel.
When I buy it in Japan, there are many manufacturers that sell Japanese sweets in Kyoto, and they also sell it on the food floors of department stores, so if you buy a very cute Rakugan as a souvenir, adults and children will be pleased. There would be none. Please take it in your hand.