Japan is a rich country when it comes to specialty treats and dishes. Small towns all over the nation can offer up unique foods and drinks you’ll never find anywhere else.

Shigenobu Matsuzawa who has uncovered Japan’s hidden treasures such as Digital Kowloon City, The Life and Sex Museum, and Gunma Cycle Sports Center now has found one such snack in Mie Prefecture that you’re unlikely to find in most places: Maple Tempura.

Although the name Maple Tempura conjures up thoughts of a sugary sweet and oily combination, in reality it’s just deep fried leaves. The ingredients as listed are flour, sesame, sugar, and maple leaves. This snack is said to have been big in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, etc.) in the olden days.

According to Shigenobu, “there’s a taste similar to karinto but it’s not very sweet. It’s kind of chewy. It tastes kind of like cloth rather than maple, but the cuteness of its shape makes it very enjoyable.”

The charming shape is a definite plus considering bags of Maple Tempura are sold at Akataki Chaya for 500 yen (US$5.70) a pop. This shop is loctated in the picturesque Akame 48 Falls region of Nabari City. Akame is a valley lined with a variety of waterfalls big and small under a shady canopy of trees.

Snacking on fried maple leaves is probably enormously depressing while sitting on the couch and watching the Price is Right. However, strolling along beautiful waterfalls while munching on some Maple Tempura might turn out to be a surprisingly good combination.

Source: Another Tokyo (Japanese)

Store Info

Akataki Chaya
680 Akamechonagasaka, Nabari, Mie
(15 minutes from Akameguchi Station by bus)
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Closed for winters