We found a candy store/Showa-era time capsule in Fukuoka, and took lots of photos of its old-timey delights!

How do you know you’ve gotten old? For some, it’s realizing that it’s been 29 years since the first Sonic the Hedgehog game was released. For others, it’s the various aches, pains and odors of an aging body… But probably the truest sign of getting older is wishing, winsomely, for the good old days when you were young, carefree, and only cared about where your next sugar fix was going to come from.

Our extremely young and handsome Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma happened upon a place that’s the perfect fit for any adults desperate to recapture some of that childhood magic: Kikuchi Gunmo, a candy shop that also sells various toys and plastic models.

▼ The store is tucked away in the Wakamatsu ward of Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka.

Masanuki used a navigation app to find his way towards Kikuchi Gunmo, and found himself weaving through various tidy, quaint little streets right out of a history book. Wakamatsu was once a booming port town that flourished thanks to the coal trade, and the local scenery still has a lot of that Showa-era charm.

▼ Speaking of Showa-era charm: check out the hand-painted store sign!

Stepping inside, Masanuki felt like he really had leapt back a good fifty years or more. The store was packed to bursting with goodies… Not only classic Japanese treats and sweets, but all manner of plastic toys and tiny games. There were even plastic Gundam models and paint sets on sale, for those whose hobbies skew slightly more mature. Masanuki’s eyes were quickly drawn to the rows of snacks, though.

▼ A bounty of classic sweets including Kinako senbei, Tirol nougat and Puccho chews.

▼ But wait, there’s more! Salty potato snacks, bite size cookies and gummies abound.

His eyes were drawn as if by magic to his own perennial childhood favorite, the “Amaika Taro” (“Sweet Squid Bob” is a very loose translation). Masanuki had scarfed down thousands of these crunchy processed slices of subtly-sweet, spicy seafood in his youth, and now he had the chance to buy them again.

▼ To Masanuki, Amaika Taro are “a thousand times tastier than truffles.”

But he couldn’t resist some of the other great wares on offer, like this chocolate 500 yen coin that comes with a bonus voucher. You could win anything from ten to a hundred yen!

▼ The snack itself retails for around 30 yen (US$0.27).

Though he’d come for candy, he couldn’t resist snooping around the toy shelves too. He found all kinds of colorful plastic accessories, from bats to cars to slingshots.

And hey, what’s that tucked underneath the box of baseball bats…?

▼ Face masks are a hot commodity right now, so Masanuki was shocked to see them in stock.

Masanuki noticed while browsing the shelves that there was a large wooden abacus taking up most of one counter. When he inquired about it, the store owner replied “It’s easier to calculate with one of those!” and then added, “I’ve used it for well over 55 years.”

Speaking of the store owner, here she is. Masanuki ended up purchasing a bag of Tongari Kashi (Spike Candy) at her recommendation, along with several other candies from his youth.

▼ The Tongari Kashi she’s holding are crunchy, sugary little cones.

She gathered up the eight items Masanuki wanted to purchase and bagged them with practiced hands. And then…

▼ Is that…a calculator?!

Don’t worry, the store owner wasn’t trying to impress Masanuki with lies about her abacus prowess. She calculates the cost on the abacus, and only uses the calculator to show the customer the price in a clear, easy-to-read manner. The important thing here is that Masanuki bought his fill of candy and it only cost him 272 yen (US$2.47). And what a collection of candy he’d bought!

▼ Left to right Taratara Shiten Ja Nee Yo (squid snacks), Puku Puku Tai (aerated chocolate taiyaki monaka), Yatta-Men (fried noodles), Choco Bat, Tongari Kashi, Otokudesse (chocolate coin), Amaika Taro and Kabayakisan Taro (seafood sheets)

Would you believe that Kikuchi Ganmo had one final bonus up its sleeve to wow Masanuki with? The store has an electronic lottery game that you can play for ten yen.

Though Masanuki tried, he didn’t win once against that tricksy panda. But don’t feel too sorry for him! Once he got home, he won something almost as good.

▼ The word “Hit!” was written inside the wrapper of his Choco Bat.

If you gather four “Hit!” Choco Bat wrappers, you can exchange them for a free Choco Bat! How’s that for childhood bliss? Masanuki swears he’ll be back for another round at Kikuchi Gunmo, and definitely recommends you pay them a visit if you’re in the area — or if you just really like old-timey Japanese sweets.

Shop information
Kikuchi Gunmo Store / 菊地ガンモ店
Fukuoka-ken, Kitakyushu-shi, Wakamatsu-ku, Miyamaru 1-Chome 8-1
Open: Roughly during the afternoon

Photos © SoraNews24
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