Want to get your yatsuhashi fix but live too far away from Kyoto? We’ve got the answer for you!

For fans of Japanese confectionary, there’s no place better to get your fix than the former capital city of Kyoto. Whether you’re looking for Japan’s oldest sweet or something modern yet elegant, you need look no further than Kyoto.

One of Kyoto’s most famous sweets are yatsuhashi, a triangular Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour, sugar and often cinnamon. There are three kinds of yatsuhashi, but arguably the most popular variety is the unbaked version with a red bean filling, called ‘nama yatsuhashi’.

▼  Nama yatsuhashi is a popular souvenir to bring back from Kyoto and comes in boxes like this.

Image: Flickr/oberheim

Our Kansai-based Japanese language reporter K. Masami is lucky enough to be able to enjoy a delicious yatsuhashi whenever she wants, but for those of us who live far away from Kyoto, we have to rely on travelling friends and co-workers to bring us back some sweet treats.

However, upon a recent visit to her local drugstore, Masami came across something that changes everything — yatsuhashi gummy candies.

▼ The yatsuhashi gummies are made by famous Kyoto-based confectionary company Otabe

The gummy candies cost 214 yen (US$1.89) for a packet of four, compared to the price of Otabe’s regular nama yatsuhashi, costing 594 yen (US$5.23) for a pack of ten.

At a glance, you could definitely mistake these for actual nama yatsuhashi; the red bean filling was visible from the outside, and the texture and colour looked very similar to that of real nama yatsuhashi.

As Masami picked up one of the yatsuhashi, she noticed the ‘red bean paste’ wasn’t actually inside the sweet like expected, but underneath, meaning she’d have to add the filling and fold the outside herself. Masami is already well versed in the art of making traditional Japanese sweets, so assembling this yatsuhashi was but a walk in the park. Still, she’d always wanted to be able to add “can make yatsuhashi sweets” to her resume, and this was a novel way of doing it.

▼ Turns out it’s not actually that hard to do.

As Masami folded the outer layer of the yatsuhashi, she was immediately reminded that she was dealing with gummy candy and not real yatsuhashi, as the outer layer sprang back to its original square shape. The sugary coating kept making Masami’s fingers fairly sticky, but despite all of that she was having fun making her own traditional Kyoto sweets, albeit in a gummy form.

But presentation wasn’t Masami’s biggest concern; it was time for the taste test. How did it compare to real nama yatsuhashi?

Well, it certainly tasted similar, but there was a huge difference in the texture, and the chewy candy wasn’t as soft as real yatsuhashi. The flavour of cinnamon and red bean paste really shone through though, and if her tongue were to suddenly stop working, they would probably be indistinguishable from real nama yatsuhashi.

An added bonus to the gummy candy yatsuhashi is its long shelf life; the candies Masami bought weren’t set to expire for another six months, giving her plenty of time to get her Kyoto candy fill.

▼ Or you can just eat them all in one go, Masami. We promise we won’t judge.

Otabe’s Nama Yatsuhashi Gummies can be found throughout Japan in drugstores and supermarkets, so if you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy some traditional Japanese sweets, or are just craving yatsuhashi but live too far away, Masami recommends giving this gummy version a try.

Whether you share them with your co-workers, hold a yatsuhashi party and make them with friends, or just keep them all to yourself, you’re sure to have a good time with these. Of course for some, nothing quite beats the real thing, especially when they look as cute as these maiko yatsuhashi from Kyoto.

Photos ©SoraNews24 unless otherwise mentioned
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