[Tokyo] Collection of Renowned Sweets of the Historic Downtown Area

[Tokyo] Collection of Renowned Sweets of the Historic Downtown Area

[東京]下町の銘菓コレクション

A walker's guide to Monzen-nakacho, an historic downtown area of Tokyo

As the name indicates, Monzen-nakacho flourished as a town at the front gates of Tomioka Hachiman Shrine and Fukagawa Fudo-do Temple. When you walk through the town, you will see lots of old established shops selling sweets, Fukagawa rice dishes, eel dishes, and so on that cater to worshippers coming to these shrines and temples and still look like they did back in the days when Tokyo was called Edo.
In contrast to the old historic downtown atmosphere, you will also see many people of the younger generation coming here in recent years. In old buildings that once housed makers of amazaké (a sweet fermented rice drink) you will find cafés specializing in good coffee, and on the benches along these streets of shops you will see members of the older generation who came to pray at the shrines and temples and are now taking a break. And next to them are parents and their kids who live in this town and are enjoying a day out.
Let's take a walk through this town where the young and elderly mingle in the midst of the old and new.

[Tokyo] Collection of Renowned Sweets of the Historic Downtown Area

On your way home, you might want to take along some famous Monzen-nakacho sweets as a souvenir.

1 Irie
Homemade Anmitsu (sweet bean paste) Specialties

Irie started in the early Showa period (1920s) as a manufacturer of Kanten (Japanese gelatin) and later grew to specialize in sweets. Not only gelatin but also beans, nectars and other ingredients are all entirely homemade. Extra care is taken to produce sweets that continue to please the many customers who come as the 2nd generation of parents who came before them.

Anmitsu (1) ¥500 (incl. tax)

Irie

2-6-6 Monzen-nakacho, Koto-ku
Tel: 03-3643-1760
Open: Weekdays 11:00-19:30 (last orders 19:00)
Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays 11:00-18:30 (last orders 18:00)
Closed: Wednesdays (except when a public holiday or the 1st, 15th, or 28th of the month)

2 Fukagawa Hana
Kintsuba confection made of vivacious An (sweet bean paste)

"We want to provide Anko (sweet bean paste) with its original authentic flavor," says the owner-chef of Hana, so the Kintsuba confection they make has An with a flavor that is very much alive. The red beans they use are produced in Hokkaido and are of high quality. The way the beans are boiled and prepared has undergone considerable trial and error to reach this level of perfection that is close to the original flavor of raw Anko beans.

Kintsuba (5) ¥600 (incl. tax)

Fukagawa Hana

1-14-8 Tomioka, Koto-ku
Tel: 03-3643-7948
Open: 9:30-19:00
Open every day

3 Baikatei
Monaka with soft, pleasing colors

Baikatei's thick, plump "Umé (plum) Monaka" is in the lovely shape of a plum flower. The colorful outer shell of the monaka is soft and plump, and inside each one there's a generous helping of either white An bean paste (shiro-an), smooth red An (koshi-an), or crushed red An (tsubu-an), so you can choose from these three kinds or try all of them!

Plum monaka (6) ¥1000

Baikatei

1-13-10 Tomioka, Koto-ku
Tel: 03-3641-3528
Open: 9:00-16:00
Open every day

4 Fukagawa Iseya
Yakidango made according to a century-old recipe

Fukagawa Iseya's Yakidango (grilled dumplings) give you the same flavor that they have had since the shop was established in 1907. The slightly rich salty-sweet flavor of the sauce has been inherited through the generations, and the large, plump dumpling balls give them their special character. The flavor that reminds people of the old days makes them very popular.

Yakidango (1) ¥125 (incl. tax)

Fukagawa Iseya

1-8-12 Tomioka, Koto-ku
Tel: 03-3641-0695
Open: 8:00-20:30
Closed: Irregular

Source: metropolitana