Iga is the treasure house of “maker”. There may be occupations so called as kurodo (chamberlain), potter, Japanese sweets maker, chef, farmer, writer, and all of these are related to “maker”. Today I am going to introduce a type of Japanese sweets that are unique to Iga and was created when such “makers” met each other.
“Kurasaka Fugetsudo”, Iga-shi Ueno Kurumazaka-cho
Kurasaka Fugetsudo was founded in 1920 (Taisho 9) at Iga’s Jokamachi. Hiromichi Kurosaka, the third-generation owner of the shop, has been collaborating with the local makers and making Japanese sweets such as “Ichigo Daifuku” that use strawberries from TomiBerry Strawberry Farm, “Tomato Daifuku” of which the ripe tomatoes are from Farmers Kitagawa, “Ohagi” that use Iga rice of Ayama Nosan, “Zosakaman” that use Ota Brewery’s sake and sake lees, and others.
Shop owner, Hiromichi Kurasaka-san and his wife, Chizuru-san
For Kurasaka-san, a man who has been making seasonal Japanese sweets continually, this is an opportunity to re-recognize the “luxury” of being able to get seasonal products locally and to know the producers face to face. “I go to the farm, and together we think about the varieties and sizes we can use for the sweets. There is no better way to have fun, for being able to create something together in this way,” said Kurasaka-san, and gave a boyish smile.
A surprising “gem” from the collaboration with sake brewery
“Iga Zoshu Kashi ~ Otona no Sake Cream Daifuku”, a new product that use sake lees from Iga’s Wakaebisu Brewery, is what Kurasaka-san has worked on. For a year, he has been working hard on it while at the same time making the other Japanese sweets.
Through trial and error, finally, the “Otona no Sake Cream Daifuku” (literally sake cream daifuku for adults) was born during this season of new sake.
Otona no Sake Cream Daifuku (210 yen each)
Otona no Daifuku is made by wrapping paste of sake lees of “Gizaemon”, the representative brand of Wakaebisu Brewery, fresh cream, and the roughly chopped bitter chocolate as hidden taste in a soft rice cake.
Once put in the mouth, the flavor and scent of sake lees paste quickly fill up, followed by the taste of the fresh cream and the mild flavor unique to the lees, and finally the crispy texture and bitterness from the bitter chocolate…
While enjoying the profoundness and scent of the lees, one would think it feels like a Japanese sweet but not quite so, maybe it tastes like western sweet… After eating, the lingering aftertaste that makes you want another piece is very good too!!
The image of a cold winter in Iga, the kurazo who are making the sake, and the scenery of Iga just appeared to mind while I was tasting the Wakaebisu Brewery’s lees.
The other versions are very unique to Japan too
By the way, 3 types of tastes are currently available for Kurasaka Fugetsudo’s “Otona no Daifuku series”: café au lait, chestnut and “Sake Cream Daifuku”. In future, there will be sakura (cherry blossom), matcha and “Otona series” added to selection (all are seasonally limited). “As long as the Daifuku can provide even those who normally don't drink sake, an opportunity to know about Iga’s sake or sake brewery, I am happy. I would like to continue making so to make it the “winter gem” of Iga,” said Kurasaka-san.
There are also a tatami room for enjoying the sweets as well as a corner that exhibits wooden molds used by sweet makers inside Kurasaka Fugetsudo. Whether you can drink or cannot drink, please have a moment of “heavenly bliss for otona (adults)” with the Japanese sweets that include lots of Iga’s charms!
Kurasaka Fugetsudo (お菓子司 くらさか風月堂)
- Address: Miyagi-ken Iga-shi Ueno Kurumazaka-machi 753-3
- Opening hours：9：00～18：00
- Closed on：Sunday, 2nd & 4th Monday
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Written by Kanzaki
Kanzaki Chiharu. Official reporter of OTONAMIE. A freelance living at Iga-shi. Once worked at Town Magazine in hometown, Hiroshima >> an editing company in Tokyo >> freelance for more than 10 years. Currently based in Iga, work on writing for Iga’s information magazine, company advertisement copy, event planning, etc. Loves Japanese sake. A sake write who not only manages “Iga Sake DE Jyoshikai (girls gathering)”, but also writes, coordinates and manages event related to Japanese sake. Specialize in Japanese sake and Iga information. In 2016, appointed chairman of “Women Committee for Popularization of Japanese Sake”.