Mochi – A Japanese tradition

mochi display 1

(Mochi on display)

Ever wondered what holyness, happiness, centuries of tradition, rice and sugar (or honey) all put into one looks like in Japan? Well, it is a very famous confectionery called Mochi and it is delicious. People use it as offerings given to temples and shrines, as gifts given during weddings and as a traditional food eaten during the New Year and other significant events. For people like me, it provides just another excuse to eat some Japanese dessert. Mochi has become so popular, that now it is even sold in the form of an ice cream in the US, Europe and Asia.  You could even say that Mochi is to the Japanese what Modak is to the followers of lord Ganesha.

mochi close up 2

                                    (Red Bean Paste filling)

mochi close up 1

                                     (Mochi with sweet sauce)

While exiting the Arashiyama bamboo groves, there were small shops/stalls selling Mochi filled with red bean paste. Red Bean paste is a very commonly used ingredient in a lot of Japanese sweets and food preparations. The mochi was covered with a sweetened form of soy sauce.

mochi display 2

                                       (Mochi gift display)

As I walked back to the Arashiyama train station, I could not help but notice a string of shops all selling beautifully decorated Mochi sets, perhaps as a gift item. Mochi is such a important part of Japanese cuisine, that it has become somewhat of an art form. There are many many types of mochi with different designs, colours, shapes and sizes.

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Items: One stick of Mochi (it had 3 mochis)

Price: ₹80 (around 150 yen japanese)

Location: Outside Arashiyama (bamboo park)

Type: Street side stall/shop

How to get there: Take the JR Sagano line from Kyoto station to Saga Arashiyama station, and then walk 15 minutes. Groves are west from station and north of the Togetsukyo bridge.

Language: Japanese speaking locals

Also visit: Tenryuji Temple, Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama Bamboo Groves (all within walking distance)

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