Photo By: Kinseiken
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kofu
Population
888,170

Kinseiken Daigahara Confectionary Shop

Water mochi is magical but this smalltown sweets shop has all your Japanese faves.

Although wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) can be found across the country, there are few locations as renowned as a shop called Kinseiken Daigahara. Located in the serene little town of Hokuto in Yamanashi Prefecture, it has one confectionary that goes like hot cakes — but in this case — like water cakes. So take a journey into the countryside and enjoy a rare art form that’s appealing to both sight and taste.

Photo by: Kinseiken Mizu shingen mochi.

The famous raindrop cake

Of all the confections offered at Kinseiken Daigahara, none is more famous than the mizu shingen mochi. Only available from June through September each year, this rice cake dessert is made from — and modeled after — mizu (water) from the southern Japanese Alps mountains epitomizing the subtle elegance of Japanese traditional sweets.

Photo by: Mimi Dietderich A feast for the eyes.

The spherical mochi is transparent and can fit into the palm of one’s hand like a larger-than-life drop of water. The cake might look like water, but it certainly isn’t flavorless. Melting in your mouth, the honey-like flavor is complemented by a splash of black sugar syrup and a generous helping of kinako (roasted soybean flour) that adds a slightly nutty flavor to top it all off.

Photo by: Kinseiken The shop front.

The overtly simple design of the dessert that’s nicknamed “raindrop cake” might come as a surprise considering that there is always a line out the door to get it, but after further inspection, its unique draw becomes clear. Cutting into the cake is like breaking the delicate surface tension of pure H20 and any movement of the dish resembles a dew droplet at dawn.

Kinseiken opened in 1909, and its dark wooden exterior, having gracefully aged over time, gives a glimpse into an era of Japan long since past. The shop, which is one of the two main Kinseiken Confectionary Co. stores, offers the specialty for only part of the year, but they also have seasonal delights.

Photo by: Mimi Dietderich An example of the way the waiting is organized just to get these cakes.

Each visit will also lead to new discoveries because the wagashi gracefully highlights themes of the changing seasons, and are often shaped, colored and flavored to reflect nature. They make take the  form of roses and hydrangeas or fruits such as an apple, etc.

Photo by: Mimi Dietderich Other confectionaries at the shop.

Before you go

The mizu shingen mochi are available only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from June until the end of September. Due to its popularity, only 300 tickets are given out each day to eat the mizu shingen mochi. It is advised to come early — before noon — to secure a ticket. Each dessert costs ¥500 and comes with a glass of cold green tea.

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Things To Know

Hours and fees

Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Thursdays. Traditional wagashi range in price starting as low as ¥90 to ¥100 a piece.

Shop details

Kinseiken Daigahara shop: Address: 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi, Yamanashi 408-0312  | Tel: +81-551-35-2246  | Website: http://kinseiken.co.jp/shop-daigahara  

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒408-0312 Yamanashi-ken, Hokuto-shi, Hakushūchō Daigahara, 2211 金精軒

By bus

From Shinjuku station take the Chuo line Limited Express six stops to Nirasaki station (1 hour 37 minutes). From Nirasaki station take the Shimozenboshi line bus going towards Shimozenkishiji 26 stops (28 minutes) to Daigaharachu. Walk five minutes to destination.

By car

From Shinjuku, it is about a 2-hour, 10-minute drive.

By Taxi: You can take a 15-minute taxi ride from Nagasaka station, or, alternatively, you come from Hino Haru station and take a taxi for about 15 minutes.

Where To Stay

Southern Alps Kaikomagatake Foot of the Kaikoma
  • Hakushucho Shirasu 6807-358 No. 201 Hokuto-Shi, Yamanashi 408-0315
  • 9.7/10
  • 2.4 km
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Fujimi / Vacation STAY 710
  • Kobuchizawa cho Matsukata 887-1 Fujimi fujimi Hokuto-Shi, Yamanashi 408-0042
  • 3.6 km
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Alps Lodge & Spa
  • Mukawacho, Yamataka 2806-1 Hokuto-Shi, Yamanashi 408-0306
  • 9.6/10
  • 3.9 km
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  • 〒408-0042 YamanashiHokuto-Shi
  • 7.5/10
  • 4.4 km
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