The Most Delicious Treats from Wakayama

ByJustin Hanus
Jul 25, 2022

The Most Delicious Treats from Wakayama

If you like to choose destinations to visit based on new foods to try, Wakayama should be near the top of your list, especially if you have a sweet tooth. The impressive number of sweet treats on offer is due to the mild climate (which is conducive to growing a range of fruits all year round) and the abundance of cake shops.

1. Honnoji Manju

To start, try a product that someone dreamed up more than 400 years ago. Honnoji Manju is a steamed bun made from a dough of glutinous rice, malted rice, and wheat flour and filled with a red bean paste. Typically, you need to eat Honnoji Manju within two days, but you can find some that last up to two weeks.

2. Hassaku Puro

Many people around Wakayama bake “Hassaku Puro” cookies made from Hassaku oranges, which are large and slightly bitter. The crunchy cookies are perfect to accompany coffee or wine.

3. Ichigo Cake Mochi

You’ve likely tried mochi already — it’s a cake made from glutinous rice. In Wakayama, a great way to eat mochi is in ichigo cake. This sponge cake features mousse made with locally-grown strawberries wrapped in mochi.

4. Arida Mikan Juice

Mikan is a mandarin orange, but the variety grown in the Arida region is particularly sweet and delicious. Farmers in the area started turning some of their fruits into juice ever since there was a time when the harvest yielded too many mikans to ship out to customers. The juicing process usually involves squeezing the whole fruit to allow the oil from the peel to mix with the juice and then mashing the fruit’s flesh into the juice, resulting in a thick beverage.

5. Mikancier

Another way to enjoy mikan is in a Mikancier, a twist on a financier cake. The cakes are sold in packages, making them an excellent choice for keeping at home when you want a snack.

6. Kishu Umeboshi

Wakayama prefecture is the largest producer in the country of plums, also known as ume. These have a unique flavor that is both sour and sweet. A great way to enjoy the fruit is pickled kishu umeboshi, which pairs perfectly with white rice.

7. Ume Glaces

A second way to eat ume in Wakayama is in ume glaces. The plums are first salted and then marinated in honey for six months. The result is a salty, sweet treat awarded the Super Taste Award from the International Taste & Quality Institute.

8. Arakawa no Momo Yokan

You may have eaten yokan before — it’s a jelly made of sweet beans. The sweet from Wakayama uses Arakawa no Momo peaches to add an extra flavor to the yokan. Try some with green or black tea.

Travelers and locals alike love these delicious treats. If you find something you can’t live without but are no longer in Wakayama to buy, there’s good news. Many of the brands that produce these treats ship products throughout Japan.

Asturio Cantabrio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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