Looking for Snacks? Leaf it to Me!

ByWilliam Farrow
Feb 24, 2022

Looking for Snacks? Leaf it to Me!

In Japanese, the word momiji usually refers to the leaves of the maple trees in Japan. A popular symbol representing autumn, it should come as no surprise to hear that the Japanese snack on…wait, what? Are people eating leaves? Also, isn’t this article being written in late winter?!

Okay, no one is actually eating leaves here. However, residents of Hiroshima would be remiss if they missed the iconic leaf-shaped snacks here before up and leaving. Visitors should also take the chance to branch out and try new regional experiences!

You Wanted to Make Tree Puns, Didn’t You?

Stick it out, and you will learn more about local snacks and places to buy them!

While many visitors to Japan quickly become acquainted with manju (Link for the uninitiated), the fractured and distinct nature of the various Japanese regions has given rise to many local variations. The momiji manjū is a regional snack that dates back to the late Meiji era and traditionally used anko, the Japanese sweet red bean paste that is nearly ubiquitous in Japanese sweets. It is important to note that you will not actually be eating leaves, as the momiji manju is made using buckwheat and rice cake. The distinction here is the shape of the manju. The leaf motif has led this snack to be associated with Itsukushima and Hiroshima as a whole and has made it a snack representative of the region. Many visitors to Hiroshima will find themselves purchasing leaf-shaped snacks for friends and family back home.

The popularity of the snack has caused confectionary shops to begin experimenting with variations to both the filling inside the snack and the texture of the snack itself.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Of course, there is more to flavor than just anko and today a variety of flavors similar to the flavors one can find in both doughnuts and taiyaki can be found. From the expected green tea, cream and chocolate flavors to more clever ideas like lemon custard (Your author is a devout key lime pie fanatic), there is a flavor to match each and every consumer.

New Varieties Sprouting Up

Building off of this spirit of innovation is the relatively newer take on the traditional tasty treat: The fried momiji manjū (揚げもみじ饅頭 Age Momiji Manjū) has emerged as a modern twist on a classic staple. It may be a hard sell to call a snack that has been around for a few decades new but keep in mind the momiji manju tradition dates back more than a hundred years.

The draw here is quite similar to doughtnuts or agepan, the fried bread commonly found in convenience stores and food stands but the fried momiji manju combines this with various fillings to tempt even the strictest dieters to just take one little bite.

Where Can These Snacks Be Found?

Stores like Momijido will be your best bet for finding these lovely snacks. With three shops in Hatsukaichi and one shop located in Hiroshima eki, there’s always a chance to nab one of these delicious snacks. Online shopping is also available for those who prefer to have snacks brought to their doorstep.

Momijido (Hiroshima ekie location)

Address JPN: 広島市南区松原町1-2 1F

Address ENG: Matsubara-cho 1-2 1F, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City

Telephone: 082-236-6224

Hours of Operation: 10:00 to 21:00

(WT-shared) NY066 at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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