For 2023, we are celebrating the year of the auspicious rabbit. Rabbits are a sign of good fortune, forward momentum, cleverness and self-devotion. As snow falls gently across the prefecture of Niigata, those young and old venture outside to create yukiusagi, snow rabbit sculptures; no doubt with thoughts of the prosperous year ahead.
We are immensely proud to have partnered with the Niigata Prefectural Government to bring you sweet and savory snacks only available in this prefecture.
Indulge in these culinary delights and become enriched with the customs of Japanese New Year.
These iconic snacks have been sold in Japan since the 1980’s. Inside you’ll find rice crackers, bite-sized bean treats, and anchovies.
Kanai Foods (Niigata)
Konjac and yokan are quite a rare pair. Craftsmen at Kanai Foods have paired azuki beans with a special konjac flour to create this sumptuous yokan treat. The packaging has cute Japanese depictions of a plum flower, sea bream, and Mt. Fuji.
Ashida Confectionery (Kyoto)
The rabbit is seen as the luckiest sign in the lunar calendar and symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty. Here, we see the auspicious rabbit in the form of a sweet hozui, or Japanese style marshmallow. This delicate treat is filled with a creamy white bean paste.
Sakura Confectionery (Niigata)
Makers at Sakura Confectionery crafted this sweet and spicy rice cracker seasoned with bonito and kelp broth and topped with a sweet soy based sauce. It’s then covered with a dusting of coarse soybean flakes.
Seika Foods (Kagoshima)
This exquisitely soft and elastic mochi boasts the bold flavors of seaweed, green tea, and white bean paste. Its packaging and name are inspired by “The Tale of Hyoroku’s Dreams”, a highly acclaimed Japanese story of a man hunting wild mischievous foxes.
Amidaike Daikoku (Osaka)
Starting as early as the 8th century, travelers would try okoshi, crushed millet treats, in Osaka and buy them as souvenirs. Here, Amidaike Daikoku has flavored their okoshi with white chocolate and raisins, creating their renowned Osaka Chiyoko.
Seki Confectionery (Kyoto)
These fortune cookies are slightly sweet and have a warm, comforting taste. Inside these cookies you’ll find an omikuji, or fortune. What does 2023 have in store for you?
Kiyonoya uses miso from Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture to perfectly compliment Fukaya green onions, or negi, for the glaze that coats these fluffy baked rice crackers.
Niigata is a major producer of sake, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. The distinct blue and white double circle pattern on the bottom of the cup is strikingly named jenome, a snake’s eye. This specific design is said to enhance the subtle yellow hues of sake. We’ve partnered with Diversion to bring you this timeless classic.
Natsume Confectionery (Aichi)
With over 2000 years of history, karinto is a classic in Japanese snack cuisine. Indulge in the satisfying crunch of karinto infused with a rich brown sugar flavor.
This dorayaki is characterized by its sweetness, richness, and delicious flavor. The soft, chewy outer layers are the perfect veil for the richly flavored matcha bean paste filling inside.
Ishizuka Confectionery (Kyoto)
2023 is the year of the rabbit according to the lunar calendar. This perfectly firm sweet chew is modeled after a yukiusagi, or snow rabbit. Snow rabbits are round snow sculptures made to resemble small rabbits with green leaves of evergreen trees for ears and red nuts for eyes. These cute creatures are a quintessential representation of winter.
Kuriyama Beika (Niigata)
These crispy bite-sized fried rice snacks have black sesame seeds with honey soy sauce kneaded into the dough, giving them their sweet and savory flavor.
Makers at Kikuya in Niigata made this western-style pastry using Niigata strawberries called “echigohime”, meaning the princesses of Echigo (modern-day Niigata). The strawberry creme is wrapped in a blanket of fluffy cake.
Chirin Confectionery (Osaka)
The crisp colorful coating on these bite-sized morsels is protecting the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate hidden within. Each package of chocolate contains words of gratitude commonly expressed during the start of a new year.
The craftsmen of Shikoen have created their Genmai Black Bean Houjicha with inspiration from the traditional New Year’s food osechi. Osechi features small side dishes that each represent a different meaning for the new year. Black beans represent strength and health.
Echigo Meihan (Niigata)
The nanban shrimp of Niigata are renowned for their red color and shape, which resembles a nanban pepper. These shrimp are caught off the coast of Sado Island, Niigata. From there, the shrimp are made into a paste and carefully kneaded into dough, which is then baked to crisp perfection.