Kyushu is an island in southern Japan with rich culinary traditions and a history that stretches back thousands of years. One of the most famous sites in the region is the impressive Kumamoto Castle: a fortress, a seat of power, and now a historical treasure.
In autumn, Kyushu is awash with vibrant yellow from the ginkgo trees and deep red from the Japanese maples. It is while enjoying the beautiful fall foliage, or kōyō in Japanese, that locals indulge in the flavors of the season: chestnut and sweet potato.
This month, we’ve curated a whole selection of delights from this beautiful region for you to enjoy. Whether out in the great outdoors or cozied up inside with a warm cup of tea, we hope you join us to celebrate autumn in Kyushu.
By Tanaka Hashiten (Fukui)
This owan lacquerware bowl features a beautiful design of both spring and fall with both sakura blossoms and maple leaves, joined by leaping rabbits. The animal features in "Rabbit Moon", the myth of how the moon was created by rabbits pounding mochi.
By Tanayanagi Tea (Shizuoka)
This green tea from Shizuoka is made using fukamushi leaves that are unique to the region. Cultivated by Takanayagi, a tea company with over 100 years of experience, these leaves are steamed twice to create a beautifully rich yet sweet flavor.
By Kiyomasa Confectionery (Kumamoto)
This flakey pastry was inspired by the beautiful yellow of the ginkgo leaves surrounding Kumamoto Castle in autumn. Made with rich buttery pastry and actual ginkgo leaf powder, this delicate pie is coated in sugar before being baked to a light brown.
By Kashihara (Tokyo)
This German-style cake is made by slowly adding layer upon layer of batter onto a rotating spit. Infused with rich chestnut flavor, this fall version is perfect for breakfast when paired with a roasted tea.
By Eguchi Confectionery (Fukuoka)
This crunchy confectionary is made by sandwiching a smooth sweet potato filling between two wafer cookies. Enjoy this delightfully fragrant confection made with Kagoshima sweet potato.
By Kiyomasa Confectionery (Kumamoto)
Inspired by the image of Kumamoto Castle under a full moon, this soft manju is filled with a smooth blend of azuki sweet beans and chestnuts and wrapped in a delicate pastry. This luxurious sweet is unique to Kumamoto and a popular souvenir.
By Morihaku Confectionery (Gifu)
Japanese jellies have been a popular dessert since the 17thcentury when a plant-based thickener called agar was discovered. This version features big pieces of chestnuts along with azuki sweet beans.
By Sanseisha (Osaka)
Castella cake was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the17th century. Sugar was very expensive, so it was a luxury for many years. This handmade version is sweetened with honey.
By Chikuho Confectionery (Fukuoka)
This delightful manju is made in the classic shape of a chestnut, as well as being infused with its flavor. A classic treat at fall, this confection has a beautifully soft center for the perfect seasonal indulgence.
By Ginnoshio (Hiroshima)
This sweet potato karinto is made from thinly cut strips of Japanese sweet potato, deep fried to a perfect crispy texture, before being coated in sugar. Enjoy this classic sweet autumn treat at home or while enjoying the fall foliage.
By Bairindo (Saitama)
Yawaraka means "soft" in Japanese and perfectly describes the melt-in-your mouth texture of this delightful baked cookie. Infused with rich milk flavor and white chocolate, this is the perfect treat on a crisp autumn afternoon.
By Fujibambi (Kumamoto)
Made with Okinawa brown sugar, these donuts are lightly fried to keep the center soft and moist. The sugar from Okinawa is high in minerals with a gentle sweetness that is not overwhelming.
By Marumitsu Sunyo (Fukuoka)
This refreshing fruit jelly is made with amanatsu orange citrus from Kumamoto prefecture. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, this dessert pairs well with a light green tea.
By Dayplus (Gunma)
This fluffy sweet bread is made by folding vibrant purple sweet potato into the dough for a quintessential fall flavor. Bread surged in popularity after the Second World War in Japan and is now a popular breakfast food for people on the go.
By Honmura Confectionery (Saga)
This brown sugar cake gets its name from the Portuguese word for "cake". It contains crunchy bits of sugar and is perfect for dipping in tea or coffee.
By Iwatsuka Confectionery (Niigata)
This fragrant black bean senbei has a wonderful crunchy texture for the perfect salty snack. Enhance the flavor of the black beans by pairing it with a roasted green tea, such as genmaicha or hojicha.
By Sanshu Confectionery (Saitama)
This lightly toasted senbei is coated in a delicious layer of honey and soy sauce for the perfect combination of sweet and savory.