Yamagata is a beautiful scenery prefecture located in southern Tohoku region. It has long been well-known for its Yonezawa wagyu beef, cherries and the fascinating ski – hot springs resort on Zao Mt. If you had the chance to visit Yamagata Prefecture, don’t forget to bring some of its significant treats home!
1. Sakuranbo – Cherries products
Yamagata is well-known for its delicious cherry, of course also the cherries related products. The most famous ones are “Sakuranbo Kirara” – a piece of jelly with light pink color with whole (and real) cheery in the middle of it. It’s very much liked because of the fresh taste of both the cherry and the jelly, perfect treat for summer!
In Yamagata, there’s a popular orchard called Cherry Land, where you can go for seasonal fruit picking, you can fruit picking cherries in June and July, with a pretty reasonable price. “Sakuranbo Kirara” can be easily found elsewhere that sell Yamagata souvenirs!
2. Yonezawa beef
Besides trying Yonezawa beef cooked into steak or sukiyaki, you can also buy their packaged “Salami” version. I also heard that in some restaurants or ryokans in Yamagata, they even sell frozen packaged Yonezawa wagyu beef so you can take the most delicious beef of Japan to your home kitchen!
Although one meal of Yonezawa beef is quite expensive, but their packaged “Salami” version is rather much more affordable, and everyone loves its taste too!
3. Dadachamame Senbei
To be translated as “Dadachamame crackers” or “Edamame crackers”, Dadachame Senbei is a kind of cracker that has small or crushed green beans, which green beans are very famous in Shonai area of Yamagata Prefecture.
Dadachamame Senbei is perfect as a gift and/ or present thanks to its package appearance, and the way three flavors of the crackers are divided into two three separate boxes.
4. Noshi Ume
“Ume” means “plum” in English, therefore, this treat is best to enjoy in the season that plum flowers bloom. Noshi Ume is a kind of sweet that is made from ground (whole) plum ripened fully and kneaded into agar (a kind of Japanese jelly); then it’s sandwiched between two thin sheaths of bamboo.
The season for plum flowers to bloom is around August, so if you head to Yamagata for a summer trip, don’t forget to buy the sweet and enjoy its rich, fresh taste of plum as well as the smell of bamboo.
5. Oranda Senbei
Oranda Senbei just simply cracker with a salty taste. What makes it special is that it’s made from non-glutinous rice, which makes it not too crispy but still very delicious. Oranda Senbei is made by the same name company which has the reputation for more than 60 years, and it’s much loved by people of all ages, children to adults. For a bonus, Oranda Senbei goes best with tea!
6. Juhyou Roman
The name of the cookies “Juhyou Roman” means “Rime on trees Roman”, and it’s absolutely one of the most luxury souvenirs for you to give when coming back from Yamagata. Rime Roman is a kind of candy that has white chocolate sandwiched between light wafer-like cookies. And its light, mild sweetness is also very much liked among all ages.
Thanks to the beautiful box and package of the sweet, along with its taste, Rime Roman is the perfect souvenirs for the family!
7. Iga mochi
Along with Rime Roman, Igamochi is also one of the best and most classic souvenirs when you visit hot springs around Mt. Zao area. Has the appearance like a bite-sized dango, Igamochi is a kind of mochi that has smooth texture of the traditional rice cake, covered inside is the light yellow color bean paste.
The best time to enjoy this cute little cake is right after you opened the packaged, or else the mochi will become hard and you may find it hard to eat!
8. Oshidori Milk cakes
Oshidori milk cake has the shape like a chewing gum, but it also has a crunchy texture. It is said that the process of making the candy include adding calcium into solidified condensed milk, so don’t be afraid of gaining weight for eating this, because it has lots of calcium nutrients and protein. I’m sure its sweet, greasy taste will get you addict to this treat!
Currently, the company produces this candy has added more and more flavors to it, from chocolate to matcha green tea, so take a look at their website and grab some!
9. Tama Konnyaku
Translated into English as “Konnyaku balls”, Tama Konnyaku is konnyaku (Japanese jelly, which chewy like mochi) shaped into balls then boiled in a slightly thick liquid of soy sauce and sugar. They are very famous, especially during summer, you can find them anywhere among Yamagata, just like Kakigori all over Japan! They are also very much liked as a kind of festival’s food, as well as in restaurants or any shops.
Imoni is a perfect thing to add to your winter meal. It’s a kind of thick potato and meat soup, is the combination of stewed taro and beef in soy sauce. Although coming in just like any other normal instant food package, but I’m sure its taste will warm you up on such cold days. It’s even better to enjoy it with white rice and some really amazing Yonezawa beef!