Yamagata Prefecture is in Tohoku region, the northern part of Japan. Which means, they have rich resources to make great food; clean and delicious water, and ingredients produced in the neighborhood.
When I traveled to Yamagata, I got to encounter one of the most wagashi, Japanese confectionary store, I have ever had. That is “Koshikakean (腰掛庵)”
The building is 120 years old
Koshikakean is located where many small streets gather. It might be hard to reach first. You will find a small sign over a stone gate, written “Koshikakean”. After parking the car, you will be able to enter the beautiful old house style building. The building is said to be more than 120 years old.
Koshikakean is popular not only to tourists but also among locals as well. There is always a lineup right after the opening, so better to be arrived early to purchase one.
Signature Product 1: Warabi Mochi
Warabi Mochi is a jelly-like mochi with Kinako and Kuro Mitsu on the top. They have other variety which has red bean paste or strawberry or zunda (edamame) paste inside. Both of them were extremely delicious.
It is really hard to describe how their Warabi Mochi is like. It was just SO DELICIOUS. Warabi Mochi is fluffy like jelly, but at the same time, it melts right away in the mouth. The sweetness is so natural and you can’t stop eating the next bite.
Be sure to get there by early afternoon, because when I was there around 3:00 PM, most of the products were sold out already.
Signature Product 2: Jouman (醸まん), sake bun
On the other hand, Jouman gets sold out even quicker than Warabi Mochi. It even gets sold out early on the weekdays, so better to make a reservation. Also, they do not sell Jouman during summer because it must be eaten while it’s fresh.
Jouman uses only fresh sake and sake lees produced in Yamagata Prefecture and do not use any water. Therefore, the bun has a strong aroma of delicious sake.
Only on summer: Kakigori, shaved ice
Another popular menu here is Kakigori. This Kakigori is ranked in number 4 of all Kakigori in Japan.
Their Kakigori is so fluffy that you would not believe you are eating ice. They are more like eating snow. Also, the syrup is homemade by the artisan, which means, there is no need to explain its deliciousness.
Be noted that you cannot be able to enjoy their Kakigori at the store. They have a special store in Yamagata Sogo Undou Park. They start selling at 10:00 AM, but likely to be sold out around 2:00 PM.