Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful place to visit, especially with the convenience of the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo. However, after your travels, you might face the dilemma of what souvenir (お土産 omiyage) to bring back for your family, friends, and colleagues.

You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice with the endless options of confectionery and snacks available at gift shops around the area, so here’s a guide to six must-buy souvenirs from Tohoku, one tasty treat from each prefecture!

 

1. Hagi no Tsuki from Miyagi Prefecture

Hagi no Tsuki
Hagi no Tsuki is one of the―if not the―most famous omiyage from Tohoku. | Photo by Carissa Loh

Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県) is known for its picturesque full moon views, especially over Matsushima Bay during autumn. One of Tohoku’s most popular omiyage, Hagi no Tsuki (萩の月) is a round and fluffy sponge cake filled with creamy custard, meant to resemble a full moon. 

 

Hagi no Tsuki comes individually packed
Inside a box of Hagi no Tsuki are smaller, individually packed boxes. | Photo by Carissa Loh

“Hagi no Tsuki” literally means “bush clover moon”, and it is said to have drawn inspiration from the full moon shining over a field of Japanese bush clover (萩 hagi) flowers―the prefectural flower of Miyagi―blooming in autumn. It’s no surprise that this beloved treat is the prefecture’s most popular souvenir, and is a must-get if you visit Sendai (仙台) or the Tohoku Region.

 

2. Kamome no Tamago from Iwate Prefecture

Kamome no Tamago
Kamome no Tamago is also a representative omiyage of Tohoku. | Photo by Carissa Loh

Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) is known for the rugged Sanriku Coast, which is home to thousands of seagulls. If you get the chance to visit this prefecture, one souvenir you need to bring back is Kamome no Tamago (かもめの玉子), which literally means “seagull egg”. 


Mini Kamome no Tamago comes in different flavours
Mini Kamome no Tamago comes in special flavours. | Photo by Carissa Loh

With a history of over 80 years, this egg-shaped confectionery is made up of a “yolk” containing bean paste coated with a thin layer of sponge cake, and a “shell” made with sweet white chocolate. Aside from the original flavour, there are also special flavours that come in mini sizes, such as apple, chocolate, and chestnut.

 

3. Apple chips from Aomori Prefecture

Apple Snack chips from Aomori
Aomori Prefecture is the top producer of apples in Japan. | Photo by Carissa Loh

Aomori Prefecture (青森県) in northern Tohoku is the largest producer of apples in Japan, so if you’re ever in the area, don’t miss out on their apple-flavoured treats. Omiyage shops will be filled with a plethora of apple pies, apple jellies, apple juices, and apple confectioneries, but one must-try item is the Apple Snack (アップルスナック)―apple chips which are made with locally produced apples. 

 

 

Apple Snack from Aomori
Apple Snacks come in different apple varieties. | Photo by Carissa Loh

The Apple Snack comes in different “flavours”, which are made with different varieties of apples such as Jonagold (ジョナゴールド), Ourin (王林), Shinano Gold (シナノゴールド), and Fuji (ふじ). Recently, a mixed pack was also launched, offering a delightful mix of Aomori’s best apple varieties in one packet. 

 

4. Mamador from Fukushima Prefecture

Mamador from Fukushima
Mamador is well-loved by both the young and the old. | Photo by Ocdp (
CC0 1.0

From Fukushima Prefecture (福島県), Mamador (ままどおる) is a must-try souvenir hailing from the city of Koriyama. The name “mamador” is said to have come from a Spanish word that means “milk-drinking child”, and this treat contains condensed milk, which gives it a subtle sweetness.

 

Mamador from Fukushima Prefecture
Unchanged taste for over 50 years. | Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S (CC BY-SA 2.0

This beloved baked confectionery is made of a buttery dough filled with a smooth sweet bean paste. Boasting a sweet and milky flavour, Mamador goes well with beverages like coffee and tea. Despite a long history spanning over 50 years, its gentle taste has gone unchanged over the years, making it well-loved by children and adults alike.

 

5. Cherry jellies from Yamagata Prefecture

Sakuranbo Kirara Jelly from Yamagata
Yamagata Sakuranbo Kirara cherry jellies are best served chilled. | Photo by Carissa Loh

Yamagata Prefecture (山形県) is surrounded by mountains on all sides, providing ideal conditions for growing fruit. Did you know? It is the top producer of cherries (さくらんぼ sakuranbo) in Japan, so something you must-try (and bring back for your family and friends) is their delicious cherry jellies, the Yamagata Sakuranbo Kirara (山形さくらんぼきらら). 

These bite-sized treats are made of a whole cherry coated in firm jelly, packed with a generous portion of syrup. They have the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and are extra delicious when chilled in the fridge before eating.

 

6. Akita Inu-shaped biscuits from Akita Prefecture

Akita inu cookies hung at the side of a cup
Akita Inu shaped cookies to hang on your cup. | Photo by Carissa Loh

Finally, rounding up Tohoku’s six prefectures is Akita Prefecture (秋田県), which instantly brings to mind the loyal and lovable Akita Inu dogs. You’ll be spoilt for choice with all the souvenirs bearing images of Akita Inu, but the adorable Akita Wan de Cup (秋田ワンdeカップ) cookies will not just melt in your cup of tea, and also melt the hearts of your recipients.

There are three designs of Akita Inu, and their tails are perfectly shaped to hang on the edge of your tea cup. Each cookie is individually wrapped, and will be a great addition to any office pantry.

 

Try Tohoku Treats with JAPAN RAIL CLUB

Spring Beginnings Omiyage Snack Box by JAPAN RAIL CLUB

Not travelling to Tohoku yet but want a taste? Take home some tasty Tohoku treats with this month’s omiyage snack box from JAPAN RAIL CLUB! From savoury hand-grilled rice crackers made using the finest quality of rice from Akita Prefecture, to the rich chocolatey goodness of Pporo Chocolate by Ragueneau from Aomori Prefecture, this curated snack box features an exciting variety of snacks produced by local makers of Tohoku, ensuring that you get to enjoy the region's best at the comforts of your home.

Keen to embark on a delightful snacking journey with JAPAN RAIL CLUB? Subscribe by 31 March 2024 and enter promo code "TTT20" at the checkout page to enjoy up to 20% off when you subscribe to a 6-month plan—the wonders of Tohoku await you!

Meet the author

Carissa Loh

Having visited all 47 prefectures of Japan, Carissa's next goal in life is to ride all of Japan's sightseeing trains and climb all its 100 Famous Mountains. Sounds like a dream? Check back in 50 years.

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If you have been to Japan during the colder months between December to February, you...

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in Japan
Sue Lynn

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of the traditions that have been influenced by Shinto, Buddhism, and modern beliefs!

Carissa Loh Culture

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of...

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditions Old and New
Sue Lynn

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world, known as a time to get together with family and friends, and a...

Carissa Loh Festival

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around...

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Hokkaido: Exploring Japan's Best Slopes
Sue Lynn

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a means of transportation had been around for centuries in communities living in high snowfall areas,...

Carissa Loh Winter

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a...

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa Kajuen
Sue Lynn

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught up with Mr. Ueyama (上山) from Sowa Kajuen from Arida City, Wakayama Prefecture to find...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught...

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village in Kochi
Sue Lynn

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr. Iwasada (岩貞) of Umaji Village Agricultural Co-operative, to find out more about the village of...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr....

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding the Appeal of Kyoho Grapes
Sue Lynn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to some incredible creations, and their grapes are no exception. Enter Kyoho grapes (巨峰), star-studded grapes...

Snack Lover Autumn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to...