In keeping with the food theme from last time, I’ve decided to do one more food post :). This time it’s about food souvenirs.
One of the most famous food gifts from Ise, Mie Prefecture is known as the Akafuku or 赤福 in Japanese. The most famous stores selling Akafuku are in the shopping alley right in front of the inner Ise shrine called Okage row. It’s a red looking, very very mushy snack. It’s a real pain to eat but very good. The outside is coated with a red bean paste and inside is a chewy mochi. Oh, and the snacks are only good for two days because they are not individually wrapped and are not artificially preserved. They’re also not that pricey, only 1,000 for 12.
However, they were involved in a scandal a few years ago where retailers in Mie and Nagoya were doing things like mainland Chinese vendors do. They were taking unsold expired akafuku, refridgerating them, relabeling the expiry date, and selling them again. But things look to have died down and it seems to be safe. At least there were tons of people eating it in Ise :P.
The second really popular gift is Iwato mochi or 岩戸餅 in Japanese. I’m not sure where I’ve had these before, but they’re essentially rice cakes with peanut powder stuck on the outside and red bean paste inside them. They’re inexpensive as well, around 1000 yen for 9. Also, they’re actually individually wrapped and placed in vacuum sealed bags. You could actually take these home with you, as the box says they’re good for 2 days after the vacuum bag is opened.