Looking for something quintessentially Japanese for that perfect gift or souvenir? Each month, we round up some of our favorite artisanal items made by local craftsmen and designers.
This month, we’ve selected a few of our favorite bits and bites from across the archipelago that are perfect for the autumn season. If you’re looking for a delicious Japanese snack to treat yourself or a loved one — here are 19 to choose from! Enjoy!
1. Harada’s Apple Baumkuchen by KAJITSUNOSATO HARADANOUEN
This homemade apple kuchen cake, together with carefully selected ingredients, contains a whole Fuji apple. The layered batter uses fresh eggs from Gunma Prefecture and is baked through a rigorous process to create this unique delicacy. ¥1,204. Buy here.
2. Semi Dry Apple by KAJITSUNOSATO HARADANOUEN
These homemade semi-dried apple pieces are naturally sweet, only possible through the unique preservation process used at this farm-owned factory. Eat them on the go as a nutritious snack, mix them with yogurt, or use them as toppings on desserts. ¥602. Buy here.
3. Apple juice by KAJITSUNOSATO HARADANOUEN
Boasting a rich flavor and a slight tartness, this pure apple juice allows you to enjoy fresh apples at their best no matter the season. It contains no additives, preservatives or colorings. ¥741. Buy here.
4. 0.6 RICE BRAN OIL “Drinkable Rice Bran” by SHINMEI KITCHEN Co., LTD.
Rice bran is considered a superfood in Japan, and this rice bran oil was developed with the aim of consuming every inch of its goodness. Thanks to a natural press method, it’s able to be manufactured completely chemical-free and with edible materials. ¥270-¥5,530. Buy here.
5. Alps Masamune Junmai Daiginjo by Kametaya syuzoten CO., LTD.
This junmai daiginjo (the highest grade of sake in Japan) is brewed according to the traditional kanzukuri method. Made using the pristine subsoil waters of the Japanese Alps and locally grown rice, the finished sake is rich and robust with rice essence. ¥509-¥4,000. Buy here.
6. Tofu Misozuke Series by WAKANA CO., LTD.
Tofu misozuke is one of the oldest otsukemono, or Japanese pickle. It is made by pickling tofu in miso and leaving it to sit until the tofu becomes like a soft creamy cheese. Wakana’s Tofu misozuke not only has an enhanced palatability but is also low in fat and calories while being nutrient-rich. ¥750-¥1,700. Buy here.
7. Porkwiener grobe by ATSUGIHAM CO., LTD.
The pork used to make this juicy, delicately flavored sausage is original: a hybrid of Mangaritza and Duroc, bred especially with the Japanese market in mind. With its high percentage of marbling and low melting point, the pork boasts a unique aroma and mouth feel. ¥900. Buy here.
8. Croissant loaf by ORENO Corporation
Using the amount of dough equivalent to seven croissants makes this premium croissant loaf truly special. The resulting bread is crispy and flaky outside, light and delicately springy inside, with a rich butter flavor. Baked with flours from France and Canada, and French fermented butter. ¥1,112. Buy here.
9. Ginza’s Bread – Kaori – by ORENO Corporation
The premium white loaf bread is made using flour from Hokkaido and milk from Nakahora Farm cows that graze freely in the mountains. It’s soft, springy and offers a sweet milky flavor. Even the bread heels are delicious! ¥1,111. Buy here.
10. Oirase Black Garlic by Kashiwazaki Seika CO., LTD.
These Aomori-produced black garlic bulbs are slowly aged using an innovative production method, unique to Oirase. The slow fermenting process reduces the distinctive strong taste and odor characteristic to raw garlic. ¥350-¥19,213. Buy here.
11. Grandma Fude’s black garlic bulbs by Kashiwazaki Seika CO., LTD.
Enjoy all the health benefits of garlic without the usual strong taste and smell. These black garlic bulbs are slowly fermented and aged, bringing out a rich, fruity and sweet palette of flavors. ¥750-¥2,400. Buy here.
12. MANNO SUNFLOWER OIL by Green Park Manno Co., Ltd.
Using agrichemical-free sunflower seeds from Manno-cho in Kagawa Prefecture, this cold-pressed oil has been slowly extracted using a traditional method. It contains abundant omega-9 fats as well as 10 times the amount of vitamin E found in olive oil. Its subtle nutty and refreshing flavors match any type of dish. ¥900-¥2,200. Buy here.
13. Senju-Senbei by Kogetsu Co., Ltd.
In 1963, at the time Senju-Senbei was created, confectioneries made by sandwiching light sugar cream between two waffle cookies was still very rare. Today, the company’s light, crisp waffles combined with melt-in-the-mouth cream continue to delight with their perfect textural harmony. ¥700-¥5,200. Buy here.
14. Dried Pione Grapes by Jinsekikogen Tiergarten.Co.Ltd
Grown on the Jinsekikogen town highlands, these deep violet Pione raisins are large and bursting with flavor. Drying fresh Pione grapes preserves and concentrates their unique balance of sweet and savory, making them a perfect treat. ¥650. Buy here.
15. Fruits Jelly Collection: Saika no Houseki by Tomizen Foods Co., Ltd
Saika no Houseki offers a selection of colorful fruit jellies, each with a rich, fruity flavor. Carefully selected ingredients from all over the world, including Japan, guarantee a rich umami flavor and juicy pulp in each jelly cup. ¥500-¥5,000. Buy here.
16. Tokachi-herb-beef’s corned beef white & black by Nobels Food Co., Ltd.
This special canned beef comes from herb-fed cattle in Tokachi, Hokkaido. It has a simple taste and does not contain any additives. The white version only contains beef and salt while the black version is made with beef, salt and fragrant black pepper. ¥3,500. Buy here.
17. Matsumoto Uodonya Himi Buri Selection by Matsumoto Uodonya
Recommended by a renowned fresh fish wholesaler in Toyama, this buri (yellowtail) selection offers flavorsome winter buri in jerky, ham and teriyaki flavors so that you can enjoy this rich seasonal delicacy throughout the year. ¥1,000. Buy here.
18. Iburi gakko by Yamada Farm
Iburi gakko is a type of pickled daikon radish that is unique to Akita Prefecture. It is smoked before being sun dried and pickled in a mixture of nuka (rice bran) and salt. This particular iburi gakko uses daikon radishes grown with organic compost, contains less salt and has no added sugar or colorings. ¥450-¥600. Buy here.
19. Soy Milk Pudding by MONARIO capital foods co., LTD.
Monario’s soy milk pudding is made with soy milk and soybean puree, which brings out the natural flavors of the fruits. It contains no cow’s milk or eggs, and is surprisingly good paired with wine. ¥1,428. Buy here.
All featured products are part of Omotenashi Selection, a project that brings together fine handcrafted items from around Japan and shares them with international audiences.
For more Japanese food recommendations, see here.