Shinise (II): Senshuan Sohonke

Shinise (II): Senshuan Sohonke

Shinise are an important part of Japanese culture, representing a long tradition of quality, craftsmanship, and community. While they face numerous challenges in the modern era, their commitment to preserving traditional values and techniques ensures that they will continue to be an integral part of Japanese society for years to come.

Senshuan Sohonke -- Founded in 1860

Sensyuan Sohonke

Hakodate City, located in the southeastern part of Hokkaido's southernmost Tsugaru Peninsula, is the central city of the Donan region and the third most populous city in Hokkaido, following Sapporo and Asahikawa. The name Hakodate has two possible origins: one theory suggests that it comes from "Hakodate," a mansion resembling a box built by the powerful clan member Kono Masamichi on the northern slope of Mount Hakodate; another theory links it to the Ainu word "Hakuchan," meaning "shallow fort." The city was renamed Hakodate in the early Meiji period. During the Edo period, it was governed by the Matsumae Domain (temporarily under direct control of the shogunate towards the end). Along with Matsumae and Esashi, Hakodate thrived as a natural harbor for seafood trade, making it one of the three major ports in Ezo (Hokkaido). In 1859, Hakodate became Japan's first treaty port for foreign trade under the Japan-US Treaty of Amity, alongside Nagasaki and Yokohama.

Hakodate is renowned for its abundant seafood, including squid, various fish dishes like sushi, international cuisine, local specialties such as Hakodate ramen, and a wide variety of confectioneries known as "Hakodate sweets." The city is home to numerous well-established shops that contribute to its rich culinary culture.

Hakodate Senshuan Sohonke, established in 1860 (Man'en era) by a samurai from Akita Prefecture, holds a significant place in Hokkaido's history. It began as a food and sweets vendor catering to workers in Hakodate Port. While there are several confectionery shops in Hokkaido carrying the name "Senshuan," Otaru Senshuan was established in 1894 (Meiji era) as a branch store (now closed), followed by Sapporo Senshuan, which became independent in 1921 (Taisho era). In 1933 (Showa era), Obihiro Senshuan (now famous for its Marusei Butter Sand) separated from Sapporo Senshuan, and in 1934 (Showa era), Kushiro Senshuan also gained independence before merging with Sapporo Senshuan.


Senshuan Sohonke is known for its diverse and rich selection of traditional pastries, catering to various tastes and preferences. One of their most famous treats is the "Yamaoyaji" (Mountain Old Man) dessert, created by the fourth-generation owner, Matsuda Sakutaro, in the early Showa era. This particular sweet has gained popularity for its unique texture and delightful taste. Senshuan Sohonke offers a wide range of other pastries as well, blending both traditional and modern styles, allowing customers to savor the distinctive culinary culture of Hokkaido.

Beyond the delectable pastries, Senshuan Sohonke also captivates customers with its cozy and charming atmosphere. The shop is located in the heart of Hakodate City, providing a comfortable dining environment and friendly service, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy their delightful pastries.

Address: 9-9 Horaicho, Hakodate, Hokkaido

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