Shinise (X): Nanyodo
Sakai Ward, located in the northwestern part of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, encompasses an area that has been a thriving moat-surrounded city since the 12th century. It was originally established as a gathering place for influential merchants during the Azuchi-Momoyama period and has since evolved into the bustling heart of the city. The central area is adorned with government offices, city hotels, department stores, and other commercial establishments, while the coastal region extends to the Sakai Senboku Industrial Zone.
The name "Sakai" is believed to have originated from its development at the "border" between the three provinces of Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi. It was also formerly written as "Sakai" or "Sagami." The area boasts a wealth of temples, shrines, and historical sites, including the Nintoku-Tenno-Ryo Tumulus (Daisenryo Kofun) within the Mozu-Furuichi ancient burial mounds complex. This complex spans across the northern, western, and central districts of Sakai. Preserving its rich heritage in tea ceremony culture from the medieval period, Sakai is renowned for its diverse range of traditional Japanese and Western-style sweets. Numerous esteemed restaurants, confectionery shops, confectionery manufacturers, and specialty food stores specializing in items like kelp and soy sauce can be found throughout the city, adding to its culinary charm.
Nanyodo——Found in 1921
Nanyodo, located roughly a 21-minute walk from Sakai Station (or about a 2-minute walk from the Goryo-mae bus stop) is a renowned confectionery shop. It was founded in 1921 by Mr. Mitsushige Okada as a traditional Japanese sweets store. Around 1958, it embarked on a new trajectory as a specialty store dedicated exclusively to "monaka".
The name monaka is derived from a waka poem composed by Minamoto no Shitago, a poet from the Heian period. Originally, monaka referred to a thousand-layered cake, but during the late Edo period, the current form of monaka, consisting of a sweet bean paste filling sandwiched between delicate wafers, was born.
Upon entering the store, my senses were immediately captivated by a vibrant scene. The air was filled with a delightful sweet aroma that awakened my taste buds. As I glanced around, my eyes were drawn to shelves adorned with captivating displays, showcasing an extensive selection of monaka. The array of choices was truly impressive.
From the classic Tenryo Monaka, generously filled with smooth sweet bean paste, to the Kine-Mochi Monaka, featuring a delightful layer of chewy mochi, and the Nyushu Monaka, tantalizingly infused with the refreshing essence of yuzu citrus-flavored sweet bean paste, the options seemed endless. Each variation promised a unique and exquisite taste experience.
I selected the most traditional and popular monaka, the Tenryo Monaka. The store attendant kindly informed me about their commitment to using exclusively domestically sourced ingredients for the filling, wafer, and mochi, ensuring the highest quality. What impressed me even more was their dedication to homemade sweet bean paste, prepared with utmost care and without any additives or preservatives. It was a testament to their unwavering pursuit of excellence and their desire to offer customers the very best.
The Tenryo Monaka lived up to its well-earned reputation, offering a delicate and delightful flavor that left a lasting impression. The harmony between the crisp and fragrant monaka wafer, the chewy and satisfying mochi layer, and the flavorful sweetness of the sweet bean paste was truly exceptional. Each bite was a refined indulgence, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating this exquisite monaka. It was an experience that delighted the palate and celebrated the rich tradition of Japanese confectionery.
Address: 1 Chome-2-7 Minamihatagochohigashi, Sakai Ward, Sakai, Osaka
photo from: https://nanyodo-monaka.com/ 南曜堂 8/2/2023