Make Shotengai Flourishing Again
Shotengai were once the vibrant backbone of Japanese local culture and commerce. However, in recent decades, many shotengai have fallen into decline, with shuttered stores and fading foot traffic. Redeveloping languishing shotengai is crucial for revitalizing struggling local economies and preserving community heritage. We leverage the unique appeal of shotengai to carefully curate snacks, tea, and lifestyle goods from small family businesses across Japan every month. Through creative thematic events that attract people interested in Japanese culture, we enable an authentic, healthy Japanese lifestyle experience right at home, helping to revive shotengai as thriving centers of Japanese communities once again.
An Elderly Senbei Maker's Struggles
While on a business trip in Tokyo, an encounter with a handmade Japanese senbei shop unfolded. The proprietor, a straightforward and sincere elderly gentleman, shared that he had devoted seven decades to this craft. However, in recent times, he found himself lacking the vigor to bake senbei at home and, unfortunately, had no one to impart his invaluable skills to.
Expressing a sense of nostalgia, he mentioned, "If you had arrived a decade earlier, I could have supplied you with senbei." The predicament faced by small establishments on the outskirts of the capital echoed the challenges encountered by businesses in other modest cities. The elderly artisan lamented that the younger generation of Japanese individuals no longer had an appetite for these "hard pancakes," contributing to the gradual disappearance of unique Japanese culinary treasures.
Every Taste and Story, All in One Box
Open the box and discover what you'll find!
A selection of quality products and the stories of where they came from, carefully chosen and curated for you!
Matcha Cream Senbei
By Seki-Seika Hompo
Seki-Seika Hompo is a Kyoto-based confectionery shop with a history spanning over 100 years.
One of their most popular treats is this matcha cream senbei. It features a rich matcha cream, created without the use of any artificial flavors or colors, sandwiched between crunchy wafers made from rice.
Allergens: egg, wheat, milk, soy
May contains: honey
Ichigo Milk Mame
By Tokunaga Seika
In addition to their Saika Toridori, Tokunaga Seika presently offers a diverse range of bean confections, totaling around 60 different varieties. Their Ichigo Milk Mame (strawberry milk beans) stand out as their number one favorite.
Allergens: wheat, milk, peanuts, soy
Black Shichimi Fried Ginkgo
This snack is found at Kyoto Station, which is frequented by a large number of foreign tourists. It features Gion Hararyokaku, which is black shichimi, which has been produced in Kyoto for over 300 years. While shichimi typically has a red color, the one from hararyokaku turns black because the ingredients are finely ground.
Allergens: soy, sesame, wheat
May contains: ginkgo
By Fukui Engei
Mochi Mugi is rich in dietary fiber and has a digestive benefit. The list of ingredients only includes Mochi Mugi and sugar. No seasonings, additives, or preservatives are used whatsoever. It’s said that consuming it for breakfast can lead to a sustained diet effect throughout the day.
You can enjoy it as a topping in various dishes.
Hitokuchi Apple & Mango
By Minami-Shinshu Kashi Kobo
The Minami-Shinshu Kashi Kobo’s factory is located in Achi Village, which is often referred to as the village closest to the starry sky in Japan. They use fruits that are typically discarded due to blemishes or irregular shapes as ingredients for their products. Hitokuchi Apple uses Fuji apples from Nagano Prefecture and their mangoes are sourced from Peru.
Okara & Rice Sablé
Okara is the leftover part after squeezing soy milk from soybeans during tofu production. It’s rich in the flavors of soy, as well as protein and dietary fiber, making it a nutritious and healthy food. Additionally, this sablé uses rice flour instead of wheat flour, making it naturally gluten free.
Boules de Neige
By le mauve
Boules de neige, a relatively common French pastry, is prepared by sprinkling it with kinako powder, a popular seasoning used in Japanese confectionery. At le mauve, they have implemented a system of employment support to aid the social inclusion of individuals with disabilities. These boules de neige snacks are meticulously handmade by individuals with disabilities, which helps them to be able to actively participate in society.
Allergens: egg, flour, wheat
May contains: almonds
Tiramisu Almonds & Black Sesame Almonds
By Kobe Nuts Yui
Carefully selected large almonds are coated with sweet and fragrant tiramisu chocolate.
They pair perfectly with a hint of bitter cocoa powder. Despite their appearance resembling dinosaur eggs, these black sesame-flavored chocolate almonds have a gentle yet delightful taste.
Allergens: milk, sesame
May contains: almonds
By Tokunaga Seika
This snack contains 15 varieties of vegetable and fruit chips, including sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, carrots, as well as apples, bananas, and more. The contents may vary depending on the season. It’s perfect for those who intend to consume a variety of vegetables and fruits but tend to lean towards a few specific types.
Tokunaga Seika is a confectionery manufacturer with a history spanning over 140 years.
Kakogawa Snack Pasta
By Yahata Eino
Yahata Eino, located in Kakogawa City in Hyogo Prefecture, produces pasta using Seto Duure. This is a pure domestically-grown durum wheat that Yahata Eino successfully cultivated for the first time in Japan. During cultivation, they do not use the herbicide glyphosate, making it healthier for consumption. This snack version of pasta primarily utilizes the cut-off ends of pasta produced for packaging.
Toraya-Yoshisue was founded in 1801. Originally, the company was a manufacturer of sake barrels. However, they came up with the idea of creating senbei shaped like sake barrels to serve as souvenirs for travelers. These senbei featured the trademarks of 18 sake breweries in Kobe as part of their design.
Allergens: egg, wheat
Yamagata Green Soybeans
By Kobe Nuts Yui
A green soybean refers to a type of soybean that remains green even when it has matured. It can only be grown in the Tohoku region and in Hokkaido in Japan. Green soybeans have lower fat content compared to regular soybeans and are rich in vitamins C and E, as well as iron, making them beneficial for beauty and skincare.
Gluten-Free Cut Baum
In this baumkuchen, Japanese-grown Yamadanishiki rice is used instead of wheat flour. It has a moister and chewier texture compared to baumkuchen made with wheat flour. And, of course, it’s gluten free. The factory is located in a naturally rich area called Kai-gun in Gifu Prefecture. It’s a confectionery created with clean water and air.
Allergens: egg, milk, soy
May contains: almonds
Hinoakane Japanese Tea
By AZUMA CHEMICAL CO.,LTD
This is a green tea made using Sun Rouge tea leaves from Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. It contains catechins (epigallocatechin gallate), flavonols, and other polyphenols, as well as anthocyanins. It also has the potential to help control post-meal blood sugar spikes. When lemon juice is added, it changes to a reddish color.
Black Bean Tea & Horsetail Tea
Black soybean tea uses cracked beans, which would have been discarded despite having no issues in its quality. These beans simply crack naturally during the roasting process. We can take advantage of their unique flavor and health benefits. Similarly, Mugen∞Yasou’s horsetail tea is made from wild horsetail, a plant that was once considered a nuisance and commonly weeded and burned.
By Naoki Inoue - Co-Founder of Shotengai
When I was on a business trip in Tokyo, I happened to come across a handmade Japanese senbei shop. The owner was a simple and honest elderly man, he said he had been doing this for seventy years. But recently he didn’t have the energy to bake senbei at home and had no one to pass on his skills to.
He said, “If you had come ten years earlier, I could have supplied you with senbei.”
Read more by finding our magazine inside the Shinise Box.