By Shozo Fujii
Would you like to taste art?
Yes, you have read right, tasting art using all five senses. But once you have seen how beautiful this is, you may think that it is too beautiful to eat! I am at “Tsuruya Yoshinobu”, where you can experience firsthand the beauty of Kyoto’s traditional confectioneries, known as ‘Kyo-gashi’.
‘Kyo-gashi’ is steeped in history, and special artisans who have inherited its traditional techniques have protected its craftsmanship and refined these artworks for a life time. Each delicate piece of work is like an insight into the souls of these artisans. In the principal design centre and showroom of “Tsuruya Yoshinobu”, you can relax in their second floor tea lounge and see how those confectioneries are made. You can also taste it as soon as it is made. Served with freshly brewed Japanese green tea for just 800yen, this is the perfect pick me up after a day’s sightseeing, especially if you are near the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
What makes ‘Kyo-gashi’ so amazing? Just imagine feeling its beauty with your ears, eyes, mouth and mind, I mean imagination. Firstly, each ‘Kyo-gashi’ has its own original name and usually those names are related with seasons and the sounds of these names are really elegant and comfortable to everyone’s ears. Having heard its name, we can enjoy the sound of it as the name takes us to beautiful imaginary world.
Each ‘Kyo-gashi’ is very delicately designed and its unique appearance is amazing, with an exquisite balance of color. It is like seeing hand crafted jewellery in a showroom. As soon as you see one of these pieces, you would be surprised at how beautiful edible art can be! So ‘Kyo-gashi’ can be enjoyed through your eyes as well.
Lastly, the taste. Being confectionery, this is the most important part. But don’t worry: flavors are guaranteed to knock you out as well! Artisans stick to the finest ingredients and never compromise its quality.
‘Kyo-gashi’ are now very popular in all parts in Japan and have been loved for a long time. This is a unique opportunity to experience the delicate and sensitive mind of Kyoto people and their ability to create artistic products which reflect the spirit and feeling of the four seasons.
Founded in 1803, “Tsuruya Yoshinobu” has been one of the oldest and most popular ‘Kyo-gashi’ shops in Kyoto. This is one of the rare places where you can see the process of making ‘Kyo-gashi’. Artisans are proud to craft this art for the next generation and would love to talk with you and explain everything about ‘Kyo-gashi’. The principal store and studio itself is a traditional Kyoto building, so you will feel an ancient sense of Kyoto as soon as you enter. This is one of the special finds in Kyoto and a great way to enjoy one of the greatest Japanese traditional arts!
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.