Yes, it’s that time of year again when Japanese confectionery is at its best. Of course there’re zillions of different places that offer wagashi ( Japanese sweets), but if I had to recommend one place, and not because I tried it only once there, but many times, then I would like to introduce First Food Akebono's of Shirakawa in Fukushima. Their phone number is: 0248-22-4720 and it's located off the Shirakawa interchange off the Tohoku Expressway, right across the street from the Hospital on the corner. Can't miss it !
This place shouldn’t be confused with Akebono’s of Ginza, even though their names are the same. Neither should it be compared with anything around Kanagawa, or even in Tokyo even though there is some affiliation between the chains. Akebono’s of Shirakawa is truly a local favorite in and around Fukushima because it’s here that some of the oldest techniques are used. Everything is made by hand which is what many of the octogenarians love watching when they come to this shop; I loved watching too. If you phone in your order then everything is made to order, fresh !
So out of the (ka)zillion different types of mizo mangu, which do most people prefer…? Being a dignified glutton, and a bon vivant, and the envy of just about every gourmet philistine's poor sense of taste, I would say the mizu manju, which is what most people in my opinion prefer over just about any other known confection in Japan. Why…? Because it simply tastes good and the flavor characteristics match well on the palate. If you order it fresh it should be very cold and fruity.