Hatakeyama Seika Company is one of Setouchi’s success stories. Originally, this company was located in Okayama City, it moved to Oku as a larger property was available for expansion. Located just off the Blue Line on the Oku exit you can see the factory in plain sight. Attached to the factory there is a small outlet shop and when I went to interview the President of the company the shop was busy with customers stocking up on their weekly purchases of senbei (rice crackers).
I was surprised how busy it was, as I had not eaten this Setouchi senbei product in my 20 years here in Japan. This day I was able to try a large selection and was instantly convinced of the value of buying direct from a local maker. Everything was so delicious that we here at JapanTourist highly recommend this product. The picture above is the most popular product, I suspect because it is called Bizenyaki senbei and available in places where people buy omiyage but I personally fell in love with the mochi style shrimp crackers.
On this day, I learnt a lot about what goes into making this product and even though I have eaten senbei a lot since coming to Japa, I didn’t realize the work that goes into making the varying types and flavors.
When I went back recently I noticed that they added a new part to the shop where people can toast freshly made senbei. When you travel around Japan to Asakusa in Tokyo, Kyoto or Miyajima in Hiroshima you can see these small Japanese senbei shops doing this but the great thing about Hatakeyama Senbei Company is they actually make the senbei which can clearly be seen through the shop windows.