Just steps from Anamoriinari Station on the Keikyu Line, the bright lights and colorful displays of Isozakiya beckon locals and visitors alike to taste the wonderful wagashi creations.
The shop, which has been open for 22 years, offers a wide range of traditional sweets. Kenchi Okumura, the Nagasaki-born owner, worked for eight years in local wagashi shops before starting his own outlet in the bustling shopping street near the station. Okumura believes that his dorayaki (a sweet pancake filled with red bean paste) is the most popular treat amongst customers, though he personally enjoys the daifuku mochi treat. Other traditional sweets at the shop include monaka, thin decorated wafers filled with bean paste, and several sweet potato-based wagashi.
All of the anko (red bean paste), a main ingredient in most of the wagashi, is made in-house in a process that can take up to four days. Okumura typically spends around ten hours a day making the wagashi themselves. Despite the amount of time they take to produce, wagashi are best consumed within a day or two of purchase, though some of the individually-packaged goods can last up to a week. The sweets are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of matcha (Japanese green tea) or as an afternoon snack between meals.
February and March are two of the busiest months at Isozakiya, mostly due to the celebration of the Doll Festival on March 3. To mark the occasion, the shop offers a wide selection of specialty sweets, from jellied desserts in shapes representative of dolls to rice-based snacks in the festival colors of green, pink and white.
No matter if you’re local or just passing through, the staff at Isozakiya welcomes everyone with a warming cup of tea and encourages them to take their time browsing through the many choices. With so many different flavors on offer, visitors will find many tasty reasons to return.