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Wakayama Livens up Ancient Kumano Pilgrimage with Creative Strawberry Sweets

The sweets are wrapped in soft white daifuku, glutinous rice, and stuffed with sweet bean paste with a fresh strawberry on top.

The Sankei Shimbun

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At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has dampened tourism in a world heritage site popular with pilgrims, the city’s confectionery shop and a local strawberry farmer have jointly created a limited-edition cake with the motif of a princess from a thousand years ago.

In Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture (557 km west of Tokyo), known for its Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, the city’s cake shop “Kasho Ninomiya” is releasing a limited edition cake called “Kumano Pilgrimage”. It was inspired by the image of a princess of the Heian period (794 – 1185), when imperial families were known to go on pilgrimages to this area.

The sweets are wrapped in soft white daifuku, glutinous rice, and stuffed with sweet bean paste with a fresh strawberry on top. The confection is the image of a princess in a beautiful costume wearing a  woven hat, called a mekasa, which is made of thin monaka wafer.

At ¥480 yen per piece, orders will be accepted until February 12 through the crowdfunding site Makuake. It will be available at Kasho Ninomiya stores for about a month from April.  

The idea came from a local strawberry farmer, Masataka Nakano, 44, and confectioner Shigeki Ninomiya, 57. Their hope is that this unique and beautiful Japanese pastry will remind people “not to forget the Kumano Kodo region.

(Click here to read the Japanese article.)

Author: Sankei Shimbun