Japanese sweet shop with gallery space
The typical sweetie souvenirs from Matsumoto could easily be “shinmito” from Kaiundo, “baby cream bum” from Masamura, or “metoba no tsuki” from Okinado.
There might be a different opinion but I would choose “metoba no tsuki” (moon at metoba) for friends who are away from and miss their hometown Matsumoto. Some would agree that the youth’s mental landscape of Matsumoto must include the views from the city, Matsumoto Castle and the Metoba-river.
“Okinado Kuranomise” is located at Kuranomachi Nakamachi Street. It has two warehouses at the back of the shop; one built in the Edo-period from the 17th-19th century and the other one was built during the Meiji-period in 1906. There is also a courtyard. All together this provides a calm and healing space.
Okinado was originally founded in the Uramachi area in Matsumoto in 1911 and Mr. Kiuchi, the current president, is the 3rd generation. There are other Okinado besides this one on Nakamachi Street. There is the home store and café Okinasabo on Nawate Street, and the Ekimae store near the station which opened in 1978.
Inside the warehouse of Okinado
One of the warehouses at Okinado is a gallery space showing Mr. Kiuchi’s favorite antiques, paintings and ceramics. The other warehouse is filled with Okinado’s history as told through the Japanese sweets. There laid out are ranges of old wooden molds for Uchigashi and Ohigashi, and old sketchbooks with designs for custom-made sweets. Although they are valuable historical references, you are welcome to pick them up to have a closer look. Come and see for yourself these beautiful designs that will amaze and impress you!
All sweet names are related to the castle
Most of Okinado sweets are named in relation to the castle, for example Tsukimi Yagura (moon from turret), Goten Mochi (Palace rice cake), and Matsumoto-jo Kokuho Yokan (Matsumoto castle national treasure sweet bean jelly).
So many Okinado sweets have won awards at the “National Confectionery Exposition” since the Taisyo-period in the early 20th century, and those old recipes are still intended to be preserved. The shop believes in only handmade items and prefers to have only a few shops in order to maintain the quality of the sweets.
With same effort to preserve the old, the shop produces one new sweet every three years as it responds to new trends. Okinado is established but haven’t forgotten to progress.
Tsukimi Yagura (moon from turret) and Metoba no Tuski (moon at Metoba)
Mr. Kiuchi’s belief
The “trip memories” is a sign-in book for customers to put their photographs and comments in that has been going on for over 10 years.
Mr. Kiuchi believes that the “good thing about having a small shop is to be able to have direct contact with (their) customers”, and, whenever there is a chance, he opens a friendly chat with customers while providing free tea services.
He especially likes to share stories about Matsumoto-castle and places of interest with tourists.
There are even regular tourist customers, such as those who visit Masumoto more than 5 times a year, or who stay longer than 10 days, who regularly come back to the shop to enjoy a chat with Mr. Kiuchi.
Mr. Kiuchi said, “I think efforts in friendly contact with customers help in creating an attractive city that interacts, as if it to have ‘kodama’ (echoes)”.
A message from the owners
Where do you recommend visiting in Matsumoto?
A: Susuki-river (view of North Alps from where monument of Manyo Kahi is.)
A message to our customers:
Enjoy a sweet shop with an arts and crafts gallery.
|Name||Okinado Kuranomise (翁堂 蔵の店)|
|Specialties||Confectionery, Tea room|
|Location||3-4-16, Chuo (Nakamachi Street, Japanese Map)|
|Closed||The first and third Wednesday every month|
|Credit Cards||Not accepted|
|Access||15-minute walk from Matsumoto Station|