Hiroshima, a prefecture located in the Chugoku region, is a popular destination with top tourist spots like the A-Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima) which is one of Japan’s Three Views. Facing the Seto Inland Sea, Hiroshima is also known for delicacies such as oysters and its very own okonomiyaki which is a must-eat for anyone visiting.
When there are sights to see, food to savour, there must be souvenirs to shop, too! Read on to find out a list of popular souvenirs from Hiroshima and where to buy them!
Momiji Manju もみじ饅頭
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Hiroshima’s most popular souvenir, Momiji manju is actually a maple leaf shaped castella cake traditionally filled with sweet red bean paste. It was invented in the early 1900s as a speciality of Miyajima, referring to the island’s famous maple viewing spot, Momijidani.
Among the many brands available, Fujiya and Yamadaya are two well-established brands for Momiji manju. The cakes come in a number of variants – not just red bean paste but also custard, chocolate, matcha, and even seasonal flavours like Mikan and lemon.
Nama Momiji 生もみじ
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While it might look and sound similar to Momiji manju, this new speciality of Hiroshima by Nishikido is actually a no-bake confection made from glutinous and regular rice flours. It comes in three types of fillings: koshian (smooth bean paste) with yuzu, tsubuan (coarse bean paste), and matcha. The texture is moist and chewy, more like a mochi than a Momiji manju.
Hitotsubu no Muscat ひとつぶのマスカット
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This jewel-like dessert by Kyorakudo is made by wrapping each freshly picked, premium muscat grape with a thin layer of gyuhi (a type of soft mochi). Simple, juicy and fragrant, the slight acidity of the grape and the sweet gyuhi go perfectly together. It is available only between May and September, during the muscat harvest season.
Kaki Marugoto Senbei 牡蠣まるごとせんべい
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Made by Maruichi Shoten, this flavorful snack is perfect for those who prefer a savoury munch! Making use of two famous products of Akitsu town: oysters and potatoes, it is made by studding each potato cracker with a whole oyster and then grilling it until golden and crunchy. It is hard to stop once you start eating it, goes well with beer and sake too!
Setoda Lemon Cake Shimagocoro 瀬戸田レモンケーキ 島ごころ
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Hiroshima is the largest producer of lemons in Japan, so expect to see many lemon products that you can take home as souvenirs! The most popular of them all is lemon cakes – financier, madeleine, roll cake etc., they come in various shapes and sizes. Shimagocoro is notable as it is made with the juice and marmalade of Setoda’s wax free, carefully cultivated lemons. Enjoy a delicious cake with a rich lemon flavour!
Kawadori Mochi 川通り餅
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This classic wagashi (Japanese sweet) by Kameya is consisting of bite-sized gyuhi mochi with walnut in the middle and plenty of toasted soybean powder as a finish. It is not too sweet and has been a local favourite for years (the history of kawadori mochi dates as far back as the 1300s!). Since it is a fresh confection, it is best to consume it soon after purchase.
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The most interesting thing about this wagashi by Yamadaya is that it can be served three different ways: at room temperature, chilled/ frozen, or warm. Made from glutinous rice flour and generously filled with red bean paste, the chewy manju crisps and puffs up when baked lightly in an oven or microwave, delicious when enjoyed with a cup of tea!
Onomichi Ramen 尾道ラーメン
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Onomichi is a city in Hiroshima known for its unique style of ramen, which features a clear soy sauce based broth made from small fish from the Seto Inland Sea and pork loin fat. Besides visiting the city to have the ramen, several local ramen shops have also come up with ramen gift boxes so people can recreate the delicious taste at home. If you love ramen, this is something you should definitely check out!
Innoshima no Hassaku Jelly 因島のはっさくゼリー
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Other than lemon, hassaku is another citrus fruit representative of Hiroshima. First discovered in Innoshima Island, the fruit is featured in some very popular local sweets such as the Ganso Hassaku Daifuku 元祖はっさく大福 which is a mikan-flavoured mochi filled with white bean paste (shiro-an) and a large piece of hassaku flesh.
But since it only keeps for 3 days and needs to be refrigerated, you can have the daifuku while in Hiroshima and bring home this jelly as a souvenir. Filled with chunks of hassaku fruit, the refreshing jelly is loved by both kids and adults. Serve it chilled or frozen for a sorbet-like texture!
Kumano Brushes 熊野筆
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80% of the brushes produced in Japan come from Kumano, a town in Hiroshima with almost 200 years of brush making history. The brushes, known as Kumano Fude in Japanese, are known for their exceptional quality – still handmade using traditional techniques, with great care and attention being put into the making process.
Of the brushes they produce, the makeup brushes are world famous, even though the calligraphy and painting brushes each have their own followers too. Why not get these exquisite brushes as a reward for yourself or as a wonderful gift for your loved ones?
Rice Scoops 杓子
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Wooden rice scoop or “shakushi” is one of the most popular souvenirs from Miyajima which signifies good fortune. Its origin dates back to the late 1700s, a monk who was sympathetic to the difficult lives of the islanders taught them to make rice scoops as a souvenir of Miyajima. He drew his inspiration from Biwa, a musical instrument associated with the Buddhist goddess of Benzaiten.
Even today, these shakushi are still handmade using natural woods without any sort of coating. They get more beautiful as you use it – the colour turns deeper and the texture smoother. Apart from shakushi in the form of kitchen tool, you can also find shakushi for decorative and gifting purposes, often with well-wishes written on.
Where to buy
Most of the items in the list, especially the food souvenirs, can be found at souvenir stores like Hiroshima Yume Plaza and Nagasakiya, as well as department stores. On Miyajima, the sando street leading up to the Itsukushima Shrine is lined with souvenir shops and is a good place to shop for traditional handicrafts including the rice scoops.
Hiroshima Station is also an excellent place to buy souvenirs. There are many omiyage shops inside especially around the Shinkansen entrance, and in shopping areas like ASSE and Ekie, recommended for those who have little time to shop around.