An Exclusive Seasonal Treat: Higashiya Ginza’s Sekki Mochi
Japanese sweets or “wagashi” are intimately connected to the seasons. But the Japanese calendar recognizes more “seasons” than just the big four. It’s also divided into 24 sekki, known in English as “solar terms.” Imported from China along with the rest of the calendar early in Japan’s history, the concept of sekki quickly took root and became an essential part of the traditional Japanese sensibility.
The wagashi artisans of Higashiya Ginza were inspired by this tradition to create sekki mochi: sweets reflecting the subtle changes in color, fragrance, and flavors associated with each solar term—and available only for a few hours each month! Sekki mochi are a kind of asa-namagashi, literally “fresh sweets made in the morning,” designed to be eaten on the day they are made. The artisans of Higashiya Ginza are known for their mastery of this medium, offering everything from beloved classics to to original creations like nanakusa daifuku and risshun daifuku.
For a few hours on the first Sunday afternoon of each month, Higashiya Ginza release a new sekki mochi. Why not drop by one month and experience this exclusive gourmet treat for yourself?
“Kinome mochi”, the sekki mochi for April 1, 2018. The fifth sekki of the year, “Seimei” (“Clear and Bright”) is when the new Japanese pepper shoots (kinome) emerge. Kinome mochi combine that refreshing sharpness with sweet white miso paste, all wrapped in soft gyuhi mochi.
“Ayuyaki,” the sekki mochi scheduled for May 6, 2018, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Gyuhi mochi with a hint of the smartweed that comes into season around “Rikka” (“Summer Begins,” the seventh sekki)—all wrapped in light, mouthwatering egg pastry.
Higashiya Ginza Sekki Mochi
Available: First Sunday of every month, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Higashiya Ginza
Pricing: 270 JPY each (including tax) or set of four (in kyogi wooden box) for 1,000 JPY (including tax)
Note: Only available while stocks last.
Botamochi are traditionally enjoyed on the vernal equinox. Higashiyama uses mochi rice steeped in sweet mitsu and offers three fillings: chunky bean paste, smooth bean paste, and kinako (sweet roasted soybean flour). This year, a demonstration was held allowing visitors to watch the artisans at work creating these sweets.
Address: Pola Ginza Building, 2nd floor, 1-7-7 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Telephone: +81 (0)3-3538-3230
Address: 3-17-4 Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Telephone: +81 (0)3-5414−3881