The confectionary shop, Kameya Kiyonaga, was established in 1617 during the Genwa period. 65 years later, in the Tenwa period, a certain treat became very popular in Kyoto. This treat was sold at a stand around Kiyomizuzaka in Kyoto. It was a baked rice cake: flat, rounded, red Adzuki bean paste was covered with dough made from Uruchi rice powder and baked. The shape and the silver-like color of the treat resembled a hand guard of the Japanese sword, so, it was called “Gintsuba.” (“Gin” means silver and “Tsuba” means hand guard.)
After 40 years (in the Kyouhou period), “Gintsuba” was brought to Edo, Tokyo. The ingredient of the dough changed from Uruchi rice powder to light wheat flour and the name also changed from “Gintsuba” to “Kintsuba.” There are several reasons why the name has changed. One reason is that people in Kyoto used Gin, silver, as their currency, but Kin, gold, was used in Tokyo, so the name was changed to reflect that difference. Another reason for the name change may have been because the Tokyo people maintained a spirit of rivalry with the Kyoto people, but there are various opinions on these reasons.
After that, the popularity of “Kintsuba” spread everywhere in Japan. It is said that the shape of “Kintsuba” changed to the now common square style in the Meiji period.
As a Japanese confectionary maker, my creativity for making Kintsuba rose when I read a part of a famous novel called “Bocchan” written by Soseki Natsume. Here is the part of the novel:
“Since my mother passed away, Kiyo (Bocchan’s nanny) loved me more and more. In my child’s mind, I sometimes wondered why she loved me that much. I thought, “It’s useless. Why don’t you stop being nice to me?” I felt sorry for her. But Kiyo still loved me a lot. From time to time, she even bought Kintsuba or Koubaiyaki (a rice cracker) for me with her own pocket money.”
Soseki had a sweet tooth. So, I imagined that he must have been writing this part with a mouth full of Kintsuba, which motivated my creativity a lot.
Evolving over 200 years, people’s wisdom and thoughts changed the shape of Kintsuba from round to square and the name from Gintsuba to Kintsuba. Today, Kintsuba is a representative of traditional Japanese confectionaries in Kyoto, its place of birth. This time we created our new product, “an epochal Kintsuba,” to show our respect to such a dramatic history.
We knew that the appearance wouldn’t be great for posting photos on Instagram, but we kept the traditional look of Kintsuba. We took the effort to make a great taste using Kintsuba’s own subtle and clear sweetness. You can enjoy this Kintsuba with Japanese tea or even with champagne.
We hope to help create a new history of Kintsuba from Kyoto.
1 piece 378yen
2 pieces in a box 756yen
Keeps for 21 days.
◆Written date of expiration is a rough estimate.
◆Please make sure the product is within
the “best before date” labeled on each product in advance of eating.
Business hours 9am-5pm
Closed on Wednesdays and irregular holidays
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◆The merchandise will be shipped to your address. ◆Full payment (cash) on delivery ONLY.