Innoshima Island is located along Shimanami Kaido, which connects Hiroshima with Ehime. Some of you may know it as the home of Japanese band, Porno Graffiti, but did you know that a certain citrus fruit was also born on the island?
To discover the answer to that question, I departed on a journey to Innoshima Island!
And suddenly I found the answer!
Believe it or not, the roadsides of Innoshima are lined with Hassaku orange trees! Near Hassaku road, there is a temple in which the original ancestor of the Hassaku tree is enshrined. It is said that the origins of the plant lie in pure coincidence; cross-fertilization occurred naturally within the temple grounds in the late Edo period.
And now we know that the Hassaku orange is the name of the citrus fruit that originates from Innoshima Island. To find its “authentic flavor” I headed over to…
“Hassaku-ya”! If you take a good look at the sign, you can see “Hassaku daifuku” written next to the name of the shop. Hassaku and daifuku (stuffed, glutinous rice cakes)… What on earth do they taste like?!
Here it is! This is Innoshima Island’s specialty, the Hassaku daifuku. The juicy golden yellow fruit has been gently wrapped in white bean paste and glutinous rice cake.
I watched the sweets being made, and, believe it or not, three sections of orange are used in just one daifuku! (Depending on the size of the sections, some may have two.) All of the work stages are done by hand, from making the rice cake and sweet white bean paste to peeling the oranges, wrapping the oranges in the rice cake, packing , and shipping.
And so, how was the anticipated flavor?
That’s right, it’s so delicious I wanted to let out a giggle! The bittersweet Hassaku orange is combined with just the right amount of sweetness from the white bean paste and the soft rice cake… Each ingredient brings out the best in the others to create a unique delicacy. I just can’t get enough of the texture of the Hassaku, either!
There’s a space for eating and drinking in the shop from where you can even enjoy a view of the islands and bridge on the other shore. If you have a Hassaku daifuku while admiring this scenery so characteristic of the Seto Inland Sea, all your travel fatigue will surely just fade away!
Mr. Kashiwabara, the owner, is from Innoshima Island. Apparently he began making Hassaku daifuku at 52 after trying his hand at various other occupations. “Delicious, ain’t it?” he asks with an amicable smile, doubling the delicious flavor of the daifuku.
Come and visit Innoshima Island and try out the Hassaku daifuku, packed with love!
Setouchi, Island Tour : Innoshima Island
The island was the headquarters of the Innoshima Suigun pirates who were active on the Seto Inland Sea during the Japanese middle ages. The reconstructed Suigun Castle, rare even on a national, also has a museum. In addition to the Hassaku oranges introduced this time, the island is also known as the area of the origins of a citrus fruit called anseikan, as well as the birth region of Honinbo Shusaku, a famous go player.
Address: (within the grounds of Innoshima Ohashi Memorial Park)
HP: http://0845.boo.jp/hassaku/ (Japanese)
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