For over 320 years, 八ッ橋yatsuhashi (cinnamon-flavored cookies) has been loved as one of Kyoto’s specialties. When 生八つ橋nama-yatsuhashi (cinnamon-flavored sweet with sweet red bean paste inside) was created in 1957, everyone was surprised by the combination of a soft cinnamon-flavored outside similar to mochi with tsubu-an. In March 2011, 聖護院八ツ橋Shogoin Yatsuhashi opened nikiniki which introduces a new twist to nama-yatsuhashi with ingredients new to the traditional type. The name, “nikiniki”, comes from NyQ2, the abbreviation for Neo Yatsuhashi Quarter.
To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a yatsuhashi fan but the shop at the intersection of Kawaramachi and Shijo is so cute, not to mention the goods sold there, so I couldn’t resist stopping by before work in late October last year.
There’s a system where one can put together his own nama-yatsuhashi sweet but I opted to get one of the ready-made boxed sets, le gâteau de la saison; the theme was Halloween at this time.
I ended up getting two sets: “trick-or-treat (candy and ghost)” set, ￥210 and “jack-o-lantern (jack-o-lantern & witch’s hat)” set, ￥210.
I ended up just having the candy one and sharing the rest with my co-worker and her two daughters (they all would have tasted the same anyway). It was good, made me crave some green or other bitter tea. I wouldn’t mind making my own sweet sometime.
Update: Well over a year after I last went, I took Maki and Dominique, a former flatmate from their studies in England who was visiting from Taiwan, as well as another flatmate in town and Dominique’s former student who is studying in Kyoto at the moment to nikiniki when Maki invited me to spend time with them in early February.
the 2014 Valentine sets, one of which Dominque purchased
the usual fare: to the left, five types of balle (シナモンcinnamon, レモンlemon, バニラvanilla, 黒糖kokutou (brown sugar) and くるみkurumi (walnut)), and to the right, carré de cannelle, nama-yatsuhashi that the customer can make to his liking by picking the コンフィconfi, or filling, and nama-yatsuhashi
I didn’t get any this time because I had bought enough food along the way but I’ll be going back when I crave some Japanese sweets.☺