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Ozu’s Lively Confectionery Scene

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Ozu’s Lively Confectionery Scene


Discover shigure and other delicacies, legacy of a remarkable tea culture



A former castle town situated in southern Ehime, Ozu grew a strong tea culture due to its large concentration of samurai retainers and the active promotion of tea gatherings by the first Kato daimyos during the 17th century. Like other aspects of Japanese culture, tea, originally imported from continental China, developed into a specific form of entertainment.


Shigure, Ozu's traditional sweet.


Sweets became an essential part of the ritual and confectioners in Ozu have been diligently catering to locals ever since. Specific forms of wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), were conjured and have made it to the present-day. Among them, shigure, gessomochi, and bankeimochi are highly acclaimed. Gessomochi is a round-shaped warabimochi (a bracken starch dumpling covered in roasted soybean flour) filled with red bean paste, while bankeimochi is a soft, ginger-flavored confectionery made from glutinous rice flour and only available in September.


Shigure is mostly enjoyed in its plain version, but some options contain matcha or chestnuts.


Shigure, the signature local sweet, deserves special attention. A type of steamed cake made with red beans, rice flour and sugar, shigure has a mild sweetness that perfectly matches the sourness of a cup of green tea and has become a hallmark of the city. No less than ten producers can be found across town, each delivering its own peculiar touch to the recipe.


Traditional recipes have been preserved by local confectioners for generations.


The majority being concentrated in and around the historic center, looking for confectioneries and sampling different sorts of shigure while exploring old streets makes for a very entertaining discovery of the city.



How to get there


From Matsuyama Airport, take a taxi or bus to JR Matsuyama Station (15 minutes), then an express train to JR Iyo-Ozu Station (35 minutes). The city center is a 10-minute bicycle ride or 20-minute walk from the station.


Ozu-shi, Ehime-ken



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