Specialities of Miyajima
There are many special products, such as oysters, eels, sweets shaped like Maple leaves, and much, much more.
Oyster farming goes back about 450 years in Hiroshima, and about 330 years in Miyajima. Oysters farmed in Onoseto are excellent in terms of their flavor, taste, and texture. There is an oyster festival every February when you can satisfy your appetite with delicious oysters.
Eels from Onoseto, facing Miyajima are special, with a soft texture and lots of flavor. Anago Meshi is a dish of eel grilled with soy sauce and placed on freshly cooked rice. It became popular in the Meiji period as a station lunch box. Eel sushi is also popular, and the local sushi rolls always contain eel.
Momiji Manjyu were first created about 100 years ago, in 1906.
The female manager of the Ryokan (inn), Okami asked a Japanese pastry chef, who often had business dealings with her, to make something special for Miyajima. This is said to have been the beginning of Momiji Manjyu.
There are many flavors like chocolate, custard, maccha, cheese, and also smooth red bean inside the maple shaped castella. We can taste freshly baked Momiji Manjyu in Miyajima.
Another story of the origin of Momiji Manjyu is that when Hirobumi Ito visited Miyajima during the Meiji period, while looking at the charming hands of the girl working at a tea house, he said to her jokingly, “How tasty it would be if I could eat baked sweets shaped like maple leaves.”
The female manager of the tea house was listening to him and made Momiji Manjyu from the scatterd maple leaves as her motif. Since then, more research has been done to improve the ingredients and the method. Now it has become a special sweet worthy of praise not only in Miyajima, but also in Hiroshima.
There are about 20 manufacturers of Momiji Manjyu in Miyajima, and each have their own special characteristics. It is fun to taste different types of Momji Manjyu in Miyajima.