Onsen Trivia – Onsen Manju (Japanese steamed buns)
Manju (饅頭) (Amazon.com) is a traditional Japanese confection that consists of a steamed bun with a filling of sweet red bean paste.As Manju has about 700 years of history, there are various types and flavors of Manju.
Speaking of the type, Manju is divided into several types, based on the variety of the dough.Among them, the Manju with the bun made basically from wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking soda, called “Cha-Manju (茶饅頭)”, is the most common type.The steamed bun of Cha-Manju is soft and fluffy.
Onsen Manju (温泉饅頭) – The steamed buns sold in Japanese hot spring resorts
There are many variations of Cha-Manju in various places of Japan.For example, if you have some chances to go on a hot springs trip in Japan, you will notice that many of the souvenir shops in the hot spring resorts sell a steamed bun named “Onsen Manju (温泉饅頭)”.
The steamed bun, Onsen Manju, generally refers to the Cha-Manju sold in Japanese hot spring resorts.In fact, the steamed bun has become a standard souvenir when we Japanese visit Onsen resorts.Some traditional Japanese inns and hotels in the resorts serve Onsen Manju and hot Japanese green tea as the room service during or after check-in.
The birthplace of Onsen Manju
Speaking of the birthplace of Onsen Manju, there are various opinions about that, but it is generally believed that Ikaho Onsen (伊香保温泉), a famous hot spring resort in Gunma Prefecture, is the birthplace of Onsen Manju.
Specifically, Onsen Manju has its origin in a Dango (団子) (Japanese confectionery) shop in Ikaho Onsen.The name of the shop known as the birthplace is “Shougetsudou (勝月堂)”.
As Emperor Showa purchased quite a lot of the steamed buns when he visited Ikaho Onsen in 1934, the shop and its steamed buns made a splash.By the way, the Onsen Manju sold in Ikaho Onsen is known as “Yunohana Manju (湯乃花饅頭)”.
Shop Information : Shougetsudou (勝月堂)
- Address : 9 Ikaho, Ikahomachi, Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture (MAP)
- Open : 9:00 to 18:00
- Irregular holidays