Onsen Trivia : Onsen Manju (Japanese Steamed Buns)
“Manju (饅頭)” is a traditional Japanese confection consisting of a steamed bun with a sweetened red bean paste filling. The Japanese steamed bun has about 700 years of history, so in modern times there are various types and flavors of Manju.
When it comes to the type, Manju is classified into several types based on the variety of dough. Among those, the Manju whose bun is made from wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking soda, “Cha-Manju (茶饅頭)” is the most common type. Cha-Manju is characterized by its soft fluffy dough.
Onsen Manju (温泉饅頭)
There are many variations of Cha-Manju in various places of Japan. For example, if you have a chance to go on a hot spring trip in Japan, you will notice that many souvenir shops in the hot spring resort are selling a steamed bun called “Onsen Manju (温泉饅頭)”.
Actually, the steamed bun, Onsen Manju generally refers to the Cha-Manju available in Japan’s hot spring resorts. It is a standard souvenir when we Japanese visit Onsen resorts.
Not only that, but some traditional Japanese inns and hotels in the resort also serve Onsen Manju, together with hot green tea, as a service during or after check-in.
The Birthplace of Onsen Manju
As for 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, it is said that Onsen Manju originated in a “Dango (団子)” confectionery shop in Ikaho Onsen, “Shougetsudo (勝月堂)”.
Since Emperor Showa purchased quite a lot of Shogetsudo’s steamed buns when he visited Ikaho Onsen in 1934, the confectionery shop Shougetsudo and its steamed buns made a big splash afterward.
By the way, the Onsen Manju sold in Ikaho Onsen is known as “Yunohana Manju (湯乃花饅頭)”.
Shop Information : Shougetsudo (勝月堂)
- Address : 9 Ikaho, Ikahomachi, Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture (MAP)
- Open : 9:00 to 18:00
- Irregular holidays
(Reference page : Wikipedia 温泉饅頭 )