We can now feel the signs of autumn. It is a good season, neither hot nor cold, and there is no pollen. The number of delicious foods is increasing, and naturally, our appetites are also growing.
Founded in 1946, Okame is a popular sweet shop in Ginza. 1930s, the predecessor of Okame opened a store called Futagawaya in Fukagawa, and later opened the main store in Yurakucho. At the time of its establishment, it was located on Asahi Street, a busy entertainment district where the Asahi and Yomiuri newspapers were located, and was open from 10:30 in the morning until 3 or 4 at night, attracting not only housewives and students, but also dancers from the Nichigeki Theater and hostesses from the Ginza clubs. It seems that it was a place for a wide range of people to relax, which is different from the current image of a sweet shop. Later, as the generations changed, the restaurant became a folk art style, with a new signature menu and a new look that changed from the traditional sukiya style to a folk art style.
Many of the furniture in the stores is made by Matsumoto Mingei Furniture, and you can enjoy anmitsu (sweet bean paste) on tableware made by a potter from Aizu or a spoon made by Sori Yanagi. The decorations are also unified with "folk art" including Keisuke Serizawa's stencil dyeing, which is stronger and warmer than ornate decorations, and a smiling Okame-mask greets you at the entrance. Many of the ladies who serve tea in the store are also my age, which also makes me feel at ease.
My favorite dish at Okame is the Zao Anmitsu. It is made of agar agar topped with red bean paste and soft-serve ice cream reminiscent of the ice on the Zao mountain range. The key point is that the red bean paste is not azuki but kintoki-mame (red kidney bean paste). Kintoki-mame contains three times as much polyphenol as black beans and 1.5 times as much dietary fiber as soybeans. This is ideal for removing active oxygen, improving the intestinal environment, and strengthening the immune system. The beans are larger in size than azuki beans, so they have a strong presence and a simple yet robust flavor.
The signature dish, ohagi (rice cakes), is also a must. I often bring them home as souvenirs, and since they are quite large and made to order, I feel happy just to be handed a slightly warm package of o-hagi. It makes me feel happy to be Japanese. In addition to sweet dishes, oden, yakishimen, and ozoni are also available. Am I the only one who wants to eat something sweet after something salty, and then go back to salty again? Be sure to stop by the endless Okame. And don't forget our Ginza showroom! We are waiting for you at the Okuno Building.
Kanmi Okame Yurakucho