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Ariheito, a Type of Traditional Candy

Confectioneries in Kyoto has been uniquely developed in harmony with the long history and the rich cultures in town. In the end of the Muromachi (室町) period, people from Portugal introduced a varieties of sweets, such as castilla (カステラ), Konpeito (金平糖, coloured small sugar candy), Ariheito (有平糖, decorative sugar candy) and Keiran-somen (鶏卵素麺, noodle-like candy made of egg and sugar).

When those sweets were introduced, Japanese people were enchanted by the tastes, because the ingredients, such as sugar, oil, and egg, were very precious and difficult to get at that time.

Among those, Arihirato has the origin of its name in a Portugees sweets called Alfeloa. Tsuruya Yoshinobu (鶴屋吉信), a long established confectionery in Kyoto, produces a variety of hand made Arihirato products with names of districts in Kyoto, such as Nishijin (西陣), Sagano (嵯峨野), Gion (祇園), Kamogawa (鴨川), and Uji (宇治).

Each version expresses the scenery of the district: Nishijin expresses bright and gorgeous world of Nishijin-ori (西陣織, Nishijin brocade), Sagano reflects the fresh green color of bamboo forests, Kamogawa represents the water flow of the Kamo river, Uji in green tea color reminds me of the elegant world of the Tale of Genji (源氏物語), and Gion (祇園) presents the active bustle of Hamanachi (花街, town where Maiko and Geiko reside and work).

It’s fun to have candies thinking about the places, the sky, mountains, and the winds, in Kyoto.

Akane Kibune

Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade

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