August 06, 12 | Hokkaido Likers
This type of candy is found throughout Japan, however these are from the local Hokkaido area in the town of Asahikawa using Asahi beans.
This variety of soybean was first produced in the Asahikawa area in 1902. They were named (very simply) "Asahi Beans" to indentify them as being form the local Hokkaido area as Hokkaido is a trusted produce growing region. The beans had a simple flavor which matched to the area. These beans were limited just to the local area but have grown to be one of the most popular varieties.
The main gateway to Hokkaido used to be the Seiken ferry. These confectionary beans were sold here and became more and more popular. Nowadays, New Chitose Airport is the most popular gateway into Hokkaido and these sweets are among the most popular items for souvenirs in the airport shops.
Many Japanese like to buy produce products as souvenirs from the Hokkaido region due to the quality of products from this area. However shelf life is a major factor for both retailers and customers alike. As these beans have been fully processed and sugar coated they have a long shelf life which has further increased their popularity. During peak tourist periods (during the summer) and during Japanese traditional celebrations demand can often outstrip supply, so these sweets can sometimes be hard to find.
These confectionaries are still made in the traditional red brick factory they have always been made in. The beans and sugar (made from sugar beet in Japan) are mixed in a large vibration tumbler until they are coated then set. The process does not use any extra additives so although there is a high sugar content they are an all natural sweet.
Recently this sweet is produced in a 'mini bag' variety as well. These small bags have been adopted by the local school system to be served with school lunches.
"Hokkaido Graffiti Candy " or "Asahikawa City Beans" have now been in production for more than 100 years and have seen their popularity continue to climb. Why not grab a pack or two as great (and tasty) souvenirs when in Hokkaido?
◇ Kyousei Confectionery Co., Ltd.
16 Miyashita, Asahikawa
* Plastic bag (120g) 231 Yen
* Small box (bag 50g × 2) 315 Yen
* Large box (bag 50g × 6) 945 Yen