August 14, 12 | Takako Chiba
Marimo is a characteristic type of algae that grows in Lake Akan in eastern Hokkaido. The Algae grows in rather cute, perfectly round, green balls. The balls start small and can grow to soccer ball size. This strange little algae is designated as a Japanese Natural National Treasure which helps protect it and the lake it grows in.
More recently however, the algae has found popularity in its cute round green form and thus many characters, toys and sweets have popped up in its guise. Adding to these is the 'Yokan Marimo' or 'Sweet Bean Marimo'.
Yokan Marimo is a long selling souvenir of Lake Akan and was designed for the purpose of promoting the area and the special little algae that thrives in the lake.
The sweets are made from a type of bean jelly and then wrapped in a non-toxic, rubber sleeve. To eat you pierce the rubber sleeve and peel much like an orange. However many kids love to simply make a small hole and then squeeze the ball and watch the jelly ooze out. (Eating them like this is something Japanese kids love to do but drives Japanese mothers crazy!)
Simply stab with a toothpick, then peel back. The sleeve comes off easily.
(The non-toxic rubber coating is not designed to be eaten but will not harm the human body if done so.)
Although the balls are green colored to mimic the marimo they are not flavored with green tea like many other sweets, but rather a general jelly flavor. They do however go very well with green tea and any other type of tea.
There are box sets and bag sets. This is perfect Hokkaido souvenir for friends or especially co-workers as many people can try one each with a cup of tea at break time.
● Marimo North Sea, Ltd.
Kushiro Confectionery Marimo North Sea, Ltd.
2-chome, 4-10 Akanko Onsen
TEL : 0154-67-2927
FAX : 0154-67-2933
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
※ Photos : Box photo courtesy of North Sea Marimo Confectionery.
Others by Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba.