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Release | Yoko Sasaki

Would you like a market-like shopping experience in Maruyama, the fashionable district in Sapporo (2)


Visiting around the standard tourist destinations are nice, but it is also nice to walk around as if you live there. 
When you feel like that, you should visit private shops in Maruyama, the popular district in Tokyo.
In part two, let me introduce a fresh seafood store, a meat shop, and a Daifuku shop. 


Expert eyes and honest business. Professionals also visit “Harahon Maruyama Suisan”

As I introduced in the part one, “Maruyama Market,” the market for both families and professionals existed until 2010 in the Maruyama district. The two people who worked for Hara Suisan Honten, one of the four fish stores in the market, got ourselves on our own from the shop and opened “Harahon Maruyama Suisan.” 

“The fish shop we were working for was called “Harahon-san” by customers. We asked the president if we could use the name ‘Harahon’ in the new shop. He kindly said yes. ” 

Koji Ito, the president, told me about the story. Masuhiko Kadota, who smiled and nodded next to Mr. Ito is Senior Managing Director. 

alt、▲伊藤さん(右)は刺身や干物、門田さん(左)は鮮魚を担当。店を切り盛りするお二人のあ・うんの呼吸は、見ていても気持ちがいい▲Mr. Ito (on the right) is in charge of sashimi and dried fish, Mr. Kadota (on the left) manages fresh seafood. Their combination feels somewhat nice when I saw it at the shop. 

The store displays countless fresh seafood selected by the two experts. You can purchase by a plate, and a plate contains about three to four slices or whole bodies with heads. 

When I asked for a smaller amount, Mr. Kadota told me to take only the amount I need. “We are happy to sell only one saury fish or one slice.” This flexibility is one of the good points of face-to-face sells. You can also choose what part of the slice you want; the part near to a head, a part near the stomach, whatever you want. 

alt、▲なじみ客にプロの料理人が多いこともあり、希少な釣りキンキや、大型の秋鮭が並ぶことも珍しくありません。円山地区は本州から転勤してきたお客さんも多く、「魚種の違いや豊富さに驚く人もいるよ」と門田さん▲As they have many professional chefs as regular customers, it is not unusual to see Tsuri Kinki or huge salmon caught at the end of August and the beginning of September. Many people who moved from the Honshu region because of transfers live in Maruyama district. Mr. Kadota said many people surprise to see different kinds and variety of seafood when they visit our shop.


The right way to eat and cut for the fish

“Do you want me to cut off head or internals? Did you want me to cut in three? I will do whatever you want according to what you are planning to cook.” Mr. Kadota never rests on moving his hands, watching customers, and talk to customers.

“This fish does not have much fat yet, but it’s tasty if you deep-fry it.” I heard Mr. Kadota talking like that to a customer. 

“I tell customers like that when it does not have much fat. We do honest business, so we don’t lie about products and tell the truth. It is not always good if there are much fat anyway. I think there are no problems by telling customers about the truth.” I can see how they are proud of their expertise from long experience with seafood. 

Their “sashimi platter” 2,100 yen attracts many fans and built trusts that people say they cannot have sashimi from other places once they have it. 

alt、▲ネタはその日によって変わりますが、赤身、白身、貝類など6、7種類を楽しめます▲The content varies depending on the day. However, you can always enjoy six to seven kinds including red-fleshed fish, white-fleshed fish, and shellfish, etc. 

Mr. Ito cuts seafood as he sees the stock of the day. People often purchase the sashimi platter for a home party or a celebration meal, etc. 

Hokkaido will enter a great season to have seafood as there will be more varieties. “My recommendation is salmon and ikura.” Mr. Ito said. “If you want a hairy crab, order in advance so I can stock a good one for you.” Mr. Kadota said. 

Even a first time visitor can get a warm welcome at “Harahon Maruyama Suisan” when you open the sliding door. They also ship seafood to different regions in Japan. Why don’t you stop by the fish store to check fresh seafood and their great personalities? 



Takahashi meat shop sells only high-quality meat which he is confident to say delicious 

“Takahashi meat shop” is located in “Mini Maruyama Market.” It’s a small market which few stores used to be in “Maruyama Market” gathered and opened. 

“My father established the store in 1945 and moved to ‘Maruyama Market’ when I was an elementary school student. ‘Maruyama Market’ was truly a large market and was very lively.” Osamu Takahashi, the owner of the shop, told me about the past. 

alt、▲「私なんか撮らなくていいから、その代わりに他のお店も紹介してください」と高橋さん。その穏やかで誠実な人柄を慕うお客さんが多く、ショーケース越しに献立の相談にのることも日常茶飯事▲“You don’t have to take pictures of me. Instead, please introduce other shops.” Mr. Takahashi said. Customers like his calm and honest personalities, and he often talks with customers and consults about dinner menu over the showcase. 

What kind of meat does Mr. Takahashi, the second generation who grew up watching his father, select and sell?

“I only recommend meat what I feel delicious with confidence. As for the pork, I offer Shiretoko pork which was not fed antibiotics. I stock half of a pig every day. I also chose Shiretoko Chicken, considering the safety of feeds. It does not have any unpleasant tastes. As for the beef, I mainly stock Furano wagyu and Shiraoi beef.” 

He naturally said Furano wagyu and Shiraoi beef. These two are in the top-class of many kinds of branded beef in Hokkaido. He stocks a chunk one or two times in a month for each and sells the amount customers ask for, by scaling in front of them.

He shows the product and scales in front of them then sell it. It makes customers feel safe to buy the food. There are much fewer opportunities to buy food like that, comparing to the past. 

alt、▲こちら、白老牛のサーロインで目方は約3.5kg。サシがきれいに入っていますね!ちなみに、この日のお値段は、100g1,380円。かなりおトクです♪▲This is an approximately 3.5 kilograms Shiraoi beef sirloin chunk. I can see the beautiful lines of fat! By the way, the price of the day was 1,380 yen for 100 grams. It is very reasonable. 

Other than that, he also offers various processed foods perfect for a side dish and bento boxes, such as “miso flavored pork (200 yen/piece)” which uses the miso made with the same recipe from the previous generation, ham made by the local manufacturer, and gyoza from “Houei,” the famous shop in Otofuke-Cho. 


Talking with members of the market and organize the products in the market as a whole

I noticed tofu, aburaage, shirataki, and konjac, etc., although the store is a meat shop. Mr. Takahashi, what is going on? 

alt、▲ガラスがぴかぴかに磨かれたショーケースの中にはお肉が、その向こうの冷蔵ケースには日配品や調味料などが並んでいます▲He displays many kinds of meat in the shiny glass showcase. I found other various groceries and seasonings in the separate refrigerator next to the showcase.  

“There is a vegetable shop, a fish shop, a liquor shop, a deli, and a flower shop in ‘Mini Maruyama Market,’ but there is no store to sell other various groceries. The owners of the stores talked about it, and we decided to sell different groceries in each shop. I became in charge of tofu, so I stock tofu-related products from a little far private tofu shop to avoid competition with the tofu shop in the neighborhood.” 
The members of the market do businesses as they discuss and think to become co-existent and co-prosperous and how to make customers able to complete grocery shopping in the market. 

“People who are not used to shop in markets increased and some people ask me where the register is,” Takahashi told me with a bitter smile. But the number of Japanese tourists who wish to walk around local markets is quite a lot. 

He will prepare homemade roasted beef for Christmas but told me to not promote about it so much as he can’t ship it to other places in Japan. It made me want to try more! I should check out his shop when it’s near Christmas. 



“Sasaya Daifuku” became famous from words of mouth, and it’s sold out every day

“Sasaya Daifuku” established the store here in 2015. Since then, the deliciousness spread by words of mouth and people knows their products become sold out every day before 3:00 PM snack time. The owner and a Daifuku artisan Atsutoshi Nakamura was the owner of a bar in Susukino. Why did he change the job?  

alt、▲中村敦俊さん(右)と職人のお二人。早朝4時から仕込みを始め、開店の9時までに、三人で300個、多い時は400個もの大福、おはぎを作りあげています▲Atsutoshi Nakamura (on the right) and two chefs. They start to prepare from 4 in the morning and produce 300, sometimes 400 Daifuku and Ohagi before 9:00 AM when the store opens. 

“I was born as a son of a Japanese sweet shop who offered Daifuku and other Japanese desserts at Ginza Shopping Street in Asahikawa. I was not interested in the family business and worked in Susukino for 25 years. However, I became interested in food after I got a child. One day, I came up with an idea to make a natural Daifuku without any additives and allergy source just like my father did.” 

As he had decided, now he just needed to take action. He tried different Daifuku in Sapporo and became confident with Daifuku his father made. After that, he sold the bar in Susukino and got trained by his father. 

Now he knows the recipe; he needed to supply ingredients. First, he thought about red beans. A guy he met at a bar introduced him a company in Tokachi, and he was able to supply Tokachi produced “Kitaroman.” 

Then the beans. Nakamura wanted to make “Mame (bean) Daifuku” as the main product, and when he encountered “Kurosengoku” from Hokuryu-Cho, he thought he should use that kind of beans. He could meet the chief director of the agricultural association in the producing area with the help of his old schoolmates.

Mr. Nakamura’s passion moved the chief director. He introduced the glutinous rice breed “Kazenoko Mochi” which was also made in Hokuryu-cho. Mr. Nakamura was surprised by the quality, and he instantly decided to use “Kazenoko Mochi” for his daifuku.

As he encountered people, he could secure the high-quality ingredients as if a thread became loose. 

alt、▲北竜町産、幻の大豆とも呼ばれる極小黒大豆「黒千石」を使った「塩豆大福」180円。「ささや大福」の商品はすべて、防腐剤、保存料一切不使用です▲“Salty Mame Daifuku” which uses “Kurosengoku” from Hokuryu-Cho is 180 yen. The tiny black soybean is sometimes called legendary soybeans. All products in Sasaya Daifuku do not use any preservatives. 


He passes the flavor from his father to the next generation 

Sasaya Daifuku offers about 8 kinds of handmade mochi products depending on the seasons: including the signature product “Salt Mame Daifuku,” “Kinako Daifuku” with black sugar paste, “Yomogi Daifuku” with strong aroma of mugwort, and ohagi made with red bean paste, smooth bean paste, kinako, and sesame. 

“We are very much particular about the paste. I use high heat in the end process and add heat in a short moment. Also, I use a larger amount of salt than usual to make sweetness stand out.” Nakamura said. He told me that it takes about 8 hours to prepare red bean paste. 

alt、▲ひとつひとつ、ていねいに手で丸められているのがわかる顔立ち。あれもこれもと、つい手が伸びてしまいます▲Their products look like it is made carefully with hands. The display makes me want many pieces. 

Local customers visit Sasaya Daifuku as soon as the store opens. People in different generations love Mr. Nakamura’s daifuku which he got passed from his father to the next generation. 

“My father has passed away already, but I think he had my daifuku one time. He did not say anything, but I believe he thought it’s good enough.” Mr. Nakamura told me. The name of the shop also comes from his father’s store called “Sasaya Confectionery.” 


Related Links

- Harahon Maruyama Suisan
- Sasaya Daifuku
  • Would you like a market-like shopping experience in Maruyama, the fashionable district in Sapporo (2)

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Yoko Sasaki