In Japan, “shokunin” which means craftsman in Japanese has long been respected While the word “shokunin” is often translated as a craftsman the true description of the word goes much deeper than that. For Japanese, a “shokunin” means someone who is pursuing a life”s dedication towards perfecting an art. These people will devote their whole lives to achieve perfection in their craft. In recent years, the spirit of Japanese craftsmanship have become globally recognized and people around the world are willing to go out of their ways to purchase items created by them. Ceramics, furniture and culinary are more famous representations on Japanese craftsmanship, but today we’re taking a look at one that’s often overlooked: Amezaiku.
What is Amezaiku?
In short, Amezaiku is a candy. Candy? Yes, that candy. Amezaiku is certainly not your average candy though, it’s a candy sculpture. Amezaiku is created by heating up the candy to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit which will make the texture of the candy become soft and flexible. After this process, Amezaiku artists will pull and bend the candy using their bare hands or traditional Japanese scissors to sculpt the candy.
The art of candy crafting in Japan dates over 800 years. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), it is said that the Amezaiku artists would walk around and sell amezaiku as street vendors to commoners. Amezaiku has been a source of entertainment to the Japanese for centuries. Even though the technique of Amezaiku has been passed down for generations, as modern snacks started taking over the market, the number of amezaiku professionals have plummeted.
A Rare Gem in the Touristy Neighborhood of Asakusa
As I mentioned above, coming across a store that specializes in Amezaiku is no easy task, Ameshin is one of the few Amezaiku shops in Japan today. Tucked away in the quaint and touristy area of Asakusa, judging from the outside Ameshin may come across as a run-of-the-mill shop. Take one step into the shop and you’ll find yourself gazing in awe at the beautifully sculptured candies that are displayed neatly against the wall. With black walls and wooden tables, there’s a modern yet minimalistic feel to Ameshin’s decor. Even though the lineup of pretty pieces of candy already makes Ameshin a pit-stop worthy destination, it’s the Amezaiku workshops that make this place a must-stop. If you’ve been looking for a hands-on Amezaiku experience, this is your chance. With the help of the craftsmen, you’ll be creating your own instagrammable bunny candy in under 2 hours. Note that you will need to book workshops in advance. (All workshops are held in Japanese, but there are English manuals available. ) The store also sells Amezaiku made by the craftsmen, so don’t forget to snatch up a piece as a gift or souvenir. Whether you’re a tourist planning on doing sightseeing in Asakusa or a long-time resident looking for an activity to spice up your date with your significant other, why not head over to Ameshin? – I promise you it will be a once in a lifetime experience. Ameshin also has a shop in Tokyo Skytree Soramachi, (However this location does not offer any workshops) stop by if you’re ever in the area.
Address: 1F Hori bldg, 2-9-1 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo 1110033
Closed on Thursday
・Skytree Shop (Does not offer Amezaiku workshops)
Address: 4F, TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-0045
Phone: +81- 3-5808-7988