Over 200 Years of History - Japanese Traditional Sweets in Kameya
Established in 1783, Kameya has spent more than 230 years making wonderful traditional Japanese confections called Wagashi. At the same time, it has also contributed to the maintenance of Kawagoe Koedo’s history and culture until the present. We had an interesting experience learning about traditional Japanese cakes at Kameya, a famous long-standing bakery in Kawagoe.
A Beloved Sweet Shop from Edo Period
Starting from 1783, Kameya has gone through many ups and downs and has now been passed on to its 8th generation.
Kameya was started by a man who was born as the third son of a samurai family in Nakano City, Nagano Prefecture in 1756. He was the first generation, and he decided to abandon the samurai path to become a merchant. He left his hometown in his mid-teens and decided to run a confectionery shop in Kawagoe, a town that was said to be second only to Edo in the Kanto region at that time.
After more than 10 years of confectionery training at Kameya Arai Kiyozaemon, he became independent and finally opened his own store at the current location of the main store at the age of 28 (1783). At that time, he received goodwill from the training destination and was allowed give it the name "Kameya".
For more than 230 years since its founding, Kameya has devoted itself to making sweets for all ages. From Edo to Heisei and the next era on, they hope can continue to make sweets without any compromise by striving to always improve its food safety and quality.
When the first owner died at the age of 56, his son-in-law adopted the name of the second generation. From this time on, it became a tradition of Kameya that the masters of each generation took the name "Kashichi". The second generation Kashichi followed the elegance of the first generation and further developed the family business with an attitude of not compromising on quality at all. In 2019, a new store bearing the name of Kashichi was opened.
Experiencing Wagashi Making
If you don’t know what to do this holiday, how about doing something fun with Japanese culture on the 2nd floor of one of Kameya shop named “Kashichi” inside Kawagoe?
This is the only place where you can experience making “Wagashi” in Kawagoe - the traditional Japanese cakes made from various types of sweet beans. The pictures below show two lovely Wagashi that we made in November!
How delicate and sophisticated they look! It takes around 45 minutes to create these cakes. That being said, it is not difficult to make Wagashi because the staff already prepares everything beforehand so that even beginners can create the sweets with ease. I promise that you can complete your Wagashi well, even better than me.
Furthermore, the types of Wagashi change every month!! So why not try making Wagashi every month in Kawagoe.
Recommendations for the Kameya Unique Sweets
Here are some recommendations for Kameya products you can buy at Kameya shops or other souvenir shops.
1. Kame no Monaka
It is sweet bean paste in the middle of a lovely bite-sized turtle shell shaped wafer. The sweet bean paste is made by carefully cooking azuki beans, and the varieties of monaka (wafer) are made of domestic glutinous rice.
The 6th generation of Kameya devised a number of representative confectioneries that still remain today, such as "Kame no Monaka", which means “in the middle of a bite-sized turtle shell”. However, due to the shortage of supplies during and after the war, Kameya, who did not make sweets with dark sugar, was finally forced to take a leave of absence in 1943. Only later in 1952 would the business resume.
2. Hatsukari Series
In the early Meiji era(1868~1912), this sweet potato confectionery was invented by Kashichi Yamazaki, the fifth-generation owner of Kameya. It was created by the foreman at that time. The fifth generation gave special attention to the sweet potato variety "Akabeni”. It was just discovered at that time, and the shop devised sweets and snacks using it. The snack below is made by cutting the “Akabeni” potato into thin slices and sandwiching it between iron plates. This became the originator of Kawagoe's specialty potato rice cracker. In 1906, they began manufacturing and selling it as a western confectionery.
3. Kame Dorayaki
The current Kameya 8th generation was appointed president in 1984. The 8th generation devises and develops products full of originality, such as the dorayaki "Kamedora" in the shape of a turtle shell and the cream puff "Koedo Kawagoe Shu" in the shape of sweet potatoes unique to Koedo Kawagoe.
4. Kogane Sweet Potato
A sweet potato-shaped confectionery with brown-colored skin and a white bean paste that has a unique cinnamon flavor in a simple appearance.
5. Koedo Toki no Kane (Koedo Time Bell)
It is a baked confectionery that combines milk bean paste and sweet potato bean paste that melts in your mouth. It was made to emphasize the famous Kawagoe Time Bell tower that would tell the town the time from the early Edo period. The snack conveys the image of Koedo from the past to the present.
Company and Shop Information - Kameya
- 4-3 Nakacho, Kawagoe City, Saitama
- Opening hours
- am10:00 - pm5:00
- Website (Japanese)
- 1-13 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe City, Saitama
- Opening hours
- am10:00 - pm5:00
- Japanese tradition Sweet Experience
2,200JPY / 1person on weekend or holiday (Language:Japanese).
- Website (Japanese)