Must buy Kyoto’s Halal souvenir, Shogoin Yatsuhashi.

Taste is tradition.

Have you decided what to buy in Kyoto? Many people will go to Kyoto during their vacation in Japan. When you go to Kyoto, you will find so many “Japanese souvenirs”, including products from Shogoin (聖護院). Shogoin is a name of the temple, which is now became the name of the area. The name is used for whatever the items that represents the area, just like Shogoin Radish or Shogoin Yatsuhashi, which we are going to introduce to you!

Their items are purely made from Halal ingredients and quite low risk of contamination. When you visit Kyoto, just head to a souvenir shop and get one of their items, and your souvenir task is done!

You can also check the following articles for Halal souvenirs from Kyoto.

Tell us about their products.

Shogoin’s main product is called Yatsuhashi. It is interesting that the history of this sweet is very unclear and not so much is known. Shogoin Yatsuhashi started their business in 1689, so at least they have more than 350 years of history. Now, this is the most iconic Kyoto’s sweet. Though there are some different recipes, Yatsuhashi itself is Mochi, chewy rice cake with a shape of rectangle.

There are three types of Yatsuhashis.

  • Yaki Yatsuhashi (八つ橋)

It is usually called just “Yatsuhashi”, but sometimes it is called as Yaki Yatsuhashi, a baked in Japanese, to differentiate from other Yatsuhashis. Soft chewy Mochi is baked to crispy, just like a very hard cookie.

  • Nama Yatsuhashi (生八つ橋)

Nama in Japanese means raw. As name indicates, Yatsuhashi is not baked and the texture of Mochi can be enjoyed if you choose this type. There are few flavors, but the most common flavors are Matcha and Cinnamon called Nikki. There are also some limited editions available such as Cherry Blossom Sakura, Chocolate or Banana.

It can be either with or without Red bean paste.

Nama Yatsuhashi with red bean paste.
Nama Yatsuhashi without Red bean paste
Credit: https://shop.shogoin.co.jp/

How should you choose which one to buy?

Now you know there are different types of Yatsuhashis, and wonder which one to buy. The biggest difference is the expiry date.

Nama Yatsuhashi probably is more popular as a souvenir from Kyoto, however, because it is raw and moist, the expiry is very short. As no preserve is used, the expiry date for Nama Yatsuhashi is around 10 days, however, as the products can be dry it should be consumed within 3 days. This can be difficult if you are bringing back to your country.

Yaki Yatsuhashi, on the other hand, can last a lot longer. It usually lasts for 60-90 days. If you are buying one for your friend but not sure when you can really hand them your souvenir, then Yaki Yatsuhashi is our recommendation.

If someone does not like sweet red bean paste, then choose Yaki Yatsuhashi or Yatsuhashi without red bean paste.

What’s inside Yatsuhashi, are they Halal?

Here are the ingredients of Yatsuhashi, cinnamon flavor.
Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon, Poppy seed, Syrup, Soybean powder

Yaki Yatsuhashi and nama Yatsuhashi are made from the same ingredients, but the ratio could be different.

Expiry date: Yaki Yatsuhashi 90 days, Nama Yatsuhashi 12 days
Price: Yaki Yatsuhashi 270 yen
Nama Yatsuhashi with red bean paste 680 yen, without red bean paste 680 yen

Shogoin Yatsuhashi can be bought in major souvenir shops in Kansai region, as well as in the airports.

Enjoy the taste of Kyoto!

It is a great news that Kyoto’s most famous and popular souvenir can be Halal or Muslim-friendly! Bringing back their product will definitely please your friends. We hope you can enjoy the taste of Kyoto back in your country, too.

Information as of May 2023.  The product is not made as Halal or Muslim-friendly, so there is a small risk of contamination, which we cannot be responsible of.  Please consume at your own risk.