Kyoto Nest Project and Kogetsu Wagashi Omiyage

Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage
Kara Komoro Wagashi: An early summer wagashi shaped like a well dressed member of the imperial court, made of sweet jellied beans.

Itadakimono: Recently I have been helping several foreign students find some unique cultural experiences in Kyoto as part of our new OpenKyoto project. This is tentatively called the Kyoto Nest Project. After school and on weekends, these students have been rushing around Kyoto to do internships, research with artisans, musicians, weavers and so on.

Our first two of the ‘tamago’, (eggs, as they might be called in contemporary Japanese), sisters Leah and Meryl, are leaving Japan in a few days. Last night they took me out for dinner at Kyonaya and gave me a box of goodbye wagashi omiyage.

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

This wagashi is from Kogetsu. We haven’t reviewed Kogetsu on KyotoFoodie, but it is one of Kyoto’s powerhouse wagashi producers. Kogetsu has stores in the major departments stores all over Japan now. (They have 22 locations in just Kyoto now — a little much, I think.) One of the cliquey and adolescent Kyoto attitudes quite prevalent is that once a traditional Kyoto company goes national or gets big, most Kyoto people instinctively begin to criticize the company’s products even though they can never seem to give concrete examples of what went bad. While I have run into a few disappointments, I find that most of Kogetsu’s wagashi are excellent. Their sit down location in Gion is quite nice.

I have seen these Kara Komoro wagashi the last year or so, but I had never purchased them. The shape is based on the early kimono that came from China. You can these ancient garments in the Aio Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival) going on in Kyoto this month.

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi – Packaging
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

The Package
The wrapping I thought was very clever and cute, but when unwrapped it revealed a whole lot of waste paper and packaging. Traditional Japanese designs, especially anything traditionally ‘Kyoto’ abhors waste and excess. So, that was a little disappointing however wagashi packing today is often very wasteful and excessive. In the box or alone on a plate, the visual effect of this was indeed very beautiful.

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi – Unwrapping
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi – Served
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

The Taste
This wagashi is made with jellied bean paste and flavored with ‘Western liqueur’, the wrapper says. It was a nice, fruity, early summer taste but it was quite sweet, a little too sweet for me.

I guess that the form factor was a bit more novel than the taste. Never the less, I was very happy to get a wonderful, seasonal gift from my new friends Leah and Meryl. Thanks much and I hope you make it back to Kyoto in the future!

Kara Komoro Jellied Bean Wagashi – Opening the Box
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

First Two Tamagos, Sisters Leah and Meryl (and Me) at Kyonaya
Kyoto Nest Project and Wagashi Omiyage

Leah and Meryl are going to write about their Kyoto ‘Nest’ experiences and post an article each at OpenKyoto. Stay tuned.

2 Responses to “Kyoto Nest Project and Kogetsu Wagashi Omiyage”

  1. Anita says:

    we can’t believe that the inside of a beautifully wrapped box is more beautiful than the outside! thanks again for sharing your wonderful experiences.

  2. Congrats on your success with the Kyoto Nest Project. Internship and research sounds like a way to really experience the tradition! And yokan looks so pretty and so good.

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