This is the traditional Japanese technique for making rice-cakes!

Nakatanido is a Japanese confectionery shop located at the entrance of the Mochiidono shopping arcade and faces Sanjo street near the Sarusawa Pond in Nara Prefecture. This shop is famous for pounding mochi (sticky rice cake) at very high-speeds. You can see them perform in front of the shop and buy a fresh, additive-free yomogi-mochi (Mugwort rice cake).

高速餅つき


【CONTENTS】
How is mochi made?
Watch a 2-person team pound mochi at high-speeds!
The secret to making delicious mochi is pounding it at high-speeds!
Nakatanido’s top selling product, Mugwort mochi. Where does its green color come from?
Mugwort mochi is good to eat while walking!

杵と臼
Usu and Kine (large wooden bowl and wooden pestle)

How is mochi made?

Plump mochi looks so delicious. Do you know how to make it?
To make mochi, steam glutinous rice and repeatedly pound it in an ‘usu’ (large wooden bowl) with a ‘kine’ (wooden pestle) while it’s hot. See the image of the tools, pictured above. This is called mochi-tsuki, or pounding rice-cake. It’s usually only made for special celebrations such as New Year’s Day and seasonal festivals. Recently, pounding mochi with a machine has become more common, but Nakatanido still makes it by a hand and you can get a close look at the process.

Watch a 2-person team pound mochi at high-speeds!

The appeal of pounding mochi at Nakatanido is the amazing speed. It is said that they can pound it 3 times every second. This is team-work performed by two people; tsuki-te, the person who pounds the steamed rice with a pestle, and kaeshi-te, the person who flips it over in the wooden bowl stand while it’s pounded. You’ll be surprised at the amazing synchronization!

pound mochi at high-speeds!

pound mochi at high-speeds!

pound mochi at high-speeds

The secret to making delicious mochi is pounding it at high-speeds!

Pounding mochi has been performed since ancient times during the colder season, like during New Year’s Day. If they pound the mochi after it’s cools, it will not be as delicious. Finishing the process while it’s still hot is even more delicious, because it’s soft, yet firm.

This process is not just for show, it’s the traditional method for making delicious mochi.

Nakatanido’s top selling product, Mugwort mochi. Where does its green color come from?

The green color of Mugwort mochi comes from a plant called mugwort (image below).

Mugwort
Mugwort

Japanese mugwort is a perennial plant that grows naturally in each region of Japan. It has a distinctive aroma and was thought to purge poisonous air and noxious vapors. Japanese people eat this plant by boiling it and adding it to mugwort mochi.

Mugwort mochi
Mugwort mochi

This mugwort mochi is coated with toasted soybean flour and is very stretchy. It has a reputation for having the perfect combination of bitter mugwort flavor and the lightly sweetened bean jam.

Mugwort mochi is good to eat while walking!

Mugwort mochi is good to eat while walking!

Nakatanido’s top selling product Mugwort mochi is 130yen/piece. Eight of them will cost 1,000yen. When you buy it at the shop, you’ll get it wrapped in paper. Enjoy eating it while strolling around town (as of August, 2016).
Rice crackers are also sold.

The mochi pounding performances are irregular, because it depends on their sales. It does seem that it’s quite frequently performed during the afternoon when they get a lot of customers. You’ll know when they’re performing, because there will be a crowd of people in front of the shop.

Nakatanido is easy to drop by, because it faces the street. When you visit Nara, stop by this shop!

Nakatanido

Map

29 Hashimoto-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.

Information

Address 29 Hashimoto-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
Hours 10:00-19:00
Price -
Close Non-schedled holidays
Access 5-minute walk from Exit 2, Kintesu Railway Nara Station
Phone 0742-23-0141
Website http://www.nakatanidou.jp (Japanese text only)