Just wondered if anyone had any favourite shops/makers in Tokyo for karinto... thanks.
Many thanks for the Kagetsu tip. I stopped by yesterday and picked some up - and quite excellent they are too, deeply mellow and golden in colour compared to the near black of the cheaper brands.
By the wonders of modern technology, what is basically a single tiny counter in a backstreet of Tokyo with a couple of obasan running things now has an internet presence and online ordering:
That's a cool link. There is also a sub-link there to some of the remaining traditional shops in Yushima. When she first came to Japan, my wife lived in Yushima, and it is a very neat area. Sometimes I think I should move back there again. There is also a very famous karinto place in the GranSta shopping mall inside Tokyo Station. Very popular, one can wait 20-30 minutes in line to get served. Here is the link: http://gransta.jp/store/322-01.html
re: Uncle Yabai
Have you tried the one at GranSta (Nishonbashi Nishikihourin is the name)? I've seen the lines, and have been tempted to buy the karintou, but when I looked at the flavours I kind of thought the popularity was more about the gimmick (they have many flavours I've never seen as karintou--black pepper, kinpira gobou, negi miso, etc. etc.). I was especially tempted when the line was only 6 people long--the shortest I'd ever seen it!
If someone has tried them, and they're actually quite good, I'd be willing to try them!
Here's the website of the original shop if anyone is interested in seeing what they have http://www.nishikihorin.com/ .
The popular shop in Asakusa "Kozakura" (I believe that is the reading, the kanji are "small" and "sakura") is at
Better yet, they also sell at the Takashimaya in Nihonbashi so you don`t have to go up to Asakusa. Having worked at Takashimaya, I was always surprised at how popular these karinto are, often selling out.
On the link, if you scroll down, you can see the box is always wrapped in this blue and white paper with pink ribbons. At Takashimaya in Nihonbashi it is sold in "Meibutsu" (regional specialties) area between the sake department and Lemon Fruit Parlour.
A couple of weeks ago I wandered into Azabu Karinto, which makes and sells dozens of flavors, some sweet and some savory. I tried #20, a dark molasses-like coated one, and I was hooked. They also make a fresh bean-paste-based snack to order, but I couldn't figure out what it was.
It's on the main small street of Azabu-Juban, which runs from just behind the Tsutaya Roppongi Hills and the Singaporean hawker restaurant to the Azabu-Juban crossing, on the left-hand side as one walks away from Roppongi Hills.