世界に誇る「水の山」プロジェクト ABOUT "MIZUNOYAMA" PROJECT
Hakushu mineral water is used to make new handmade Japanese sweets.
Thick brown-sugar syrup and mellow tasting roasted soybean powder are added to springy and puffy Japanese rice cake (mochi). The name (of this sweet), Shingen Mochi, comes from the Grand commander of Kai (old name for Yamanashi), Lord Takeda Shingen; the sweet representing the love for the prefecture. The Japanese sweets shop Kinseiken in Hakushu, Hokuto city is the origin of this Shingen Mochi.
The underground water of Mt. Kai-Koma is used to prepare the Japanese sweets. The renowned water refines and deepens the taste.
The countrywide acclaimed shop is every day bustling with locals and tourists.
The once-flourishing post station still has many houses remaining from old times. The building was an inn at the time and is now home to the Japanese confectionery store Kinseiken. The shop was established in 1902 (Meiji 35).
The Japanese sweets made with mineral water polished through the bare granite rock formations of Kai-Koma-ga-take are without preservatives or artificial sweeteners. The pure local water brings out the distinctive taste of the ingredients.
"The water in Hakushu is the underground water from the Minami Alps. We use this water mainly cooking raw materials such as red beans. When heated, the water will evaporate, but the minerals and other components will stay behind. It is the water that enhances the taste of the raw material instead of the water diminishing it. " says Mr. Koichi Ono, the 4th-generation director of Kinseiken, carrying forth the 110 year's tradition."You could say that the tab water in Hakushu is basically groundwater, therefore, when you open the faucet you will get renowned water. Such benefits keep the production of Japanese sweets alive.
"An important Japanese sweet representative for our shop is the Shingen-mochi. The ingredients for making mochi (sticky rice cake), are one part mochi-rice and one part water. Because half of its ingredients is water, the taste of the mochi will differ greatly depending on the water quality."
In addition to the Shingen-mochi, other sweets that use the delicious mineral water of Hakush such as Meisui-manju, and Water-Shingen-mochi are gaining popularity."
In particular, Water-Shingen-mochi, a jelly dessert. It is only sold on Saturdays and Sundays from June to September. The jelly will barely keep its form because of its high water content of 95%.
There is only a limited number for sale, it is therefore sold out shortly after it goes on sale in the morning. It all began with word-to-mouth, but now there are even inquiries from overseas.
"The water from this land is used without processing to make this Shingen-mochi. It is so soft that the moment you put it in your mouth it will burst and turn into water."
When it is left out of its container for 30 minutes at room temperature, it would lose its delicate taste. Therefore it can not be taken home and should be consumed in the store. This fact in itself attracted much attention.
Mr. Ono and all other staff members are always thinking about how to make the customers happy with sweets that make use of local water. The company holds active testing activities in-house to come up with new ideas to add to the menu besides Water-Shingen-mochi
For instance, Gokujiyou-nama-shingen-mochi (the finest rare Shingen-mochi) uses 100% Rihoku-mai (brand rice produced in the Hokuto area, Yamanashi pref. ) for the flour, and for the other half sugar to enhance the taste of the rice. The taste becomes even milder when adding "natural" to the product name. The expiration date is 3 days. We only sell in limited stores, therefore we hope people will try this wonderful taste.
In addition, the shop utilizes local blessings such as the use of the sake-kasu (lees) leftover from the production of high-quality refined "Shichiken" sake of the Yamanashi Meijo Co. Ltd brewery opposite the shop, by using it in baked castella, called Daikinjou-castella (cake); the result of an effort to find a new taste.
It is no exaggeration to say that the spirit and commitment of the staff, and the carefully one-by-one handmade labor, has created their deliciousness of Kinseiken.