Mizu yokan (red bean jelly): a well-known Japanese winter sweet in Fukui

Mizu yokan in Fukui
These are Mizu yokan in Fukui (source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

March/4/2021

Mizu yokan (水ようかん、水羊羹 in Japanese) is a well-known dessert in Fukui. It’s also called decchi yokan.

Mizu in mizu yokan means water in Japanese. Yokan is one of the most well-known Japanese sweets. Mizu yokan contains more water than usual yokan. In general, the ingredients for mizu yokan are adzuki bean paste, sugar, and kanten agar.

Mizu yokan in Fukui
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

Mizu yokan is eaten by people all around Japan. There are a lot of kinds of yokan in Japan. However, mizu yokan from Fukui has interesting characteristics.

  1. It’s juicy.
  2. It’s slightly sweet.
  3. It’s eaten in winter.

Fukui’s mizu yokan contains less agar than mizu yokan from other places, so it’s juicy. It isn’t too sweet, so you can eat a lot of it.

Usually, people in Japan eat mizu yokan in summer. However, people in Fukui eat it in winter. There are various reasons for this. One of them is that Fukui’s mizu yokan has a low sugar content, so it couldn’t be stored for a long time at room temperature back in the days when there were no refrigerators in homes. Because of this, it was eaten only in winter. (Winter in Fukui is very cold, so mizu yokan could be stored at home without a fridge.) This custom still continues.

There are at least 80 stores that make mizu yokan in Fukui Prefecture. Each store produces a different flavor, color, and texture. You can enjoy eating usual mizu yokan and also roasted green tea mizu yokan, Earl Grey mizu yokan, and coffee mizu yokan.

People in Fukui love mizu yokan. In winter, families buy a lot of them and eat them together.

Mizu yokan in Fukui
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

Why do people in Fukui love its mizu yokan?

They say that the balance of flavors is good. It dissolves in the mouth, and the subtle sweetness is nice.

How can you eat mizu yokan?

When you buy mizu yokan in a box, there’s a spatula like a spoon in the box. Use this to eat it.

Mizu yokan in Fukui
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

When you eat mizu yokan, try to enjoy looking at the color, tasting the flavors, and appreciating its texture and shape. It’s said that the shadowy and meditative color of yokan is a unique characteristic of Japanese culture. The texture of mizu yokan is between solid and liquid, and its sharp rectangular shape is beautiful.

Egawa's Mizu yokan
Egawa's Mizu yokan

I’ve experimented with various ways of eating mizu yokan. First I had it in a box. It was just the right sweetness – not too sweet. It contained plenty of water, so the texture was very smooth. I thought that everyone from children to elderly people would enjoy eating this sweet.

Mizu yokan in a cup

Next I ate mizu yokan in a cup. It contained chestnuts, and I enjoyed eating the adzuki beans and chestnuts together. The calories totaled 119 kcal. Tourists might like the mizu yokan in a cup because it’s easy to eat.

Where can you buy mizu yokan in Fukui?

You can get it at gift shops in Fukui Station, gift shops in the shopping complex called Happiring, which is next to Fukui Station, and supermarkets in Fukui. You can buy mizu yokan in a cup at gift shops in Happiring.

Eat mizu yokan and experience Japanese food. If you come to Fukui, give it a try.

(References)

「福井 地理・地名・地図の謎」(編:実業之日本社)(実業之日本社)

「和食は福井にあり」(向笠千恵子)(平凡社)

「福井県謎解き散歩」(編:松原信之)(新人物文庫)

「福井の冬の風物詩水ようかん」(福井県観光営業部ブランド営業課)

「日本銘菓辞典」(編:山本候充)(東京堂出版)

「ようかん」(虎屋文庫)(新潮社)

「陰翳礼賛」(文:谷崎潤一郎、写真:大川裕弘)(株式会社パイ インターナショナル)

「秘密のケンミンSHOW 極 2021年2月11日放送」(読売テレビ)

Author: Taru

Thank you for visiting my site. I was born in Fukui, and I now live in Fukui. I would like to know more about Fukui, and I also like to tell people around the world about Fukui. My hobby is reading books. I practice and learn English every day. This blog's articles are checked by native English speakers.

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