Thursday, April 5, 2012

what are meibutsu?

Meibutsu are local specialties. Most cities have their own special foods and crafts, but Japan has raised this to an art form. While some, like elaborate carvings from Kamakura and Pawlonia furniture from Saitama can be very expensive, I'm focussing on what are basically "omiyage": the gifts you bring back from a trip for co-workers and family members. But real meibutsu are more than just souvenirs. They should be locally grown or made - something unique to that place, with a sense of history and a story. Well, that's how I define them. New tourist spots like Skytree near Oshiage are inventing new souvenirs, but whether they become "meibutsu" will depend on time. Stamping a picture of a tower on a cookie does not make it special! 
So, this blog is an excuse for me to try lots of yummy things and photograph them on my travels, but it's also very much about the packaging and design and the stories behind them. Why Tokyo Banana snacks? What are yatsuhashi? Let's find out. What's your favourite meibutsu? 

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