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- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Uiro, azuki beans
- History/origin/related events
Various local confections have developed in Kyoto, including rakugan, which is made by molding dough mixed with sugar and syrup in a wooden mold; wasanbon, which is made by molding high-quality wasanbon sugar in a wooden mold; and ariheito, which is made by boiling sugar and syrup together and molding it by hand. Mizunazuki" is another local confection traditionally eaten throughout the prefecture. It is made of white Uiro (rice cake) topped with azuki beans and cut into triangles.
During the Heian period (794-1185), the court people used to take a sip of ice stored in an icehouse in the Nishigamo district of Kyoto's Kita Ward to get rid of the heat. At that time, ice was a luxury item, and the common people rarely had the opportunity to eat it. It is said that this is why people began to eat "mizunashi" (waterless moon), which is shaped like ice.
In Kyoto, on June 30, "Nagoshi-no-harae," a Shinto ritual to purify the "sins and impurities" of the six months from January to June, is held at shrines in various parts of the city. During this ritual, mizunagetsu is eaten to drive away sins and pray for good health and good fortune. The triangular shape of mizunashizuki is a symbol of ice to ward off the heat, and the red color of the azuki beans is meant to drive away evil spirits.
Kyoto Prefecture has designated mizunazuki as a "traditional Kyoto food" as it is an artistic food based on the culture of the imperial court and the tea ceremony nurtured in Kyoto. In designating it as such, the prefecture has established the following criteria: all products must be made by hand, and wooden molds must be hand-carved.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Mizunazuki is eaten during "Natsukoshi-no-harae," a Shinto ritual to pray for good health on June 30, the last day of the year, and is a traditional food.
- How to eat
The Uiro dough is poured into a steamer basket and steamed, then lined with large Dainagon azuki beans or amanamame (sweet soybeans) and steamed again. It is common to buy ready-made Uiro. It is best to cool it down a little before eating to enjoy its cool texture. In recent years, not only white Uirou but also modern variations such as green tea, brown sugar, and chestnut flavored Uirou have been sold.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Wagashi is sold at wagashi stores and supermarkets on days other than June 30. Some people make them at home to celebrate "Natsukoshi-no-harukeri" (summer purification).
Since it is designated as a "traditional Kyoto food" by Kyoto Prefecture, its appeal is being communicated both inside and outside of the prefecture.