For an introduction to mochi culture in Ichinoseki: (Part 1 is here)
Ichinoseki/Hiraizumi boasts the largest consumption of mochi in all of Japan due its deep-rooted mochi eating traditions. Not only is it Japan’s biggest consumer of mochi, it also has developed over 300 variations of mochi cuisine which is the largest variety in all of Japan.
Today, we will explore many of the mouth-watering variations that the region has to offer as well as where you can find them. Sadly, we cannot delve into all the exciting recipes in this article, but if you would like to take a look at an extensive list of mochi cuisine ideas, here it is (Japanese).
First of all, let’s look at some of the traditional versions
1) Juune mochi: the flavor is similar to that of sesame seeds but it’s made by mashing perilla seeds.
2) Zunda mochi: the bright green color, the full aroma and deep taste of edamame pleasures the senses.
3) Ozooni: a light soy sauce-based mochi, also known as Hikina mochi.
4) Kagami mochi: a special mochi served during New Year's celebrations which is part of a soup, such as ozoni.
5) Anko mochi: red bean paste, the epitome of traditional mochi
6) Ebi mochi: the crunchy texture of tiny shrimp on the mochi makes it unforgettable
7) Natto mochi: natto (fermented bean curd) with a salty, sweet, soy sauce flavour.
8) Fusube mochi: flavored with grated burdock and loach
Now to the more contemporary creations
1) Mochi lasagna: Mochi inside lasagna
2) Mochi pizza: Mochi as the crust of pizza
3) Mocheese fondue: soft mochi dipped into rich cheese
4) Mochi milk tea: Come again? Mochi in milk tea?
5) Mochi sweets: Cute, delicious desserts
The best ways to experience an array of new mochi variations are at the Japan Mochi Festival in Ichinoseki and Mochi Smorgasbord (Genbikei Roadside Station) events. These events are held annually.
Here are some specific shops where you can find some traditional and contemporary mochi, I have left notes on places that specialize in certain mochi cuisine.