The Tanaka Rice Shop is one of Hiroshima’s great survival stories. In business since 1885, it is one of my favorite little shops that can be found in the backstreets of our Ushita neighborhood.
As the name suggests, they specialize in rice, but they also sell seasonal groceries, cigarettes and sweets. It’s the sweets that my family and I always go for.
A visit to Tanaka is a very natsukashii, or nostalgic, experience for many Japanese people. As someone who grew up in Hawaii it also takes me back to my youth. I just love being reminded of the old dagashiya candy stores that used to be a part of every neighborhood.
The floor and front shelves of this retro-conbini are lined with plastic and glass jars which are stuffed with cheaply priced sweet, sticky and sour goodies.
At Tanaka’s, kids can spend ages filling up a little basket full of 10 yen to 50 yen candy treasures. My two loved working their way through the treasure pots and carefully selecting what they wanted. Every pot and basket is full of different colors of sweets by type and each different sweet has a unique picture on it which is often interesting, wacky or cute. While standing behind the kids looking on I even noticed a different fragrance wafting up from each area of different candies. Best not to go in hungry, but even if you get carried away- you won’t break the bank sweets shopping here. Two full baskets was just over ¥1,000.
I’m sure our kids will never again be impressed the rather limited variety of sweets available at most candy shops or in the normal and mundane sweets section of any modern convenience store.
We often head to Tanaka’s to fill up on goodie-bag treats for parties or to send to the cousins in England or America as souvenirs of Japan. These are always well-received by kids back home as they have never seen or tasted anything quite like the traditional Japanese style sweets available at Tanaka’s.
Opening hours: 08:00-19:30
Closed: Sundays and National Holidays
Address: 3-5-22 Ushita-honmachi, Higashi-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken
URL: http://www.hoozuki-town.com/link/tanaka/index.html [ja]