Japanese sweets made with wooden molds

Mamehana Workshop

takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Takuma Kimura

 

Tucked in a quaint little side street in Takamatsu City is the Japanese wood mold carving atelier Mamehana. You can see Mr. Ichihara at his work desk from the parking lot outside through the window, with his head tilted down and his eyes focused on the task at hand.

For forty years Mr. Ichihara has carved some of the most intricate designs imaginable into the wooden molds that are used in producing traditional Japanese sweets or wagashi. Choosing from the dozens of tools that he personally handcrafted, he brings images of cherry blossoms, roses, carp, chrysanthemums, country homes and anything that you can imagine out of the wood.

Sweet shops across the country often commission Mr. Ichihara to produce molds for them, but his work is not limited to confectioneries. His molds are also used in creating incredible glass sculptures which are used in high-end shop displays.

One of Mr. Ichihara’s standout pieces is a glass goldfish that is absolutely sublime in form and color. It rests in the display case as if in suspended animation.

The workshop is next to a small retail shop where you see a large selection of molds that are on display as well a few objects produced from them. Apparently, the larger molds are quite popular with collectors abroad.

Mamehana offers a Japanese sweets-making experience that is conducted by Mr. Ichihara’s daughter. Advanced reservation is required as they can only accommodate 8-10 participants.

 

About the Area

Takamatsu City is the commercial center of Shikoku and has a urban feel that is befitting to the title. Its lovely boulevards and well-developed port area create an ambiance that is truly cosmopolitan.

Must-see spots for visitors include, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu Castle, the central shopping arcade and the port area art installations.

Yakuri Station is the entry point to the Yashima district of Takamatsu City, which is well-known for its temple near the summit of the unique and iconic table top-shaped Mt. Yashima. The vista from the mountain is highly-prized and well worth the effort to get there. However, to best appreciate its entire shape, the view from Sunport Takamatsu Symbol Tower is recommended.

Yashima is notable for its eateries, many of which serve the renowned local specialty, udon noodles.

 

Access: Take the Marine Liner from JR Okayama Station to JR Takamatsu Station. Take the Koutoku Line to JR Takamatsu Station to JR Ritsurin Station. Mamehana workshop is 10-minutes walk from JR Ritsurin Station.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee