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by Julia LiMarzi June 01, 2019

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DAIMONJI AME HONPO

Established in 1921

Located in Kyoto

Koichi Ota of Daimonji

Koichi Ota, 5th Generation of Daimonji

Daimonji Ame Honpo is one of Bokksu's oldest friends, so it's fitting that they are the subject of our very first Maker Story. Daimonji occupies a small storefront brimming with candy on Nishioji-Dori. In our opinion, their handmade candy is the best around! They always blow us away with their ability to transform any flavor into delicious candy.

When we visited, we spoke with Koichi Ota,

5th generation candymaker and son of the current president. Their small, family-run operation has been passed down for almost 100 years since its founding in 1921! They began as a confectionary wholesaler, only starting to make their own candy in 1946. In 1954, the company was officially renamed Daimonji Ame Honpo.

Walking through the store is like stepping into another era. The shop sits in an older Kyoto style-building called unagi no nedoko (meaning "eel bed") for its long deep shape. The narrow store has displays and a small counter for ringing up. Behind this counter is a door to the workshop where they make all the candy. A small team of men and women with a lifetime of experience make fresh batches every day to stock the shelves.

Daimonji craftsman making candy

Daimonji craftsman making candy

Handmade Apple Candy

Sold out

Sold out
Handmade Mikan Candy

Sold out
Handmade Persimmon Candy

Sold out

Walking through the store is like stepping into another era

The atmosphere and production process brings to mind the wordshokunin, "artisan". Touring their workshop and store, you can tell they take pride in their work. To make the candy, sugar syrup is cooked until it reaches a specific temperature. It is then poured out to cool until it is malleable, and the experienced craftsmen begin expertly mixing in the flavor and kneading the candy by hand. It takes years of practice to learn the exact timing and movements necessary to produce quality candy and to be able to tell when mixing is complete just by the texture. After being mixed, the candy is cut and shaped before being wrapped and packed by hand.

Every candy Daimonji makes reflects their attention to detail, and we are so honored to partner with them to create new innovative flavors like Yuzu Sake crafted only for Bokksu. If you're ever in Kyoto, stop by their store and you can even try your hand at candy-making with one of their classes.

Danny, Momoko, and Ota-san discussing future candy flavors

Top: Momoko, Danny, and Ota-san discussing future candies
Bottom: Inside Daimonji's Store

Candy-making in progress
Julia LiMarzi
Julia LiMarzi

Julia has two passions in life: traveling and food. She fell in love with Japan during her first trip to Tokyo and studied Japanese in college. She loves all things Studio Ghibli, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, and spends her free time baking or reading.