Close to Chionji Temple‘s Sanmon gate, a couple of cafes and restaurants sell the local specialty, Chie no Mochi (智恵の餅) or Wisdom Rice Cake in English. The cafe we recommend the most is Hikobee Chaya (彦兵衛茶屋). You will hardly miss it when you walk towards Chionji’s Sanmon Gate. The large lady figure in Kimono is really eye-catching. The Chie no Mochi made by this traditional-style cafe is somehow more delicious than its competitors!
Table of Contents
- The Origin of Chie no Mochi
- Hikobee Chaya (彦兵衛茶屋)
- Hikobee Chaya’s Business Hours and Access Information
The Origin of Chie no Mochi
The red bean-paste-covered rice cakes were originated by an old lady who deeply respected the Monju Bodhisattva. Day in and day out, she would sell these rice cakes in front of Chionji’s Sanmon gate.
Whenever she saw young children, she also gave out her rice cakes to them. Among the children who had eaten her rice cakes, there was one boy who was the cleverest and was the closest to her.
One day, the head priest of Kyoto’s Daitokuji Temple visited Chionji. He was surprised by how wise the child was. The old lady told the highly respected monk that she had been selling rice cakes at Chionji because she had a dream about the Monju Bodhisattva. The child was wise because he often ate the rice cakes offered to Monju Bodhisattva. Since then, the rice cakes the old lady sells have been called the Rice Cake of Wisdom.
Hikobee Chaya (彦兵衛茶屋)
The traditional style cafe was opened around 400 years ago, at the beginning of the Edo period.
Because it only uses Habutae rice (羽ニ重餅米) to make the rice cakes, the mochi is extra white and is softer than the regular rice cakes. Habutae is the best type of glutinous rice to make Chie no Mochi as it has the right amount of chewiness.
Hikobee Chaya’s Chie no Mochi are all handmade a couple of times a day. So when you visit the teahouse, freshly made rice cakes will be made available on the shelf. If you are lucky, you will get to enjoy the warm mochi that is extra delicious. When we were there, the freshly made ones were sold out in less than an hour!
If you have time, take a seat in the cafe. The traditional setting has the best ambiance for enjoying Chie no Mochi. The complimentary tea goes well with the rice cake. More tea is available in the hot water pot on the table.
Hikobee Chaya’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Hikobee Chaya is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
- The cafe is a 5-minute walk from Amanohashidate Station.
Discover the Attractions in Amanohashidate
Now you know how to have morning or afternoon tea at Amanohashidate, it is time to figure out what attractions you want to visit on the day!
Check out our article on Amanohashidate to find out what else you can do there and how the 5,000 pine trees can grow on the 3.6 km sandbar surrounded by seawater!