Mas Fujita and brother Yuki arrive every day at 4 AM to make mochi and manju from old family recipes. During the holidays, they begin as early as 2 AM. They learned their craft and dedication from father Masayasu, who opened Sakura-Ya in 1960, naming the Japanese confectionary in honor of the iconic Japanese cherry blossoms, sakura. They offer mochi, made from rice flour, and manju, made from regular wheat flour.
Mochi typically last three days, but they instructed me to eat Ohagi the day I bought it. The inside-out confection featured red bean paste on the outside and sticky rice on the inside. Orange mochi was a rectangle of orange-flavored mochi, with no filler.
The only items I didn’t buy were the kiku pancakes (since they were sold out) and the special variety of mochi wrapped in sakura that the bakery produces for Hina Matsuri (Japanese Girl’s Day), where people pray for girls’ happiness and health. If you’re interested, the holiday falls on March 3 this year.
For people who like red beans and don’t need desserts that lead to a sugar rush, Sakura-Ya is a great match with a meal at one of the many local Japanese restaurants, and a prime destination on its own.
December 16, 2011 at 6:09 PM
We love your mochi and manju. I will be calling in an order on Tuesday for pick up on Thursday, 12/22/11. I hope that is OK.