Wasanbontô – Rare Japanese Sugar


Naturally refined Sugar. Produced in eastern Shikoku by cooking down Sugar Cane juice with an addition of Lime, letting it crystalize, pressed to remove molasses, kneaded with addition of water to remove more molasses, pressed and kneaded until deemed finished. This is then dried in a small block and sold broken up, mainly to Wagashi confectionary shops. The taste is sweet, with a hint of molasses. The texture is of a melty quality, not seen in any other sugar variety. Powdery like icing sugar but once it hits the mouth it just disappears without any trace.

Traditionally sugar was only produced in the southern islands of Ryûkyû and Amami, both under Satsuma Domain control, who used this monopoly to make more money. This was only broken when a pilgrim from Amami became sick while touring Shikoku (88 Temples related to Kûkai) and was healed by a local Clan doctor. This pilgrim smuggled sugar cane out of gratitude, but to hide it, he chose thin specimen, hiding them between bamboo rods. So even today, the sugar cane used is a thin variety. If it had not been for Kûkai, who had lived around 1000 years earlier, the pilgrimage wouldn’t have been established. This sugar would have never been produced…