Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture is a town where international exchange was performed as a first Western trading port in Japan.
Do you know a blue-eyed Samurai, Anjin Miura (William Adams) who is deeply associated with this town?
He was an Englishman who did a remarkable work under the absolute confidence of Ieyasu Tokugawa at the beginning of the Edo period.
He was a navigation officer who drifted to the shore of Japan in the year of 1600 (Keicho 5) just before the battle of Sekigahara. He rendered great services in Japan so that he was later given a Japanese name of Anjin Miura as well as a status of Samurai.
He came to Hirado in 1613 (Keicho 18) and made a great contribution to the opening of Dutch and English factories in Hirado.
Later he did a remarkable work under Richard Cocks, the Head of the Hirado English factory. He died from disease in Hirado in 1620 (Genna 6).
Hirado Tsutaya (Mansion of Anjin)
Typical sweets are “Kasudosu”, gold shining renowned confectionery (right) and “Gobo Mochi (left)
“Kasudosu” is said to have been brought by the Portuguese who visited Hirado. It is made by dipping “Kasutera”, a sponge cake, in the yolk and then coated with heated syrup and finally covered by sugar. What a gorgeous confectionery! Rich and luxurious sweetness!
My favorite is “Gobo Mochi” (right).
It is said to have been named “Gobo” because its shape resembles a burdock root (Gobo). However, it is a simple Hirado confectionery made only from rice wheat and sugar. They say they were cut long, in old days, like a burdock root and served depending on the number of the guests. It is outstanding that no matter how many guests may come, we can cope with it just by changing the depth just the same as a roll cake. Plump and sticky and the same feel in the mouth with “Uiro”, a sweet rice jelly. Poppy seeds with bubble wrap texture become an accent.
Both confectionaries are not only served during the tea ceremony of samurai Chinshin school but also distributed during happy events and memorial services in ordinal houses.
You can enjoy them with coffee and relax in the Japanese style room in the back. It is recommended to take a break with traditional sweets after strolling round the castle town of Hirado during the Age of Discovery.
Picture 6 The tomb of Anjin Miura (Sakikata Park)
The tomb of Anjin Miura had not been certain for many years. In was rather recently broadcasted that there is a high possibility that it is in Sakikata Park, Hirado city where human bones had been discovered during an excavation in 2019. A tomb of Anjin Miura was built in 1954 (Showa 29) in Sakikata Park which had been considered to be the tomb site of Anjin. Later in 1964 (Showa 39) as the 400th anniversary of his birth, stones from the graveyard of her wife in England were sent for as a symbol of her soul and buried together. A mound for the husband and wife was also constructed in the park.
Sweeping view townscape of Hirado downtown.
It is also famous for cherry blossoms and azalea. So, the coming season will be especially good for paying a visit.