Uiro (a sort of sweetened steamed cake made of rice powder) (ういろう (菓子))
The term Uiro refers to a sort of sweetened steamed cake made of rice powder. It is also called Uiro or Uiro-mochi.
It is a famous product in Nagoya City, Odawara City, Yamaguchi City, Ise City, Gifu Prefecture, Kyoto City, Tokushima Prefecture, Nakatsu City, Nagata Ward of Kobe City, Miyazaki City and elsewhere.
It is made by adding sugar to the powders such as rice, warabi and flour and steaming it, and the kind of powder varies among regions. Other ingredients such as an azuki beans and powdered tea are added in some cases. For details, refer to the sections on The Uiro in various places.
The sweet called Uiro originates from Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and it is thought that the sweet for guests of the Uiro family (Odawara), which produced a folk medicine named Uiro, was sold under the name Uiro after the Meiji period all over the country. It is said that the Uiro was first sold at a stand on the platform of Nagoya station in 1931 and that it became famous because only Uiro was permitted to be sold in the train after the opening of New Tokaido Line in 1964.
In addition, the word 'Uiro (ういろう or 外郎)' is a common noun and is not permitted to be used exclusively as a brand name.
The Uiro in Nagoya City
The Uiro in Nagoya City is made by adding sugar to the flour mainly made of rice; and steaming this.
Usually black sugar is added, but white sugar is also added in some cases.
The Aoyagi Uiro of the Aoyagi family (founded in 1879) has variations including Uiro with white sugar, black sugar, green powdered tea, azuki bean (called agari) and cherry blossoms. It is a long-established store with more than a 130 year history and is the largest producer and seller of Uiro in Japan. In addition, 'Frog manju' (frog face-like steamed bean-jam bun) and 'Kishimen pie' (flat wheat noodle-like pie) of the main branch of Aoyagi family are also popular as a souvenirs of Nagoya City.
The Uiro which is produced by Osu Uiro Inc. (founded in 1948), the head office of which is in Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya City, is 'Uiro' (registered brand) and 'Nairo' is a kind of Uiro using an azuki bean.
The Uiro in the Ise area
In the Ise region, Uiro with black sugar was traditionally eaten.
Toraya Uiro (Ise City) currently produces and sells Uiro. It is characterized by the slight difference in texture because it uses flour as an ingredient instead of rice powder like in other areas and has a short expiration date because it does not include preservatives. There are over 35 variations by ingredients.
The Uiro in the Yamaguchi Prefecture
The Uiro in the Yamaguchi Prefecture is made by adding sugar to the powder of bracken and steaming it.
Other ingredients include azuki beans and powdered tea. They are different from the Uiro in other regions, and are characterized by a plain texture that melts in the mouth and reminds one of warabi-starch dumplings.
In Yamaguchi Prefecture, Uiro is produced not only in Yamaguchi City but also in many other areas, among which Iwakuni City is known for its famous product called Furuta no Uiro. Shunan City also used to have a famous Uiro product Harayo Uiro although this closed down in May 2006. Furthermore, it can be purchased at any stand on the Shinkansen bullet train stations in the Yamaguchi Prefecture.
It is said that the process of manufacture of Yamaguchi Uiro was invented by Jirosaku AKITSU in Yamaguchi City, Suo Province in the Muromachi period. After that, he was given the trade name of Fukudaya by the lord of Choshu domain and started a business along the present Hagi Okan (Hagi Highway) at Ouchimihori in Yamaguchi City. This Uiro was favored by Chuya NAKAHARA, but closed down due to the death of their successor in the Pacific War. However, since an employee of Fukudaya founded Mihorido and a person who favored the Uiro of Fukudaya founded Toshiro, the taste of the Yamaguchi Uiro has been passed on.
The Uiro in the Tokushima Prefecture
They are collectively called 'Awa Uiro.'
In Tokushima Prefecture, various Uiro such as those using refined sugar made from sugarcane in Japan, Stick Uiro mixed with koshian (pureed bean jam) and processed into a stick shape, 'Hitokuchi Uiro' (one bite-sized Uiro) and 'Kuri Uiro' (chestnut Uiro) using chestnut can be found. It is said that it was made at home for special events such as Shichi-go-san (a day of prayer for the healthy growth of young children).