Okinawa Tourism Information:TheTraditionalSweetswithLongHistoryfromRyukyuDynastyEra【JahanaKippanShop(NahaCity)】

The Traditional Sweets with Long History from Ryukyu Dynasty Era
【Jahana Kippan Shop (Naha City)】

post : 2016.11.10 19:00

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

When I opened the door in the early morning before the opening of the shop, a sweet aroma was spreading throughout the shop. Simmered winter melons were just taken out from a huge pot, and they were shining gold like honey and lined up in front of me. 

“Would you like to try the freshly made one?”

I accepted a kind offer and tasted it.  Freshly made tougatsuke (simmered winter melon) featured well-balanced condensed taste and juiciness, and also had both good parts of dried fruits and fresh fruits.

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

“We made these products because I want everybody to try this taste,” and the manager of the shop showed me 2 products; “Tougatsuke with Shikwasa Flavor” and “Tougatsuke with Rum Flavor.” (350 yen each) The traditional recipe of making tougatsuke is to simmer winter melons with simmering water which has been replenishing and using for decades, and then sprinkle sugar on each. Each product was made with new process to enjoy freshly made taste. 

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

While following more than 300 years of tradition, staffs also add recent taste as much as they can, and put time and effort to make traditional tougatsuke with older method.

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

Also, “kippan” was served to Chinese and Japanese envoys along with tougatsuke during Ryukyu Dynasty era. A taste of kippan is impressive, and its tastes reminds of a mature dried fruit or dried persimmon that aged for a long time. This impressive taste is created slowly with time, and it is hard to express by word. I was surprised when I found out that the taste was created by using simple ingredients: 5 different kinds of citruses and sugar. These citruses are very similar to indigenous citruses that can be cropped in Yanbaru (Northern Okinawa).

“Kippan is made only by hand because its finish will be different depending on not only heat, but also temperature and humidity,” Jahana, the manager, told me. Staffs are not able to relax from beginning to finish during the process of making kippan. Especially, the most difficult works are drying and coating all of them with sugar after making them into balls. I saw the process of coating, and staffs were coating them with liquid sugar quickly only by hands. The move was worth to call as a good hand movement. 

Photo provided by Jahana Kippan Shop

“Both kippan and tougatsuke go well with ham and cheese because their fruity flavor and sweetness cover the saltiness of ham and cheese softly.” 

Jahana succeeded her grandmother’s job through her father 7 years ago. She met her husband when she was enrolled at a university in Osaka. He was from England, and she moved to London after graduated from school and got married. She also had an experience of working at Bloomberg, a major media financial company. Later, she and her family decided to return to Okinawa to take over the family business.

“My parents never asked me to take over the family business, but I always loved sweets at this shop since childhood. Plus, this is the only shop that makes kippan.” She looked back her past easily, and later she told me quietly that she was touched by her grandmother who worked very hard on her own and her father who quit his job before his retirement to help grandmother.

Presently, her, her mother, and other family members run the shop. Her grandmother worries about the shop still, so she comes to the shop every day to change the display of products.

The traditional Okinawan taste which handed down from family to family throughout the ages. Kippan and tougatsuke are the luxurious sweets that could recommended as souvenir for those people who have great taste.


Jahana Kippan Shop
Address: 1-5-14 Matsuo, Naha City
Tel: 098-867-3687
Business Hours: 9:30 - 18:00
Closed: Sunday

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Nobuya Fukuda