Okinawa Tourism Information:FindTraditionalConfectionariesHandedDownfromthePeriodoftheRyukyuKingdomatJahanaKippan(NahaCity)

Find Traditional Confectionaries Handed Down from the Period of the Ryukyu Kingdom at Jahana Kippan (Naha City)

post : 2019.02.15 23:00

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

A richly sweet aroma filled the air inside the shop in the early morning hours before opening for business. A batch of golden-colored Togan (wax gourd or winter melon) was just poured out from the big Shinmei-Nabe pot and was glistening like precious honey.


“We have some freshly made, if you’d like to try some?”

I accepted the kind offer and found it delightfully delicious. The marinated Toganzuke had a taste that was tightly packed while still juicy like it was just harvested. It was like a combination of all the good things about dried fruits and fresh fruits.

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

“We wanted to offer this taste and joy to our customers somehow, so we came up with these products,” I was told, and shown “Toganzuke with Okinawan shikwasa citrus” and “Toganzuke with Iejima Island rum” (both \350). In the traditional Toganzuke method, the Togan is simmered in the special broth that’s been continuously added for decades, then finished with a sugar coating. The products introduced to me were made with their new method, before the sugar coating, intended for their customers to enjoy the freshly made taste to the fullest.

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

At Jahana Kippan, they make their Toganzuke true to the traditional methods that have been passed down for over 300 years, and on the other hand, they also add the essences of the modern day as much as possible. They spare no effort in creating their Toganzuke, and continue making their time-honored products as they have been for a very long time.

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

Just like the Toganzuke, the Kippan was also offered when entertaining the envoys from China and Japan during the period of the Ryukyu Dynasty. Kippan has a very distinct taste, like that of a nicely matured dried fruit and similar to the Japanese Hoshigaki, or dried persimmons, that have been dried with care and over a long period of time to really bring out the taste. I was very surprised to learn that this wonderful taste was from the simple combination of five varieties of near-native citrus harvested in the northern Yanbaru region, and sugar.

“The temperature and humidity of the day greatly affects the outcome, and of course, the heat at which we cook it, too, and so everything has to be done by hand,” says Jahana-san. All the way from the start to finish, every step of the process takes painstaking care, particularly the drying after they are formed into balls and also when putting another coating of sugar. I was able to see the sugar coating process, and saw that it takes great skill, how the liquid sugar was coated quickly just on the palm of the hands and without any sort of equipment.

Photo courtesy of Jahana Kippan

“Kippan and Toganzuke both go really well with prosciutto ham and cheese. The saltiness of the ham and cheese is gently embraced by the fruity sweetness,” explains Jahana-san, who took over this work seven years ago from her father, who carried on the business from her grandmother. Jahana-san met her husband, a British man, while attending university in Osaka, and upon graduating, they married and lived in London. She worked for Bloomberg, a media company for business and finance, and later, returned to Okinawa and decided to take over the family business.

“My parents never asked me to take over the business, but since I was a child, I’ve always loved the confectionaries created at our shop, and also because we’re the only remaining shop that makes Kippan,” reflects Jahana-san, simply. Later, she shared how seeing her grandmother work so hard, and then her father, who retired early to run the shop before Jahana-san took over, really encouraged her to act.


Now, she runs the shop together with her mother and others who help, but her grandmother is still at the shop every day, making sure everything is well and helping out in the layout of the goods.

The traditional tastes of Okinawa is being handed down the families through the changing times. The exquisite Kippan and Toganzuke are recommended gifts especially for those who know and appreciate something special.


Jahana Kippan
Address: 1-5-14 Matsuo, Naha City, Okinawa
Telephone: 098-867-3687
Hours: 9:30-18:00
Closed: Sundays

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda