They sell fireworks during summer (Photo: Akemi Miura)

Dagashi-ya Junk Food, Shiogama City

Snacks, candy, stamps, currency, and more

They sell fireworks during summer (Photo: Akemi Miura)
Akemi Miura   - 3 min read

Dagashi-ya (駄菓子屋) is a place where almost all kids used to go after school everyday. They sell what kids want to buy while their mothers seem not to welcome their goods. Despite mothers's wishes, youngsters at the age of around 10-years-old go there. The snacks at dagashi-yas aren't nutritious nor healthy at any standard, like marinated dried cuttlefish (すいか、するめ), gaudy color jelly in a tube, bubble gum and candies, which are apparently colored by artifical coloring. Dagashi litarely means "cheap sweets".

They are full of vivid colors: orange for bubble gum, yellow for curry snacks, blue-violet for gummy sweets. In addition to candy there are many other toys and fireworks, whose prices are under 200 yen. The most expensive item may be a amime characters or hero masks, which is often seen at the festial stalls, such as a mask of Anpanman or Ultoraman. Dagashi-ya are not a kind of shop where parents buy a Chirstmas present for their kids. The colorfulness of packages at the dagashi-ya in Shiogama City, which is cheapish and gaudy, excites me. However, it is good enough for just my eyes, not my stomach, because I am too old to appreciate childish foods.

The dagashi^ya in Shiogama city carries not only foods and toys for kids but also commemorative stamps and old bills such as an old ten thousand yen bill on which figure of Shoutoku Taishi ( Prince Shoutoku, the 7th C) is printed. I always buy several commemorative stamps everytime I go there. Seeing them is great fun for me. Almost all Japanese commemorative stamps are wonderful, lovely, beautiful, I think. You can see famous Japanese paintings including ukiyo^e woodblock prints, animals, flowers, and fish stamps. If you are interested in art, commerative stamps will help you to know Japanese art from early time such as the Asuka Period (593 to 710AD)- the wall painting of the Takamatsuduka Tomb, to modern times. In addition, many stamps of popular ukiyo-e and anime heros like the Gachaman (ガッチャマン)and the Doraemon (ドラえもん)have been issued. Which stamps I buy at the dagashi-ya in Shiogama are ones related to the Japanese Imperial House. They are released on special occasions- like the Royal Wedding, the celebration of the 40th years of the Emperor's reign, and so on. The designs of those are so beautiful. The Imperial crest- chrysantheum is printed on all those stamps. Each price of commemorative stamps is clearly written on the wrapped plastic cover, so that it is easy to know.

A dagashi-ya used to be almost every neighborhood, however, they have been decreasing. The dagashi-ya in Shiogama will deliver an enoyable chance to gain insight what Japanese kids buy with their pocket money. It is located near the Okama Shrine in Shiogama.

Yamadaya (やまだ屋), 10-20, Motomachi, Shiogama City, 塩竈市本町10-29

Closed Wednesdays. Nearest station: Hon Shiogama via JR Senseki Line

Akemi Miura

Akemi Miura @akemi.miura