Find out more



[Feature] Ajiman! A classic winter snack from Yamagata


Ajiman is Yamagata’s winter B-class snack champion.
This time we have thoroughly investigated its charms.
We will also introduce you to the factory that is usually not open to the public.

1. Ajiman

Ajiman is a happy tradition that announces the arrival of winter in Yamagata.

Nationally, names such as Obanyaki or Imagawayaki are common, but Yamagata’s specialty, Ajiman, is characterized by its soft chewy outside and abundance of red bean paste filling.

The company making ajiman has a long history as it was founded in 1965, more than 55 years ago!
It is a soul food of Yamagata that has been loved for more than half a century (^-^)

* Quoted from the official website

Ajiman is said to have started when the parents of the current president Mr. Sato sold over-the-counter ware at supermarkets.

Homemade bean paste became a hot topic, and from 1980, the company started chain development of its “Ajiman (manju that boasts a taste)”.

The stalls selling ajiman are open only in the winter season, from October to April, but they have been loved for many years as a winter tradition in Yamagata.
* Start / end may vary from year to year.

During the season, there are often lines at the stalls located at the entrances of supermarkets and home improvement stores.
These are great for snacks for children and breaks during shopping (^-^)

Currently, there are about 80 stalls in Yamagata prefecture, and as well as about 300 stalls in Tohoku, Kanto including Tokyo and Chiba, and Kyushu including Fukuoka and Oita.

The day when the name of “Ajiman” will dominate the whole country may be near (^-^)

2. Inside the Ajiman factory

This time, we have infiltrated the factory that manufactures the main product of red bean paste which accounts for about half of the sales!
How is that sweet and flavorful bean paste made?

Here is the factory that is attached to the head office of Ajiman Co., Ltd.

The one-story building in the back is the factory.
At this point, there is an appetizing scent all over the area (≧-≦).
Expectations swell even before entering!

Make all possible preparations such as gloves, hair net, disinfection, etc., and open the entrance door!
First of all, these four devices jump in front of you.

It is a device to boil azuki beans that have been washed with water.

I was wondering why they were so big but there was a good reason.
When I asked Mr. Ozeki, the chief of the manufacturing department, he told me that the amount of azuki beans used per day was about 1,700 kilograms at the peak!

Each sweets is palm-sized, but you can see how much they sell.
* Including sachet sales

This are azuki beans before boiling.

The red bean paste is made from 100% Hokkaido Tokachi red beans, which have been used since the company was founded.
It is additive-free and has a modest sweetness, so even small children can rest assured (^-^).

The only bean paste used in Ajiman is “Tsubuan”.
It seems that the nutrients contained in the red bean skin and the texture compatibility with the thin-skinned dough are always important.

This is how the boiled red beans are being transferred to a kneading machine.

The steam that rises at this time and the aroma of red beans that spread indoors are irresistible (≧-≦)

And when I saw this large amount of steam, I remembered something.
Have you ever seen the steam coming out silently like this while driving on Tendo Route 13?
(Right side of the photo below)

I remember thinking “That’s a lot of steam” several times, but it was the steam that came out when boiling the red beans!
What an unexpected discovery!
From now on, every time I see this scene, I’m likely to want to eat some Ajiman (laughs).

Now, after the kneading process is finished, we will move on to packaging.
When you put the finished bean paste into the machine,

The wrapped bean paste will come out.

Packages of red bean paste that are completed one after another.
Somehow, it seems that you can see it forever (^-^)

Although it is a simple process, Mr. Ozeki, the factory manager, said, “Old-fashioned commitment and skilled craftsmen decide the taste.”
It seems that it is adjusted so that the grains are not crushed so that you can taste the texture of beans.

He also paid close attention to sweetness and adjusted the boiling time while considering the condition of the red beans in addition to the temperature and humidity.

Finally, he showed us the warehouse before shipping!

Well, it’s a masterpiece.
Even with this amount, it seems that it will be handled in no time.

3. Ajiman lineup

There are two menus for Ajiman, (1) Regular products sold throughout the season and (2) Limited-time Ajiman items sold on selected periods only.

There aren’t many types, but the deliciousness is perfect!
It is a lineup of a small number of elite products (^-^)

① Regular product


Ajiman’s immovable popular item Tsubuan.
Please see how tight this bean paste is!

When I think that I was trying so hard to pack the bean paste in that cute form, I already feel the loveliness.
Beans from Tokachi, Hokkaido have been used since the establishment of this classic.

The taste and flavor of red beans, which are modestly sweet and rich, have remained the same as Yamagata’s hometown for many years.
And this thin outside is also the charm of ajiman!
It goes so well with the exquisite texture of red bean paste (^ * ^)

[Ajiman (custard cream)]

* Quoted from the official website

Custard cream Ajiman is by far the most popular among children.
This is also packed with custard cream.
An original custard cream that uses carefully selected eggs and milk, it is delicious and addictive.

[Takoyaki Takopon]

* Quoted from the official website

Actually, this takoyaki has many fans.
I also buy them often (^-^)

The price and quantity are just right at 250 yen for 5 pieces.
And the ingredients of fresh cabbage, large octopus pieces, special dough and original sauce that are processed on the day…
If you haven’t tasted it yet, please try it.

② Limited-time Ajiman

In addition to regular products, Ajiman has monthly and season-limited products.
* The period varies depending on the target store and target area.

This is all delicious again (≧-≦)
This time, we introduce a special Mocchiri Osatsu Ajiman that will be sold in Yamagata on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays in February 2021!
* Interview conducted in January 2021

Please see it here first!

This item was created in collaboration with Yamagata’s local program “Doyoman” to commemorate the opening of the store in Kumamoto Prefecture for the first time.
It is finished in a shape reminiscent of Kumamoto Prefecture’s Local dish of Ikinari Dango.

For the filling, high-quality sweet potatoes grown in the volcanic ash soil at the foot of Mt. Aso are used.
The sweet potatoes with a thick and rich taste are irresistible (> _ <)

The chewy texture and the sesame-flavored dough go great together!
By the way, it is said that tapioca is kneaded into the dough.

This is bad to say the least …
It is inevitably sold out (≧-≦)

In addition, this is Yomogi Ajiman, which was developed in cooperation with the Yamagata Prefectural Police as part of its “Special fraud prevention campaign”.
It will be sold only on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from March 6 (Sat.) to March 28 (Sun.), 2021.

The flavor of the dough is outstanding.
I had it with warm green tea at the time of tasting, and that compatibility was the best (^-^)

Besides, although it has already ended in Yamagata, Choco Banana Ajiman and

* Quoted from the official website

Black Sesame Cream Ajiman were also sold.

* Quoted from the official website

I was too late to try them, but all of them are inevitably delicious!
What kind of limited menu is announced every year is one of the pleasures of winter in Yamagata (^-^)

4. Ajiman is best freshly made at the store!

After all, freshly made sweets are the best!
So, after the factory tour, I went straight to the nearby home improvement store (^-^)
Ajiman has prefabricated stalls near the entrances of supermarkets and home improvement stores.

The prices are as follows (tax included).

・ Ajiman 1 110 yen
・ Takopon 1 250 yen
・ Tokachi An 1 bag 400 yen

* Contents and prices are at the time of coverage

It’s so easy to buy that I always end up buying some (^^;)

You can also see how Ajiman are made at the stalls.
This time, Mr. Takeda, a veteran salesperson, gave a demonstration!

First, arrange the dough on the iron plate.

Then, put the red bean paste on it with a specialized tool.

Even so, the amount of red bean paste is amazing (laughs)

“I wonder if this can be closed…”
But don’t worry, this is the charm of ajiman (^-^)

Generally, about 50 grams of large-sized red bean paste is used, but the amount of Ajiman is about 75 grams! !! !!
The balance between this volume and the thin outside and red bean paste is exquisite (≧-≦)
(And the sweetness is modest, so you can have as many as you like …)

At the end, cover it and the sweets is completed!

5. Recommended way to eat at home

Freshly made ajiman sweets are delicious, but there are times when you can’t eat them right away, right?

So we asked you how to enjoy the cold ajiman at home!
It is also introduced on the homepage, so please refer to it.

* Quoted from the official website

You just have to warm them up for a few minutes until the outside becomes crispy!
If you do not use the oven toaster, it can also be done by lightly frying both sides in a pan.

6. Message to everyone

Yokoyama-san (left), a public relations officer who introduced us to the charm of Ajiman and the stalls, sent a message to everyone who is viewing VISIT YAMAGATA!

“Thank you very much for coming in these hard times.

We will continue to strive to ensure that you can eat delicious products with peace of mind.

We hope you enjoy Ajiman’s products. “

Well, today’s snack is also decided!

Read together