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Updated: May 9, 2022

Bring home the taste of the Goto Islands with packaged goods such as kankoro mochi and Goto udon noodles with ago dashi soup mix. There are also an array of natural camellia oil-based products to give to friends and family as gifts.



Kankoro mochi

dried sweet potato slices
Kankoro

Sweet potatoes have been a supplement to diets in Goto during the difficult winter months since times long past. Because rice is difficult to grow on the island, people used to stretch limited supplies with sweet potatoes, which are easier to cultivate on mountainous terrain. Sweet potatoes were preserved by boiling and air-drying them into what is known as kankoro. The kankoro could then be conveniently reconstituted for usage at any time.



A popular way to consume kankoro was by cooking it with mochi rice and sugar to make kankoro mochi. This mochi comes shaped as logs that can be eaten gradually over time. When ready to eat, cut as many slices as desired off of the log and toast. This results in a warm, chewy, mochi with a crunchy shell. Enjoy the simple sweetness and abundant sweet potato flavor of this satisfying comfort food.


two pieces of toasted kankoro mochi
piece of toasted kankoro mochi

Kankoro mochi logs and balls

Those who want to taste kankoro mochi while on the island can try kankoro daifuku, which is kankoro mochi stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. These are sold individually and make a delicious and filling snack. For those who would like to try a more hands-on activity or want to take home a batch of their own, freshly-made kankoro mochi, there is also a kankoro mochi-making activity in which visitors can experience the traditional island method of production for themselves.








Goto Udon


Goto udon is thinner than other types of udon and has a chewy texture. By some accounts, it is considered one of the top three types of udon in Japan. The noodles are coated with locally-produced camellia oil for a Goto-specific twist. The dry noodles can be found at most souvenir shops throughout town and come in various flavors. Consider getting a Goto udon set, which includes the flying fish soup base that usually accompanies the noodles.


To enjoy the jigoku-daki or “hell-cooked” style of eating Goto udon at home, cook the dry noodles in plenty of boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. In the meantime, prepare a beaten egg* and flying fish broth in separate bowls. To either of these bowls, add soy sauce, bonito flakes, or sliced green onion as desired. Scoop the boiled noodles directly from the pot, dip them into one of the bowls, and enjoy.

*Be sure to use pasteurized egg only if consuming raw egg outside of Japan.


Dried noodle ends in pot

For a variation, also try the curved fushimen, which are the sections of the noodles that remain on the kakeba rods after the dried noodles have been cut. These flattened, hook-like ends are gathered and sold at supermarkets at a discount. They can be prepared and eaten in the same manner as Goto udon, used as a replacement for any type of pasta, or added to other types of dishes as a starch.



Salt

Crystallizing salt
Crystallizing salt

Sea salt makes a great, lightweight souvenir that truly embodies the essence of the ocean.

The fluffy crystals also make it an attractive alternative to table salt.


Goto sea salt is made by drawing seawater into large vats and cooking it with firewood over an extended period of time—usually at least a day. Afterwards, the concentrated salt solution rests, bittern develops and the salt crystallizes. The crystallized salt is then extracted, screened, and ready to package. There are a variety of flavored sea salts available to choose from, although the mild flavors of the plain sea salt are also versatile and appealing.


Salt candy

For those who like a nice balance of sweet and salty flavors, the island produces various types of candy with sea salt harvested from the surrounding ocean. They are the perfect treat to replenish sodium after a sweaty workout or during a hot, summer day.



Ago


Ago means flying fish in the Goto dialect. Flying fish are caught from around the Goto Islands and often made into a broth called ago dashi, the standard complement to udon. This broth can be purchased in liquid form or as a powder to make instant soup stock. Other ago-based products have also emerged as new uses for the abundant fish are devised.


Roasted flying fish soup base: This soup base has a robust flavor that works well for miso soup or in rich and flavorful simmered dishes.

Roasted flying fish udon soup: This powdered soup base is often sold in individual packets or in sets with Goto udon.

Agonchovy: A portmanteau of “ago” and “anchovy,” this product was conceived as a brilliant way to make use of three prominent island ingredients: flying fish, camellia oil and salt. Enjoy this unique combination with a sophisticated flavor.

Ago dashi vinegar: This light and mild vinegar makes a versatile marinade or dressing for salads, tofu, vegetables, and more.



Goto Nada Shochu


Goto Nada Shochu
Goto Nada Shochu

Shochu is a clear liquor distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, rice, buckwheat, or other ingredients. Goto Nada is a fruity, easy-to-drink potato shochu made from locally-grown island sweet potatoes. The name comes from the Goto Nada Sea that lies between the Goto Islands and mainland Nagasaki.


While rice is difficult to grow on the Goto Islands, the warm climate is well-suited for growing sweet potatoes, and farmers put effort into producing a high quality crop of the starchy vegetable. The types of sweet potatoes used to produce this shochu are mainly the kogane sengan and bensatsuma varieties.



The Goto Nada Distillery transforms these two varieties into an array of products by playing with other variables, such as using white koji versus black koji or employing vacuum distillation versus atmospheric distillation. The constant, however, is that each bottle of shochu is made with the utmost attention and care.



Kamaboko


Kamaboko are deep-fried fish cakes made from locally-caught fish. They have a​ ​rich flavor and springy texture that pairs well with drinks. Kamaboko tastes best when warm, and are the staple ingredient in the winter stew, oden.



Mame Yokan


Mame yokan is a traditional Japanese sweet made from red beans. The Narao district produces its specialty mame yokan from high quality red beans and Goto salt. In the past, this yokan was only eaten during celebrations and gatherings. Yokan can be kept at room temperature for up to two weeks.



Camellia


It is estimated that there are over 6.8 million wild camellias growing in Shinkamigoto. The seeds are harvested by locals and processed into high-quality camellia oil here on the island. The oil has been utilized in culinary and beauty applications for years, and was considered to have miraculous, youth-retaining properties in the past. Now, soaps, creams and other items containing camellia oil are produced here. Shisedo also incorporates the oil into its TSUBAKI line of products.


Row of Shiseido's TSUBAKI products

3 bottles of camellia oil
Bottled camellia oil

Here’s how to use 100% camellia oil from Shinkamigoto as an all-body oil:

  • Apply it generously to hair and face before washing.

  • Apply it to the backs of hands and elbows or other areas with dry skin.

  • Work a small amount of it into the ends of hair for lustrous locks.


Here are some more specialty camellia products which can be given as gifts or used for personal care:


Tsubaki no Nyūyokuryō (camellia bath essence): Relax and protect skin with the moisture-retaining properties of collagen and hyaluronic acid.

Mijō Tsubaki UV Kurīmu (camellia UV cream): This SPF20PA++ cream is green tea scented and perfect for daily use.

Tsubaki no Sekken (camellia soap): this soap contains zero additives and is perfect for sensitive or dry skin. It is suitable for individuals with delicate skin and can even be used as a bath soap for babies.

Tsubaki no ame (camellia candy): This original Goto confection has a nice, smooth texture, and contains the healthier sugar alternative, oligosaccharide. Try the salted camellia candy for a salty-sweet flavor that embodies the island's natural resources.


Miscellaneous Goods


Kamigoto Canon Stained Glass Masking Tape: This unique tape features six patterns of stained glass from churches in Kamigoto. Use it to add a splash of color to notes, notebooks, letters or more.


Goto camellia wood crafts: long-lasting camellia wood bowls, chopsticks, chopstick holders, and other crafts made by local islanders with love.


Goto caps: These popular baseball caps feature “GOTO” written in large, embroidered letters.



Shopping areas


These vendors offer area-specific goods and are worth checking out for their unique selection.


Udon no Sato (Goto Udon Village)

428-31 Arikawago (Google Maps)

Open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This plaza near Arikawa Port has a restaurant where one can indulge in Goto hand-stretched udon and see an exhibit about how it is made. There is also the Shinkamigoto Town Tourism & Products Center, which features the largest array of goods in town, from kankoro mochi, Goto udon, and camellia oil to crafts made from camellia wood, Goto caps, and other accessories. It is worth stopping by this store to stock up on souvenirs before leaving the island.


Yagatame no Eki

688-7 Amiagego (Google Maps)

Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This pit stop in Amiage is well known for its delicious sea salt soft serve. In addition to the wide variety of flavored salts produced here, this shop sells all sorts of Kamigoto-related products, including camellia oil, preserved foods, church-themed goods, and more. The view of Yagatame rock is also magnificent from here.


Mercapi Aokata

2274 Aokatago (Google Maps)

Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., Sunday through Friday.

This farm-to-consumer style of market sells fresh farm produce and marine products from all over town. There’s also an area dedicated to Goto udon and other local specialties to take home as souvenirs.


Port Tourist Information Centers

Before departing from the island, load up on various goods and souvenirs at the Arikawa Port, Narao Port, and Wakamatsu Port tourist information centers. These small outlets tend to have area-specific items—for instance, Kamigoto Canon’s stained glass masking tape can be found at the Arikawa Port Tourist Information Center.


Other stores in Shinkamigoto are listed at the bottom of the "Advice for Visitors" page.

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