Fukuume: Kanazawa’s Traditional New Years Sweet

Kanazawa, the biggest city in Hokuriku, is a captivating destination that boasts a rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and a unique way of life. Located just three hours away from both the Kansai and Kanto regions, Kanazawa offers its own blend of tradition and unique customs. One such custom in Kanazawa is the New Year’s treat, fukuume. 



Fukuume is a traditional Japanese confectionery of the Hokuriku region (mainly Kanazawa) around New Year’s Day. Department stores and supermarkets, including Anto in Kanazawa Station, sell them from mid-December to January.  It is fair to say fukuume is one of the indispensable confectionery in Kanazawa.  

Yukizuri are a kind of rope umbrella iconic in Kanawaza.
Yukizuri are a kind of rope umbrella iconic in Kanawaza. Their purpose is to protect trees from breaking under heavy wet snow.

The word “Fukuume” has a literal translation of “happy plum” and its design resembles a plum flower. It is traditionally eaten around New Year’s Day to bring good fortune for the coming year. For centuries, the people of Kanazawa have been enjoying these delightful treats with great pleasure. 

Fukuume is a type of monaka which is a type of wagashi that consists of a crunchy shell made of two rice wafers and anko filling inside. The plum shape comes from the family crest of the Maeda clan, who ruled the area from Kanazawa castle for a long time. 


Happy Plum

One bite of the crunchy rice shell and taste the modest sweetness of anko, and you will know you are enjoying a truly authentic  Japanese confectionery. The taste will leave you wanting a warm cup of green tea. Before you take a bite look closely and you will see that fukuume has a layer of powdered sugar on its outer shell. The sugar is to be evocative of the snowy scenery Kanazawa is so famous for. In Japanese confectionery, the appearance is just as important as the taste. 

red and white fukuume
Fukuume come in red (pink) and white. It is traditional to eat one of each color at a time.
Anko filled fukuume from Kanazawa, Japan
plenty of anko filling!

Many local confectionery shops in Kanazawa sell fukuume.  It can be difficult to choose which one to buy since they all look similar. Although the flavor is not significantly different regardless of where you buy from, you may notice some slight variations once you compare them side by side. If you happen to visit Kanazawa during New Year’s, it would be a great opportunity to try fukuume and experience this local custom.

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