Onchimakishi Kawabata Doki

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    Onchimakishi Kawabata Doki

    Kyoto’s conventional summer specialty as a sacred symbol

    The Doki family once served a food called Chimaki to the imperial family for about 330 years, from 1536 to around 1868.  The origin of their Chimaki dates back to the 15th century, a time after the long civil war period ended in Kyoto and the imperial family had serious financial problems.  The first generation owner of Doki started to serve Chimaki to the imperial family in order to help them.  It was like a dumpling (the size of a baseball) with cooked red bean paste covers sticky rice cake inside.  He brought the Chimaki to the imperial family every morning and meanwhile, their Chimaki became regarded as an essential item in the daily morning court ceremony.  The oldest historical record mentioning the name of Kawabata Doki can be found in a local court report document in 1512, which guaranteed the right of the Doki Family to run a business as a rice cake shop.  The name of the shop, Doki, is from the name given to the first generation owner after he retired and became a Buddhist priest.  It is said that the first Doki learned tea ceremony from Sho-o Takeno along with Rikyu Sen, who is regarded as the founder of tea ceremony.  Today, Doki still serves sweets at important tea ceremony parties in Kyoto.  The tradition of serving Doki’s sweets to the imperial family as a sacred offering for the deity has transformed into beautiful Chimaki and sweets.  Many people recommend Doki’s “Suisen Chimaki” as a Kyoto summer specialty.  Dough made with fine kudzu starch and white sugar is wrapped with a bamboo leaf and is steamed to become a sticky dumpling.  The simpler the ingredients are, the more their original taste decides the final taste.  During the Gion Matsuri Festival in July, their Chimaki are sold at each float that is constructed in the city, however, they are not edible, but are sacred amulets.  People hang the Chimaki at the entrance of their houses, as it is believed to obstruct bad fortune from entering.  The Chimaki is replaced every year and old ones are brought to Yasaka Jinja Shrine.  Doki’s Chimaki, both for eating and as an amulet, is an item that Kyoto people always strive to obtain in summer.

    Translation to English by AD BRAIN INC.


    Name Onchimakishi Kawabata Doki
    Address 2-12 Shimogamo Minami Nonogami-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
    Tel 075-781-8117
    Hours 9::30-17:30
    Closed Wed. (closed Aug.)