Little Blobs of Heaven on a Stick

On the last night that the fall leaves were illuminated at Rikugi-en, we stumbled across the mitarashi dango stand. In a little hut beneath the maple trees, this man and his wife were dishing up skewers of rice cakes, roasted over charcoal and slathered with miso  sauce. Sometimes mitarashi dango – the traditional balls made of rice that’s been pounded into a gooey paste – are too sticky or too rubbery or too tough, but these were delectably chewy, not to mention comfortingly warm on a chilly evening. If I didn’t know that a crock of rice as big as my head had been reduced to these bite-sized balls, I’d have been tempted to eat several more. Here’s what mine looked like, moments before its demise :

If you’d like to visit Rikugi-en Garden the next time you’re in Tokyo, more pictures and directions are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery seriespublished by Penguin/Intermix.

Published by Penguin/Intermix