Benkyodo: The bittersweet end of an era at S.F. Japantown’s oldest business

Ricky Okamura clocks in to work at 3 a.m., typically hours before the first customer walks in to his store, but on March 26, his first customer beat him there by three hours, pitching a tent and lining up for manju outside Benkyodo Company in San Francisco’s Japantown.  Lines have wrapped around the block, starting […]

Owners of Benkyodo, S.F. J-Town’s oldest business, plan to retire at end of year

Japanese confections have been a San Francisco Japantown staple for more than a century, and while several similar businesses have come and gone, Benkyodo Company remains the last one standing, serving up fresh handmade mochi to customers since 1906. Community members, however, are learning that Bobby and Ricky Okamura, the brothers who run the shop, […]

How to make mochi

MOCHI MAGIC: 50 TRADITIONAL AND MODERN RECIPES FOR THE JAPANESE TREAT By Kaori Becker (North Adams, Mass.: Storey Publishing, 2020, 192 pp., $16.95, paperback) “Mochi Magic” is a fun, cute — in fact downright adorable — and incredibly useful book of recipes for making, you guessed it, mochi. The diminutive volume is just 6-and-a-half inches […]

Mikawaya, Little Tokyo manju-ya and creator of mochi ice cream, sold

LOS ANGELES — Mikawaya, the iconic 105-year-old Japanese confectionary maker known for creating the popular Mochi Ice Cream, has been sold to a private equity firm, Century Park Capital Partners. Mikawaya is a multi-million-dollar business that specializes in wagashi (Japanese pastries) and is mainly known for its Mochi Ice Cream, which is sold and distributed […]

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