Tempura, the Japanese style of batter-fried food the is perhaps one of the most well-known exports the country has to offer. Crunchy tempura vegetables, shrimp, and chicken are beloved by citizens not only in Japan, but across the world.
However, one shop in Osaka has a seasonal autumn twist on the favorite: Momiji Tempura, also known as maple leaf tempura.
Momiji Tempura are said to have originated some 1300 years ago at an ascetics dojo on Osaka’s Mount Minoh. The beauty of the maple leaves so abundant in the area were so praised by those in training, that a momiji tempura was created in order to celebrate it.
These unusual, yet traditional treats are the specialty item of the Minoh shop, Hisakuni-Kosendou.
The momiji tempura are made from leaves specially cultivated from the shop’s own forests in Minoh. When the leaves have changes to a golden color, they are harvested, cleaned, and salted for preservation purposes. When it is time for cooking, the leaves are dipped in batter and and fried in oil.
Each autumn during the kōyō season, visitors have the chance to visit the shop and watch these delicate, handmade confections made before their very eyes.