Saitama’s very first card features Soka-style Senbei, made famous in the Soka City area. Senbei are rice crackers that are baked. They’re pretty big crackers, and come in many flavors. Senbei became popular because it was easy to transport the crackers to Tokyo (then known as Edo) by boat along the river, and the cracker became fashionable as a snack. Today, these senbei are eaten everywhere in Japan.
The crackers you can buy in grocery stores and snack shops are inevitably machine made these days, but a few shops in the more traditional areas still often have a senbei shop making them by hand. And of course, if you stop by Soka City in Saitama, you can head to one of the over 70 shops making them to this day!
I’ve never been to Soka, but I’ve certainly bought senbei at one of the shops that sell that style. This particular one is in Kusatsu Onsen, Gunma Prefecture… but due to their popularity, they can be found all over Japan!
Let’s enjoy some senbei from now on!