Bringing the healthy, traditional Japanese food "ARARE" to the world
Miyagi-no-Arare is a small arare rice cracker shop run mostly by a single family in Miyagi Prefecture’s Watari City, in the Tohoku region of Japan. The Tohoku region is in the northern part of Japan. It is about 300 kilometers from Tokyo. The area is naturally blessed with very pure air and water, and because of this, it is known throughout Japan as being famous for producing rice.
Our ancestors (from about 5 generations back) have lived in Watari City for a long time, farming rice. The current head of our shop, Sadakatsu Ishida, decided to become an arare-maker on the idea that he wants people to eat “delicious arare, made from the same delicious rice that we grow ourselves”. He left to study arare-making and when he came back to Watari in 1976, he opened the shop. For over 40 years since then, our family has farmed rice, and worked hard to make delicious rice crackers, staying true to the recipes of old times.
All of our rice comes from Miyagi Prefecture, Watari City.
We even grow it ourselves.
“Rice snacks”, such as arare and senbei rice crackers, are made from rice, the staple crop of Japan. There are many ways to make rice snacks. For example, most senbei rice crackers are made from non-glutinous, ordinary rice. However, one of the secrets to our arare making is that we only use glutinous rice, which is used to make mochi rice cakes. In ancient Japan, mochi snacks, made with glutinous rice, were made to be offered as presents to the gods. Mochi was traditionally a food for special occasions, such as New Year’s Day and weddings. These mochi snacks would harden, and then they would be grilled and eaten later, and this is said to be the start of arare. Arare can be stored for long periods of time at normal temperatures. It is one of Japan’s traditional and highly cultural foods.
One of the important characteristics of Miyagi Arare is that all of our arare are made from glutinous rice (called Miyakogane-mochi) made in Watari City. We plow our own fields, and grow a lot of the glutinous rice ourselves, with the remainder coming from contracted farmers in the area.
We always use the highest quality ingredients and recipes
We only use ingredients from Miyagi Prefecture that we trust are delicious and of the highest quality, and this isn’t limited only to our rice. The miso and soy sauce that help to decide the flavor are also made from wheat and soybeans grown in Miyagi Prefecture. The seaweed in our seaweed-wrapped arare is only the best of Matsushima-seaweed, also cultivated in Miyagi Prefecture, and also the seaweed that is presented to the imperial family. The butter used in our “Zao Butter” arare is freshly made in Miyagi Prefecture’s Zao City, which is known for its dairy farming. We never use any food coloring or artificial flavoring.
Our production process sticks to traditional recipes. Our arare is made through the process of
- (1) pounding glutinous rice
- (2) hardening the resulting dough
- (3) evaluation of the dough
- (4) drying of the dough
- (5) grilling of the dough
- (6) flavoring of th
e final product.
Most rice snack makers use machines for the drying process in step (4), but we air-dry ours naturally with sunlight. This process takes us 1 to 2 days in the summer, and up to a week during rainy seasons or in the winter. In order to make sure the arare are drying evenly, we have workers flip them over every 30 minutes to every few hours. Completing our drying process in this way takes extra work, but this is what brings out
We want everyone in the world to try our arare snacks.
We’ve even made halal versions for Muslims.
We want to bring the rich dietary culture of Japan to the world. We want more and more people around the world to try the arare snacks that we put our hearts into making. In 2016, a supermarket chain in Hong Kong (City Super) started carrying our products. We want people living in other countries to try our snacks, as well as foreigners living in Japan and those who come to Japan to visit. We hope that people from overseas will bring our arare back to their home countries as presents or souvenirs.
We are also trying our best for the growing Muslim community in Japan. In order to make it easier for Muslim customers to eat our snacks without worrying, we have put “No meat, No alcohol” stickers on all of our products that don’t contain meat or alcohol, and we use soy-sauce that has been certified as halal. If there are any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.