I took the trip out to Hitachi two weekends ago for the pre-sakura festival celebrations. (I also went to the full event this weekend, which I’ll make a separate post about!) The pre-event was a chance for people to gather together and enjoy a wide display of food stalls and other tents and booths, but before the cherry blossoms had reached their peak.
Hitachi was a booming mining town back in the mid-1900’s and experienced a massive surge in population during that period. As I wandered through the streets, it was amazing to see all the buildings, lampposts and tile streets preserved from the fifties and sixties.
After walking for a couple hours, we stumbled across a tea ceremony hosted by local junior high school students. We sat down and enjoyed a bowl of surprisingly high quality, freshly whisked matcha tea. They also served each guest these traditional dango, which are delicious gooey sweets made from pounded glutinous rice. Dango have a very subtle flavour, with each of the three colours having a slightly different taste. The pink one was sweetest, the white was just slightly on the savory side, and the green dango had a pleasant leafy taste that comes from the yomogi plant mixed into the dough.