Women who shine for our future #18

Yu Ohno, Proprietress-to-be at Ohnoya

A new kind of Japanese confectionery to pass on the beauty of traditions

Takaoka Ramune—a traditional Japanese sugar candy—is known for its exquisite motifs such as seasonal flowers and fruits, and lucky items like magic hammers (uchide-no-kozuchi). Each piece unfolds an elegant flavor such as ginger and citron which spreads out pleasantly in the mouth. “We stick to high-quality domestic raw materials, including Koshihikari rice flour which is produced in Toyama.”

Takaoka Ramune was developed by Yu Ohno, the eldest daughter and ninth generation of the long-established confectionery shop "Ohnoya" in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, which celebrated its 180th anniversary last year. Ohno who is currently responsible for planning and sales, spends her days working in the store, but did not always want to work for the family business. After following her passion for fashion and studying craftwork at an art college in Kanazawa, she worked for an apparel brand in Tokyo as a textile designer. About ten years ago, Ohno was invited to lecture at her Alma Mater, bringing her back to Kanazawa again. She was helping her parents at the confectionery shop over the same weekend, when she felt a change of heart.

“After learning about the wonders of Japanese technology and culture through college as well as my time working in Tokyo, I was able to see the family business from a different perspective and naturally started wanting to pass on this Japanese tradition to the next generation.”

In 2012, Ohno and a friend who works as a planner came up with the idea of Takaoka Ramune which utilizes wooden molds of nearly 1000 sweets that have been passed down within Ohnoya, with the hope that Japanese confectionery would be appreciated by younger generations. The shape of the ramune and the beautiful packaging boosted its popularity nationwide. This year the brand collaborated with a local cast metal maker to produce confectionery boxes, and is making other efforts to convey the charm of Japanese sweets along with a narrative.

“Moons often appear in the Manyo no Uta—a classic in Japanese literature—read by Ōtomo no Yakamochi who had a close connection to Takaoka. As the light of the moon does not change with the changes of times, I hope to convey the beauty of the four seasons and the connection between people, to future generations through Japanese sweets.”

Yu Ohno, who was born in 1978, is the eldest daughter of the ninth generation of Ohnoya founded in 1838 (Tenpō 9). She studied textiles at Kanazawa College of Art, and worked as a textile designer at Jurgen Lehl Co.,LTD. Currently, Ohno is devoted to the family business where she is responsible for product planning and sales.

2. Strawberry-flavored ramune “Toyama KAWAII” shaped in motifs symbolizing Toyama. Made in collaboration with female students at the University of Toyama, Faculty of Art and Design (540 yen).
3. Tin confectionery box “Tsuki Utsuwa” made in collaboration with Takaoka cast metal brand Nousaku (10,584 yen) and Kuniyoshi apple flavored ramune “Nousaku” (540 yen).
4. Both regular customers from the local area and visitors from afar visit the store.
5. Wooden molds for Takaoka Ramune
(All prices include tax)

Ohnoya took part in the Japanese confectionery event hosted by Ennari, a boutique of Japanese sweets directly operated by LUMINE, at LUMINE 0 (NEWoMan Shinjuku 5F) on December 8 and 9.