A tradition almost lost to time, Tokushima’s Yusan-bako boxes were once a part of everyday life for the locals of the area. According to regional memory, during the festival of Hina Matsuri (which is traditionally held one month later in Tokushima than the rest of Japan) boys and girls would make their way up the slopes of Mount Yusan with their three-tiered lacquered wooden lunch boxes. There, they would enjoy eating from their Yusan-bako boxes and playing in the fields until the sun went down.
A related myth connects the annual event to rice farming, and tells how when the children would descend from playing on Mount Yusan, they would bring with them a rice deity who signified that it was time to start cultivating the rice.

Yusan-bako was a booming part of Tokushima’s culture until demand dropped due to a social shift towards a more urban lifestyle – and as the craftsmen with the skills to manufacture the boxes died out, Yusan-bako became a remnant of a time gone by, only kept alive in the memory of some of Tokushima’s older generation.

Fortunately, the boxes have seen a sort of revival over the past 20 years, and have been making a steady comeback in a variety of ways – one of which you can experience yourself this winter at AoAwo Naruto Resort’s Terrace Cafe Ohge.

The boxes will be available as part of a special Afternoon Tea fair being held at the hotel which shines a light on the local custom.
Each tier (ichinoju, nijnoju and sannoju) is filled according to a different theme with delicious sweets and sandwiches that are sure to win over your heart.

AoAwo Yuyama Box Afternoon Tea – Winter Awa Story

Price: 7,000 yen (tax included)
Dates: 1 December 2021 – 28 February 2022
Serving Time: 14:00 – 17:00

The winter-season Yusan-bako boxes will be limited to just 10 boxes per day, and are available for reservation up until one day prior.
Choose a pairing of black tea or herbal tea brewed in AoAwo’s Blue Tea Set. The theme of each tier is listed below:

Ichinoju – a box filled with chocolate pleasures
Chocolate Tranche Cake, Chocolate ‘Roche’ Crunch, Ananas Chocolat (dry pineapple dipped in chocolate), Yuzu Caramel Truffle Chocolate, Chocolate Almonds, Franbois Salted Caramel Bonbon Chocolate, Tokushima Specialty ‘Indigo’ Chocolate

Ninoju – Awa city specialty box
Wasabon Roll Cake, Naruto Kintoki Tart (sweet potato), Sudachi Agar Jelly, Indigo Pain de Gênes Tart, Crepe, Square Tart, Macaron

Sannoju – Four seasons box
Strawberry fruit sandwich, Fresh Strawberries

By - Connie Sceaphierde.