The cool thing about living in Taipei is you can attend all sorts of classes, some of which might not be so easily accessible even in its “country of origin”. We went to the Beitou Museum for a Japanese wagashi (sweets that go with the bitter matcha) making session. Set in a historic…
building from the Japanese occupation era and at a location that was famous for its hotspring, it was definitely quite a unique experience.
The last time I came to the Beitou Museum was N years ago. The Museum is actually up on a hill. So if you took the MRT to the New Beitou Station, you’d have to walk uphill for a bit before you can reach here. Nearby the Museum are quite a few popular hotspring hotels where you can spend overnight or just an hour or more in a hotspring bath house. There wasn’t much going on here when I came last time. But I was quite surprised that now it has a pretty nice and scenic restaurant, an active exhibition schedule and lots of classes related to Japanese culture that you can book.
We booked a wagashi-making class and had the option of dining in the museum.
When you come here for lunch, you can only order the lunch set. The set comes in several small dishes.
The food here was pretty delicious.
The portion was just right.
After lunch, we headed up to the second floor for the class. If you come here earlier or stay around after class, you can also check out the exhibits or attend one of those scheduled guided tour of the museum.
Our instructor for the Wagashi class currently runs a wagashi studio and Taiwan. After coming back to Taiwan from her years of training and winning several competitions in Japan, she became active in promoting Japanese wagashi in Taiwan. Besides organizing classes like this all over Taiwan, she also wrote an autobiography and established association related to this Japanese tradition. Before we started making the wagashi, the instructor gave us a brief intro on the types of wagashi. Apparently these very colorful and ornate pieces (just like art) were, in the old days, only for the privileged. Of course there were other kinds of wagashi for the commoners.
We don’t get to learn how to make the “dough” in this class. We were only here to learn the techqniues on how to shape the “dough” into the art-like pieces. We are not allowed to show photos taken during the class but are okay to share photos of our finished products. So here we are! The two wagashi we made in class today. I’ve decided to attend the instructor’s other wagashi class at another place some weeks after. More about that on this post: [ Wagshi ] The End-of-Summer Quartet
The instructor also brought in the other types of wagshi that her studio makes. She said that she’s focusing on promoting the “dry wagashi” because the art of mold-making for this type of wagashi is a dying tradition in Japan. Her teacher told her, in Japan, many of these craftsman have difficulty finding apprentices. Wagashi artists might just have to start carving their own mold in the future.
Other than the wagashi session, the Beitou Museum also organizes Japanese tea ceremony and some musical sessions. Could check it out next time!
A: No.32, Youya Road, Beitou, Taipei City (nearest MRT station – New Beitou Station – from there can take a hike or a taxi to get to the museum up on a hill).
P: 02-2891-2318 # 9