I took this video in Nara Prefecture two years back at Nakatani-dou Mochi Confectionary. It’s almost a dream come true to witness the high speed pounding of mochi! You’ve probably seen this whole spectacle before on travel shows but nothing beats catching the whole proccess first hand!
Before heading down to Nara, my bro did his research and found out about the famous Mochi confectionary in Japan that pounds their mochi before serving them up. We were so excited when we finally found the place. There wasn’t a crowd yet and i was wondering if they even still carried out that practice. Just as i was snapping photos of the shop, i saw one of the guys at the shop fish out a giant wooden mallet. I knew the show was about to start.
To be honest, i had expected them to take out a heap of steamed rice and pound it to the point it became mochi. But that didn’t happen. Perhaps they used to do that last time, but you can imagine how time consuming that must have been. Instead, one of the senior confectioner took out a large lump of green mochi from a machine that has been pulling it for a while. He placed it in a giant wooden motar, fished out his giant wooden mallet, and together with the fisrt guy, began a coordinated and staggered beating of the mochi. Everytime the mallet struck the mochi, they would shout a loud “HAI!” that resembled a kung fu master striking the nijas surrounding him.
The show got more exciting when the senior confectioner put down his mallet and started folding the mochi as the other guy continued pounding the mochi. The proccess was so fast, and if you try to slow things down, you’d realise that the senior confectioner is actually making multiple folds before each pound. Now this is mochi making at its finest!
The final product is served with a red bean filling, and lightly tossed in kinako, or soybean powder. The mochi is stained green from yomogi, also known as mugwort. After the multiple rounds of high speed pounding, the friction actually heats up the mochi (: You can imagine how warm and soft the mochi was when it emerged fresh from the motar! It was a perfect treat in the cold weather!