Kango Shrine in Nara, the birthplace of Manju
Kango Shrine in Nara is located on a very small back street just off of Yasuragi-no-michi. It would be difficult to find if it wasn't for the fact that there is a large red torrii at the entrance of the small street it is located on. In fact that is how I found the place for the first time. I have been past here on my bike many times before , but since I had my camera along the other day while out riding, I thought I would stop by to take a few photos.
Kango shrine is known for a smaller shrine at the same location called "Rin shrine". That shrine is dedicated to a Chinese man named Jōin Rin who came to Nara, from China in the year 1349. He had lived in front of Kango shrine, and started making sweet bean paste "Manju" there, mainly selling it to the local temples at that time. This manju was unique as Jōin made it based on the Chinese steamed bun (mantou) but filled it with sweet red bean paste instead of meat. This was due to the fact the Buddhist Monks did not eat meat. As a result, this spot in Nara has come to be known as the birthplace of Manju.