The Secret History of Japan's Best Sweets.

According to folklore, a party of Portuguese monks sailing to Macao were stranded at Nagasaki, Japan, by bad weather.

That chance meeting changed Japan's food forever. 

These monks and the Portuguese who followed them brought sugar, a simple, potent, and beloved ingredient, to the country.

Foreigners could only trade with the Japanese at Nagasaki, Kyushu, in the 16th century. So it developed the strongest sweet tooth.

Many popular Japanese wagashi (sweets) originate in Kyushu.

One is castella, a Portuguese-inspired pound cake. Pound cake originated in Portugal, but mizuame syrup, created from sticky rice, makes it Japanese.Fukusaya is the finest spot to buy some. 

The famous cake shop chain began in Nagasaki in 1624. 

 The Fukusaya branch in Fukuoka, Kyushu's largest city, located in the popular Akasaka neighborhood, near Hakata Station, the Shinkansen's western terminal, where tourists arrive.

These castella cubes are individually wrapped in colorful packaging and arranged in gift boxes.

According to an Akasaka staffer, the basic castella sells best, despite seasonal varieties like sakura (cherry blossom) and chocolate during Christmas.

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