This is a sweets cafe that has been carrying on traditions for 160 years in downtown Asakusa. Its specialty is awa zenzai bean paste soup, the cafe's unchanged flavor.
The cafe originated in 1854, the year Commodore Matthew Perry's ”Black Ships” arrived for the second time in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa, when a tea house opened its doors in one corner of Baion-in, a branch temple of Senso-ji. The very first awa zenzai was received well and became Tokyo's specialty. Since then, the tea house has been carrying on traditions as a sweets cafe for 160 years. Umezono's awa zenzai uses mochi kibi, a type of proso millet, instead of awa, which is foxtail millet. This is a sumptuous sweet dish with a mochi rice cake made by half-polishing mochi kibi, pounding it, and steaming it and served with slow-cooked, strained azuki bean paste in a bowl. The tea house appeared in Kafu Nagai's famous novel, titled Odoriko (The Dancing Girl), in a passage that reads: ”I tried to eat oshiruko (zenzai) at Umezono, but the cafe was packed, and I could not get in...” This shows how popular the cafe was back then. The cafe's main outlet in Asakusa is a 2-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line. There are other outlets in department stores in Tokyo and at the Haneda Airport.