115-Year-Old Mochi Shop Set to Close or Be Sold in SF Japantown

Japantown’s esteemed mochi shop Benkyodo, located in San Francisco, may allegedly close down due to the owners’ retirements. 

About the shop: Benkyodo, Japantown’s oldest business located at 1747 Buchanan Street, was opened in 1906 by Suyeichi Okamura, according to SF Gate

  • Okamura named the shop after the word Benkyodo, meaning “affordable,” to “let their community know their confections wouldn’t price them out.” 
  • The current owners are Okamura’s grandsons Ricky and Bobby. 
  • Since 1990, the two brothers have shaped more than a thousand balls a day. 

Reasons for shutdown: The Okamura brothers announced their retirement to KQED in a recent interview. 

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  • The brothers stated that this “is not easy work” but serving the community has made them happy and they’re “glad that people enjoy what we make.” 
  • KQED reported that they are looking for potential buyers but their “strong preference” would be selling the business to a family member. If they’re not able to find a buyer, they’ll have to close the shop down.
  • Kawahatsu, a Japantown tour guide says the shutdown would be a “huge loss to the Bay Area’s Japanese American community” because “no other place compares to its delicious confections or its rich history and legacy.”

Featured Image via Nichi Bei Foundation

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