Shunkado Unagi Pie Factory - Have Your Pie and Get Eel With it, Too Who ever thought that eel cookies could be so good?

    The Shunkado Unagi Pie Factory in Hamamatsu is where Japan's "unagi pies" are lovingly made. Part eel extract, garlic, and more are combined to create this treat. These snacks are enjoyed throughout Japan, and are a very popular souvenir, even outside of Hamamatsu.

    exterior shot of shunkado pie factory

    What does an unagi (aka "eel") pie look like? Probably not what you'd expect, actually. It looks like a long cookie. Here are some human-sized statues of what they look like.

    some unagi pies on display

    There are two reasons to visit the factory:

    1. To see how unagi pies are made.
    2. To eat some unagi pies.

    When I went to visit, of course I did both. The trip to get there was a little rough. We walked from the nearest train station, which was probably a mile and a half away. It was hot, humid, and spider season. Spiders get pretty big in Japan.

    Japanese spider perched on web

    Anyway, I'd recommend looking into catching a bus or a taxi if you're planning to go here. The train doesn't stop too close by.

    We first did a self-guided tour of the factory to see what we were about to get into. You can look down on the workers from above to see them work.

    unagi eel pie factory assembly line

    They've been here making unagi pie since 1961, so it seems like they really know what they're doing!

    worker on the eel pie factory assembly line

    You can watch each unagi pie go from nothing to something in a wrapper, ready to be eaten.

    Each one is even hand examined. Any unagi pie with a crack or problem is taken out and (in my mind, taken home to get eaten for dinner by the employees).

    worker inspecting unagi pies on the assembly line

    Although packaging was quite far away, down on the first floor you can see the machines that make and bake the food portion of the unagi pies.

    baking process of unagi pie assembly line

    After seeing all this, one tends to get pretty hungry (so long as the idea of eel extract in your cookies doesn't turn you off). That's why there's a cafeteria you can eat in. Of course, they serve unagi pie dishes.

    unagi eel pie served at factory cafeteria

    This was good. So was this.

    unagi pie dish served at factory cafeteria

    They serve other things too, including different kinds of green teas (goes really well with the unagi pie foods). They also serve their dishes using different kinds of unagi pie. If you remember the image of the unagi pie statues from above, you can see the regular variety, the nut variety, and the VSOP variety (which has some brandy flavoring). They were all good, though I thought VSOP was the best. Certainly the most savory.

    If eating and touring isn't enough, they also have a small viewing room that loops an educational video about how this factory got started.

    video about the history of the unagi pie factory

    Apparently it's not all that educational though, because I don't remember a lot.

    tourists watching video of factory history

    The Unagi Pie Factory was a lot of fun, though I do (for some reason) like going to food factories. The highlight was definitely eating the already delicious unagi pies in an even more delicious combination (with strawberries, cream, etc). The green tea also paired really well.

    The biggest drawback is location. It wasn't impossible or terribly difficult to get to, though it wasn't as convenient as getting off a train and walking a few blocks either. Being a factory, it was a bit off the beaten path, and you can't blame them for that. If it wasn't for that, I'd be as happy as this family eating this all-unagi-pie dinner.

    model family eating unagi pies

    If you are already in Hamamatsu, and are here for a couple days, it's definitely worth the visit. There's not a huge amount to do in Hamamatsu as it is, so the Unagi Pie Factory automatically gets pushed way up the list. If this were in, say, Kyoto, it wouldn't make the top ten.

    Sunkado Unagi Pie Factory

    Pros

    • You can see how these famous cookies are made, and get a few exclusive factory flavors.
    • A cafe that makes unagi pie related foods. They certainly know how to do good things with their unagi pies.

    Cons

    • Not particularly easy to get to. A long walk, or medium length cab ride out ot the factory.
    • If you just want the unagi pie cookies, you can get them in train stations and tourist shops. You don't have to come all the way out here.

    Overall Rating

    7

    Accessibility Rating

    4

    Fun Rating

    7

    Uniqueness Rating

    8

    Additional Information

    Nishi Ward, Okubocho, 748−51
    Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 432-8006
    Japan

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