Harbour: The tale of Yokohama’s famous sweets


Ariake’s Harbour sweets have been a cherished Yokohama staple for over 60 years. The light, fluffy castella cake is jam-packed with chestnut and sweet bean paste. To represent the port town that Yokohama is, they are shaped to resemble a ship. Even though they are quite popular today, the company that makes them, Ariake Co., Ltd., had a difficult road to success.

In 1936, the original Ariake Seika (Confectionery) was founded in Tsurumi, Yokohama. The company manufactured and sold traditional Japanese sweets, but as times changed, they began developing their own sweets. In 1954 the company released “Roman”, which was renamed “Harbour” (as it is known now) in 1966, fitting for its ship-like appearance.

But Harbour suddenly disappeared in 1999 when the company went bankrupt due to a failed real estate investment. The following year, with the goal of bringing back the tasty treat, loyal fans of the product and former company employees got together to form a planning committee to revive the company. Unfortunately, the recipe had been lost when the company went out of business, so they searched for a patissier to recreate the sweets through trial and error. Finally, on April 26, 2001, Harbour was brought back at an event celebrating its return that was held at a cart in front of the former Yokohama Matsuzakaya (now Isezaki Cattleya Plaza). At the time, some customers were so overjoyed they cried, and what was supposed to be three-days worth of product was sold out in less than four hours. Since then, the company has developed many new products and now has four other brands in addition to their flagship, Harbour.

As it is a company with deep roots in Yokohama, Ariake actively supports the city it loves and acts as an ambassador for Yokohama throughout Japan. The company is an official sponsor of the Yokohama F. Marinos and the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, in addition to being a supporter of the Yokohama Marathon. The company also has put its weight behind an NPO that works on a volunteer basis to beautify the city. Their efforts are not just limited to the city limits as they have donated portions of their sales proceeds to reconstruction efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the earthquake that struck Kumamoto last year.

With a philosophy of “working to create heartwarming moments”, the company is also creating “delicious memories” for Hamakko (Yokohama denizens), young and old.


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