Let me tell you a story.
The story of the Tenmusu, Nagoya’s mini Onigiri.
I hope this story will make you curious about the Tenmusu and you will visit Ganso Tenmusu Senju in Nagoya to taste the original Tenmusu for yourself.
Ganso Tenmusu Senju in Tsu
Once upon a time (in the 1930s) there was a husband and wife. They owned a Tempura shop in Tsu city (about an hour from Nagoya) and business was going well.
In fact, they were so busy that there was hardly any time for them to eat, let alone prepare something for lunch for themselves.
The wife would take whatever was readily available at the shop and make a quick lunch for her husband.
She took some rice, put a deep-fried shrimp Tempura in the middle and wrapped the whole thing in a sheet of Nori, Japanese dried seaweed. And thus the Tenmusu was born.
Over time this Tenmusu became the standard lunch for employees of the Tempura shop. Once the regular patrons tasted the Tenmusu they wanted to eat it as well and it became a secret menu item and finally, after many years the Tenmusu made its way on to the regular menu.
The Tenmusu at the shop in Tsu was so popular that they stopped selling anything else, and it became a Tenmusu specialty store. The store still exists today and if you want to you can visit it and have some delicious Tenmusu.
They do mostly takeout but during lunchtime, you can order a set of 5 Tenmusu to eat at the counter inside the store.
But I guess it is kind of bothersome to go all the way to Tsu city to try some Tenmusu. I guess it could be a nice day trip from Nagoya though.
Ganso Tenmusu Senju in Nagoya
The good news is, you don’t have to go all the way to Tsu to try the original Tenmusu. There is a shop right in Nagoya where they sell the original Tenmusu.
But before you go there there is actually another story I need to tell you.
In the 1980s there was another husband and wife. They were from Nagoya and business wasn’t going so well for them. Because of the recession they had to close down the watch shop they had owned.
The wife wanted to support the family thought of different ways she might do that. That’s when she remembered the delicious Tenmusu from Tsu city.
How great would it be if she could sell them in Nagoya?
So, she went to the shop in Tsu city and asked the wife there if she could get the recipe for the Tenmusu so she could open a Tenmusu shop in Nagoya.
As you can maybe imagine, she was promptly rejected.
But the wife from Nagoya didn’t give up. She visited again and again. Negotiating terms under which she might open her shop.
And finally, the wife in Tsu city agreed. And so in Nagoya, the first Tenmusu shop was opened under the same name as the original shop in Tsu city: Ganso Tenmusu Senju. The birthplace of the Tenmusu.
There are now multiple locations where you can try some delicious original Tenmusu. There are Senju shops in department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Matsuzakaya in Sakae, and one is located right inside Nagoya Station.
Ganso Tenmusu Senju in Osu District
For the best experience, I recommend a visit to the shop in Osu shopping district. It is a very unassuming shop, with a simple sign in the front. If you aren’t looking for it you will just walk by it.
Inside the shop is a small counter, on the other side is the kitchen where especially during lunchtime multiple ladies are busily preparing fresh Tenmusu for the customers.
Most customers come by to get takeout, but if you visit between 12 and 2 p.m. you can sit down at one of the tables in the shop and enjoy your Tenmusu together with a cup of tea right inside the shop. Tenmusu are best when they are freshly made and still steaming hot.
One order of Tenmusu consists of five Tenmusu together with some stalks of butterbur pickled in soy sauce.
GANSO TENMUSU SENJU
Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. closed Thursdays and Wednesdays
Address: 4-10-82 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0011
Final Thoughts on Ganso Tenmusu Senju
Its a cheap and delicious snack, it gives you lots of energy for your day and it is something there you can taste the food culture of Nagoya.
There really is no reason not to make a stop at one of the Ganso Tenmusu Senju shops to try the original Tenmusu in Nagoya.
Senju is a stop during the Nagoya Meshi Food Tour. A daily tour which introduces its participants to the local food culture through local dishes. Check here for more details and join a tour when you visit Nagoya. It’s the best way to learn about Nagoya’s fascinating food and culture.
Some other restaurants I recommend are Komeda’s Coffee where you can try delicious Ogura Toast, Miya Kishimen for some Kishimen noodles, Misokatsu Yabaton to have Miso Katsu, and Yamamotoya to try Miso Nikomi Udon.
In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.