Yubeshi dates back to the Nara period, from 710–794 CE.
Because sugar was not readily available at the time, salt and soybean paste were used as seasoning. Even today, salty Yubeshi made with soybean paste or kaya seeds still exists.
Sweet Yubeshi originated in the middle of the Edo period, around 1700.
An account written by a cook serving the prominent Maeda family, feudal lords in the area, mentions Yubeshi being served as dessert.
These Maru-Yubeshi were almost the same as those produced today, but instead of mochi powder, doumyoji powder was used. However, the exact origin of this yubeshi is still unclear.
According to “Leaflet of Cooking”, a document written by Yasunobu Funaki, also a servant of the Maeda family, another type of Yubeshi called Touza-Yubeshi already existed at that time.
These were simpler to prepare than Maru-Yubeshi. Touza-Yubeshi is composed of doumyoji powder and yuzu peel and is similar to Nakauraya’s Sao-Yubeshi (see picture) but is produced all over Japan.
Another Yubeshi exists in northern Japan, but instead of yuzu, these yubeshi are made with sesame or walnuts.
Nowadays yuzu are often cultivated in warmer regions, but in the Edo period, the northern limit for growing yuzu was here in Wajima.
So, it seems that people in more northern parts of Japan used the special product of the region to make Yubeshi.
Today there are many different kinds of regional Yubeshi. Each type varies in taste and shape. These unique, local products are part of Japan’s distinctive food culture, epitomized in Wajima’s Yubeshi.