Tokoroten (心太, ところてん) is a dish in Japanese cuisine made from agarophytes. Tokoroten has been eaten by the Japanese for over a thousand years.[1] Tokoroten is thought to have been introduced to Japan from China during the Nara period.[2] Tokoroten was traditionally made by boiling tengusa (Gelidium amansii) and then allowing the mixture to congeal into a jelly.[1]

Place of originJapan
Main ingredientsseaweed (tengusa, ogonori)

Tokoroten was a popular snack during the summertime in Edo (Tokyo) during the Edo period.[2] It was originally made to be eaten immediately and was commonly sold around factories.[3] In the 17th century, it was discovered that freezing tokoroten would result in a stable and dry product known as kanten (agar).[3][1] While tokoroten can be made from kanten based on seaweeds such as tengusa (Gelidiaceae) and ogonori (Gracilaria), today commercially produced kanten is mostly made from ogonori.[2]

Pressed against a device, the jelly is shaped into noodles. Unlike gelatin desserts, tokoroten has a firmer texture.

Tokoroten was and can be eaten hot (in solution) or cold (as a gel).[3] Flavorings and garnishes can vary from region to region. Today, it is the most common to eat tokoroten with a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce,[4] and sometimes nori,[5] hot pepper, or sesame. In Kansai region, tokoroten is eaten as a dessert with kuromitsu.[6]


  1. Mouritsen 2013, p. 93.
  2. Shimamura 2010.
  3. Armisen & Galatas 1987.
  4. Ito & Hori 1989.
  5. Stephen 1995.
  6. "ところてん、関西ではなぜ黒蜜?" [Why is tokoroten eaten with kuromitsu in Kansai?] (in Japanese). The Nikkei. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2017-04-26.


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