Updated: March 31, 2017
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Only In Spring! Seasonal Japanese Desserts You Should Try

There are Japanese desserts in Japan that you can only eat during the spring. These traditional "wagashi" (Japanese desserts) use freshly picked strawberries and cherry blossoms to make the dessert to enjoy the flavor of spring. This article will introduce some of those spring Japanese "wagashi"!

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Basic Ingredients Of Wagashi

Wagashi is a term that refers to Japanese desserts. Typically, there are two main ingredients used to make wagashi, and it is anko and mochi.

Anko is sweet red bean paste usually filled inside the wagashi,hardened into jelly (e.g. kintsuba, youkan) or made into a liquid form (e.g.zenzai).

Mochi is a Japanese term for rice cake, and is usually made into a small ball-shape or is used to wrap the anko.

1. Ichigo Daifuku

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Ichigo daifuku is round rice cake (mochi) stuffed with sweetened red bean paste (anko) with one fresh strawberry on top or inside the rice cake.
Typically, the rice cake is white, but nowadays the rice cake is in different colors such as pink or green.
Also, modern wagashi stores have made new daifuku such as banana daifuku or grape daifuku, that substitutes the strawberry with a different fruit.

2. Sakura Mochi

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Sakura mochi is red bean paste (anko) inside sakura flavored sweet sticky rice, wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf.
To be more specific, this is the Kansai region style of making sakura mochi, and is also called domyoji. (front one in picture above)
In the Kanto region, shiratamako (rice flour) is used instead of domyojiko, so the anko is inside a crepe-like pink layer inside. (back one in picture above)

Sakuramochi is typically eaten during the spring season only, and is especially eaten on Girl's Day (3/3) and in hanami settings.

3. Uguisu Mochi

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Another symbol of spring in Japan is the crying of the uguisu (bush warbler). This bird symbolizes the arrival of spring in Japan, and uguisu mochi is a wagashi that illustrates the uguisu. In order to make the dessert look like the actual bird, uguisu mochi is shaped in a slightly oval form and has a green color to it.

It is a soft rice cake (mochi) filled with sweet red bean paste (anko) and is sprinkled with green soy bean (kinako) powder. The rice cake is made from shiratamako (rice flour) and uses gyuhi-mochi to create the extra soft texture. The powder is made with a mix of green tea powder and kinako powder to create the green color.

4. Hanami Dango

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Hanami dango, also known as sanshoku dango, is a Japanese mochi dumpling that is traditionally made to enjoy the cherry blossom viewing season. The name "hanami dango" means dango for eating while looking at the flowers.

Hanami dango is three dango (small rice cakes) in different colors put on a stick. It consists of one pink, white and green dango. As dango typically is topped with anko, sweet soy sauce and other toppings, there is nothing inside the dango.

A Sweet Flavor Of Spring With Japanese Wagashi!

Wagashi is a form of Japanese culture developed to enjoy the beautiful four seasons. Experience Japanese culture by trying out some seasonal spring sweets in Japan!
I would like to introduce some tips about Japanese food and table manners.

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