Updated: November 15, 2018
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Wagashi: The Total Guide To Japanese Edible Arts

Wagashi, a traditional Japanese sweet can be said as a representative of all Japanese sweets. The main ingredients of wagashi are mochi and anko in various colors. This post will introduce you the varieties of wagashi andat the last will also post the easiest recipe of anko you can try on your own.

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What is "Wagashi"(和菓子)...?

"Wagashi" is a traditional Japanese confession served with Japanese green teas. They are often made from mochi, a rice cake, and anko, sweet red bean paste. Many people imagine of colorful and cute looking sweets when they hear the word "wagashi" but wagashi is not only those you imagine.

This post will introduce you different kinds of wagashi and at the last will post some easy ways to try making wagashi on your own.

Mochi Wagashi


Sakuramochi is a seasonal kind of wagashi made from mochi. The name "sakuramochi" is from "sakura", which means cherry blossoms in Japanese and the word mochi. When you take a bite, you can slightly smell the cherry blossoms.

One kind of traditional Japanese sweet which you can taste the season.


Kusamochi is a mochi made from grass kneaded mochi dough. The comfortable smell of green and the sweet taste is something you have to try once before you die!


Warabimochi has "mochi" in its name but quite different from the other 2 types of mochi mentioned beyond. The main ingredient is warabi powder, a type of starch. The yellow-brown color powder on the surface is kinako powder, made from soybeans.

They are served cold and Japanese enjoy them in hot days of summer.


Daifuku is also a kind of wagashi made from mochi with sweet red bean jam inside.

Recently, daifuku with some fruits inside such as strawberry and grapes are popular.


Dango is an essential snack Japanese people can't miss when going out to watch some cherry blossoms in spring, moon or red leaves in fall.

You can easily get them at food stalls or at any grocery store. Some have anko and some are covered with sweet taste soy sauce.


Yatsuhashi is a regional mochi wagashi of Kyoto. Flavored anko is covered by thin mochi slices. It could be said as the most popular souvenir when you visit Kyoto.

For the best yatsuhashi, your only choice is to visit Kyoto!

Yokan(羊羹): Sweet bean jelly

Yokan is a traditional sweet Japanese jelly made from anko, sweet red beans, and agar. Yokan is usually the best partner of hot green teas.

In summer, instead of normal yokan, Japanese have mizu-yokan, which is more a soft and jelly texture version of yokan.

Manju(まんじゅう): Chinese bun wagashi

Manju is originally a type of Chinese bun. In Japan, manju is often eaten as an ordinary snack to welcome our guest at teatime.

Some manjus are shaped unique, such as momiji manju in Hiroshima is shaped like red leaves.

Other unique wagashi


Dorayaki is a Japanese pancake anko sandwiched. The fluffy pancakes will be a perfect snack. Sometimes we sand creams instead of anko.


Taiyaki is also a baked wagashi. The most outstanding feature of taiyaki is its shape! The shape of fish, specifically a red snapper represents good luck and fortune.

Japanese have a very serious discussion on whether to start eating your taiyaki form the head or from the tail.

As you might have already noticed, Anko is essential when making wagashi: Check out the recipe!

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