If you come to Japan you have to try traditional sweets.

Wagashi is an umbrella term for various traditional sweets and desserts. Apart from just artisanal presentation, they taste exquisite too. Using distinctly Japanese ingredients and flavours such as matcha, adzuki beans and kinako (roasted soy bean flour), they are completely different from their counterparts found in other countries. Usually less sweet, they match perfectly with a cup of green tea for a sublime Japanese teatime.

Best Wagashi to Pick Up While in Japan

1. Mochi

Ami_Tateishiさん(@ami_tateishi1118)がシェアした投稿 -

You’ve probably heard of mochi before, a contender for the softest material on this earth. In wagashi this super springy rice cake is used in many different ways. For spring, sakura mochi is a must-try, a treat flavoured like the season’s famed cherry blossoms. Warabi mochi is another common type of mochi which is covered in roasted soybean flour. Daifuku is a very thin layer of mochi covering sweet red bean paste or cream and fruit. Strawberry daifuku, a whole strawberry wrapped in mochi is a truly blissful combination.

2. Taiyaki

norip?さん(@nopainnogainnopain)がシェアした投稿 -

Anime fans will definitely have seen this one before. These fish shaped pancakes not only look cute but are delicious too. Red bean paste is the usual filling, but if you prefer something sweeter, alternatives like custard are also available. Some vendors even get extra creative with the flavours!

chiharuさん(@10090725c)がシェアした投稿 -

3. Dorayaki

銘菓 木守 三友堂さん(@sanyu_do)がシェアした投稿 -

Dorayki is like a pancake made from two castella cakes, sandwiching red bean paste filling. The original dorayaki consisted of just one layer (boo!) but thankfully in the end the dorayaki shops started doubling down to give the filling treat we can enjoy today. Not just red bean paste, you can find other flavours like this matcha cream and strawberry filling.

しいさん(@sstm56)がシェアした投稿 -

4. Dango

侯辰璟さん(@houchenjing)がシェアした投稿 -

With its distinctive 3 different coloured rice balls on a stick, hanami dango is an icon of spring. This treat is best enjoyed while sitting under some beautiful cherry blossoms. But apart from that, dango can come in many other forms. Mitarashi dango is another popular type which is flavoured with a thick, sweet soy sauce syrup.

5. Manju

Sanae February?さん(@sanapsanap)がシェアした投稿 -

Manju have a cakey outside layer and a sweet centre, usually (you guessed it) red bean paste. Sometimes the outer part is flavoured with matcha. One of the most popular varieties is the momiji manju which is shaped like a Japanese maple leaf and is a famous souvenir from Hiroshima.

6. Yokan

@sachinico14がシェアした投稿 -

This jelly looking dessert is made from red bean paste, sugar and agar and comes in various flavours including green tea, chestnuts or sweet potato. The ingredients are hardened into a block and served in slices. The texture is similar to a paste and it can often be seen as part of tea ceremony. Mizu yokan contains more water which gives it a more translucent appearance and jelly-like texture.

AKIKOさん(@erutaro)がシェアした投稿 -

7. Nerikiri

Dinh Kim Dangさん(@jee.mi.kim)がシェアした投稿 -

These are definitely the most aesthetically impressive of all the wagashi. Nerikiri are made from a dough formed by white bean paste and mochi, they can be easily coloured and moulded into various shapes to create sweet confections to express the seasons. Often this takes the form of flowers. Buying a batch of these as souvenirs is sure to impress everyone back home!

By - Jess.