Wagashi is a term that includes various traditional sweets or desserts. Distinctly Japanese ingredients and flavours are used, like matcha, adzuki beans and kinako (roasted soy bean flour), making them completely different to their Western counterparts.They are often eaten as an accompaniment to green tea and seen in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Another occasion which is perfect for wagashi is cherry blossom season. The most common way to enjoy the Japanese spring time is ‘hanami’, flower viewing picnics. This is the time to snap up all the limited time only cherry blossom flavoured goods that have been popping up in Japan since February.

If you’re a fan of cute characters and wagashi, you’ll be happy to know that a new crossover is about to turn up in Japanese convenience store, Lawson, for the spring season.

These cute Rilakkuma wagashi are made of nerikiri, a type of traditional Japanese sweet which is made using a white bean paste and mochi dough. Since they can be easily coloured, moulded and carved into various shapes, they will often be used to create aesthetically pleasing confections. The inherent malleability of nerikiri has been used here to create these super adorable sweet versions of Rilakkuma and his little chick friend Kiiroitori.

The appearance of the sweets takes on a sakura theme with Rilakkuma clutching a cherry blossom flower, while Kiiroitori has a cherry blossom hair accessory. Both sweets contain sweet red bean paste, Rilakkuma is brown sugar syrup flavour and Kiiroitori is sakura flavour, bringing the spring theme to the taste itself. The cute chick even contains real sakura petals for an authentic cherry blossom taste.

The too-cute-to-eat sweets will be available in Lawsons from 26th March, and will cost only 395 yen. Rilakkuma, a portmanteau of ‘relax’ and ‘kuma’, the Japanese word for bear, is known for taking it easy. He’s the perfect little mascot to take to your chilled out cherry blossom picnic.

By - Jess.