Traditional Japanese sweets, known as ‘wagashi’, aren’t just known for their taste, but are also famous for looking elegant as well. Another characteristic that adds to their world-famous charm, is the part that seasons and events play on the selection of ingredients and choice of presentation.

Tsuruya Yoshinobu is one Japanese confectionery shop that specialises in sweets that portray the seasons. This wagashi shop is based in Kyoto and it has a long history as it was founded in 1803. They use motifs in their sweets such as cherry blossom to express spring, and fallen leaves for autumn.

Now they are releasing some gorgeous wagashi to celebrate Tanabata, an upcoming Japanese festival. It’s also known as the ‘Star Festival’, and it occurs on the 7th day of the 7th month to mark the meeting of the two stars Vega and Altair. These stars represent Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi, star-crossed lovers from a story originating in Chinese mythology.

Tsuruya Yoshinobu’s Tanabata-themed sweets use the motifs of stars and galaxy-inspired colours to express the story. There’s yokan, a traditional sweet made from red bean paste, agar, and sugar, which is sold as a block to be sliced up. The Tanabata yokan has a trail of stars trapped in a transparent layer above a purple backdrop. The packaging also has a lovely starry purple theme.

Tsuruya Yoshinobu also has a sub-brand called Irodori that specialises in kohakuto. Kohakuto can be translated as ‘amber sugar’, and it’s made from Agar Agar with a chewy inside and crunchy outer layer. Their Tanabata set is inspired by a summer evening sky, with gorgeous pastel tones.

The Irodori kohakuto is only available online, but there is also an online-exclusive set that includes both of these sweet creations.

The yokan will be available at Tsuruya Yoshinobu stores from 1st July to 7th, but can be preordered online, to make sure you don’t miss out on celebrating this traditional Japanese festival with some beautiful wagashi.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.