Kurokazu 黒和 (@kurokazu_45) is a 和菓子 wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) chef at 和菓子處吉祥庵 Wagashidokoro Kisshōan near the beach in Shōnan, Kanagawa Prefecture, who fashions colorful nerikiri 練り切り wagashi creations inspired by the natural world.

He is known for his delightful and continually expanding collection of bird sweets, such as these kingfishers he recently made:

However, he has also been getting attention for a different breed of animal. As an avid fisher, Kurokazu often has sea creatures on his mind. Scrolling through his Twitter account will reveal many images of him enjoying his hobby.

Since one of his favorites is the puffer fish, it's only natural that he would think of creating a wagashi inspired by it. And just look at the adorable result:

Reproduced with permission from Kurokazu 黒和 (@kurokazu_45)

Not only has he successfully expressed the puffer fish's characteristic body shape, patterns and fins, he brilliantly conveys their cute side by choosing to show them in their "puffed up" state. Each one of them has a different expression. It's easy to imagine them having slightly different personalities and moods such as surprised, indifferent, curious, or annoyed.

If you're wondering how he was able to create such lifelike and expressive puffer fish, he was able to get direct inspiration from his own little puffer fish he keeps in a tank at his shop!

Although puffer fish are famous for the potent neurotoxin contained in their organs, these puffer fish can't hurt you. However, you may hesitate to eat them for another reason: They're just so darned cute!

If you live in the Kanto area of Japan and want to take some of them home, please note that you can only buy one per group. If you wish to purchase more than one fish, make a reservation by phone at least one week in advance. Since the fish must be kept refrigerated, he recommends bringing a cooler bag and cold packs with you if you need to carry them around for a while. They're good for one day after purchase.

Shop Information

  • Name: 和菓子處 吉祥庵 Wagashidokoro Kisshōan
  • Address (JP): 〒253-0101神奈川県高座郡寒川町倉見3830-7
  • Address (EN): 3830-7 Kurami, Samukawa, Koza District, Kanagawa 253-0101
  • Open: Tue. to Sat. 10:00 - 19:00, Sun. 10:00 - 18:30. (May close earlier. Check Twitter for updates on hours and holidays)
  • Tel: 0467-74-8247

To see more of Kurokazu's excellent wagashi creations, you can follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.