Wagashi – Delicious Traditional Japanese Treats

The traditional Japanese sweets known as wagashi have been gaining international popularity in recent years. It’s a plant-based sweet that has been perfected during Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868) and is commonly served at Japanese tea ceremonies. Learn more about the different types of wagashi, how they are made, and how easy it is to make them yourself at home.

Topics Covered

  • Types of wagashi
  • How to make your own wagashi
DescriptionBuy
Wagashi recipe bookCreate delicious and easy-to-follow wagashi recipes from renowned chef, Yamashita Masataka, with this 144-page recipe book.
Wagashi moldsCreate beautifully shaped wagashi treats with this mold that can withstand temperatures between -20°C and 100°C.

In this video, Tokyo-based Miss Wagashi shows you how to make delicious nerikiri treats. Video is owned and created by Japan By Food.


Types of wagashi

Not all wagashi is the same as some are made from different ingredients, while some others are purely seasonal. Here we will mention some of the most popular types.


Daifuku

Strawberry daifuku

Strawberry daifuku.

Daifuku is a type of mochi, and the word literally translates to ‘Good Luck.’ It consists of a rice cake (known as mochi) stuffed with anko (red bean paste). In the image above, you will see some strawberries added as a filling. There are many different varieties of daifuku, which you can read more about on this Wikipedia page.


Dango

Dango wagashi

Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, Dango, Dango! (41041813345), CC BY 2.0

Dango is a type of mochi that can be best described as a Japanese dumpling baked with rice flour. It’s also a highly popular treat that usually gets served during tea ceremonies. Read more about the different varieties of dango at thisis-japan.com.


Dorayaki

Dorayaki wagashi

Ocdp, Dorayaki 002, CC BY-SA 3.0

You will know dorayaki if you have ever watched the popular Japanese anime series, Doraemon. In the series, the main character loves dorayaki and often refers to it as ‘yummy buns.’ The treat consists of two pancake-type buns, filled with a delicious red bean paste (azuki).


Namagashi

Namagashi

akira yamada from Yokohama, Japan, Namagashi, CC BY-SA 2.0

Namagashi is a favorite during Japanese tea ceremonies, and they can be incredibly aesthetic as some chefs make them look incredibly artistic. They are made from sweet bean paste and gelatines such as jelly. These treats are usually shaped into the form of animals, flowers, or anything else the baker feels like.


Oshiruko

Oshiruko with genmai mochi

anonymous, Oshiruko with genmai mochi, CC BY 2.0

Oshiruko is a popular winter treat in Japan. It’s made by crushing and boiling sweet azuki beans into a paste and then adding ingredients such as mochi, dumplings, chestnuts, etc.


Taiyaki

Taiyaki

Taiyaki wagashi.

This delicious treat is a pancake that is shaped into the form of a taiyaki (sea bream fish) and can have any number of different fillings. The most popular filling choices are red bean paste (azuki), sausage, chocolate, and cheese.


Yokan jelly

Yokan jelly wagashi treats.

Ocdp, Imo-yōkan 001, CC0 1.0

Yokan is any jelly-based wagashi and is made from sugar, red bean paste, and a jelly substance derived from red algae known as agar. These are cold treats and are popular during the warm Japanese summer months.


How to make your own wagashi

Wagashi, although a Japanese delicacy, is also somewhat of an art form. Many different varieties exist, and the most commonly used ingredients are fruit, nuts, sugar, rice, anko (azuki bean paste), and flour. Interested in learning how to make your own? Simply follow these easy wagashi recipes from cookpad and check out these products listed below.


Wagashi: Little Bites of Japanese Delights

Renowned wagashi chef, Yamashita Masataka, shares some of his best Japanese delicacy recipes in this detailed 144-page book.

Easily make your own delicious Japanese confections with ingredients such as flour, gelatin, and sweet bean pastes that you can enjoy as snacks throughout the day or with a cup of matcha tea.


Wagashi molds

The one thing you absolutely need when making wagashi at home – apart from good recipes, are molds to shape your treats. The mold featured here is made from hard plastic and is rather large, so your treats will be pretty big too.

It can withstand temperatures ranging between -20°C and 100°C and weighs 7.5 ounces.


Related Content

These treats go perfectly with matcha tea. Learn more about it and other types of Japanese tea.

Wagashi is always served with tea during the centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony. Learn more about it here.