Satisfy your sweet tooth and expand your palette.
Japanese sweets are a completely new way to eat dessert.
Known as wagashi, most Japanese sweets consists of rice, starch, and red bean paste (called anko). Even though they are sweet, they are considered to be rather healthy because the ingredients are simple, and do not include anything from animals. Interested in trying Japanese sweets? Amnet's concierge service can make reservations and recommendations.
(Photo Copyright:© Kanazawa City/© JNTO)
Anko is sweet red bean paste, which is used in most Japanese desserts (red beans are called Azuki in Japanese). There are two types of textures to Anko, one being Tsubu-an, which is the type where the beans are not crushed all the way, and the other being Koshi-an, which is the smooth type.
There are many types of manju, but the most traditional type has an outer skin made of wheat and rice flour, and the filling is red bean paste. Other types of manju include mizu-manju and momiji-manju (a regional confection of Hiroshima).
Chagashi is a bite-sized confection, usually made especially sweet in order to harmonize well with matcha green tea, which is extremely bitter. These sweets are also beautifully made and are usually expressions of the current season.
Dango are dumplings made of rice, and are served in many different styles. Some have fillings, some are covered with sauce or red bean paste, some are grilled, or some are blended with other ingredients before being formed into a ball. In most cases they are skewered, but sometimes are served individually.
Castella is a type of sponge cake, first brought into Japan by the Portugese.
Taiyaki is a pancake-like batter cooked in a pan shaped like a fish, and filled with red bean paste and other fillings like custard, white bean paste, or chocolate cream.
Dorayaki are pancake sandwiches with red bean paste in between. You can also find other varieties of fillings like matcha paste, chestnuts, and white bean paste.
A regular daifuku is typically known as red bean paste wrapped in soft mochi. Other ingredients such as chestnuts or strawberries can be included, and often change depending on the season.
Sakura mochi is a pink-colored mochi with a red bean paste filling, and is wrapped with a pickled cherry blossom leaf (this leaf has a salty flavor). This dessert is often sold in the springtime.
This type of yohkan is a lighter jelly-like dessert which is less dense compared to regular yohkan, and people enjoy it in the summertime.
Warabi mochi is a clear jelly-like mochi made of bracken starch, and is seen as a summertime dessert. It is topped with kinako (roasted soybean powder), and sometimes comes with kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup) which you can pour from top. The mochi itself is usually slightly sweetened, and the kinako can contain sugar as well.
Kuzukiri is a clear flat cold noodle made from Kuzu starch. The noodle itself does not have a flavor, but you dip it into Kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup) when you eat it (or pour from top).
The kuzu starch is also used in many Japanese cuisines to make the sauces thicker.
A monaka is sweetened red bean paste sandwiched between crispy wafers. It can also be filled with white bean paste, green bean paste, chestnuts, and/or mochi. At supermarkets and convenience stores, you can also find monaka filled with ice cream.
Zenzai is a sweet red bean soup which includes balls of mochi and sometimes chestnuts. It is eaten hot in the wintertime, and cold in the summer. The soup usually comes along with a small dish of salted seaweed. This is supposed to help the soup taste even sweeter than it actually is.
Shaved ice is called kaki gohri in Japanese, but when the ice is flavored with green tea and red bean paste, it is called uji kintoki. It also contains balls of mochi, and sometimes ice cream.
This is a summertime dessert and it is a mixture of fruits, mochi balls, red bean paste, and cubes of agar jelly. Ice cream can be a topping too. It comes with brown sugar syrup, which you pour onto everything before eating.
This dessert is made of mashed mochi rice, covered with soy bean powder, ground sesame seeds, or red bean paste (all sweetened). Sometimes the rice is wrapped around red bean paste.
This is a pancake-like dough cooked on a hot plate with circular molds. It is usually filled with sweet red bean paste, but sometimes there are a variety of fillings, such as sweet white bean paste, custard cream or chocolate cream.