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Japan Tours and Life Style

10 Must try Japanese sweets and Desserts

Japan’s cuisine is well-known around the world, but it’s not just sushi and ramen. A scrumptious selection of delectable desserts, cakes, and candies awaits the sweet toothed. Japan has a large assortment of delectable and often gorgeous sweet delicacies, ranging from traditional Japanese Wagashi to Japanese interpretations of western dessert classics. Many of these traditional sweets are unique to Japanese culture and are collectively referred to as wagashi. Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets that are frequently served with a beverage or other food. They’re frequently made to go with a specific tea or drink.

Food traditions determine a country’s culture, and discovering Japan’s food scene is all about finding the proper balance and variety. Japan has created a distinct culture of sweets and desserts over the course of its history, ranging from sweet dumplings, cakes, and jellies to drier crackers and fried foods. These desserts are produced with the utmost care, balance, and natural tastes of the ingredients that are painstakingly designed to give you the best Japanese desserts that you must enjoy in, using a variety of cooking techniques. So here 10 must try Japanese sweets and Desserts.

10 Must try Japanese sweets and Desserts



Daifuku 大福 • Japanchunks


Daifuku, also known as Daifuku mochi, is a small spherical mochi filled with a variety of ingredients, the most popular of which is pureed azuki red beans. Mochi is a sticky rice cake that is used in a variety of meals, one of the most popular of which is daifuku. Small and huge (roughly the size of a hand’s palm) are the most common sizes for this dessert. The cakes are dusted with starch and occasionally sugar.

Daifuku was originally known as Habutai  (belly thick rice cake), which described its nature and preparation. Its name was later changed to Daifuku (big belly). Because the pronunciation of “belly” and “luck” in Japanese are the same, the cake’s name became “Great Luck Rice Cake”.

Daifuku is also available as ice cream. A mochi cake filled with vanilla, chocolate, or green tea ice cream and then dipped in coconut milk is known as Yukimi Daifuku (Snow-viewing Daifuku).

Ichigo Daifuku is another famous daifuku variety (strawberry daifuku). This dessert is only available during strawberry season and is made by wrapping a strawberry in a layer of mochi and red beans paste, creating a delicious and unique delicacy.



Japanese Dango: Japanchunks


Dango is a traditional Japanese dumpling prepared from rice flour, uruchi rice flour, and sticky rice flour.

It differs from the traditional process of creating mochi, which involves heating sticky rice. Dango is normally completed in a circular form and served on a skewer with three to five dango (skewered dango pieces called kushi-dango). In general, dango is classified as wagashi and is frequently eaten with green tea. It is consumed all year, but different types are usually consumed throughout specific seasons.

They can eaten stuffed, grilled, or coated in a sweet sauce, although they’re most commonly skewered. When offered at festivals such as hanami, dango are frequently flavoured and coloured.



Mochi Ice Cream もちアイス • japanchunks


Mochi is a staple of Japanese cuisine, particularly when it comes to desserts.

This is a sticky rice cake formed by pounding the grain into a paste and shaping it into the appropriate shape.

Mochi is made all year, but it is such an essential part of Japanese culture that it is celebrated with a ceremony called mochitsuki (mochi preparation) on the last day of the year (different families do it on different days, trying to do it on a “lucky” day according to the calendar).

Steamed, grilled, boiled, and mixed with a variety of other ingredients, mochi is a versatile ingredient. What’s more, it makes delicious desserts.

Sakura mochi is one of the most beautiful deserts available. It’s a popular snack to consume when viewing cherry blossoms in the spring, and it’s also the customary dessert for Girl’s Day (March 3).

Sakura mochi

 Sakura Mochi - japanchunks


Is a pink-colored rice cake wrapped with a sakura tree leaf and filled with red bean paste.

Kuzumochi is a traditional summer treat in Japan. Mochi, kudzu powder, sugar, and water are used to make this light treat. Kuzumochi is served chilled with kinako and kuromitsu (lit. black honey, a Japanese syrup) (roasted soybeans flour).

In Japanese culture, mochi is also utilised to make one of the most essential foods. Hanabiramochi is a dessert that is traditionally consumed at the start of the year, following the tradition of prior imperial families who would eat this dish to commemorate the start of the year and other significant events.

Hanabiramochi preparation and shape are rigidly determined by tradition. The form resembles a flower. The mochi layers must be light pink in colour and must not completely enclose the filling, which consists of red beans paste, sweetened mung beans, and a flavoured burdock strip.

This desert is also full of symbolism, with colours that evoke not just the ume (plum) and sakura flowers (which represent purity, perseverance, and rejuvenation, respectively), but also the new year. The burdock (gobo) depicts pressed ayu, an east Asian fish that symbolises longevity.



Taiyaki -japanchunks

Taiyaki is a strange fish-shaped cake that is named after the fish it symbolises, the tai (or sea bream).

Pancake or waffle batter is used for the outer layer. The fillings are where this treat takes on a whole new level of uniqueness. The most typical filling is red beans, although it’s also available with custard, chocolate, and sweet potato fillings. There are no fish ingredients, so there’s no need to be concerned about biting into these delicacies and uncovering a fishy surprise! Despite the fact that they are strictly desserts, they can also be found with cheese fillings and, in rare circumstances, gyoza, okonomiyaki, or sausage fillings.

Taiyaki first developed in Japan during the Meiji era, but they vanished after WWII owing to a lack of food.

They made a sweeping reappearance after the war, and are today immensely popular as street food and one of the most popular delicacies served at festivals around the country.



Dorayaki |japanchunks

Some of you may recognise Dorayaki from the popular Doraemon manga and anime series. The character who gives the manga its name is addicted to dorayaki in the series. He eats a lot of them, and they’re frequently employed as a storey device in various episodes.

Dorayaki is a pancake-like sandwich made with castella, a Nagasaki specialty soft cake introduced to Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese merchants. The red beans paste is then poured into the cake. Dora means “gong” in Japanese, and given the shape of this treat, this is most likely how it got its name.

Dorayaki are quite popular in Japan, however they may go by another name depending on where you live. Ask for a mikasa if you’re wanting Dorayaki in Kansai (for example, in Osaka, Kyoto, or Nara).

Coffee Jelly

Coffee jelly | japanchunks

Coffee Jelly is one of Japan’s most popular desserts. It’s manufactured by combining sweetened coffee with agar, a red algae-based gelatin. The jelly is then blended with a variety of liquids, including milk, coffee, shakes, ice cream floats, sundaes, and more.

Coffee Jelly is presently largely made in Japan, but it appears to have originated in England in the early 1800s. During this time, it also became popular in the United States, albeit the western recipe utilised gelatin instead of agar. Unlike many other long-standing Japanese traditions, this popular dessert only arrived in the country in the second decade of the twentieth century. It’s now available at numerous Japanese cafes and restaurants, as well as convenience stores!



Anmitsu | japanchunks

Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese dessert from the Meiji period. It is usually considered as a summer dessert.

Small cubes of agar jelly, a white translucent jelly made from red algae, are used to make this Japanese style parfait. To prepare the jelly, the agar is dissolved in water (or fruit juice such as apple juice). It is served in a dish with sweet azuki bean paste (anko), boiling peas (typically gyi), and a variety of fruits such as peach slices, mikan, pineapple chunks, and cherries. Anmitsu is typically served with a tiny pot of sweet black syrup, known as mitsu (the mitsu part of anmitsu), which is poured over the jelly before eating. A spoon and fork are typically used to consume anmitsu.



Manju | japanchunks

Manju is a sweet that comes in a variety of flavours, but the most popular is an outer layer comprised of flour, rice powder, buckwheat, and kudzu (a plant). Red bean paste is used as the filler (possibly the most common ingredient for Japanese sweets). Chestnut jam (Kuri Manju) or orange-flavored cream are two other filling options.

Manju, like other Japanese sweets and foods in general, has been adapted in a variety of ways across the country. The Okinawan manju (also popular in Hawaii) is made with a purple sweet potato filling, butter, milk, sugar, and salt, or a variety of bean pastes.

Jumangoku Manju can be found in Saitama, a prefecture north of Tokyo. The outer layer is made with extra rice, which gives it a different texture, and the red beans paste is made without the peel, which makes it smoother. Since 1945, this dish has been a Saitama tradition, and the method of preparation is reported to have stayed unchanged.

Finally, check for the Momiji Manju if you’re seeking for a nice souvenir. These are manju that have been produced in the shape of the iconic Japanese maple tree leaves (momiji) and have been designed as keepsakes. Takatsu Tsuneko, a wagashi (Japanese sweets) maker, was commissioned by a ryokan (Japanese-style hotel) owner to create sweets that would make good mementos for visitors during the late Meiji period. Tsuneko was motivated to create the Momiji Manju by the ryokan’s location in Miyajima so-called Momiji Valley.


yokan | japanchunks

Another gelatinous dish is yokan, which is created with agar, sugar, and red beans. It’s sold in little blocks or slices in Japan. Yokan is a delicious treat to serve with tea, coffee, cookies, or other sweets.

Mizu yokan (water yokan) is a lighter and more refreshing dessert created with more water than its more traditional counterpart. It is typically served in the summer.

Yokan appears to have a long history, having been introduced to Japan by Zen monks around 1000 years ago. Yokan is a Chinese dessert made from boiling sheep fat, and the gelatin component is produced from it.

Because Buddhism prohibits the killing or consumption of animals, the monks substituted animal gelatin.

Yokan is also available in a green tea flavouring (in this case white beans instead of red beans are used. Since they have a less dominant flavor). Yokan can also be flavoured with chopped chestnuts, figs, sweet potatoes, and other ingredients, making it a treat that never gets old.



Anko (Red Bean Paste) - japanchunks


Anko is a delicious paste that comes in a variety of colours, including red, green, and shades in between.

Adzuki beans, which were a typical way to sweeten dishes before synthetic sugar was introduced in Japan. Are used to make anko. It is now commonly used as a topping and filler for Japanese delicacies, but it can also be eaten on its own.

Although today’s usual is to mix the bean paste with sugar. Salt was used to make anko during the Kamakura era (1185-1333). Domestic sugar production rose throughout the Edo period (1603-1868), and sweet anko became the standard.

Depending on the ingredients and method of preparation, there are many various types of anko. Each with its own particular flavour.

Tsubuan, for example, is a coarse sweet bean paste made from softly smashed beans. The skins and sometimes whole beans are left on the tsubuan, giving it a bean-like flavour and texture.


on the other hand, is anko that has been pressed through a sieve to remove all of the skin from the beans. Koshian has a silkier texture, almost as if it were dissolving.

In place of adzuki beans, white common beans, soy beans, green peas, and other legumes can be used to make anko.

Japan is a country with a unique culinary landscape, rich culinary traditions. And one of the world’s most popular cuisines for all the right reasons. Subtle aromas explode in your mouth with a dash of sugar rush in Japanese desserts. These desserts are painstakingly produced with greatest care, balance, and natural flavours of the ingredients. Using a variety of culinary techniques to give you the best 8 classic Japanese desserts that you must try.

If you visit Japan during the summer, you will be pleased to learn that June 16 is Wagashi Day. That’s right, wagashi manufacturers from all around Japan. Will be serving their greatest products during this nation-wide 1200-year-old festival of exquisite Japanese sweets!

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