Candy Art! Wagashi is as delicious as it is beautiful.


A display of a variety of wagashi.

Have you ever seen something edible that is so beautiful that you just can’t bring yourself to eat it? In the world of wagashi, this is sometimes the case, but those that specialize in making this confection might be upset if you don’t! In fact, you may regret it, since wagashi are so delicious, too.

The practice of making wagashi has been around for many generations in Japan. In the early 13th century, Japan and China began to trade, and China’s afternoon appetizer, dim sum influenced Japan and the creation of wagashi. They are often served with tea, but unlike dim sum, wagashi are always sweet.


Sakura wagashi to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in Springtime.

There are many types of wagashi: some that look like fruits, some that look like flowers, and even totally clear ones. People often buy them for special occassions like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, and there are many seasonal wagashi to match. From spring and fall themes to Christmas and White Day, these confections are an art form in themselves.

Just watching videos of them being made on Youtube was enough to make me fall in love with the tradition of wagashi. I found there are many confectioneries that specialize in just wagashi, and have been practicing the art for many years, and some for more than six generations!

One thing I did notice is that not a lot of anime feature this special part of Japanese history. That’s why I decided to feature it myself, since not only are the creations so beautiful, but mesmerizing to watch being made. From what I have heard, they are also very delicious, with some being stuffed with azuki beans, to others looking like fish bows with candy fish inside.


Ferris Eris of “Legend of the Legendary Heroes” enjoying a colorful dango treat.

I also found out that dango, doriyaki, and mochi are considered wagashi, and these are featured in some anime, but these are the only kind from what I have seen. These wagashi, though, are not as fancy as the others, usually fried and put on sticks and served at festival vendor stands. Mochi can sometimes be made of ice cream, and can easily be purchased in a supermarket. These wagashi, though delicious, are more simple to make, and more easily found in Japan.


Tradition is a very important part of Japan, and it really shows in the art and skill of those that continue to make fantastic wagashi. I hope some day that I’ll be able to experience it, and maybe even make some myself! There are classes designed for those interested all over Japan, but I haven’t found any in the United States…yet!

Picture Credit: (x)

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