Tag: Dango

My selection of 3 best Mochi cafes in Tokyo! Enjoy freshly made super delicious Mochi

My selection of 3 best Mochi cafes in Tokyo! Enjoy freshly made super delicious Mochi

There are many Mochi sweets and dishes in Japan, but, there are not many places that offer freshly made Mochi. So, let me show you some of my favorite Mochi cafes! (º﹃º)

Related post: what is mochi? a beginner’s guide to mochi

 

1. Gekko(月光)

Gekko is a very famous and popular café that is specialized in Mochi and Japanese teas. They make Mochi everyday by hand without using any machine even though most of makers use machines to pound rice and make Mochi these days! By doing every process with hand Mochi becomes very silky and smooth.

 

 

Here, I recommend you try “Donburi Mochi” (950 yen) which is a hot bowl dish coming with 5 round soft Mochi. It comes with a soy sauce based special sauce designed by the owner. It is amazingly soft yet chewy, and has a rich flavor of rice. So, so delicious! It comes with a cup of roasted Japanese green tea.

 

 

Not only Mochi, they also offer a variety of Japanese teas and Japanese tea sweets, including Matcha. If you are a fan of Mochi and Matcha, this place is where you should go!

See how I liked it!: very popular mochi café “gekko” in tokyo! try silky chewy freshly-made mochi

 

 

[Info]Gekko

Access: 4 min walk from Uguisudani sta (JR Yamanote line)
Menu: Donduri-Mochi: 950 yen
Note: Cash only

 

2. Kinozen(紀の善)

Kinozen is a long-established Japanese café that is famous for their Japanese traditional sweets such as Matcha mousse and Anmitsu, Japanese red bean parfait.

 

 

However, you can also find fresh Mochi dishes here as well! I recommend you try “Zo-ni”, a Japanese traditional soup dish with Mochi. The broth of its soup is based on fish and sea weed and tastes very clean yet rich. The Mochi is grilled and has a nice crispy surface, while keeping its very soft and chewy texture.

 

 

 

You can also buy some of their sweets and Senbei (Japanese rice cracker) to go.

[Info]Kinozen

Access: 3 min walk from Iidabashi sta (Yurakucho line, Namboku line)
Menu: Matcha mousse: 874 yen
Note: Cash only

 

3. Oiwake Dango Honpo(追分だんご本舗)

Oiwake Dango Honpo is a long-established Dango shop/café located in Shinjuku, one of the most popular tourist place. They are specialized in Dango, skewered round Mochi balls. Here, you can enjoy freshly made Dango.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

 

There are many types of Dango on their menu, includeing Mitarashi Dango (sweet soy sauce Dango), sea weed wrapped Dango, spicy chili pepper Dango and many more. Please try as many flavors as you can!

 

 

Their shaved ice is also famous and popular. Please stop by there when you are tired from walking around Shinjuku.

 

 

[Info]Oiwake Dango Honpo

Address: 3-1-22 Shinjuku | NSO Bldg. 1F, Shinjuku, Tokyo (Mon-Fri: 11am-7pm, Sat-Sun: 11am-8pm)
Access: 1 min walk from Shinjuku-san-chome sta (Marunouchi line, Fukutoshin line)
Menu: 2 Dango sticks (Mitarashi and Anko): 567 yen

 
 

Even if you don’t live in Japan or not visiting Japan, you can make Mochi at home. It is delicious and easy. Please try!

Related post: how to make mochi at home : 3 easy ways

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

4 delicious Japanese Mochi sweets you must try!

4 delicious Japanese Mochi sweets you must try!

There are many types of Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets and especially Mochi sweets are becoming more and more popular all over the world. But, if you are a beginner to Wagashi, what should you try first? Let me show you my recommendations. (☆Д☆)

 

1: Daifuku (大福)

Daifuku (aka Anko Mochi) is very popular Japanese sweets. It is a round Mochi ball that has red bean paste inside. You can enjoy chewy texture and rice flavor from Mochi and sweetness from red bean paste.

Related post: what is daifuku? perfect combination of mochi and red bean jam (anko)

There are many other types of Daifuku such as one has beans on outside Mochi layer. But, if you are new to Daifuku, I recommend you try Ichigo Daifuku (aka Strawberry Mochi) that has a whole strawberry inside together.

 

 

2: Dango (団子)

Dango is skewered Mochi balls that come with various sauces. Mochi balls are usually grilled and very chewy. Sometimes you can find Dango as a street snack and can have a freshly made Dango.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

Dango sauce can be anything from sweet to salty. But the most popular sauce is Mitarashi, which is thick sweet soy sauce similar to teriyaki sauce. It is sweet yet savory. I am sure you will love it!

 

 

3: Gyuhi (求肥)

Gyuhi is a very simple Mochi sweets, which is sweetened Mochi. To make Gyuhi, you just need to mix some sugar into plain Mochi and knead. By adding sugar, Mochi becomes even softer because sugar helps Mochi contain moisture. It is so soft, almost like melting in your mouth.

 

 

Gyuhi is delicious as it is but it is also used to make Nerikiri, which is a high-grade beautiful Japanese traditional sweet.

Related post: nerikiri, an edible art! beautiful high-grade traditional japanese confectionery

 

 

4: Mochi ice cream

Mochi ice cream is not a traditional Japanese sweet experience, but it has been getting more and more popular, so why not try it? Same as Daifuku, it is a round Mochi, but it has ice cream inside instead of red bean paste.

There is one very famous and popular Mochi ice cream in Japan, Yukimi Daifuku. The outside Mochi layer is so soft and there is vanilla ice cream inside. You can find this ice cream at convenience stores in Japan. If you have a chance, please try it!

 

 
 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

In Japan there has long been a tradition of admiring the beauty of the moon called Tsukimi. In 2018, the brightest and most beautiful full moon, known as “chushu-no-meigetsu” in Japanese, can be seen on September 24.( 〃 ❛ᴗ❛ 〃 )

Allow me to introduce you to the sweet relation between Tsukimi, famous Japanese custom in the fall, and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets.

 

What is Tsukimi?

Tsukimi is an old Japanese custom of viewing the moon when it is bright and beautiful. This takes place in the fall, and offerings of Tsukimi Dango, Japanese pampas grass, and taro are presented to the moon. The offerings are to give thanks to the moon for a bountiful harvest.

 

 

What is Tsukimi Dango?

The most famous Japanese sweet eaten during Tsukimi is Tsukimi Dango. These are round dumplings made of Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cakes) that are stacked into a pyramid shape and offered to the moon as a symbol of gratitude. Slightly different from normal offerings, Tsukimi Dango are eaten after being presented to the moon. It is said that this allows one to receive power from the moon and live healthily.

 

 

Typically, Tsukimi Dango itself doesn’t have any sauce or toppings, so when people eat Tsukimi Dango they add sauces or toppings of their choice, such as red bean paste.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

However, in these days, eating regular Dango is getting more popular instead of Tsukimi Dango so you see many Dango in this Tsukimi season.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

 

Rabbits sweets for Tsukimi

During the Tsukimi season, In addition to Tsukimi Dango, you may find many Japanese sweets are made in shapes of “rabbits” for people to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Why rabbits for Tsukimi?

There are many treats featuring rabbits during Tsukimi. This is because there is an old legend that says there are rabbits who live on the moon, and they are pounding rice into Mochi.

First, the origin of this tale is said to be in India. These stories made their way to Japan through Buddhism and were then widely spread in Japan.

The Mochi pounding part of the story appears to have originated in China. In ancient China, it was believed that rabbits could make an elixir of immortality. However, when the story came to Japan, the elixir was changed to Mochi.

Interesting story, isn’t it?

 

 

There are many cute and delicious sweets during Tsukimi season. If you visit Japan in Tsukimi season, please try to find Tsukimi Dango and rabbits sweets!

 
 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Dango? The 5 most popular types of Dango

What is Dango? The 5 most popular types of Dango

Have you ever tried Dango? Dango is one of the most popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi). If you are a fan of Mochi, you really should try Dango.(*^ワ^*)

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

I am sure you have seen Dango if you have visited Japan as it is sold at anywhere, such as convenience stores and tourist areas. Here, I will explain you interesting facts about Dango!

 

What is Dango?

Generally, Dango is the term for the Japanese traditional sweet that is made of several small Mochi balls on skewers. Mochi balls may be topped with sauces or grilled before eating and it said that there are more than 20 different variations of Dango.

Let me introduce you the 5 most popular types of Dango!

 

Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango is the most popular type of Dango, it is also my favorite Dango!

Mitarashi Dango is grilled and topped with a thick, sweet soy sauce that tastes similar to Teriyaki sauce. The savory Dango combined with the salty sweet sauce is very delicious!
 

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Hanami Dango

When the Sakura (cherry blossom) season comes, these cute Hanami Dango is lined up at Japanese confection shops. Many people enjoy Hanami Dango while viewing the cherry blossom. The pink, white, and green colors of the skewered Mochi balls are their distinctive trait.

Some say that the three colors of Hanami Dango represent spring: pink being cherry blossoms, white being spring sake, and green being Japanese Mugwort. The Mochi balls are mixed with sugar and slightly sweet.
Please try it if you come visit Japan in the season of Sakura!
 

 

Kinako Dango

Kinako Dango has Kinako powder, which is a grilled soy bean powder, as a topping. Freshly grilled aroma from soy bean is an excellent match with Mochi’s soft and gooey texture.
 

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Matcha Dango

Matcha Dango has Matcha powder mixed in Mochi balls. The vivid green color and fresh aroma from Matcha gives Mochi a good accent. It is extra delicious if it has some red bean paste (Anko) on top of Dango as a topping!
Of course, you want to try this Dango with a cup of Matcha, right?
 

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Soy Sauce Dango

Soy sauce Dango is grilled Dango topped with soy sauce. The savory scent of the grilled soy sauce is irresistible.
One creative and delicious way to enjoy Soy Sauce Dango is if you wrap them in seaweed or coat them with chili flakes. We recommend to try Dango when it fresh! You can find freshly made Dango at shopping districts and in sightseeing areas.
 

A post shared by @jyun_614_si20 on

 
These days there are so many creative types and tastes of Dango that you can enjoy!
Related post: watermelon dango?! wagashi brings you a sense of season
 
Please try many types of Dango and find your favorite one(s)!╭(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و
Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese traditional sweets (Wagashi) are designed to match traditional Japanese teas, such as Matcha. In fact, the combination of Wagashi and Matcha has been polished through ages as a part of Japanese culture, Sado (茶道), Japanese tea ceremony.

 

Related post: wagashi and matcha – combination polished through ages!

 

Wagashi and Sake?! – It’s a new trend in Japan.

Recently a new trend concerning Wagashi started in Japan. That is to pair Wagashi with Sake (aka Japanese rice wine) just like wine and cheese!Σ(゜ロ゜;)

This trend seems getting bigger and more widespread; many Sake bars now offer Wagashi as a side snack with your favorite sake, new restaurants that specializes in pairing Wagashi and Sake opened, many workshops are held where you can try different combinations to find your favorite pair. Surprisingly Wagashi and Sake go well together as the sweetness from Anko (Japanese red bean jam, used for most of Wagashi) matches flavors of Sake.

 

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But I wonder… What Wagashi go well with Sake?! Here, I introduce you 4 Wagashi that I recommend you to try to pair to Sake! Here we go!

 

4 Wagashi that go well with Sake

 

Yo-kan (羊羹)

Yo-kan is a Japanese type of jelly, made of Anko, sugar and ager. Its texture is like a hard jelly. To pair to Sake, I recommend Yo-kan that is made of Koshi-An (smooth Anko) as this is more smooth and melts in your mouth together with Sake. Want to try Yo-kan with fruity Sake?

 

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Daifuku (大福)

Daifuku (aka Anko Mochi) is another popular Wagashi made of round Anko covered with Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cake). You can taste strong flavor of rice from Mochi. Sake is also made from rice. No wonder they go well together. I recommend you to try Nigori-Sake (unfiltered Sake, also called as Cloudy Sake) with Daifuku as Nigori-Sake has strong and mellow flavor.

 

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Very popular Daifuku, Ichigo-Daifuku (aka Strawberry Mochi) also goes well with Sake!

 

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Dango (団子)

Dango is small Mochi balls skewered on a bamboo stick and served with many kinds of sauce. Dango is made of Mochi and has a strong rich rice flavor. There are many sauces for Dango but especially Mitarashi-Dango matches with Sake. Mitarashi is a Japanese rich sauce made of sugar and soy sauce. Since it tastes sweet and savory, it goes really good with Sake which has rich and smooth flavor.

 

 

Monaka (最中)

Monaka is Anko that is sandwiched with 2 crispy wafers made of Mochi. Because wafers are very thin and has freshly roasted aroma, you can taste nice and strong flavor from Anko. Please try Monaka with dry Sake.

Related post: what is monaka? crispy japanese traditional sweets

 

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Will you try? Let’s find your favorite combination.

Are you interested to try Japanese response to classic wine and cheese pair? There are hundreds of different flavors that Wagashi have. This allows you to easily enjoy many different taste combinations of Wagashi and Sake.

Related post: top 10 japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

 

Wagashi and Sake might be a surprising combination but I encourage you to give it a shot. And let me know your favorite combination! (*´∇`)ノ

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are often designed to express characteristics and subtleties of a season. Wagashi’s shape, color and taste change depending on season.

 

How Wagashi express each season

In spring when Sakura (season of beautiful cherry blossoms), you can enjoy Wagashi called Sakura-Mochi that as is pink as Sakura and has actually Sakura flavor.

 

In summer when it is very hot and you want to eat and drink something refreshing, you can find jelly-like transparent Wagashi called Kingyoku-Kan that brings you sense of coolness just by looking at it.

 

In autumn when nuts are in season, you can enjoy Kuri Manju (chestnut bun) that is designed to look like chestnut and has a chestnut with delicious Ank0 filling inside.

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In winter, you see many Wagashi shaped as Tsubaki flower (camellia), a beautiful flower that blooms blooms in winter.

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Many Wagashi often made to describe seasons with their looks and taste. However, some popular Wagashi are enjoyed throughout the year regardless of season. For example, popular Dorayaki (Anko sandwiched between two pancakes).

 

Watermelon Dango?!

Nowadays, beside those traditional seasonal Wagashi, some makers experiment with different ingredients and looks to further surprise you. In this post, I would like to introduce a very creative type Dango. Dango is small round Mochi balls that are skewered on bamboo sticks. Typical Dango comes with sweet soy sauce (this one is called Mitarashi-Dango) or Anko on top.

 

This Dango went viral on social media this summer. It is made by a Wagashi maker that has a long history. I introduce you,, watermelon Dango!

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

As you can see, it looks just like watermelon! But I wonder… how it tastes like?!

 

It was made with great attention to details! Inside is red just like watermelon, and even has black seeds. It expresses watermelon very well. The red part is Mochi (chewy rice cake) and seeds are black sesame. The green and black coating is chocolate. Each piece is made by hand. What surprised me that it not only looks like a watermelon, but it tastes like as watermelon as well. This is because the red Mochi inside is made with watermelon juice! And it actually tastes really good! Mochi and chocolate go well together and watermelon flavor adds freshness to it.

 

By the way, this is good example of modern Wagashi because traditional traditional Wagashi does not include chocolate.

This watermelon Dango is made by Wagashi maker called “Yagumo Dango”. They make many different Dango types including classic Mitarashi Dango. This maker is quite popular and has long history. However, this new watermelon Dango booster its popularity in Japan significantly. They ship only within Japan as frozen delivery. To defrost, you need put them in a fridge for 2.5 hours before eating.

 

Please give it a try!

If you visit Japan try this Dango with family and friends! I am sure you will enjoy it. And if you try it, please let us know.

 

[Info]Yagumo Dango : 6 watermelon Dango, 1,620 JPY + shipping fee. Only available in Japan. (´・ω・`)

 

Matane! (In Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Top 10 popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi) that Japanese like the most!

Top 10 popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi) that Japanese like the most!

Wagashi (和菓子) are traditional Japanese sweets, that have more than 300 years of history (to learn more about Wagashi’s history, click here). In the present days, in Japan you see more Western sweets such as chocolate and cookies than Wagashi. However, according to the survey, 80% of Japanese people respond that they love and eat Wagashi regularly. And there are many different types of Wagashi out there. I wonder… what Wagashi does Japanese really like?! Here are TOP 10 Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) that Japanese likes the most!

 

No.10: Sakura-Mochi (桜餅)

Sakura-Mochi is the representative sweet of spring in Japan. Sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese, so you see this sweet belongs to the “season of Sakura” (typically March and April). Mochi is colored in pink just like Sakura, filled with Anko (red bean jam), and covered with salted Sakura leaves. By the way, you can eat leaves together with pink Mochi. This way, you can taste the perfect combination of sweetness from Anko and saltiness from leaves with a hint of Sakura aroma.

 

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No.9: Kusa-Mochi(草餅)

Kusa-Mochi is also known as a sweet of spring, and usually enjoyed between March and May, the season when fresh veggies and greens come in Japan. Mochi is mixed with Japanese mugwort (a type of herb) and with Anko inside. It has nice and herby aroma to it and you can also taste a hint of bitterness from mugwort. Have you ever tried?

 

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No.8: Warabi-Mochi(わらび餅)

Warabi-Mochi is made with bracken starch, sugar and water. It has jelly-like and a little chewy texture to it. It doesn’t consist of rice but since it has chewy texture it is called Mochi. (Typical Mochi is made from sticky rice and very sticky and chewy). Usually it comes with roasted soybean flour which is called Kinako or brown sugar syrup.

 

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No.7: Dorayaki(どら焼き)

Dorayaki consists of two round pancakes that sandwich Anko. This sweet is popular regardless of season and you can find at grocery or convenience stores in Japan. It is a very simple sweet, but very soft and delicious sweet. Let’s find your favorite Dorayaki!

Related Post: what is dorayaki? from classic dorayaki to unique modern dorayaki

 

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No.6: Senbei(煎餅)

Senbei is a Japanese type of cracker made from rice. Typically it is savory as it’s seasoned with soy sauce or salt, but you can find senbei in many tastes such as sugar or very unique one like Japanese plum. Also each Senbei has different texture, from very light one to very hard and crunchy one. It goes well with Japanese green tea, but also it is good with beer!

Related Post: what is senbei? super crunchy japanese rice cracker

 

 

No.5: Ohagi (aka Bota-Mochi)(おはぎ)

This Wagashi is typically eaten in Ohigan period that is related to a Buddhist event in spring and autumn. It is a chewy rice ball that made from regular rice and Mochi rice (aka a short-grain japonica glutinous rice) and covered with Anko, Kinako (soybean powder) or sweet black sesame. It is bigger than other Wagashi and quite filling so sometimes people eat it as lunch!

 

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No.4: Dango(団子)

Dango is small round Mochi balls that are skewered on bamboo sticks. One of the most popular Dango is definitely Mitarashi-Dango, which is Dango grilled and covered with gooey sweet soy sauce. Besides that, you can have Dango with Anko, soy sauce and seaweed or many other sauces, you also can find Matcha (green tea) Dango as well. We recommend you to try Mitarashi-Dango first if you have not tried any Dango!

Related Post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

 

No.3: Castella(カステラ)

Castella is a Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. The cake was brought to Japan from Portuguese in the 16th century and evolved independently in Japan from its original style. The top and bottom parts are brown and most parts are yellow. Japanese people love eating this with milk. Please try!

Related Post: what is castella? born in portugal and raised in japan

 

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No.2: Daifuku(大福)

Daifuku is Anko covered with Mochi. There are many types of Daifuku, such as Mame-Daifuku that has beans in Mochi, and very popular Ichigo-Daifuku (aka strawberry Mochi) that has strawberry inside. (also you can find ones that have grapes or oranges inside these days!) Daifuku makers has each own recipes so it is fun to try some Daifuku from different makers and find your favorite one.

Related post: what is daifuku? perfect combination of mochi and red bean jam (anko)

 

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(Drum roll…) and… the TOP 1 Wagashi that Japanese like the most is…..

 

No.1: Tai-Yaki, Iamagawa-Yaki, Ningyo-Yaki (たい焼き、今川焼き、人形焼)

They can be considered almost the same type of Wagashi. These are the most popular traditional Wagashi among Japanese people. These are pancakes made from flour, sugar, eggs and water with Anko filling inside. It is also well known as street food in Japan! You can find them at food trucks or small shops at festivals or shopping streets in Japan.

 

Tai-Yaki is shaped as a Tai (鯛・sea bream) because Tai is considered as a lucky charm in Japan. There are thousands of Tai-Yaki makers across Japan with each having their own taste secrets. Some have thin pancakes, some have fluffy and some have thick and crispy on edges pancakes. Japanese always discuss which way they prefer to eat Tai-Yaki, from head or fishtail. (I like eating from fishtail! Usually fishtail is more crispy and head has more Anko!)

Related Post: what is taiyaki? the most popular japanese traditional sweets

 

 

Imagawa-Yaki is round shaped unlike Tai-Yaki. Compared Tai-Yaki, pancakes of Imagawa-Yaki is more fluffy and tender. Imagawa-Yaki that have custard cream inside instead of Anko are quite popular as well. These are popular among kids and those who don’t like Anko very much, but want to enjoy Wagashi.

 

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Ningyo-Yaki is smaller than Tai-Yaki and Imagawa-Yaki and its pancakes are made even more fluffy. Most common and traditional shapes of these bite-size treats are Japanese Seven Lucky Gods (七福神). However, these days you can find more fancy ones such as Hello Kitty. Ningyo-Yaki originated in Asakusa, which is one of the most popular town for sightseeing in Tokyo. There you can find many small stalls that make fresh Ningyo-Yaki on the shopping street. Please try when you come to Tokyo!

 

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Which one you want to try?

There are many other types of Wagashi such as Yo-kan (Japanese type of jelly) and Nerikiri (Anko mixed with Mochi in a beautiful artistic shape). What Wagashi you want to try? What Wagashi is your favorite? Please leave a comment below if you have anything you want to know about Wagashi, Matcha and Japanese culture!

 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)