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!”)

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