Dango: 10 Common Types of Japanese Rice Dumplings

When it comes to the foods often eaten at Japan’s cherry blossom viewing festivals called “Hanami (花見)”, “Dango (団子)” is one of the confections that are most familiar to us Japanese.

Dango (団子) 

Dango is a traditional Japanese dumpling typically made from non-glutinous “Joshinko (上新粉)” rice flour.

Additionally, a variety of cereal powder can also be the main ingredient, which includes barley, wheat, millet, buckwheat, and soybean powder.

Unlike Mochi rice cake, Dango is not that sticky or stretchy. It typically consists of three to five small round dumplings skewered on a wooden or bamboo stick.


Dango comes in many varieties, and here are 10 representative types.

Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子)

Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango is one of the most commonly eaten rice dumplings in Japan.

It generally consists of three to five lightly grilled rice dumplings on a wooden stick, covered with a gooey sweet soy sauce glaze.

Mitarashi Dango is a casual treat that can be bought at many supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.

Sanshoku Dango (三色団子)

Sanshoku Dango

Sanshoku Dango, literally meaning “three colors of dumplings”, is traditionally prepared for Hanami cherry blossom viewing.

In general, the pink dumpling is colored with a red coloring agent called “Shokubeni (食紅)”, while the tinge of the green dumpling comes from mugwort extract.

Goma Dango (ごま団子)

Goma Dango

Goma Dango or sesame dumpling is a rice dumpling applied with a sweet sauce made with sugar and ground black sesame seeds.

Kinako Dango (きなこ団子)

Kinako Dango

Kinako (きな粉)” is a traditional Japanese food made by grinding roasted soybeans.

And Kinako Dango is a non-glutinous rice dumpling that is coated with a mixture of Kinako flour and sugar.

Zunda Dango (ずんだ団子)

Zunda DangoImage: zundamochi.jp

Made by mashing boiled Edamame soybeans sweetened with sugar, the green bean paste “Zunda (ずんだ)” is a regional specialty of the Tohoku region of Japan.

As shown in the photo above, Zunda Dando is a Dango covered with sweet Zunda paste.

Shiratama Dango (白玉団子)

Shiratama Dango

We call the white cereal dumpling made from glutinous rice flour called “Shiratamako (白玉粉)” “Shiratama Dango”.

This rice dumpling is often used as a topping in desserts.

Kibi Dango (きびだんご)

Kibi Dango

Image: Wikipedia

Kibi Dango, literally millet dumpling, is a local specialty of Okayama Prefecture.

Made by heating and kneading a mixture of “Mochiko (餅粉)” glutinous rice flour, sugar, starch syrup, and millet powder, Kibi Dango is a soft, chewy, white rice dumpling.

Yomogi Dango (よもぎ団子)

Yomogi Dango

As the word “Yomogi (よもぎ)” means “mugwort” in Japanese, Yomogi Dango is made from rice mixed with mugwort leaves.

This Dango is typically served with Anko red bean paste or a mix of sugar and Kinako flour.

Kurumi Dango (くるみ団子)

Kurumi Dango

Image: rakuten.co.jp

Kurumi Dango or walnut dumpling is a rice dumpling covered with a sweet walnut sauce.

Anko Dango (あんこ団子)

Anko Dango

Anko (あんこ)” is a sweet Azuki red bean paste that is an indispensable part of Wagashi (traditional Japanese confections).

Anko Dango is a rice dumpling covered with sweet red bean paste.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

2 Responses

  1. Gloria Balala says:

    Thank you for the information.
    I have a question. Can you make mitarashi dango using only joshinko?

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting.
      Mitarashi Dango usually uses Shiratamako or a mixture of Shiratamako and Joshinko.
      Only using Joshinko would make the texture like Sanshoku/Ohanami Dango, which typically only consists of Joshinko.
      I hope this will help.

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