5 Types of Wagashi Sweets that Japanese like the most
Wagashi (和菓子) is the Japanese word that generally refers to traditional Japanese sweets.Hence, it is somewhat different in meaning from Okashi (お菓子).Typical examples of Japanese Wagashi confections include Manju (饅頭), Daifuku (大福), Yokan (羊羹), and Karinto (かりんとう).Furthermore, each of these traditional Japanese sweets has various types and variations in its own category.
We Japanese like to eat such sweet treats along with hot Japanese green tea as an afternoon snack.In fact, typical Wagashi sweets, including the above 4 types, are usually inexpensive and available at almost any supermarket and convenience stores in Japan.
The Top 5 Most Popular Wagashi Sweets in Japan
When it comes to popular Wagashi types in Japan, a major Japanese news site, Nifty News did a questionnaire survey on the popularity several years ago.According to the result, the top 5 most popular types of Wagashi sweets in Japan are as follows.
The 5th place : Sakura Mochi (桜餅)
Sakura Mochi (桜餅), or literally cherry blossom rice cake is a type of Mochigashi (餅菓子) with more than 300 years of history.This Wagashi confection consists of a sticky pink-colored rice cake and the inside sweet red bean paste, which is wrapped with a salted cherry tree leaf.When we think of Sakura Mochi rice cakes, that reminds us of the cherry blossom season.Nevertheless, Sakura Mochi is available throughout the year in Japan.
The 4th place : Castella (カステラ)
Castella (カステラ) is a traditional Japanese sponge cake with over 400 years of history, which has its roots in a confection derived from Portugal.The Wagashi sweet is made from hen’s egg, wheat flour, and sugar.Since this cake is fluffy with gentle sweetness, it is loved by many Japanese of all generations.Nagasaki Prefecture is very famous for its Castella cake called Nagasaki Castella (長崎カステラ), but Castella cakes are available throughout Japan.
The 3rd place : Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子)
Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子) is one of the most common types of Dango (団子).Generally, it consists of three to five lightly grilled rice dumplings on a stick, which are coated with a sweet soy sauce glaze.This Japanese confection is one of the most commonly eaten Wagashi in Japan and being sold at most supermarkets and convenience stores.
The 2nd place : Dorayaki (どら焼き)
Dorayaki (どら焼き) is a traditional Japanese confection well-known as Doraemon’s yummy buns.It is said that the origin dates back to the 12th century.This Wagashi sweet usually consists of 2 small baked pancakes with sweet red bean paste in between.The pancake is somewhat moist like Castella cakes because the dough generally contains honey.Most supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan are handling the sweet treat.
The 1st place : Daifuku (大福)
Daifuku (大福) is the quintessential type of Mochigashi (餅菓子).This Japanese sweet has its origin in the confection made by miniaturizing the traditional Mochigashi “Uzura Mochi (うずら餅)” by a widow named Otayo (おたよ) in 1771.Daifuku consists of a small, round Mochi rice cake stuffed with Anko (餡子), or sweet red bean paste.Since it is dredged with starch, the rice cake isn’t so sticky but soft.There are many variations of Daifuku in Japan and the most popular type is Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福) with a strawberry in the center.