Wataame (Watagashi) : This Japanese Candy Has its Roots in the U.S.
“Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the Japanese word for cheap and relatively small Japanese snacks and candies especially for children. Generally, those snacks and candies are sold for 10 to 100 yen in supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores.
It is said that the origin of Dagashi dates backs to the Japan’s Edo period, so the snack genre unique to Japan has about 300 years of history. Today, Dagashi comes in so many different types.
When it comes to representative modern Dagashi snacks and candies, “Umaibo (うまい棒)” (Amazon.com) is one of the most popular Dagashi snacks, which, as a matter of fact, is known as “the King of Dagashi”.
Other than the legendary corn puff snack bar, as I wrote about that before, there are a bunch of Dagashi snacks and candies with a long history, many of which are loved by children and adults alike.
In fact, I have introduced various kinds of Dagashi snacks and candies until now, and most of them are what were created in Japan. However, the Dagashi candy I bought today clearly has its roots in the United States.
What I purchased this time for this blog article is “Wata-Gashi (わたがし)”. The Dagashi candy is also known as “Wata-Ame (綿あめ)”, which is literally translated into English as “cotton candy”.
Yes, the Japanese Dagashi candy, Watagashi actually has its roots in the machine-spun cotton candy invented in 1897 in the U.S.
This Dagashi, Watagashi is being sold for about 50 yen in Japan. It looks like a white lump rather than candy floss as the candy is filled in the small package.
But don’t worry, when tearing the candy off, its surface becomes fluffy like a familiar cotton candy. In fact, once I put the white stuff in the mouth, it immediately melted away.
According to the description on the back of the package, the Watagashi is made with just the 2 ingredients, sugar and flavorings. Therefore, this cotton candy has the same taste as usual ones.
I don’t know whether the packaged cotton candy like this Watagashi is also available in overseas countries, but if you are interested and get a chance, it may be interesting and fun to try out Watagashi and compare the difference between the Japanese cotton candy and your beloved one!