Oyatsu vs. Okashi: What’s the Difference in Meaning?
As you might already know, there are three Japanese words for confectionery (snacks, sweets, and candies), and they are Wagashi (和菓子), Okashi (お菓子), and Dagashi (駄菓子).
As I explained before, Wagashi refers to traditional Japanese confections, while Dagashi is the collective term for cheap, relatively small, unique Japanese snacks and candies, particularly for kids.
Oyatsu vs. Okashi (Kashi)
As for the rest, Okashi, have you ever heard that there is another word with a similar meaning to it, Oyatsu (おやつ)?
Oyatsu and Okashi are confusing, and the similarity in meaning may lead you to misunderstand.
So here, let’s see what these words exactly mean.
First of all, Okashi is the polite way to say Kashi (菓子). In the word Okashi, the first letter O (お) is a Japanese prefix to make a polite expression.
Thus, Okashi and Kashi have the same meaning, and both can refer to any kind of snack, sweet, or candy, regardless of where they are produced.
In other words, these are the Japanese term for all kinds of snacks, candies, and sweets, including potato chips, cookies, chocolate candies, ice cream, Wagashi, and Dagashi.
On the other hand, Oyatsu refers to the food eaten between meals. So, in addition to all kinds of snacks, candies, and sweets, it even includes fruits and other light foods like Onigiri.
We Japanese customarily tend to have Oyatsu twice a day, typically at 10 am and 3 pm.