Ame vs Okashi : What is the Difference in Meaning?

Although Okashi, Wagashi, and Dagashi are 3 Japanese words for snacks, candies and sweets, specifically they have a somewhat different meaning as I wrote about it before.

The Difference in Meaning between Okashi and Ame


Among those, “Okashi (お菓子)” refers to any kind of snack, candy and sweet, regardless of where they are produced. In other words, Okashi is the generic term for snacks, candies and sweets.

In addition to Okashi, Wagashi and Dagashi, actually there is one more Japanese word that refers to candies, which is “Ame (飴)”.

What is Ame (飴)?

An Ame Hard Candy

“Ame (飴)” is a category included in Okashi and generally refers to hard candies.

The Japanese word, Ame is typically used as a suffix, like Hakka-Ame (ハッカ飴), Shio-Ame (塩飴), Tankiri-Ame (たんきり飴), Kuro-Ame (黒飴), Nikki-Ame (ニッキ飴), Shoyu-Ame (しょうゆ飴), and Nodo-Ame (のど飴).

Amedama (飴玉)

Amedama Candy BallsAme candies that can be called Amedama

The Ame with the shape of a sphere or ball can be called “Ame-Dama (飴玉)”, which literally means “hard candy ball” in Japanese.

Kata-Ame (固飴) and Mizu-Ame (水飴)

Strictly speaking, Ame is further categorized into 2 types, “Kata-Ame (固飴)” and “Mizu-Ame (水飴)”.

Kata-Ame literally means “hard candy” and most Japanese Ame candies are classified as Kata-Ame. In other words, they have a hard texture that slowly melts in the mouth.

Mizu AmeMizu Ame (水飴)

On the other hand, Mizu-Ame refers to thick, gooey, stretchy candies like honey. As the Japanese word, “Mizu (水)” means “water”, Mizu-Ame is usually clear in color.

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 飴 )


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.

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