Ame vs. Okashi: What’s the Difference in Meaning?

Okashi, Wagashi, and Dagashi are 3 Japanese words for snacks or confectionery. But they slightly differ in meaning, as I wrote before.

Okashi vs. Ame


Okashi (お菓子) can refer to any snack, candy, sweet, regardless of where they are made. In other words, it is the collective term for snacks.

In addition to Okashi, there is one more word meaning candy in the Japanese language, called Ame (飴). But how does this term differ from Okashi?

What is Ame (飴)?

An Ame Hard Candy

Ame (飴) is a category included in Okashi and generally refers to hard candy, typically used as a suffix, like Hakka-Ame (ハッカ飴), Shio-Ame (塩飴), Kuro-Ame (黒飴), and Nodo-Ame (のど飴).

Amedama (飴玉)

Ame with a sphere or ball shape has another name, Ame-Dama (飴玉).

Ame-Dama Candy Balls

Kata-Ame (固飴) and Mizu-Ame (水飴)

Strictly speaking, Ame is further divided into two types, Kata-Ame (固飴) and Mizu-Ame (水飴).

Kata-Ame means Hard Candy, and most Japanese Ame treats are this type. They have a texture that slowly melts in your mouth.

Mizu Ame

On the other hand, Mizu-Ame is a thick, gooey, stretchy, honey-like candy made from starch syrup.

The word, Mizu (水), means water in Japanese, and like water, Mizu-Ame is clear in color.

(Reference Page: 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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