Ame vs Okashi: What is the Difference in Meaning?

Okashi, Wagashi, and Dagashi are 3 Japanese words for snacks or confectionery, but they have a somewhat different meaning as I wrote about it before.

Okashi vs Ame: Meanings of Japanese Words


Among them, “Okashi (お菓子)” can refer to any kind of snack, candy, sweet, regardless of where they are produced. In other words, Okashi is the collective term for snacks.

In addition to Okashi, Wagashi, and Dagashi, actually there is one more Japanese word that refers to candy, 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 candy. The word Ame is 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-Dama Candy Balls

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

Kata-Ame (固飴) and Mizu-Ame (水飴)

Strictly speaking, Ame is further divided 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 hard textures that slowly melt in your mouth.

Mizu Ame

On the other hand, Mizu-Ame is thick, gooey, stretchy, honey-like candy. The word, “Mizu (水)” means “water” in Japanese, and like water, Mizu-Ame is usually 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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