Mizu Yokan vs. Neri Yokan: Wagashi Jelly Sweets

When it comes to Japanese summer desserts, in addition to Kuzukiri and Mizu Manju, Yokan (羊羹), also spelled Youkan, has long been a favorite in Japan. 

Yokan is a type of Wagashi (traditional Japanese confection) made from a sweet red bean paste called Anko (餡子) cooked in water and solidified with agar.

It comes in several types, among which the variety called Neri Yokan (煉羊羹) is the most common. But for the hot summer months, I recommend chilled Mizu Yokan (水ようかん).

Mizu Yokan vs. Neri Yokan

Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan

Mizu Yokan is similar to Neri Yokan, but they differ in some respects. So today, for comparison, I bought both sweets at my go-to convenience store (7-Eleven). 

Mizu Youkan and Neri Youkan

Since Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan are representatives of Wagashi, if you have never tried them before, please read on and find out the difference.


First and foremost, Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan are remarkably different in texture. The former is watery and jiggly, as the word Mizu (水) means water in Japanese, while the latter is thick and firm.

Mizu Yokan

It is because Neri Yokan contains more agar than Mizu Yokan. As you can see in the photo, the latter jelly can be scooped up with a spoon but is hard to eat with a cocktail stick.

Neri Yokan

In contrast, Neri Yokan is dense and firm. So with a stick, you can effortlessly put it into the mouth.


Mizu Yokan ingredients

As for ingredients, this Mizu Yokan consists of Koshi An/smooth red bean paste, sugar, Kanten/agar, and salt.

Neri Yokan ingredients

On the other hand, the Neri Yokan consists of sugar, Azuki red bean paste, and Kanten.

Actually, you can make Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan with the same ingredients; sugar, Azuki red bean paste, and Kanten.

But in general, Neri Yokan keeps much longer than Mizu Yokan and can be an emergency food.


Both treats have a gentle sweetness characteristic of Anko, but Mizu Yokan is much fresher.

Instead, Neri Yokan is richer in taste.


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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