Wagashi Sweets: Mizu Yokan vs Neri Yokan

When it comes to Japanese summer dessert, in addition to Kuzukiri noodles and Mizu Manju, “Yokan (羊羹)”, or Youkan, is commonly eaten in Japan. 

Yokan is a type of Wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) made from sweet red bean paste “Anko (餡子)” that has been cooked in water and solidified with “Kanten (寒天)” agar.

Yokan comes in several types and the variety called “Neri Yokan (煉羊羹)” is the most common, but for the hot summer months, chilled “Mizu Yokan (水ようかん)” is especially recommended.

Mizu Yokan is similar to Neri Yokan, but they are different in some points.

The Difference: Mizu Yokan vs Neri Yokan

Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan

Actually today for comparison, I bought both Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan at my go-to convenience store (7 Eleven). 

Mizu Youkan and Neri Youkan

Since Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan are representative varieties of Wagashi confections, if you have never heard of them before, please check the differences below I actually compared this time.


First of all, Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan are markedly 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

This is because Neri Yokan contains a higher proportion of agar than Mizu Yokan. As for Mizu Yokan, the jelly can be easily scooped up with a spoon but is difficult to eat with a cocktail stick.

Neri Yokan

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


Mizu Yokan ingredients

In terms of the ingredients, this Mizu Yokan consists of “Koshi An (こしあん)” (smooth Azuki red bean paste), sugar, Kanten (agar), and salt.

Neri Yokan ingredients

On the other hand, this Neri Yokan is made from sugar, Azuki red bean paste, and Kanten.

Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan can be made with the same ingredients, that is, sugar, Azuki red bean paste, and Kanten, but in general, Neri Yokan keeps much longer than Mizu Yokan and can be used as emergency food.


Both Mizu Yokan and Neri Yokan have a gentle, refined sweetness characteristic of Anko paste, but Mizu Yokan is much fresher. Instead, Neri Yokan is richer in the taste of Azuki.



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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