Wagashi Sweets: Tsubuan Monaka and Koshian Monaka

As I mentioned in this article about “Tsubu-An (粒あん)” and “Koshi-An (こし餡)”, those chunky and smooth “Anko (餡子)” red bean pastes are often used interchangeably in “Wagashi (和菓子)” traditional Japanese sweets.

Monaka (最中)

Tsubuan Monaka

When it comes to Wagashi confections made with Anko paste, what I introduce here, “Monaka (最中)” is a quintessential example whose origin dates back to the mid-Edo period, about 300 years ago.

Wagashi Monaka

Monaka is a common Wagashi sweet traditionally consisting of Anko (sweetened Azuki red bean paste) sandwiched between 2 thin crisply baked rice wafers.

Monaka Ice Cream

Monaka Ice Cream

In modern times, the vanilla ice cream version, “Monaka Ice (最中アイス)” has been an ice cream staple in Japan and is available in most supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the year.

Tsubuan Monaka and Koshian Monaka 

Wagashi Tsubuan Monaka

What I have now, “Tsubuan Monaka (粒あん最中)” is filled with chunky sweet red bean paste, but the Koshi-An version “Koshian Monaka (こし餡最中)” and the Ogura-An version “Oguraan Monaka (小倉最中)” are also common.

Monaka Dane 

Daruma-Shaped Koshian Monaka

The wafers served with Anko paste are called “Monaka Dane (最中種)” which is typically made from glutinous rice flour called “Mochi-Ko (餅粉), starch, and sweetened egg yolk. Monaka Dane traditionally has a square or round shape, but today it comes in various shapes and designs.

Why not try Anko paste with lightly salted crackers?

Crackers with Anko and Matcha Ice Cream

It may be difficult to get the Monaka Dane wafers outside of Japan, but Anko paste also goes well with lightly salted crackers. If you are curious about the food combo, why not give it a try?


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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