Mizu Manju: A Traditional Japanese Summer Dessert

As it is getting warmer day by day, some supermarkets here in Niigata have started to sell summer desserts at the best place to display.

Among such summer treats, what quickly caught my eye during the previous shopping was this “Mizu Manju (水まんじゅう)” assortment.

Mizu Manju Assortment

That day was pretty hot, so I was in the mood for something refreshing. I could see the fascinating jewelry-like confections through the clear plastic covering and instantly came to a decision to buy. 

Mizu Manju (水まんじゅう)

These beautiful-looking desserts are called “Mizu Manju (水まんじゅう)”, which is said to have originated in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture around 1897. In its name, “Mizu (水)” means water in Japanese, so like that, these cakes look very fresh.

Mizu Manju vs Kuzu Manju

Kuzu Manju (葛饅頭)Kuzu Manju

Mizu Manju has a very similar appearance to Kuzu Manju and both are typically filled with sweet red bean paste. However, they are slightly different in the ingredients of the jelly dough. 

Mizu Manju (水饅頭)Mizu Manju

According to the article “水まんじゅう” on Japanese Wikipedia, while the outer covering of Kuzu Manju is made with kudzu (arrowroot) starch, sugar, and water, the jelly dough of Mizu Manju uses not only kudzu starch but also bracken root starch.

That said, they are very close in texture, both somewhat chewy. But since bracken root starch is resistant to water, in general, the dough of Mizu Manju is said to be softer than that of Kuzu Manju.

Matcha Mizu Manju

Matcha Mizu Manju

In recent years, Mizu Manju is available in various flavors and fillings, and in fact, this assortment included Matcha Mizu Manju using matcha green tea powder and “Shiro An (白あん)”, a type of Anko paste made from white kidney beans.


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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