Japanese Sugar: Johakuto vs Kori-Zato (Sato) vs Sanonto

I hear the most common sugar in the world is granulated sugar, but this is not the case in Japan.

The most consumed variety here is actually refined white sugar called “Johakuto (上白糖)”, which is referred to as caster sugar in English-speaking countries.

3 Common Types of Japanese Sugar

For those who are interested in Japanese sugar, in this article, I will introduce common types of sugar in Japan, Kori-Zato, and Sanonto, in addition to Johakuto.

Johakuto (上白糖)

Japanese Sugar Johakuto

Mainly consisting of sucrose, Johakuto also contains some moisture and inverted sugar, about 1 percent each. 

In Japan, while granulated sugar is commonly used in confections and to sweeten plain yogurt, coffee, and black tea, the caster sugar Johakuto is used in cooking in general.

Kori-Zato (氷砂糖)

Korizato Dagashi Candy

In its name, “Kori (氷)” means ice, while “Zato (砂糖)”, also pronounced Sato, is the Japanese word for sugar. And Kori-Zato is rock candy that looks like small pieces of crystal ice.

In Japan, the crystal sugar Kori-Zato is used in Shochu liquor making and is also available in snack and emergency food forms.

Sanonto (三温糖)

Sanonto Sugar

Sanonto is a brown sugar produced by boiling down centrifuged molasses over and over again, which is unique to Japan.

Since Sanonto has a distinctive rich sweet taste, it is often used to add deep flavor to dishes such as “Nimono (煮物)“.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 上白糖, 氷砂糖, 三温糖 )


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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