What is Mizugashi (水菓子)? : Meaning in Japanese

Today, I want to talk about Mizugashi (水菓子) because I think even Japanese people, many don’t know the original/correct meaning.

The term is composed of two words, Mizu (水), meaning water, and Gashi or Kashi (菓子) for confectionery in English.

But Mizugashi doesn’t originally refer to confections associated with water.

Meaning of Mizugashi (水菓子)

Meaning of Mizugashi in Japanese

In ancient Japan, 菓子 was pronounced as Kudamono and referred to light food eaten between meals, such as snacks, sweets, and fruit.

菓子 was later called Kashi, and in the Edo period (江戸時代: 1603 – 1868), divided into two categories; Kashi (菓子) for confectionery, and Mizu Gashi (水菓子) for fruit.

So Mizugashi is originally the name for water-like juicy fruits.

Matcha Mizu Manju and Mizu Manju

But in modern times, many people use the term to refer to jelly confections (Ex. Mizu Yokan, Mizu Manju)* or ice cream.

Besides, we usually call the fruit Kudamono (果物) and don’t use the word Mizu Gashi for the food.

* Correctly, those Wagashi sweets are called Nama Gashi (生菓子), and some people may consider the usage incorrect.

(Reference Pages: Wiktionary 水菓子Delish Kitchen )


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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