Dessert / Sweets

Here are some of the Japanese desserts and sweets you should try when you visit Japan.


> Wagashi 和菓子

Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections that are often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, anko, and fruits. Wagashi are typically made from plant-based ingredients.


> Manjū まんじゅう

Manjū is a popular traditional Japanese confection. There are many varieties of manjū, but most have an outside made from flour, rice powder, kudzu and buckwheat and a filling of anko, usually made from boiled adzuki beans and sugar. Manjū is sometimes made with other fillings like chestnut jam.


> Botamichi / Ohagi ぼたもち / おはぎ

Botamochi is a Japanese sweet made with glutinous rice, rice and sweet azuki paste. It is made by soaking glutinous rice mixed rice for approximately 1 hour. The rice is then cooked, and a thick azuki paste is hand-packed around pre-formed balls of rice.


> Yōkan 羊羹

Yōkan is a thick, jellied Japanese dessert made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar. It is usually sold in a block form, and eaten in slices. There are two main types: neri yōkan and mizu yōkan. “Mizu” means “water”, and indicates that it is made with more water than usual.


> Uirō ういろう

Uirō, also known as uirō-mochi, is a traditional Japanese steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar. It is chewy, similar to mochi, and subtly sweet. Flavors include azuki bean paste, green tea, yuzu, strawberry and chestnut.


> Imagawayaki 今川焼き

Imagawayaki is a Japanese dessert often found at Japanese festivals as well as outside Japan. It is made of batter in a special pan (similar to a waffle iron but without the honeycomb pattern), and filled with sweet azuki bean paste, although it is becoming increasingly popular to use a wider variety of fillings such as vanilla custard, different fruit custards and preserves, curry, different meat and vegetable fillings, potato and mayonnaise.


> Dorayaki どら焼き

Dorayaki is a type of Japanese confection, a red-bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet azuki bean paste.


> Taiyaki たいやき

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. It imitates the shape of the Tai, which it is named after. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.


> Karintō かりんと

Karinto is a traditional Japanese snack food. Sweet and deep-fried, it is made primarily of flour, yeast, and brown sugar. It has a deep brown and pitted appearance, and takes the form of a bite-sized pillow or short cylinder.


> Castella カステラ

Castella is a popular Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. Now a specialty of Nagasaki, the cake was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. The name is derived from Portuguese Pão de Castela, meaning “bread from Castile”.


> Baumkuchen バームクーヘン

Baumkuchen is a German variety of spit cake. It is a traditional pastry of many European countries, and also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. The characteristic rings, which resemble tree rings when sliced, give the cake its German name, Baumkuchen, which literally translates to “tree cake”.


> Amanattō 甘納豆

Amanattō is a Japanese traditional confectionery made of adzuki or other beans, covered with refined sugar after simmering with sugar syrup and drying. It was developed by Hosoda Yasubei during the Bunkyū years in the Edo period. He opened a wagashi store in Tokyo, which he named for his childhood name: Eitaro.


> Kakigōri かき氷

Kakigōri is a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup and a sweetener, often condensed milk.


> Dango だんご

Dango is a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko, related to mochi. It is often served with green tea. Dango is eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to five dango are often served on a skewer.


> Daifuku だいふく

Daifukumochi, or Daifuku, is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans. Daifuku comes in many varieties. The most common is white-, pale green-, or pale pink-colored mochi filled with anko.


> Kuzumochi くず餅

Kuzumochi are mochi cakes made of kuzuko. It is traditionally served chilled, topped with kuromitsu and kinako.


> Anmitsu あんみつ

Anmitsu is a Japanese dessert that has been popular for many decades. It is made of small cubes of agar jelly, a white translucent jelly made from red algae. The agar is dissolved with water to make the jelly.


> Warabimochi わらび餅

Warabimochi is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch and covered or dipped in kinako. It differs from true mochi made from glutinous rice. It is popular in the summertime, especially in the Kansai region and Okinawa, and often sold from trucks, similar to an ice cream truck in Western countries.


> Shiruko しるこ

Shiruko, or oshiruko with the honorific “o”, is a traditional Japanese dessert. It is a sweet porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi. There are different styles of shiruko, such as shiruko with chestnuts, or with glutinous rice flour dumplings instead of mochi.


> Mitarashi Dango みたらし団子

Mitarashi dango is a type of dango skewered onto sticks in groups of 3–5 and covered with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It is characterized by its glassy glaze and burnt fragrance. Mitarashi dango originates from the Kamo Mitarashi Tea House in the Shimogamo area of Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan.


> Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋

Yatsuhashi is a Japanese confectionery sold mainly as a souvenir sweet. It is one of the best known meibutsu of Kyoto. It is made from glutinous rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. Baked, it is similar to senbei.