Even some of the most standard wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) fall into the ‘too pretty to eat’ category, but this speciality shop in Setagaya takes Japanese confectionery to a whole new level.
While Western-style sweet shops might make elaborately decorated cupcakes for special occasions, Harumado prepares custom-made ohagi to add a Japanese twist to a special tea or celebration. Shop owner Hiroki Ogawa decided to start his business after being praised for the ohagi he made on the anniversary of a friend’s business.
Ohagi is made by pounding cooked glutinous rice into a ball and covering it in a sweet bean paste. The sweets are typically made with deep purple azuki bean paste, but Harumado uses white bean paste coloured with natural ingredients. The colours change according to season, so no two boxes are alike.
The sweets are often inspired by seasonal flowers that are in bloom as well as artworks such as Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. Aside from their visual flair, the sweets at Harumado also have a more modern take on typical ohagi flavours with combinations such as black sesame and sweet corn or lychee and Okinawa sea salt.
Ogawa accepts reservations via the shop’s Instagram up to a month in advance for his boxed bouquets, which start at ¥6,000 for a box of nine pieces. But there are also five different types of ohagi available for walk-ins at his Takeno To Ohagi stores in Sakurashinmachi and Gakugeidaigaku every day (¥180-¥330 per piece).
Before you head out to snag a box of these beautiful sweets, check our guide on going out safely in Tokyo.
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