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When you think of wagashi, these pretty sweets come to mind. Usually made from white beans, sugar and sticky rice flour (shiratamako), this mixture is coloured and moulded into various shapes. Expect pretty pink sweets in the spring around cherry blossom season.
Known for its contrasting textures, monaka sees two rice wafers sandwiching sweet bean paste or other seasonal fillings like fruit or chestnut paste. The wafers are usually shaped according to the season, from cherry blossoms to lucky cats.
If you're a fan of pastries, dorayaki is the wagashi for you. It consists of bean paste sandwiched between two small pancakes, or a single pancake folded in half. The name comes from its round shape, which resembles a dora, a traditional Japanese gong.
Daifuku is generally a mochi ball filled with sweetened red bean paste made from either red or white beans, although this is sometimes replaced by seasonal fruit. A popular winter specialty is the ichigo daifuku — a mochi ball topped with a strawberry.
A traditional jelly, yokan is made by mixing red or white beans with sugar and a type of seaweed gelatin substance known as agar. Yokan is colourful, decorated with unique patterns, and available in blocks (to be cut into slices before serving).
A dry form of wagashi, rakugan are small hard candies made from glutinous rice flour and sugar, which are then shaped witha wooden mould. Highly intricate, these dainty sweets have a cookie-like texture that melts in your mouth. They pair well with a bitter tea.
Think of this as an inverted wagashi, as it's known for having red beans on the outside rather than the inside. Known as botamochi in spring and ohagi in autumn, it can even have a mixture of sticky rice and beans as its exterior.
Another cake-like confection, manju is a form of dough filled with sweet bean paste. These buns can be formed into many different shapes and sizes before being baked or steamed.
Rice dumplings on a skewer, dango is made from sweet rice flour and has a similar chewy texture to mochi, but with a bit more bite. These common street snacks can be made either savoury or sweet.