Here are a couple of videos to help explain all those wonderful candies or wagashi that you see when at the department stores or at other confectionery shops around Japan. Wagashi truly is an art and is generally made from natural ingredients. Wagashi is typically served as part of a Japanese tea ceremony, and is also a very seasonal gift. In fact, serving a proper seasonal wagashi shows one’s educational background.
During the Edo period, the production of sugarcane in Okinawa became highly productive, and low quality brown sugar as well as heavily processed white sugar became widely available. A type of sugar, wasanbon was perfected in this period and is still used exclusively to make wagashi. In those early times, wagashi was a popular gift between samurai.
And wagashi doesn’t have to always be so serious as it does art:
Photo by: merec0