What is Wagashi?
Wagashi is a general term for traditional Japanese sweets. “Wa” means Japan, and “Gashi” means sweets. The origin of Wagashi dates back to more than a thousand years ago. Since then, wagashi has developed and now, you can find many kinds of wagashi at stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Since the actual stores are a little bit hard to find, let me show you the best wagashi you can get at convenience stores.
Top 5 Wagashi you can buy at convenience stores
There are many kinds of wagashi available at convenience stores nowadays. Unlike wagashi stores, you can find convenience stores anywhere in Japan. You can experience the Japanese traditional taste literally anywhere around you.The quality of wagashi at convenience stores has been improving each year. They even produce original and unique wagashi that get popular.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made out of steamed mochi rice. The way it is made and what the mochi is made out of varies depending on the dessert. The color is mostly white-ish, and the texture is soft and chewy. Sometimes a dessert is called mochi only because of its texture. A lot of wagashi you can find includes mochi.
Warabi mochi is a mochi made of warabi (bracken) root powder. Warabi mochi itself is sweet, but usually, it comes with “kinako” (roasted soybean flour) and “kuromitsu” (brown sugar syrup). The warabi mochi you can get at the convenience store is a lot softer than regular mochi--it feels like it's almost melting on your tongue. It is usually served cold.
Price: 160 yen
Dango is a small round dessert, and usually, 3 to 5 of them are stuck on a stick. The color and texture of dango look the same as mochi, but there is a difference between the way it's made. Unlike mochi, dango is made of mochi rice powder and water.
Mitarashi dango is a dango covered with sweet soy sauce syrup. It has a chewy texture, and its roasted sweet soy sauce syrup has a very “Japanese” flavor. Surprisingly, it only costs ￥100+tax. You are sure to become a big fan of this dessert once you try it out.
Price: 110 yen
Goma dango is a dango covered with sweet sesame seed paste. Because of the dark colored paste, you may hesitate to try it, but it will definitely exceed your expectations. Unlike mitarashi dango, it’s not too sweet. Give it a try and enjoy the roasted sesame paste flavor.
Price: 110 yen
Sanshoku means 3 different colors. Compared to the dangos above, Sanshok dango doesn’t have anything on it, so you can enjoy the natural flavor of dango. It’s unique color is very attractive too.
Price: 110 yen
Dorayaki is a Japanese cake with sweet red bean paste. Sweet red bean paste is called anko, which is frequently used for making wagashi. In dorayaki, anko is sandwiched between two flat, round cakes. At convenience stores, you can find a lot of unique flavors such as cream, chocolate, strawberry, matcha, etc. These special dorayakis are not available at traditional wagashi stores.
From top to bottom, 1.Sweet cheese cream, 2.Chestnut, 3.Anko, 4.Butter cream anko.
Price: 110 yen
Daifuku is a round dessert made of mochi and anko. Anko takes up almost all of this dessert, and a thin layer of mochi wraps up the whole thing. Usually, it has some powder, which is made out of potato starch, so that the Daifuku don't get stuck together.
As you can guess from the name, shio daifuku contains a tiny amount of salt as one of the ingredients. Salt has an important role in this dessert, it brings out the natural sweetness of anko. Sometimes shio daifuku has red beans on the surface. It is called shio mame(beans) daifuku. With beans on the top, you can enjoy different flavors and textures at the same time. It is available at any convenience store.
Price: 120 yen
Ichigo daifuku looks like a regular daifuku, but it has a whole strawberry inside. It is one of the unique daifuku you can get at convenience stores, not in other stores. Strawberry inside of daifuku is a little sour and juicy. Its flavor matches the mild sweetness of anko really well. *Only available in winter.
Anmitsu is a dessert of jelly with brown sugar syrup. There are many layers of different types of sweets in anmitsu. The jelly on the bottom is square and transparent. In the next layer, there are three to four kinds of fruits, sweet and colorful rice cake, anko and steamed red beans on the side, and additionally, brown sugar syrup on the top. One great thing about anmitsu is that you can enjoy many things in one dessert. Anmitsu available at convenience stores often comes with cream and dango.