Why don’t you try low-fat Japanese sweets, Wagashi?
Have you ever heard of wagashi?
They are beautiful Japanese sweets that are the size of the palm of your hand.
I’m Nobu, I like traveling overseas and in Japan, visited 25 countries. I’ve got the license of the certificate English guide in Japan for 7 years.I show you hidden Japan which you have never seen and heard of!
What is Wagashi?
Wagashi is a general term for traditional Japanese sweets.
Japanese sweets have a strong connection with the four seasons, and in addition to their delicious taste.
Also they have the charm of expressing a sense of season through their visual beauty.
This feature is one of the reasons why wagashi is attracting attention from people around the world.
There are many points in the history of wagashi that lead to this characteristic.
First of all, it is said that wagashi originated from fruits and nuts that were snacks during the Yayoi period(BC.10century to AD.3century).
In those days, when food was still scarce, people used to eat these to satisfy their hunger.
For this reason, the name “wagashi” properly includes two kanji characters that were once used for snacking.
“菓”is a fruit.
“子” is a seed.
In the Heian period (794-1185), confectioneries were used to present to the Imperial Court.
However, in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), with the development of the tea ceremony among the upper class, wagashi became a part of the tea ceremony.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), the culture of wagashi spread to the common people due to the increase in sugar imports.
And in Kyoto, the capital of Japan at that period, wagashi took on a form similar to the beautiful and delicate wagashi of today.
Western confectioneries and Wagashi
Western confectioneries, which are often compared to wagashi, were introduced to Japan at the same time as the spread of Western culture in the early 20th century.
There are three major differences between Japanese and Western confectioneries.
The ingredients of wagashi are mainly plant-based, such as rice, wheat, and beans.
Therefore, although they are generally low in calories.
They tend to be very high in sugar content due to the large amount of sugar and starch added.
Western confectioneries, on the other hand, use many animal ingredients such as eggs, butter, and milk.
Western confectioneries, which use cream instead of water, have a tendency to be sweeter and higher in fat than Japanese confectioneries.
In the case of wagashi, the production process is mainly based on manual labor by craftsmen, such as boiling, kneading, and steaming.
In contrast, there are many production types of Western confectioneries.
They are made by mixing ingredients at once with a mixer or using a lot of home appliances such as ovens, although, as with Japanese confectioneries, there are craftsmen such as pastry chefs.
As mentioned earlier, wagashi, being conscious of the four seasons in Japan, tend to have motifs of seasonal flowers and animals.
And overall, most of them are small and round in shape, which can be formed in the hands of craftsmen.
On the other hand, there are many types of Western confectioneries.
These are decorated with fresh cream and other gorgeous decorations.
They also come in a much wider variety of sizes than wagashi.
When you walk in Japanese town, you can see many Wagashi shops all over Japan same as western confectionery shops.
Yes we love both sweets!
If you have a sweet tooth, why don’t you try some low-fat wagashi when you come to Japan?
I’m Nobu, one heart enjoy together!!!