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Top 10 Japanese Desserts Recommendations

Updated on June 15, 2017
Agathe L profile image

Agathe is half-Japanese, currently living in Japan. She loves watching anime and reading manga.

Dessert doesn’t always have to be cakes. It can be other things as well. Trying out different desserts from time to time will be an unforgettable experience for you. We need something sweet once in a while, no? It’s good for your brain! Here are the desserts you can find in Japan. Japan is certainly an interesting country, right? Well, it applies to the desserts as well. Let’s take a look.

Have you ever tried Japanese dessert before?

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Matcha Kakigori
Matcha Kakigori

1. Kakigori

Since it’s almost summertime, let’s start with kakigori! Summer reminds you of . . . let’s see, summer holiday, heat, and yes, the kakigori dessert in Japan. That’s what people will end up eating during summer. It’s cold and it makes you fresh, so it’s the perfect choice. Kakigori is not an ice cream. It’s a shaved ice with syrup on top. Often, condensed milk is added to sweeten it. Sounds nice, right? There are a lot of flavors from strawberry to lemon. There’s even a flavor called “Blue Hawaii”. Summer is definitely the right time to eat kakigori. So, go try it!

2. Manju

I often confuse manju with mochi. Are you like me as well? Well, they are two different things. The similarity between them is how they both have red bean paste filling. That’s why I’m often confused, I suppose. Upon doing a research, I found out that manju is made with the same flour as mocha. The only difference is manju is made by being kneaded. Manju comes in various shapes. The shapes are cute. Usually, this type of dessert is served with tea. Nope, it’s not the regular tea but green tea. You know how popular green tea in Japan, right?

3. Fruit Sandwich

Okay, so sandwich is usually tasty but in this case, it’s sweet! Well, a little bit of difference is a nice change once in a while. In Japan, fruit sandwich is very popular. You can even make it on your own. It’s super easy. All you need is slices of white bread, cream, and fruits. You only need to stuff the cream and fruit between two slices of bread. Interested? It makes a good lunch if you were on diet. Fruits are healthy. Also, less carb is better, right? It’s sweet too. Remember, your brain needs sweets to work better.

Sakura mochi
Sakura mochi

4. Mochi

Okay, I think everyone knows that mochi is Japanese dessert. Like I said, it’s similar to manju except it’s pounded instead of kneaded. It’s a great dessert. It’s usually served with green tea. There are various shapes and sizes when it comes to mochi. They are mostly filled with red bean paste. You can eat it without any filling too. Usually people would eat it with soy sauce sweetened with sugar. Either way, it still tasted delicious! You can find mochi almost everywhere. In the shops, market and so on. Mochi is an important part of Japanese culture as well. For example, people eat zoni that symbolizes things that bring luck on a new year. Also, don’t forget to try strawberry daifuku! There’s a strawberry inside with red bean paste around it. It’s delicious! Another mocha you must try is of course, sakura mochi! You know the beautiful flowers that symbolize Japan, right?

5. Castella

There’s a song for this cake in Japan. It’s a cute song too. Though, I don’t really understand the meaning of it. You can hear the song in the video I attached below. Castella is similar to what you’d call sponge cake. The original idea came from Portuguese in 16th century. It’s usually packed in rectangular shaped box, approximately around 27 cm. It’s made of flour, eggs, sugar, and starch syrup. It’s a popular dessert from Nagasaki, by the way. Confused where to find it? You can find it in airports. They sell it there. It’s the perfect dessert for souvenirs.

6. Dango

Once again, I’m confused because it’s similar to mochi. It’s white, round and there’s sweetened soy sauce on it. Some even have red bean paste in it. The difference is dango is made of different type of rice flour. There’s no need for any pounding like mochi. You basically make dough and separate them into smaller balls. Now, all that is left to do is to put a small stick into those dango balls.

7. Dorayaki

You might know this dessert from the anime Doraemon! That robot sure loves dorayaki. Well, I wouldn’t blame him. It is good. Once again, it’s usually filled with red bean paste. For those who have never heard of dorayaki, it’s two pancakes with red bean paste inside. Well, do you want to try it? Aren’t you curious why Doraemon is head over heels in love with this dessert? They usually sell it in markets.

8. Mizuame

Mizuame means water candy. It’s not watery, more like water that has dried. It is made by converting starch to sugar. It is said to be similar to corn syrup. Interested to try this candy?

9. Taiyaki

Tai is a type of fish in Japan and yaki means bake. The funny thing is, it’s not the real fish. It’s a cake. It’s one of the popular desserts in Japan. Once again, it’s filled with red bean paste! As for the outer part, it’s similar to the texture of waffle or pancake. Other than red bean paste, there are custard, white bean paste, chocolate, cheese, and sweet potato. Though let me tell you, it makes your stomach feels full. So, make sure to empty your stomach. By the way, there is an ice cream version of taiyaki as well. It’s sweet and the ice cream that melts in your mouth with the combination of the crispy outer part . . . just plain heavenly.

10. Yokan

Once again, it’s made of red bean paste. But fear not, it comes in different variety. It’s made into jelly! The ingredients are red bean paste, agar and sugar. It’s sweet yet it feels fresh at the same. It’s a light dessert so even if you feel a little full, you can still add it in. It’s often eaten during summertime. Well, we definitely need some desserts to keep us fresh during summer. Let me you one thing, summer in Japan is very, very hot. SO, prepare yourself with a plate of yokan!

So, there you go! A list of Japanese desserts to satiate your sweets needs. What’s the most interesting one in this list? Is there anything you’d like to try? My personal favorite is kakigori because, who doesn’t?


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