Japanese connoisseurs have long established themselves as the experts of cute.
When you visit the country, expect to witness aesthetically-pleasing stuff that you never knew you wanted to see, especially through their food presentation.
They can make dishes so awwdorable, that you will cry tears of mixed feelings for eating that cute sugary kitten. Let’s take a look:
Mochi are a fundamental ingredient of Japanese desserts. They are also a dessert on their own. For example, mochi can be toasted and sweetened with a topping such as kinako.
Daifuku are pockets of mochi with various sweet fillings. They are as common as cake in Japan.
Castella pancakes sandwiched together with anko. In many cases, other ingredients such as chestnuts, whipped cream and ice cream are also added to the middle.
Dango are chewy Japanese rice dumplings that are often served on a stick. They taste best grilled with a sweet topping. Dango can also be toasted over an open fire like marshmallows.
5. Pear Tarts
Japanese style pear tarts usually have a fresh Nashi Pear on top, which are often similar to a pie. In case you didn’t already know, Japanese people are wild about pear tarts.
Monaka have a crispy outer shell and are filled with sweet ingredients such as red bean paste, chestnut paste, mochi and ice cream. The outer shell is made with mochiko flour and has a texture similar to an ice cream cone.
A translucent jelly made with kuzu powder. Kuzumochi has little taste but is valued as a light summer dessert. It’s usually buried in sweet powder, syrup or both.
Japan has more than a dozen unique varieties of strawberry that are often surprising large and expensive. They can be considered a dessert on their own.
It’s also common for strawberries to be served before the dessert as part of a multi-course meal. Strawberries are a seasonal food but the season is quite long in Japan making them a common dessert ingredient.
Yatsuhashi is a mochi-like dessert that’s made with cinnamon. It’s served either baked or raw. The baked version is crispy like a senbei. Raw yatsuhashi are typically served as a dumpling with anko in the middle.
Wagashi is a category of fine Japanese desserts that contain no fresh ingredients. In other words, they have a long shelf life. Theyare fancy desserts that can be served in formal settings such as tea ceremony. They are usually small, colorful, aesthetically pleasing candies made with finely ground Japanese sugar or soybean flour.
11. Honey Toast
Honey Toast is a dessert that’s available at cafes in Japan that consists of a very large piece of toast or caramelized bread with honey, ice cream, fruits and other sweet items on top.
Yokan is a type of thick Japanese jelly made with agar and red bean paste or white bean paste. Practically every souvenir shop in Japan sells a local version in a block with individually wrapped slices.
Hanabiramochi are a delicate dessert that represent an ume blossom wrapped around an Ayu fish that have symbolic meaning for New Year’s.
They consist of a white mochi wrapped around a pink mochi such that the pink shows through at the center but not the edges. They are filled with white anko or sweet white miso and a candied gobo root that sticks out the ends.
Hishimochi are a three layer mochi associated with Girls Day in Japan. They are an usual rhomboid shape that is rooted in Edo-era fertility symbols. Hishimochi are traditionally presented to Hinamatsuri dolls as an offering and enjoyed as a snack on Girls Day.
15. Mochi Ice Cream
Mochi ice cream is a confection made from Japanese mochi with an ice cream filling. It was invented by Japanese-American businesswoman and activist Frances Hashimoto.
Sakuramochi is a Japanese sweet consisting of sweet pink-colored rice cake with a red bean paste center, and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. Different regions of Japan have different styles of sakuramochi. Kanto-style uses shiratama-ko to make the rice cake, and Kansai-style uses dōmyōji-ko.
17. Purin Dora
When Japanese custard pudding (purin) is sandwiched between two sweet pancakes (dorayaki), you get Purin Dora! With the rich buttery caramel running down the creamy and fluffy pancake, this is the ultimate Japanese sweet!
18. Melon Pan
A melonpan is a type of sweet bun from Japan, that is also popular in Taiwan and China. They are made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. Their appearance resembles a melon, such as a rock melon.
Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. It imitates the shape of the tai, which it is named after. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.
20. Japanese Milk Pudding
Japanese milk pudding is made almost purely of milk, which is why it tastes so much like ice cream. It is not the same as purin pudding, another popular Japanese pudding which is made from eggs. The pudding is made with whole milk, sugar, cream and gelatin.
21. Fruit Jelly
This jelly is made with kanten (agar) powder, filled with real fruits inside! Most Japanese people are crazy about this candy.
This petal-shaped chocolate tastes exactly like fruits which melts instantly in your mouth! Only available in the summer.
The Mizunoiro Japanese sweets are beautiful! It makes you want to look at it all the time.
Anmitsu is a classic Japanese dessert that includes an assortment of ingredients such as anko, agar jelly, mochi, chestnuts, sweet beans, fruits and boiled peas with a side of sweet black syrup as a topping.
There’s no standard recipe for Anmitsu but anko and agar jelly are the core ingredients. Anmitsu with ice cream is considered a separate dessert known as Cream Anmitsu.
Small crepe shops are a common sight in Japan. They usually have 20 or more plastic models out front that represent the menu. Japanese crepes are typically handheld with a pancake that’s similar to the French original with fillings such as fruit, whipped cream, chocolate and ice cream. Many have elaborate and original designs with chocolates, biscuits, small cakes or big pieces of fruit on top.
Imagawayaki are a thick pancake-like dessert that are traditionally filled with anko. Recent varieties also include fruit jams, custards, meats, potato and curry. Imagawayaki are known by dozens of different names depending on their region and type.
Manju are a type of Chinese style steamed bun that come in hundreds of varieties. Most are a bread-like bun with a sticky texture filled with a sweet paste such as anko. Manju first arrived from China in 1341 and have a long history in Japan.
29. Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is an Italian dessert made with sweetened pureed chestnuts that is extremely popular in Japan where it comes in hundreds of varieties that have been adapted to local tastes.
Anko is a sweet paste of azuki beans. Azuki beans were a common way to sweeten desserts before processed sugar made its way to Japan. It’s still a common topping and filling for Japanese desserts. Anko can also be eaten on its own.
31. Coffee Jelly
A simple dessert of jelly made with black coffee that’s often topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s the type of dessert you’ll find at a old cafe or restaurant in Tokyo.
32. Hakuto Jelly
A jelly made with Hakuto peaches from Okayama Prefecture, a large peach that’s sweet and usually juicy. Hakuto Jelly is typically packaged to look like a Hakuto peach.
33. Kinkan no Kanroni
A dessert of candied kinkan fruit in a light syrup. Kinkan are a bite-sized Japanese citrus fruit with a sweet skin and sour middle.