wagashi top

With Christmas now just a few short days away, I’m sure many of us are still frantically trying to get some last-minute Christmas shopping done. There’s also Christmas dinner to think about, right? And of course, the Christmas cake, which the children (and yes, adults too) are all looking forward to. But wait, who said you have to have cake for Christmas? Japanese wagashi creators, Japan’s version of patissiers,  offer a choice of delectable looking Christmas treats that should be just as sweet as cake. 

Even in predominantly non-Christian Japan, where Christmas is more a romantic event than a religious celebration, Christmas cake  is a big deal. But for people who aren’t really into cake or who just want something a bit different for a change, it seems Christmas-style wagashi  (traditional Japanese confectionaries) are becoming an increasingly popular alternative.   

Wagashi are almost an art form, delicately crafted in a wide array of shapes and colors often using a sweet bean paste. And these Chrismas wagashi are a delight not just to eat but to look at as well!

Wagashi maker Kasho Sanseido offers this adorable set of five Christmas-themed wagashi  for 2,100yen ($25).  

wagashi 1photo: Kaikokumonogatari online shopping site


These cute little treats, called “gifts from Santa“, are sold from Okurayama Aoyagi  for 230yen ($2.70) each and are also available in boxed sets containing 4, 6 or 8 pieces.

wagashi 2photo: Okurayama Aoyagi

Kouseido offers this beautiful creation that looks like a cake but is made of wagashi, available for 3,500yen ($42) in an 18cm size (about 7 in.) or 5,000yen  ($60) in a 21 cm size (about 8 & 1/4 in.). 

wagashi 3 cakephoto: Kouseido website


Kyoto Yoshihiro offers several types of Christmas wagashi, some shaped like cakes, others like petits fours 

▼Bûche de Noël and Christmas Tree wagashi set available for 2,000yen ($24)wagashi 4-1

▼Round Wagashi Christmas Cake:  3,800yen ($46) for a 12cm (about 4 & 3/4 in.) cake and  4,500 yen ($54) for a 15cm (about 6 in.) cake 

wagashi 4-2

 ▼Set of 6 Petits Fours type Christmas wagashi priced at 2,600yen ($31)  

wagashi 4-3

 ▼Round Wagashi Cake with Matcha (Green Tea) Paste priced at 3,000yen ($36) 

wagashi 4-4photos: Kyoto Yoshihiro website

So, don’t the Japanese-style Christmas confectionaries look both tasty and beautiful?  You could call it an artistic combination of Japanese flavor and western decoration, created with traditional Japanese techniques and ingredients. 

Each culture has its unique Christmas/Holiday cuisine, but these treats certainly look like they would be a delightful way to celebrate Christmas. It’s a hectic time of year, but we hope you have a very happy and delicious Christmas with loved ones!   

 Source:  ITmedia (Japanese)

Top Image:  Kyoto Yoshihiro website (Japanese)