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japanese food, mochi, wagashi, worldwide wagashi

Wagashi Wanderlust: The Best Global Destinations for Japanese Sweets

Thalia Harris

Thalia Harris

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A bowl of green tea anmitsu, a famous wagashi.

Wagashi refers to a variety of traditional Japanese sweets. These delightful treats have captivated people worldwide with their flavors. They are handmade using natural ingredients such as sweet azuki bean paste, matcha (powdered green tea), agar-agar, and seasonal fruits.

Can I buy wagashi somewhere else besides Japan?

Yes, you can! Wagashi has become famous worldwide because they balance sweetness and subtlety perfectly. Their art, cultural significance, and ability to make people feel calm and indulgent are big draws. These tasty treats are today in specialty shops, tea houses, and foreign markets. The result is a collection of unique sweets that are loved by many. Nature, cultural symbols, and the changing seasons often inspire the amazing wagashi that people love.

A plate of summer-themed wagashi featuring blue ocean waves and the orange summer sun.
Most wagashi have a powerful seasonal theme. Image via Shutterstock

As a result, people worldwide can experience and appreciate wagashi’s beauty and delightful flavors. Whether in bustling cities or quaint corners of the globe, there are several places where you can indulge in these traditional Japanese sweets.

Minamoto Kitchoan (New York, London, and Singapore)

Minamoto Kitchoan is a well-known brand of Japanese sweets that beautifully captures the spirit of traditional Japanese sweets. Since 1860, they have mastered creating wagashi – delicate and beautiful sweets crafted from natural ingredients.

An assortment of baumkuchen (tree ring cake) from Minamoto Kitchoan.
Minamoto Kitchoan NYC is located on Fifth Avenue. Image via Trip Advisor

Generally, each wagashi embodies the flavors of red bean paste, matcha, or sakura, evoking the beauty of nature and the seasons. This legendary confectionary become a beloved destination for Japanese and international visitors. They are drawn by the elegant packaging and the company’s dedication to preserving cultural heritage. It offers a taste of Japan’s finest culinary art.

The Little One (New York)

The Little One is a Japanese-style dessert shop in the middle of New York’s Chinatown. Its tasty treats will make your mouth water. This cute shop specializes in traditional Japanese sweets and has a great selection of kakigoori, which is finely shaved ice with different tastes on top.

A tray of hojicha kakigoori (roasted green tea shaved ice) and dorayaki (castella pancake sandwich).
The Little One offers fusion Japanese desserts. Image via Tipsters

Their signature hojicha kakigoori (roasted green tea flavored shaved ice) steals the show with its rich taste that makes people feel like they are in the peaceful tea fields of Japan. The Little One also serves monaka, a delicious dish that puts sweet ice cream between thin, crispy wafers made from mochi flour. Generally, this restaurant is a haven for dessert lovers in New York City.

Are you looking to enjoy even more wagashi while you’re outside of Japan? Check out Sakuraco! Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese snacks, teas, sweets, and snacks from local Japanese makers directly to your door so you can share more of Japan’s rich culture.

Toraya (Paris)

Toraya, a wagashi tea house in Paris with a large chain store on Rue Saint-Florentin, is a haven for sweets lovers looking for authentic Japanese treats. It’s famous for its delicious wagashi, or Japanese sweets. Without a doubt, they have many treats showing Japan’s delicate art and tastes. Try their refreshing kakigoori, which comes in flavors like uji matcha, red bean azuki, and strawberry and is the right mix of sweetness and coolness.

A red flower namagashi with tea on a plate.
Toraya Paris also offers savory dine-in experiences. Image via Pen Online

They also serve anmitsu, a delicious treat made of agar jelly, sweet azuki beans, and seasonal fruits for those who want something more filling. In addition to sweets, their menu includes tasty soba noodles, eggplant, and tofu bentos, which make for a savory and filling meal. At Toraya, you can enjoy the natural flavors of Japan in a Parisian setting.

Fugetsu-Do (Los Angeles)

Fugetsu-Do, in the busy city of Los Angeles, is a well-known Japanese bakery that has made people happy since 1903. This old shop is an incredible trove of traditional wagashi, and its chain store is in the middle of the city. Fugetsu-Do is proud of its delicious treats, like its famous mochi, which has a soft, chewy texture filled with tasty things like sweet red bean paste and matcha.

A tray of assorted mochi from Fugetsu-Do, a wagashi shop in Los Angeles.
Fugetsu-Do has been in business in Los Angeles since 1903. Image via Secret Los Angeles

In addition to mochi, this bakery sells manju, dango, and even dorayaki! Fugetsu-Do is still a favorite place for people looking for a real taste of Japan on the busy streets of Los Angeles. All in all, it has a long history with a primary focus on making delicious sweets.

Mitsuwa Marketplace (across various locations in the U.S.)

Mitsuwa Marketplace is a well-known Japanese supermarket company with stores all over the U.S. It is a treasure trove for people who want authentic Japanese food. This busy market is an excellent place for food lovers and people who want to learn about other cultures. Mitsuwa has many high-quality Japanese ingredients and products, from fresh food to kitchen basics.

An assortment of Japanese wagashi at Mitsuwa Marketplace.
Mitsuwa Marketplace offers authentic Japanese food in the United States. Image via Foodsided

They also sell wagashi, just like the places we talked about earlier. These wagashi treats use sweet red bean paste, matcha, and seasonal fruits. They are made with care and look beautiful. Mitsuwa Marketplace captures the spirit of Japan and lets customers dive into a world of tastes, customs, and delicious foods.

Overall, many people love wagashi and all the culinary delight it has to offer. Japanese food enthusiasts from New York to Paris share delicate sweets with their tea. Moreover, they range from affordable supermarkets to luxury tea houses, allowing everyone to enjoy traditional Japanese sweets. Have you ever been to any of these locations before? Would you like to go? Let us know in the comments below.

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