Wagashi, seasonal cakes and candies unique to Japan.
From left: For spring, sakura mochi, rice cakes wrapped in cherry leaves. For summer, mizu yokan, a soft adzuki bean jelly arranged in a bamboo container. For autumn, nama-gashi (unbaked sweets), one shaped like a ripe persimmon, the other like a gingko leaf. And for winter, higashi, a dry candy that reminds us of snow. Traditional sweets are often made using rice or wheat flour, arrowroot starch and sweetened adzuki beans. Traditional cakes and candies are a feast for the eyes, too, with their beautiful colors and shapes reminding us of the natural world and its seasons. In this issue of NIPPONIA, you will see a different kind of wagashi on the page dedicated to each month. (Photos by Kono Toshihiko)