Japanese Snack Types
‘Okashi’ is the Japanese word for confectionary and snacks – generally any food that is eaten as a luxury item outside of meals. Okashi fall into a few groups; ‘Dagashi’, ‘Wagashi’ and general or premium Okashi.
The word Dagashi（駄菓子）was coined back to the Edo period to contrast to the high-quality confectionery made from white sugar from the cheaper popular confectionery made by treating wheat, millet, beans, scrap rice, brown sugar etc.
Dagashi usually feature bright colorful packaging and are traditionally marketed at children, often with lure of a small toy or chance to win an ‘atari’ slip inside the wrapper that can be exchanged for more okashi.
The most popular flavors used are cola, soda, grape & strawberry but there are also many other flavors, both sweet and savory, such as chocolate, ramune, cheese, curry as well as unusual flavors such as natto and yakitori, and local specialties such as okonomiyaki, sugar cane & horse mackerel.
Wagashi （和菓子）are traditional Japanese sweets that are typically enjoyed in combination with a cup of green tea. They are made in a wide variety of shapes and consistencies and with diverse ingredients and preparation methods. Some are popular across the country and around the year while others are only available regionally or seasonally.
Sweet azuki bean paste (anko) is a central ingredient in a large number of Japanese sweets. Boiled azuki beans are sweetened with sugar and mashed to create either smooth anko (koshian) or chunky anko (tsubuan). Other common ingredients for wagashi include rice cakes (mochi), rice flour, Japanese agar (kanten), sesame paste and chestnuts.