What could be more satisfying than being able to admire a fall landscape with momiji trees while enjoying gourmet Japanese wagashi with a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee?

Wagashi (Japanese sweets) are closely tied to the seasons, and fall is, without exaggeration, considered one of the best times in Japan. As the hot and humid summer leaves, warm autumn arrives: harvest time, the moment when the maple trees turn red and the "spider lilies" (lycoris) bloom. During this period, wagashi masters find inspiration in dragonflies and autumn leaves that sway gently in the cool winds.

The wagashi described below are closely associated with traditional holidays, reflect the characteristic autumnal atmosphere and richness of seasonal produce, and their colors symbolize the beauty of this time of year. So enjoy choosing your next dessert!

Tsukimi Dango


In September, Japan celebrates Tsukimi, an annual fall festival and ancient custom of contemplating the full moon and its sacred beauty. This festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month and symbolizes gratitude to the moon for a rich harvest. During the "thirteenth night" 13 tsukimi dangos are served, and on the "fifteenth night" 15 tsukimi dangos are served, arranged in a pyramid shape. Also, since in Japan rabbits are traditionally associated with the moon, tsukimi dangos can be decorated in the form of rabbits. Susuki (pampas grass) is often used to further decorate the altar, symbolizing the harvest of autumn.


Autumn Yokan 


Yokan is a soft, jelly-like wagashi made from anko, a sweet bean paste, and agar, which is formed into small rectangular bars and often served with green tea in Japan. During the fall season, imo yokan is especially popular, which, unlike standard yokan, is made entirely of boiled sweet potatoes mixed with sugar instead of the usual red bean paste.Imo yokan has become a popular treat due to the way it brings out the rich and naturally delicious flavors of Japanese sweet potatoes.

Another in demand for the season is kuri yokan, which is created by adding large chunks of caramelized chestnuts to the base. In some prefectures rich in chestnut harvests, such as Nagano, kuri yokan may also be made entirely of chestnuts instead of the predominant anko with chestnut pieces. Other fall specialties include kaki yokan, made from persimmons, and kabocha yokan, made from pumpkins.