25 Jul 2015

My trip to Japan, part one: wagashi


I spent three weeks in Japan in November (gosh, I've been so unproductive, my trip was ages ago). I had wonderful time meeting friends, exploring places and well... just being in Japan. I've probably mentioned wagashi before... but to those who don't now, wagashi are Japanese-style sweets or "pastry" and often involves rice (flour) and azuki beans. If I wasn't a doctor I'd definitely be a wagashi patissier. During my trip I wanted to try as much wagashi as I could (and to eat the old favourites too) so that I could get some inspiration for future wagashi projects.

Here are wagashi and other Japanese style desserts I ate during my latest trip to Japan (and some other related pictures). I'll try posting some more pictures about my travels later.

Matcha soft ice at Nara


It was delicious but I was actually sorry to have eaten it. On our way back to Kyoto from Nara we stopped at Uji which is famous for its green tea. There were lots of tea shops selling superb matcha (I brought some too) and matcha sofuto made from that superb matcha and sprinkled with it too! (but I had already eaten one that day in Nara, so I bought just some matcha instead. Not exactly a bad option either :D). In any case, if you're travelling from Nara to Kyoto, I recommend stopping at Uji and making a stroll from the station to the river and the famous temple. You'll be prone to pass the famous tea shops on your way to the temple.

Uji





Kyoto


Kashiwa mochi: a rice cake filled with sweet bean paste and wrapped in oak leaf (don't eat the leaf the ladies told me, but being a wagashi addict I already knew not to eat it haha)


Koi carps at the garden pond of the temple near Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (forgot the name of the temple *^^*)

The famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto- it's so MAJICAL (I recently encountered the term maGestical, but don't know if the spelling was made so in purpose or not... )


So Miyazaki-ish...


Mitarashi dango: rice dumplings with a salty sweet glaze


Kuromame daifuku, from Gion, Kyoto (from the same ladies who sold kashiwa mochi)


Matchamatchamatcha!!!  抹茶パフェ Matcha Parfait (Buffet lol as one Australian girl heard a Taiwanese girl say (acquaintances from the hostel))


Mitarashi dango, with kinako, bought from Gion, Kyoto. They sold them only late at night. The rice dumplings were so fresh, warm and yummy <3


We went to Harbs (in Lumine Department Store in Ikebukuro). Gosh their cakes are so big. We both wanted to taste seasonal food: so chestnut paste it is... Ok, these are not wagashi exactly but chestnut paste is such a Japanese pastry ingredient anyway...


Taiyaki: a fish-shaped pancake (the traditional filling is anko, sweet bean paste, see upper photo). I tasted a matcha flavoured taiyaki in Seibu depachika. The taiyaki was a bit too soft on the outside to be perfect in my opinion. There was also a piece of mochi in addition to the anko filling (the white stuff in the lower photo).



This taiyaki is the tastiest I've tried this far. So crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside. The filling was murasaki-imo (purple sweet potato, yummy!!!). The shop is located in Kagurazaka: Exit Iidabashi station (exit B2b for instance) and cross the Sotobori doori, and start climbing up on Waseda doori. The shop is on the left quite near the crossing, almost opposite the famous dorayaki place.

Purple sweet potato filling ^^




Yukimi daifuku: Snow-viewing daifuku. This time I tested matcha+anko -version, but I really prefer the "real" one with vanilla ice-cream (SNOW!!!)


Sweets in Harajuku


"Kureepu" display in Harajuku. Remembering one late autums night in Harajuku with other exchange students... Happy times, miss you all :')

It's all plastic.

ABC Cooking studio: a free lesson with my friend <3



Coffee Jelly: it's a bit summer-ish dessert but I wanted to have it anyway







And then a fancier coffee jelly from Seibu depachika (it was so yummy ^^)

They even packed it with a cold gel pack to keep it cool (despite the almost cool weather).






Treats from depachika:

Matcha cake with anko filling

Some kind of a mochi (I've forgot already...)
Oyatsu at my favorite cafe. It was the last whole day of my last year trip and I went for a walk in Yanaka and to visit this cafe with my friend. We went there during my exchange year too (you can read about it here (in Finnish)) and I ordered the same as last time. This time we sat upstairs on tatami mats, so if you want to experience it the Japanese way, I really recommend going upstairs. You can admire the wooden staircase too. And if it rains, you should try the toilet: the sound of rain dropping on the roof <3 The weather was rainy and soon after we left the cafe it started to rain again... I was some 10 km or so from my accommodation, with a bicycle I needed to return that day, so there was no option but to cycle in rain... I was soaked when I got back... But what a story to remember... Yanaka :)


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