Get Your Sweet Tooth Ready: 7 Japanese Desserts You Have to Try!

The best part about visiting any country is food. You can learn so much about a country by just eating, and the best part of any meal is dessert! Japan has a very unique taste in desert, it's not overly sweet, and it can sometimes be a bit bitter. Japanese people don't really like powerful flavors, and their food tends to be a bit more on the subtle side. Many traditional desserts focus on the natural flavors of the ingredients themselves, and aren't full of added sugar like western sweets, this makes for an interesting experience for foreigners. Below are 7 classic Japanese desserts that everyone should try when traveling Japan.
1. Mochi
Mochi is a very traditional Japanese desert, and is very versatile. Mochi is made from a special sticky rice called mochi gome. The mochi rice is cooked and shaped to become soft mochi balls. Mochi can be toasted, dipped into sauce, or sweetened with a topping called kinako.

2. Daifuku
Daifuku is just mochi that is filled with a variety of sweet fillings. Often, you'll see daifuku ice cream during the hot summer months, my favorite daifuku ice cream flavor is red bean paste, it has a subtle sweet taste, and is very refreshing during a hot summer day.

3. Dango
Dango are very similar to mochi, the only difference is the way they are made. Unlike mochi, dango can be made from a variety of flour and doesn't need to be pounded. Dango, like mochi, can be filled, grilled or dipped into a sweet sauce, but they are often skewered. Dango are often flavored and colored when sold at festivals like hanami, you can also do this at home.

4. Taiyaki
Taiyaki are one of those things you have to look out for when walking around the city. Vendors will be making them fresh all day, and it's the perfect way to warm up when the temperature goes down. Taiyaki are fish shaped pancakes filled with red bean paste and served warm, so be careful they may be hot!

5. Anmitsu
Anmitsu is a common desert served in the warmer months. It's a combination of anko and cubes of agar (clear jelly). Other ingredients can include mochi, fruit, nuts, and macha flavored ice cream. A cup of black syrup is also served on the side.

6. Anko
Anko are azuki beans that have been made into a lumpy paste. Anko is used as a topping or filling to give deserts a hint of sweetness. You can put anko on top of a pound cake, eat it with fruit, or even eat it on it's own.

7. Honey Toast
This is where we stray away a little from traditional Japanese deserts. Honey toast can be found in Japanese cafes and consists of a very large, fluffy piece of toast caramelized with honey toped with ice cream and fruits.

A lot of Japanese desserts are variations of the one's I listed. Many desserts consist of a soft mochi like outside and filled with a macha or anko inside. Of course, there are many new variations that are being created around Japan that you should be on the look out for! Happy traveling :)

Donna Rhae