Baby Kasutera vs Namagashi

When I was in Tokyo a while ago with my friends, we bought a bag of little grilled cakes with sweet beans inside. I had always called these things “manju,” but I was corrected and told they were “baby kasutera.” I have since done a little more investigation.

The general phrase wagashi refers to the whole class of Japanese sweets.

Kasutera is the Japanese rendering of “castella,” apparently a type of sponge cake. They are in a subclass of wagashi called yakigashi, “grilled sweets.”

The type of wagashi I am used to is called namagashi – “fresh sweets.”

  • Most of what I make and consume at home are various kinds of dango (simple sweetened pounded rice), or
  • daifuku-mochi (the kind with the anko inside).
  • I already knew “yokan,” solid bars of bean jelly.

Japan Wagashi Association

Japan Wagashi Association. “Wagashi” is “sweets”

This site is pretty intense- now you can link to hundreds of sweets stores all over Japan.

There is also a section with an index of all their members, indexed in several ways:

  1. every shop in Tokyo, sorted by district
  2. by the shop name in a giant list
  3. by sweet variety name, sorted by first letter

I think I need to make a big printout of the “shops by sweet name” list and make it a checklist, working my way through the alphabet until I’ve eaten every variety or I drop dead.
Web link of note: Japan Wagashi Association