7 Wagashi Instagrams You Need to Follow

Food Lists Wagashi

Have you ever seen a Raindrop Cake? It’s the clear round transparent “cake” talked about on many food and culture websites last year. That Raindrop Cake — believe it or not- is actually not exactly a cake, but more precisely should be categorized as a (rather large) “wagashi.”

If you haven’t yet explored the world of wagashi, the time is now. Wa-gashi is the Japanese word for “confection” or “Japanese snacks,” which includes sweet and savory treats in a general sort of way, but usually when the term “wagashi” is used it specifically refers to small sweets made by wagashi artists who create some of the most beautiful tiny pastries in the world.

What’s really interesting about wagashi is that each one holds a symbolic meaning that reflects the season, symbolizes a festival or refers to traditional folktales. The ingredients used and the artistry applied by the wagashi artist (and make no mistake, they’re definitely artists) make wagashi a mirror to hold these symbolic meanings or iconography.

The flavor of most wagashi is fairly gentle yet complex — wagashi are not as sweet as most Western pastries, and are often paired with green tea. Some of the most commonly used ingredients used in wagashi are sweet bean paste, mochi, rice flour, kanten, sesame paste and chestnuts.

Here are seven of the best wagashi artists on iInstagram. Between them all, they show the wide richness and variety of the genre. If you’d like to taste wagashi for yourself, we recommend ordering from Minamoto Kitchoan.

1. @wagashi_sanchan

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Traditional, elegant seasonal wagashi form the majority of the photos in this account. The focus is on nature. Birds, flowers and chestnuts are contemporary yet hold with the history of wagashi design.

2. @marsatracks

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Modern design, impressionism and pop art infuse these wagashi with a sense of not only the past but also the future. @marsatracks is stretching the genre while reaching out to create new wagashi standards.

3. @wagashi_art

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This wagashi artist is also a graphic designer and their wagashi work is definitely informed by that sensibility. There are English subtitles on many of these photos which expand on the techniques, flavors and stories of each wagashi.

4. @shiwon.wagashi

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The precision of this work and the deft touch with color and shape give personality to these wagashi. The color work is unexpected and astonishing, as are the shapes which can at times lean toward the formally sculptural.

5. @choppe_tt

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These wagashi are simply joyous. The designs are playful and the technique is masterful. There’s something jewel-like yet so aesthetically innately Japanese in @choppe_tt’s work.

6. @junichi_mitsubori

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Here is a wagashi artist looking to the future. In his instagram profile, @junichi_mitsubori says “Proposal of [KADOU] of sweets by the new style Junichi Mitsubori.” These wagashi have a sense of formalism and history, and have been created with extremely high-level technique that lifts them to a different realm of possibility.

7. @cawaii_wagashi

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These wagashi are not only cute, but are also quite creatively designed to set them apart from the rest with effects that take inspiration from many different art and/or craft techniques. Some of the wagashi here are almost painterly in a way that’s both constrained yet adapted to by the materials.

Main photo by sanmai, CC BY 2.0

Karen Resta is a writer, a food culturalist, and a sometimes-fashionista who mostly loves ice cream and Brooklyn.

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