Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets that can be found in teahouses, cafes, and specialty stores all across the country. Typically served alongside a cup of matcha to balance out the bitterness of the tea, they are an intrinsic part of Japanese culture and often closely linked to the seasons or local region. And one of the best ways to find out more about these authentic treats, plus have a go at creating them yourself, is to attend a wagashi class.
Japanese wagashi come in an amazingly diverse range of varieties and are crafted from plant-based ingredients such as sweet bean paste, mochi rice cakes, and sesame. This means the majority of them are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
From making colorful higashi sugar candies and stunningly artistic nerikiri crafted into sakura flowers, to plump daifuku mochi stuffed with fresh strawberries and sweet steamed manju buns filled with bean paste, there are all sorts of wagashi class options available. Not only will you learn more about traditional Japanese sweets and food culture from your expert local teacher, but you’ll also take home some impressive new skills!
Prefer to learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home? Enroll in byFood's Intensive Wagashi & Mochi Making Course with wagashi artist, Mai-san. Over the course of 24 tutorial videos, she will teach you how to make a strawberry daifuku mochi, the Japanese raindrop cake, and 4 nerikiri wagashi designs. These miniature works of art are guaranteed to awe your family and friends.
Here we’ve compiled nine of the best wagashi classes in Japan to attend if you want to learn how to make wagashi for yourself.
If you don’t have a trip to Japan on the horizon, don’t worry! You can also learn how to make Japanese sweets online in this fun Online Wagashi Making Class with Certified Instructor. You’ll be sent a list of ingredients you need for the wagashi recipe in advance, then your certified instructor will show you how to make, color, and shape your nerikiri dough into gorgeous and delicious motifs.
For those who want a hands-on experience creating stunningly artistic confections, this Nerikiri Wagashi Class in Tokyo with Matcha Green Tea is perfect. Your expert instructor will show you how to craft authentic sweets from scratch using entirely vegan ingredients, and hand-sculpt them into beautiful designs. After creating your masterpieces, you’ll enjoy them paired perfectly with a cup of foamy, high-quality matcha.
Can’t make up your mind which type of confection you want to try your hand at? In the Traditional Japanese Sweets, Wagashi, and Mochi Class you’ll learn how to make not one but three different types of confections! From delicate nerikiri wagashi to strawberry-filled daifuku mochi (chewy rice cakes) and colorful dango mochi, you’ll create a beautiful box of tasty treats to take home with you.
For those who want to truly hone their skills, this Intensive 6 Class Nerikiri Wagashi Course is the ideal choice. Starting from the basics, over six two-hour classes your qualified instructor will teach you different techniques to create nerikiri wagashi as well as how to craft them into popular seasonal designs. Upon finishing the course you’ll receive a certificate so you can proudly display your wagashi-making skills!
This unique cooking class in Tokyo takes place at a specialist candy art studio in Asakusa. You’ll use scissors and tweezers to cut, pull and bend the soft mizuame candy into an adorable rabbit shape, before decorating it with food coloring to bring your creation to life. Whether you want to eat the finished product or keep it as a souvenir, the Amezaiku Candy Sculpting Workshop in Tokyo is definitely a fun challenge!
Kyoto is famous for its wagashi, making it the perfect place to learn how to make them! In this Traditional Japanese Wagashi Making Class in Kyoto your teacher will show you how to create two different types of sweets: kiku (chrysanthemum) nerikiri wagashi and ichigo (strawberry) daifuku mochi. At the end of the class, you’ll get to enjoy your creations with a cup of tea from the award-winning local tea shop Rishouen.
The wonderful thing about wagashi is that they are very deeply connected to their area, and this Manju Making Class in Gifu is a great example of that. Here you’ll learn how to make a traditional type of sweet steamed manju bun known as gurin, that originated in a local shop in Gifu Prefecture. Made using brown sugar and smooth, sweet red bean paste, you can enjoy them fresh and warm beside the banks of the Kiso River!
This wagashi class is slightly different because it teaches you how to make small sugar candies known as higashi. These have a uniquely dry and chalky texture to go with green tea, and are prettily decorated with intricate designs. Located on the gorgeous Miyajima island in Hiroshima, the Sweet Higashi Making Class in Miyajima is the perfect activity to complement a day of sightseeing. Plus to make the experience extra special, you’ll be wearing a beautiful Japanese kimono as you cook!
Held in a traditional renovated storehouse that’s over 100 years old, this Nagoya Sweets Making Class with Tea Ceremony enables you to explore the on-site Japanese garden before learning how to make a variety of traditional local sweets. Once you’ve finished, you’ll enjoy tucking into your creations in an authentic and atmospheric Japanese tea ceremony.
From sculpting an adorable candy rabbit at a cooking class in Tokyo to creating beautiful nerikiri Japanese sweets online, there are so many options available if you want to learn how to make wagashi. Browse the full list and book your favorite wagashi class today to ensure your trip is as delicious as it is fun!
For more insights into the world of wagashi and Japanese food at large, check out the Japan by Food YouTube channel and subscribe for the latest videos!