Wagashi Japanese Bakery


As a Japanophile, I love to explore and learn about Japan’s fascinating history, life, culture and, of course, food.  Ranging from a plethora of noodles and sushi to chef’s knives and kitchenware, Japanese cooking and culinary arts are both diverse and unique. This uniqueness was officially recognised last month by UNESCO who added traditional Japanese cuisine (known as Washoku) to their Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Until recently, my knowledge of Japan’s rich culinary heritage and food was limited mainly to savoury dishes.  This all changed when I encountered Wagashi on an episode of ‘Sense of Japan’, a light-hearted, informative NHK World television programme about Japanese etiquette or osaho.  [You can view the show (roughly 5 minutes long) for yourself on YouTube by following this link.]

So, what are wagashi?  Wagashi are traditional Japanese confectionery that are delicate and delicious works of culinary art.  They are beautifully crafted seasonal cakes that reflect the various faces of nature in Japan’s four seasons.  One key ingredient that forms the basis of many varieties of wagashi is a sweetened aduki bean paste, known as anko.

Discovering wagashi inspired me to explore and find out whether these Japanese delicacies were being produced and sold in London.  I was really excited to find a Forest Hill based company called Wagashi Japanese Bakery who specialise in producing a type of wagashi called Dorayaki.  I visited the company’s aromatic South London kitchen and spoke to their founder and owner Harue Taguchi about the world of wagashi.  You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.


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