Wagashi is Japanese traditional sweets, typically served with Japanese green tea. These are commonly made of rice and wheat flours, azuki beans and other kinds of beans, sugar, starch syrup, some with eggs.
Wagashi are primarily intended as a complement to the taste of green tea, served at traditional tea ceremonies. Therefore, the beautiful appearance is admired as well as the taste. Quite often, the season of the year or the nature such as flowers, birds, the moon, etc... is expressed in its appearance.
Also, very healthy, as artificial flavors are rarely used so as not to affect the taste of tea.
Japan the word for sweets, okashi, originally referred to fruits and nuts. China learned from India how to produce sugar and began trading it to Japan. The trade increased and sugar became a common seasoning by the end of the Muromachi period. Influenced by the introduction of tea and China's confectionery and dim sum, the creation of wagashi took off during the Edo period in Japan.
Daifukumochi (大福餅), or Daifuku (大福), is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans.Daifuku comes in many varieties. The most common is white-, pale green-, or pale pink-colored mochi filled with anko. These come in two sizes, one approximately 3cm (1.2in) diameter, the other palm-sized. Some versions contain whole pieces of fruit, mixtures of fruit and anko, or crushed melon paste. Nearly all daifuku are covered in a fine layer of corn or potato starch to keep them from sticking to each other, or to the fingers. Some are covered with confectioner's sugar or cocoa powder. Though mochitsuki is the traditional method of making mochi and daifuku, they can also be cooked in the microwave. Mochi and daifuku are very popular in Japan.
Sakuramochi is a variety of wagashi, or Japanese confectionery consisting of a sweet pink mochi (rice cake) and red bean paste, covered with a leaf of sakura (cherry blossom). The sakura leaf is edible.The style of sakuramochi differs by region. Basically, the east of Japan such as Tokyo uses shiratama-ko (rice flour) and the west side such as Kansai uses dōmyōji-ko (glutinous rice flour) for batter.In Japan, Sakuramochi is traditionally eaten on Girl's Day (also known as Hinamatsuri) on March 3. Sakuramochi is also eaten at Hanami, from late March to early May.
Monaka is a Japanese sweet made of azuki bean jam filling sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers made from mochi. The jam can be made from azuki beans but also with sesame seed, chestnuts, or rice cake.Modern monaka can also be eaten filled with ice cream.The wafers can be square, triangular, or may be shaped like cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums and so on.Monaka is a type of dessert (wagashi) which is served with tea. There are still many very famous monaka specialty stores in Japan.