Although I have the opportunity to admire and savor them on a near weekly basis in my tea ceremony lessons and normal rounds around town, I’ve had the pleasure of handcrafting wagashi (traditional Japanese confectioneries) a couple times here in Matsue, a city famous for this craft since the Edo era (we’ve got Lord Fumai to thank for that, of course). These classrooms are not hard to get in on–Aoto-sensei, from Saiundo, teaches a class regularly at Karakoro Art Studio. This is one of the most popular classes offered there on a near-daily basis. The themes of the sweets change every month to match the seasons, but you can usually expert to learn to make two sweets with two basic techniques (and receive a third prepared by the masters). There is a short video of the classroom experience here.

Although you wouldn’t typically make them there yourself, one of my other favorite places to watch the craft in action is at Kissa Kiharu, the cafe inside the Matsue History Museum. Itami-sensei is legendary!

He’s making a fig themed wagashi in this video, as figs are big around here. I’m having trouble finding pictures that do justice to his Izumo Nankin (a local variety of goldfish). My humble wagashi cannot compare, oh sob! I just have to drown my artistic inadequacies in more sweets, though this is a comparatively healthy way to indulge.

Not a handcrafted Matsue wagashi, but a Matsue craft based on a handcrafted wagashi

Not a handcrafted Matsue wagashi, but a Matsue craft based on a handcrafted wagashi. That said, this is the first wagashi I ever crafted, with more photos of the process and results here.


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With the exception of the middle one, all of these were crafted and consumed by Yours Truly.

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