Risshun (First Day of Spring)


February 3rd is known as “Setsubun” in Japanese. Setsubun refers to the eve of the first day of spring called Rishun based on the lunar calendar normally falling on February 3rd. Rishun is the first seasonal term of the “Twenty-Four Sekki (Japanese 24 seasonal terms).” It is customary for the Japanese to hold a “bean-throwing ceremony” on the day of Setsubun hoping to drive away evil spirits and bring happiness into the house. When we throw beans, we chant, “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (Out with the demons, in with good fortune!”)
On this occasion, we are gradually shifting our focus on the upcoming spring in order to deliver you the sense of spring with our sweets. Don’t forget to check out our beautifully decorated, passionate, and “full of love” Valentine wagashi as well!


Decorative wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) for Valentine’s Day


Flower Basket
Assortment of small-sized wagashi reminiscent of beautiful flowers in a basket (traditional Japanese sweet)


Wagashi sweets sold in late January.
(From upper right) Uguisu-mochi (made from sticky rice depicting Japanese bush warbler), Kobai (Red Japanese Ume plum), Suisen(Narcissus), Oni-yarai(Out with the demons), and Tsubaki-mochi

Tsubaki-mochi dates back to the Heian period(794-1192). It was made from sticky rice power and the ivy sap syrup called ‘Amazura.” They were mixed into the dumpling and then sandwiched between a pair of camellia leaves. This sweet was apparently made and distributed only in events called “Kemari (a kind of football competion held at the houses of courtiers.)

However, sticky rice powder and Amazura were replaced with “Domyoji Powder” (a king of sticky rice powder whose grains are much bigger than usual powder) and regular sugar respectively. Also, the dumpling is now stuffed with sweetened bean paste.

Tsubaki-mochi also appears in famous Japanese literature such as the “Tale of Genji.”



Posted on 金曜日, 2月 10th, 2017 at 9:18 PM and is filed under blog in English. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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