Make a traditional wagashi treat at the Kasinoki Cake Factory in Yanai. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with the time-honored art of confectionery!
The kids and I went to the Kasinoki Cake Factory to participate in their wagashi making class with a group from Iwakuni. Matt was working, which is too bad since he really likes Japanese desserts – and we were in for some delicious fun!
What are wagashi?
Wagashi are commonly served during the tea ceremony. They are very traditional to the Japanese culture and are a pleasant contrast to overly-sweet Western desserts; the flavors are refined and subtle. There are several different types and they are usually named after poetry or scenery.
Along with the many different types, they are classified into three categories based on their moisture content. Namagashi – considered a wet confectionary -has 30% moisture. Han namagashi, a half-wet confectionary, has 10%-30% moisture; and Higashi has less than 10% moisture.
Wagashi vary dramatically in their appearance, depending on the type and what inspired their creation. They usually reflect the season. During the spring cakes will often incorporate cherry blossoms, and during the autumn they will frequently feature maple leaves. Our cake for the day was from a scene near Kyoto. The design was of a beautiful autumn scene: a river with grass lining the banks, a bridge crossing the water, and topped with red maple leaves.
Wagashi is a labor-intense artform; making the ingredients is a complex and involved process, and being able to put it together takes talent and skill. To become a master chef it takes 30 years of practice! All five senses should be engaged to fully appreciate this work of art!
Our experience at Kasinoki Cake Factory
The experience was fun for both the kids and myself. We had an enriching history lesson about the cakes as our sensei created a sample for us.
Then, we had a chance to make our own. All of the ingredients were already prepared for us. This is because those ingredients are extremely time-consuming and complex to make. We measured and weighed each part before carefully crafting our own.
The kids, especially Royce, were excited to help with each step. Jeannie didn’t like having her hands get sticky but they were both interested in the whole process.
After the class, we were given a tour of the factory. We got to see the assembly line where they make many of the cakes, pastries and my favorite, the currypan!
I am excited to go back for a date night, or for family fun! This was a unique cultural experience that I could do several times, especially when relatives come to visit.
Plan your trip:
Kasinoki Cake Factory is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is a great place to stop and get a treat if you are in the area. You drive right past it on your way to the Yanai Wellness Park, so stop by and grab a snack!
The class lasts one hour and the cost is ¥1,000. If you would like a tour of the factory, the best time is in the morning when there is more production. Hours are 10 a.m.-12 p.m, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Reservation is required.
They also offer pottery classes and a cake decorating classes.
Participants make the form out of clay by hand, then fire it in a kiln. This class is an hour long and the cost is ¥1,500. They hold classes on the first and third Thursday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on the first and third Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The cake decorating class is great for kids too! The price is ¥3,000 for a 5 inch cake and ¥4,000 for a 6 inch cake. They hold classes at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. You can choose between plain or chocolate cake.
Inquire to the email below and they will send you a form to fill out. Reservation is required, at least one week in advance. Have a great time!
Email Yasuhisa-san at: firstname.lastname@example.org