If you’ve ever been inside a Japanese sweet shop, you know they’re treasure troves full of creative confections. One popular style of candy is nerikiri wagashi (literally meaning “Japanese sweets”). Invented in Japan during the Edo period, the traditional treats are typically made using mochi (pounded rice), anko (azuki sweet red bean paste), and/or fruit. The soft ingredients allow chefs to shape wagashi into all sorts of exciting designs, but there’s one confection king in particular who’s taking the art of wagashi to a new level of creativity.
Kurokazu—who has a sweet shop called Wagashidokoro Kisshōan in Shōnan, Kanagawa Prefecture—makes adorable, nature-inspired wagashi. Some of his most recent desserts take the form of plump little birds that have been beautifully decorated in vibrant colors. Kurokazu’s flock includes cute, yellow cockatiels made with koshian (smooth red bean paste) on the inside. The creative baker also makes blue and green budgerigars. The blue birds have koshian on the inside, and the green birds have yuzu-an (bean paste with yuzu flavor).
When he’s not making birds, Kurokazu is crafting all sorts of wagashi characters. He also makes puffer fish goodies in a variety of flavors, as well as flower-inspired snacks that look almost too pretty to eat!