Every year, the people of Japan celebrate Tanabata (aka Star Festival), an event originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It commemorates the meeting of Japanese celestial deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Altair and Vega. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these star-crossed lovers, and they’re only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (July 7th). This festive occasion usually includes delicious traditional treats like yōkan—a thick, jellied dessert made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar. A Toyota-based Japanese sweet shop called Ōmiya decided to reimagine the customary sweets by creating a dazzling Milky Way-inspired version.
Ōmiya specialize in wagashi, a type of traditional Japanese confection that is made with plant-based ingredients (yōkan is a type of wagashi). The sweet shop’s Tanabata-inspired, lemon-flavored jelly, called Ama no Gawa (Milky Way), features a beautiful blue and purple translucent gradient and specks of edible gold and glitter. The eye-catching treat looks just like a little slice of the star-studded galaxy!
“Done in kingyoku style and flavored with lemon juice, we created a rendition of the Milky Way that can fit into the cusp of your palm,” say Ōmiya (translated from Japanese). “We used multiple colors to imitate the heavenly clouds. First, be sure to enjoy the gorgeous colors with your eyes, and then lastly, enjoy the subtle taste of lemon representing Orihime and Hikoboshi’s bittersweet love with your mouth.”
Check out the magical Milky Way jelly below, plus more of the shop’s sweet creations.
A Japanese sweet shop called Ōmiya created this dazzling Milky Way-inspired yōkan(a traditional Japanese sweet).
It was made to celebrate Tanabata (aka Star Festival), an event that commemorates the meeting of Japanese celestial deities Orihime and Hikoboshi.
— 菓舗 近江屋 (@oumiya_toyota) June 30, 2020
Here's more from Ōmiya's mouth-watering collection of sweet treats.
— 菓舗 近江屋 (@oumiya_toyota) July 10, 2020
— 菓舗 近江屋 (@oumiya_toyota) July 8, 2020
— 菓舗 近江屋 (@oumiya_toyota) July 7, 2020
— もん (@luv_tokyoart) July 2, 2020
— 菓舗 近江屋 (@oumiya_toyota) July 1, 2020