Okashi Best 15 According to Netizens

This is a list of the top 15 Japanese sweets on a "classic" (or more bluntly, amateur designed) website where users can vote for their favorites. The results are certainly more interesting than what you would find in the snack section of a grocery store. Over 30,000 users have contributed, and there is a comments section for each entry as well. The voting is still open so theoretically the results could shift, but the top entries have a pretty solid lead. Now let's take a look at what kind of "okashi" Japanese people have chosen as their long standing favorites.


Hakata Touri Mon

photo source: rakuten.co.jp

The Touri Mon is a "manju" (a genre of sweets which are like small pies with a filling) that contains white anko (bean paste) and is known for its milky, cream-like flavor. It originates from the Hakata district on the island of Kyushu, hence its name. The texture is quite rich by the standards of traditional Japanese sweets, but it has managed to stay at the top of popularity polls for over a decade. A package of 10 will cost around ¥1000 (approximately 10 American dollars).


Hiyoko


photo source: 1diary.seesaa.net

The name "Hiyoko" means baby chick, which comes from the shape of this well known Japanese confection from Fukuoka. The selling point of this dessert is the adorable shape, which is easily recognizable. Another "manju", the standard type contains a dry white anko, while there are several varieties with different types of coating and even baked cookies with the same shape. A box of 9 goes for around ¥1000.


Akatenogoi


photo source: hakata-yamakasa.net

Although a Japanese creation, stylistically the Akatenogoi would be categorized as a "western-type" confection due to its recipe being a derivative of the French style Madeleine cake. Of course the Japanese have put their own twist on it, which in this case is its identifying cheese flavor. The name translates to "red hankerchief" and is derived from a local tradition in Hakata of boys receiving a red hankerchief when they are old enough to carry a festival palanquin, marking a coming of age. Of course, the dessert looks nothing like a hankerchief, more like a small pie. Sadly, this item appears to have been discontinued by the maker.


Royce Chocolate Potato Chips


photo source: gigasmegas.com

Whoever invented the potato chip certainly wasn't Japanese, and you can bet they didn't intend for it to be mixed with chocolate. But we can all rest at ease because this seemingly impossible combination has been brought to life by a snack company based in Hokkaido. These ribbed potato chips have one side covered in chocolate, with white chocolate and caramel flavors in additional to the standard dark chocolate. A box of 190 grams (a little over ⅓ pound) costs ¥700.


Hakata Potato


photo source: photozou.jp

While the name isn't very original and doesn't even sound like a confection, this small sweet potato flavored cake is a standard part of the Kyushu okashi lineup. The sweet potatoes are cooked down into a paste and injected with whipped cream for a savory sweets experience. A box of 6 goes for ¥800.


Karukan


photo source: rakuten.co.jp

Originating in Kagoshima, the prefecture on the far western edge of Kyushu, Karukan is a distictively Japanese confection which is difficult to categorize. The main ingredients are rice flour, sugar, and grated "yama imo" (a type of potato), which are mixed and steamed, resulting in a chewy cake like dessert. They are usually made into simple square shapes and sold in slices, but recently they are also made into manju and filled with anko. A 15 cm long cake sells for a little over ¥1000.


Tanafacrue


photo source: sumally.com

With a name like a tongue twister, this baked confection is somewhere between a cookie and a cake. Originating in Okinawa, the small series of islands often referred to as Japan's Hawaii, it is primarily made of flour and brown sugar. Accordingly, they're quite cheap; a box of 10 or more can be had for a mere ¥400. Or those with Japanese ability can have a go at one of the many recipes available online, which are rather easy by baking standards.


Kibi Mansaku


photo source: rakuten.co.jp

This manju from Hakata boasts a distinct brown sugar flavor and is filled with the standard red anko. A box of 10 costs around ¥1000.


Modern Cafe

photo source: rakuten.co.jp

This is not a local coffee shop but another famous confection from Hakata. The makers have personalized the name, but actually this okashi is a Dacquoise, a hazelnut meringue originating from France. For those who have never experienced one, it looks like a thick cookie but is actually very delicate and melts into a chewy paste after being bitten into. They can be quite addictive. A box of 7 sells for ¥1300.


Nanban Ourai


photo source: anaba-na.com

Another European style sweet which has gained popularity in its Japanese inception is the Nanban Ourai, a small baked cake with a thin layer of jam at the bottom as its claim to fame. It was originally introduced to Nagasaki, which was the only city of Japan which conducted foreign trade during Japan's sakoku or "closed" period. Nanban loosely translates to "barbarian", which in this case refers to non-Japanese people. All stereotypes aside, the name belies Japan's, in particular Kyushu's, strong influence from other countries in its cuisine. A box of 6 costs ¥900. Strawberry, blueberry and chestnut flavors are available.


Kastadon

photo source: yahoo.co.jp


The "kasta" in this dessert's name comes from the Japanese pronunciation of "custard", and as you could guess it's a small cake filled with a rich custard. The cake itself is a light sponge cake, the juxtaposition of the cake and filling being its appeal. The maker also recommends trying them out of the freezer for a sherbet like experience. A box of 8 costs ¥1000.


Hakata no Onna


photo source: bluesky.jalux.com


The name of this dessert translates to "Woman of Hakata", which has a traditional Japanese sound to it. The dessert itself, however, is actually a very small "baumkuchen", which is a round cake cooked on a spit and sliced into rings. The Hakata no Onna differentiates itself by filling the usually hollow center with anko. Standard baumkuchen is also very popular in Japan and is something of a delicacy; this okashi, however, is bite size making it more of a snack. A box of 10 can be yours for a mere ¥550.


Sanporoku

photo source: new-chitose-airport.jp

This is more of a standard baumkuchen made by a confectioner in Hokkaido. The one thing which sets it apart is its outer layer of marbled milk and white chocolate. In additional to the standard butter flavor cake, there are also maple and chocolate variations. A standard roll cut into 10 pieces sells for ¥600.


Azetsumi Mochi

photo source: rakuten.co.jp

Technically a type of "daifuku" mochi (the standard anko filled mochi dessert), this confection is made of "yomogi" mochi and filled with chunky anko. Yomogi is a plant sometimes called "Japanese mugwort" and has a raw, grassy taste often compared to that of Japanese green tea. You'll have to try it for yourself to get the full effect. This is about as Japanese as dessert can get. A package of 6 costs ¥650.


Tokyo Banana (Mitsuketa!)


photo source:tokyobanana.jp

Possibly one of the top 3 most recognizable okashi souvenirs in Japan, this small cake is shaped like a banana and filled with banana flavored custard cream. As a gift, you can't go wrong with this one. There are caramel, chocolate, pudding, and "banana shake" variations as well. Its popularity is probably the result of Tokyo being the most common place for business trips and other travel. A box of 8 costs around ¥1000.