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Ringo Ame and Other Japanese Festival Sweets

By Linh Le
July 27, 2022

There’s a lot to enjoy at a Japanese summer festival – fireworks, traditional games, and of course, we can’t miss out on festival food! After enjoying savory Japanese street food, ringo ame (candied apples), choco bananas, and other Japanese sweets are available at summer festivals to satisfy your sweet cravings. Here’s a helpful list of Japanese festival sweets to guide you on a journey of Japanese festival gourmet!

Ringo Ame 

A table of Japanese festival sweets with many candy strawberries on sticks sitting in foils next to bags of lollipop.
It would be a crime not to mention the other delicious candied fruits sold at festivals nationwide. Image via Shutterstock

Ringo Ame, also known as candy apple, is a whole apple covered in a sugar syrup coating with a stick inserted for our holding convenience. Although ringo ame is an iconic sweet of summer festival (or natsu matsuri) in Japan, it is originally a famous fall festival treat in the West.

In addition to the basic layer of sugar, there are some tasty variations to the classic, such as an extra layer of chopped peanuts, candy, or chocolate. 

As the sugar layer outside is quite hard, it might take a little bit of time and patience to reach the juicy apple inside. However, a master gets the perfect amount of coating for a quicker eating experience.

On top of ringo ame, you can also find sticks of other candied fruit at Japanese summer festivals, such as grapes or strawberries – which are easier to eat as they are much smaller in size!

Fun fact: This treat has been around in Japan since the Heian Period (794-1185 AD). Sakuraco has a great blog about traditional Japanese festival foods, so be sure to check it out! 

Choco banana

A stand full of colorful choco bananas, popular Japanese festival sweets that are bananas covered in chocolate, in colors like pink, blue, and dark brown with colorful sprinkles.
The colorful chocolate coatings grabs the attention of festival-goers, and since they’re usually chilled, it’s a refreshing treat at summer festivals. Image via Shutterstock

Choco banana (or chocolate bananas) are peeled bananas, skewered on sticks and dipped in molten chocolate, then left to cool to solidify. People usually will add a layer of sprinkles, nuts, or a layer of candy outside to add flavor to it.

The chocolate coating is usually milk chocolate but some places also use white, pink, or blue chocolate and add an outer layer of colorful sprinkles, making it extremely fun to look at!

Can’t come all the way to Japan to enjoy these sweets at a summer festival? Don’t worry because TokyoTreat has your back! TokyoTreat sends seasonal Japanese snacks, drinks, sweets, and more right from Japan to your door every month, so you can taste all the best Japanese snacks at your convenience!

Kakigori (Shaved ice)

A girl holds a cup of Japanese shaved ice with a chocolate cookie stick and straw inside of a polka dot bowl
Japanese shaved ice has a much finer texture, like snow, so it holds the flavoring perfectly. Image via Shutterstock

Originating in the Heian period and first being sold in Yokohama in 1869, Kakigori – shaved ice – is a typical Japanese summer treat. Blocks of ice are shaved into a bowl with a snow-like texture. Then, different flavors of fruit syrups, and even condensed milk, are added on top. Sometimes kakigori is also served with fruits, like strawberry, melon, mango, and more. 

On hot summer days, a bowl of shaved iced is all you need! The coolness of the shaved ice mixed with the sweet flavor of condensed milk and syrup will help you escape from the summer heat for a while. 

Wata-ame (Cotton candy)

A Japanese woman in a cute shop uniform holds a giant cotton candy stick with the cotton candy in four different pastel colors.
Cotton candy isn’t just a festival food in Japan. Tokyo shops have made tasty, dream-like versions of this festival treat. Image via Shutterstock

Just like cotton candy in any other Asian country, it’s a kind of candy made from melting sugar. Cotton candy can also be beautifully colored when using added coloring. This is a popular festival candy because it doesn’t require many fancy ingredients, and is especially loved by children because of its cotton-like, floating shape and eye-catching colors.

It always gives off an attractive, sweet aroma, and since we can directly see the candy-making process, the stalls selling cotton candy at festivals are quite popular for visitors.

Plus, cotton candy is usually packed in fun plastic bags decorated with popular Japanese anime characters.

Taiyaki

Many Taiyaki, popular Japanese festival sweets in the shape of a fish with red bean past filling, bake on a special Taiyaki griddle.
This traditional treat has stuck around festivals thanks to being a tasty, warm snack. Image via Shutterstock

Taiyaki is a Japanese sea bream-shaped cake filled with things like azuki (red bean) paste, butter cream, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. Japanese people have long considered sea bream a fish that brings good luck, and it was once a very expensive fish in Japan. So, in the past, it was only eaten on special occasions for good fortune, but it is now a staple of Japanese festival sweets.

Taiyaki crust is made by pouring flour dissolved with water into a fish-shaped double-sided mold and then baking until golden brown. When eating, you will enjoy the taste of the slightly sweet pie crust combined with the delicious fillings, making it a great sweet to enjoy anytime of the year. 

Crepes

A model of crepe on display at a festival food stall shows the inside of a crepe with strawberries, cake, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry sauce and whipped cream as the fillings.
Japanese crepes have plenty of fillings from whipped cream and fruits to cheesecake and ice cream. In other words, it’s the king of Japanese festival sweets. Image via Shutterstock

Although crepes don’t originate in Japan, they are a hugely popular Japanese street food, often rolled into a cone so they’re easy to enjoy on the go.

Japanese crepes often contain fresh ingredients like sweet fruit or savory fillings, and they’re usually a bit crunchier than their French equivalents.

On top of the sweet version made with whipped cream, fruits, chocolate, or custard, many are made with typical Japanese ingredients, such as red beans or even chicken with teriyaki sauce. There are always a lot of different flavors for you to choose from, so you’ll never get tired of trying out different kinds of crepes at different stalls.

What Japanese festival sweets would you love to try? Share your favorite with us in the comments below!

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Linh Le

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