Japanese "Amuse-Bouche" (Foods to Amuse the Mouth)

Traditional Japanese Snacks / Candy pair beautifully with any kind of Japanese tea. Like the French "Amuse-Bouche" their purpose is to amuse the mouth or palate, in this case, while drinking green tea. Since 16th century Japan, they have been refined and improved upon over hundreds of years to create absolute harmony of flavor between the green tea and the delicious sweet confection or savory snack. Such as the feeling you get when you have green tea and sushi together, your palate understands that this is an ideal match of flavor.

Artisans began development of Japanese tea ceremony snacks and candy in the 16th century under advisement by Rikyu Sen. Before that time, snacks and candy were only used for religious offering at the altar. Rules of the Japanese tea ceremony governed that Matcha should be served with confections or candy because Matcha at that time was more bitter than high quality Matcha of today. The ingredients were very precious, so that their addition to the tea ceremony contributed to the depth of pleasure and noble ambience. Traditional Japanese confections and candy were usually made from sugar, rice and rice syrup, wheat, and azuki or soy beans, by reasons of historic context. It was not until after the 20th century that egg and milk were used in Japanese confections. Green tea connoisseurs and artisans have continually strived to perfect the art of the tea ceremony snack so that it is the ideal complement in flavor to green tea.

Tea ceremony had strictly required expressing the beauty of nature or four seasons of Japan in confections. The intricate, colorful, and stunningly beautiful confections were created by skilled craftsmen and ingredients were all extremely rare and precious at that time. Tea ceremony confections including OHIGASHI were also called artifice confection and were available only to lords, affluent samurai, and prosperous merchants. More reasonable snacks and candy for the public were developed over time. Like the snacks for nobility, snacks for everyday folk were developed in Kyoto too, the heartland of tea ceremony, and these special snacks along with green tea from Kyoto have always held a special place in the hearts of all Japanese people.

Our premium snacks and candies, follow traditional thought and roles, and are all made by traditional methods, taking a great deal of time and using only carefully selected ingredients. To develop them, we, Hibiki-an, partner with the best artisans in Kyoto who are willing to make special efforts.

Experience the absolute harmony between green tea and the delicious sweet confection or savory snack - your mouth will understand that this is an ideal match of flavor.

Snacks and candy offered on the altar around the 10th to 12th century

Japanese snacks and candy were also affected by Portuguese Spanish confections brought by missionaries in the 15th to 16th century.

Precious snacks and candy were also enjoyed at affluent samurai households.

Tea ceremony enormously contributed to the development of Japanese snacks and candy. Confections in this picture are for tea ceremony in the motif of fruits in autumn seasons.

Confections of this picture is for tea ceremony in summer season. It reminds us of a cool atmosphere.

OHIGASHI for tea ceremony in May

Confections for tea ceremony in the motif of peony.

Confections for tea ceremony in spring season

Confections for tea ceremony in autumn


We at Hibiki-an introduced a new confectionary item, which is ITOTEMARI and MATCHA AME candy. ITOTEMARI is a traditional Japanese ball wrapped in colorful strings. They were one of the toys in the imperial palace. This candy is quite beautiful, especially its colorful lines, which require a very special technique to create.

The candy is composed of sugar and starch syrup. The ingredients are mixed at a temperature of about 120 Celsius / 248 Fahrenheit. It is quite hot, but workers have to handle it carefully and quickly because syrups get hard and difficult to knead when the temperature falls too low. When the candy is still liquid, flavor and natural color are added and mixed in.
Surprisingly, white coloring is not used to make the candy such a pure white color. Instead, syrups are pulled and stretched by machine, and the candy is mixed with the air and turns white. This technique not only naturally changes the color of the syrup to pure white, but also makes the candy dissolve in the mouth more easily.
White and colored candy are formed into a long bar, and piled up in layers. Total weight of the candy is 25kg, so we can imagine that work requires physical strength. Candy is cut into small pieces, and made into round shapes by machine. Candy is already hard at this point, and colorful line is wrapped around it beautifully. After the visual inspection and packaging, candy is shipped to the customers.

It is said that candy gets hard when its temperature falls below 50 Celsius / 122 Fahrenheit. Therefore, each artisan has to engage in their own task quickly while it is quite hot. It is a race against time, but elaborate workmanship is required in each process. This refined confectionary is sure to bring joy to your tea time.

Natural coloring is added to the heated candy when the temperature is about 120 Celsius / 248 Fahrenheit.

Colored candy is heated to keep soft.

Transparent candy turns white when mixed with air.

Layered candy is pulled by machine, and cut into small pieces.

Candies are formed into round shape by machine.

Sugar and starch syrup are mixed with the heat and its temperature is about 130 Celsius / 266 Fahrenheit.

Focus on OKAKI

We would like to introduce some special features of our OKAKI handmade by Fujisawa Eiseido. The current Fujisawa is the third generation. His goal is to produce traditional handmade rice crackers at a reasonable price. Another principle of the third generation Fujisawa is bringing out the inherent good flavor of natural and wholesome foods without artificial additives.

  1. Steadfast adherence to traditional recipe and methods:
    The third generation Fujisawa knows that OKAKI rice crackers handmade by traditional methods are the best and most delicious, though these traditional methods require much time and effort and can be quite expensive.

    The third generation Fujisawa uses only rice (NOT rice powder) following traditional methods. OKAKI produced in modern factories are made from rice powder to save time and effort. However, using rice powder unfortunately fully ruins the flavor, so that it has to be strongly seasoned by additives. Traditional methods followed by Fujisawa Eiseido require double the time and effort, but the result is infinitely more delicious.
    He has developed machines and devices of each process in order to follow traditional recipes.
  2. Adamantly sourcing only premium natural ingredients:
    Fujisawa Eiseido uses the best quality ingredients available anywhere, on par with those used at RYOTEI restaurants. His recipes always pursue bringing out the natural flavor of premium ingredients, which are sourced from all over Japan, rather than pursuing production efficiency.

    For example, KOMBU dried kelp is sourced from the Rausu region of Hokkaido prefecture, which is well known as the location from which the highest quality kelp is sourced. Rausu is also a production center of the highest quality sea urchins. The sea urchins’ diet consists of only the highest quality kelp, thus the sea urchins are of the highest quality as well. The Rausu sea urchin is sold only to highest grade RYOTEI restaurants. When the KOMBU dried kelp is kneaded into the MOCHI rice cake dough, the excellent flavor is enhanced. From the viewpoint of production efficiency, it is easier to coat it on the surface of the OKAKI but Fujisawa knows that kneading KOMBU into the MOCHI provides the best flavor and thus, he adamantly kneads KOMBU into the MOCHI following Japanese tradition.

    The other ingredients used by Fujisawa Eiseido: NORI dried laver seaweed, YUZU miso, ginger, shrimp, soy sauce and so on are all premium quality, and bring out the inherent premium flavor by Fujisawa’s recipes and methods.

The Premium OKAKI flavor is brought by not only traditional recipe and premium ingredients but also continuous efforts. Would you enjoy the tradition with our tea at your green moment?

Rice is polished just before steaming to bring out its natural fine taste.

Rice should be steamed before kneading. It requires time and effort to follow the traditional recipe and methods.

Kneading rice. It is very close to kneading rice by hand in the most traditional way. It is one of the essential processes required to bring out the natural fine taste of the rice.

Drying process takes twice as long as modern OKAKI using rice powder.

Fujisawa has developed machines that adhere to the traditional recipe and methods.

Soy sauce. The label says no added chemicals or additive substances, and fine quality.


Below we introduce the recipe of Premium OHIGASHI, one of the most traditional Japanese confections. We also explain the surrounding historical issues, which will enrich your enjoyment of OHIGASHI.

  1. Our confectioner, Tsuboneya, mixes WASANBON premium Japanese sugar, known for its high-toned sweetness, with superfine confectionary sugar. The ratio and grade of the WASANBON sugar widely governs the quality of the OHIGASHI. Our OHIGASHI is made from only WASANBON produced in Kagawa and Tokushima prefectures in southwest Japan, which is known as the highest grade and best available. Ratio is 70 percent, which exceeds the standard for the most premium OHIGASHI.

  2. Natural color and a little water is added to the mixture. It is mixed well and strained in order to be fine.

  3. The mixture is then shaped by Japanese traditional wooden molds which are handcrafted. Each shape expresses four seasons’ flowers, charming sights, and features, delicately and endearingly. Our confectioner, Tsuboneya, has a few hundred kinds of wooden molds and uses them differently each season. The wooden molds are crafted by hand using the same traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. Now just a small number of artisans have the skill to carve the wooden molds.

  4. At Tsuboneya, the confectioner mixes two colors. Most confectioners avoid this because it requires much time and effort.

  5. Finally the confection is dried and finished. Some confectioners use chemical hardeners to set the confection, but Tsuboneya does not use any hardeners or other chemicals. Their recipe and process is all natural, following Japanese traditional methods.

The recipe and wooden molds have been passed down through generations for hundreds of years. The high-toned flavor and delicate endearing shapes are the same as those enjoyed by court nobles and samurai families hundreds of years ago when sugar was quite precious. Would you enjoy the tradition with our tea at your green moment?

WASANBON produced in Kagawa and Tokushima prefectures, which is known as the highest grade

Brownish color sugar is WASANBON

Used traditional method and tools

Wooden molds crafted by hand using the same traditional methods

OHIGASHI mixed two colors. It requires much time and effort.

Japanese Snacks / Candy items

[Limited] ITO TEMARI and MATCHA AME(traditional candy): US$18.00
(Now Available: ONLY AVAILABLE this Autumn and Early Winter season)
We paired premium traditional candies, ITO TEMARI and Matcha AME, which are both manufactured with special efforts by traditional methods. ITO TEMARI AME looks very cute and the flavor is elegantly acidic (citrus). Matcha AME features the mellow taste and noble aroma of Matcha…
[Limited] Matcha Cornetta (modern confection): US$13.00
(Now Available: ONLY AVAILABLE this Autumn and Early Winter season)
Name of these sweets is “Matcha Cornetta” meaning baked and rolled crepe with Matcha. The rolled crepe is very unique, airy, and pleasant texture. These Japanese modern confections are made in a long established chocolatier in Kyoto, who pioneered these modern Matcha sweets and has now been producing them for many years...
OHIGASHI (handmade confectionary): US$22.00
OHIGASHI is one of the most traditional Japanese confectionary which is often served at Japanese tea ceremony and pairs very well with Japanese green tea. At last, we added OHIGASHI which is made at Tsuboneya, a confectioner in Kyoto well-known for their beautiful confectionary made by hand with careful attention to quality and detail...
[Our Favorite!] CONPEITOH (traditional sugar confectionery): US$18.00
CONPEITOH is a Japanese traditional sugar confectionery which came to Japan from Portugal in the 16th century. We packaged three kinds of premium CONPEITOH made by traditional processing methods with carefully selected ingredients using sophisticated modern recipes...
YOHKAN (sweet bean jelly): US$15.50
YOHKAN sweet bean jelly is one of the most popular and classic confections in Japan. We developed YOHKAN with an established AN bean jam manufacturer located in Kyoto. Our four flavors of YOHKAN are manufactured with careful attention to quality and domestic ingredients...
[Top Choice!] KUROMAME Snack (traditional bean snack): US$17.00
This premium bean snack has a refined subtle flavor: a balance of pleasant nutty aroma of roasted beans and gentle sweet taste of the coating. Only carefully selected ingredients are used and an original manufacturing method is developed...
OKAKI (handmade rice cracker): US$22.00
OKAKI rice cracker is one of the most popular and classic snacks in Japan. At last, we added OKAKI which is made at Fujisawa Eiseido known for creating OKAKI using a traditional manufacturing process with careful attention to quality and natural ingredients. This OKAKI is traditionally-made by hand using only natural ingredients sourced only in Japan...
[Recommended] MATCHA GENMAI SENBEI (handmade Japanese crackers): US$13.00
This special box of premium SENBEI crackers includes two flavors: MATCHA and GENMAI roasted rice. These modern sophisticated handmade crackers are made by traditional methods, and match very well with all kinds of Japanese tea...