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Ways to Eat Mochi in Japan

Mochi is also known as rice cakes. Do you know that Japanese people really love mochi?

Rows and rows of colorful mochi rice cakes
Colorful mochi rice cakes. Photo credit: David Woo via Flickr.

They also have a ceremony for pounding cooked rice in traditional mortar with wooden mallet. That ceremony, “Mochitsuki” is so popular not only among Japanese people, but also so popular among foreigners too. How they eat mochi then? There are so many ways that Japanese people eat mochi in their country. So, let’s know more about the desserts or dishes made from mochi.

Three people pounding mochi.
Pounding mochi. Photo credit: Bytemarks via Flickr


Daifuku are from two words of Japanese, “Dai” and “Fuku”. “Dai” means big, and “Fuku” means luck. So, what is it then? Daifuku is a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as azuki red bean paste. This kind of dessert is my favorite one. I love the filling too, the sweet azuki red bean paste, which is the best combination for mochi.

Two light-green daifuku on a black-lacquered plate.
Daifuku. Photo credit: 2benny via Flickr.

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo is strawberry in Japanese. This dessert is similar to daifuku, but the difference is the filling. Ichigo daifuku is mochi with a strawberry inside. The taste of this dessert is a combination of the sweet and tart taste from the strawberry, with the chewy texture of the mochi itself. For me, I prefer the normal daifuku, which is filled with sweet azuki red bean paste.

An ichigo daifuku cut in half, revealing the strawberry and azuki bean paste inside.
Ichigo daifuku. Photo credit: kaige via Flickr.

Kinako Mochi

Kinako means roasted soy flour in Japanese. It means that this kind of dessert is mochi layered with roasted soy flour. The roasted soy flour is sweet and makes a good combination with the texture of the mochi itself.

Kurumi Mochi
Kurumi mochi. Photo credit: Tomomarusan via Wikimedia Commons.

Mochi Ice Cream

Mochi ice cream
Mochi ice cream. CC0 photo by Charles Nguyen.

This is my favorite one! This dessert is similar to daifuku too, but the filling is ice cream! For the ice cream, you can choose your favorite one. Luckily, you can find this dessert easily at any convenience store in Japan. It is Yukimi daifuku (雪見だいふく).


Unfortunately, you can only find Yukimi daifuku during spring season in Japan. I recommend you to try this dessert! It is really delicious!


Mitarashi dango on skewers
Freshly grilled mitarashi dango. Photo credit: Carrie via Flickr.

Dango is often served with green tea. In Japan, different types of dango are traditionally eaten in different seasons. They are usually served on a skewer with three or four dango. There are so many types of dango in Japan, but I recommend you at least try anko dango and goma dango. Anko is sweet azuki red bean paste, while goma is sesame seeds.



Oshiruko is a sweet porridge made of azuki red bean, crushed and boiled, together with mochi. Japanese people really love to eat this dessert in the winter season.


Zoni soup with grilled mochi and meat and vegetables
Zoni soup. Photo credit: yoppy via Flickr.

Mochi is not always served as dessert. Zoni is a kind of Japanese soup that contains mochi. In Japan it's traditional to eat zoni on New Year’s Day. Other than mochi, the specific ingredients added to zoni soup vary by household and prefecture in Japan.

Those are the ways to eat mochi in Japan. I really recommend you to try the mochi ice cream. You can buy “Yukimidaifuku” from any convenience stores in Japan. I think you will get hooked on those desserts! So sweet and delicious!

READ MORE: Kagami Mochi – Welcome the Japanese New Year with Traditional Rice Cakes

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