Wasanbon, Japanese sweets, wagashi

Wasanbon and the best tea cakes

Wasanbon is a kind of traditional Japanese sugar that has a history of over 200 years. It is only produced in Kagawa and Tokushima Prefectures’ and is the ‘upper class’ of sugar in Japan. Wasanbon is mainly used in making Japanese sweets. One of the most famous sweets, Higashi, is a dry Japanese candy that is molded using a wooden frame. It’s usually colorful and shaped like seasonal flowers. It is best when eaten with matcha (powdered green tea). Pure Higashi, made only of Wasanbon tastes very smooth and the sophisticated sweetness will melt in your mouth. It has a rich taste, but not too sweet, so I always can’t help but to eat more.

Wasanbon’s warm white color
Wasanbon’s warm white color

What is the differences between Wasanbon and other sugars?

Wasanbon is made from Chinese sugarcane, so it has different taste and umami compared to other sugars that are made of ordinary sugarcane. The procedure is also unique. During the process called togi,  the craftsmen mix the water with black sugar called Shiroshita-tou and knead it by hand. After finishing togi, they eliminate the honey using some traditional equipment and repeat the whole process two more times. By doing so, the impurities are eliminated so that the sugar becomes smoother. The name Wasanbon, was derived from the procedures of togi, bon (plate) and san (three times).
Rather than using modern sugar refining techniques, togi is done by humans, which isn’t always perfect, but it creates a pure and original taste from natural ingredients.

Have some Wasanbon with black coffee.
Have some Wasanbon with black coffee.

Use Wasanbon in your daily life

Nowadays, Wasanbon is also being used in Western recipes. It might help you when choosing a cake to know what type of sugar is used in it.
The dry Japanese candy Higashi is sold in many Japanese sweets shops, so you can get it at larger malls. It goes well with coffee or black tea, so it might be nice to have teatime with Wasanbon. When doing so, I recommend that you not dissolve it like a sugar cube, but bite into it like a piece of candy. Some people even eat it with brandy!
There’s also powdered Wasanbon, so please try it if you like baking or cooking, because it will change your dishes.

Wasanbon assorts

The Higashi I introduced today is sold at “Baiko-do” in Kagawa Prefecture. There are many seasonal flower sugar molds that are fun to see! (※These candies are seasonal ones, so the contents might differ during the year.)
You can find Baiko-do in Kagawa Prefecture and Setouchi Shunsai-kan in Tokyo, or even in malls throughout Japan.


For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes detailed location information:

What is“Wasanbon”, the traditional Japanese sugar?


140-4, Ōkawa, Hiketa, Higashikagawa-city, Kagawa Pref.

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I love Japanese history, anime, and my local Tohoku region. I will introduce good Japanese things that even Japanese people might not know about.


Address 140-4, Ōkawa, Hiketa, Higashikagawa-city, Kagawa Pref.
Hours 9:00-19:00
Access 7min walk from JR Hiketa station
Phone 0879-33-6218
Website http://baikodo.com/