Cool stuff from Japan: Beautiful traditional candies

Sugar candies from Kyoto

Traditional Japanese food is known for being beautiful and colorful. Nowhere is this more evident than with these jewel-like traditional candies from Kyoto.

The ones in the box here are ame (飴) or hard sugar candies. They mostly just taste like pure sugar, though a couple have some fruit flavor. But I find it hard to eat them anyway - they are so gorgeous.

The bumpy ones are kompeito (コンペイ糖 or 金平糖), which you may know from various anime and manga. They are simply colored candy, but rather fun to eat.

Sugar candies from Kyoto

The ones with the flower designs are called kintaro ame (金太郎飴). You see versions of this type of candy in many other countries, known by various names. Glass and polymer clay beads are made with this 'cane' method too. These candies are so dainty and pretty, aren't they?.

Sugar candies from Kyoto

I don't know what these ball shaped ones are called, but they are so cute. They look like little embroidered balls that girls used to play with called temari (手鞠).

Sugar candies from Kyoto

Kyoto has a long tradition of find handcrafts, but Tokyo is not to be outdone either. These way too cute to eat things are hard sugar coated chocolate dragées in the shape of hina dolls, or hina ningyo, the dolls that are brought out to celebrate hina matsuri (see about hina matsuri here).

Hina doll shaped candies from Japan

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I actually know kompeito as a candy I ate as a child here in the Azores (Portugal).

They're called "confeito" around here.
It's nice to find common things from the other side of the world!

'konpeito' is derived from the word 'confeito' as the portuguese explorers brought the candy (along with other confections) to japan in the 15th-16th century

Aw... They're so cute. I really love the hina dolls.

Thanks! I like to have learned sugar candies are called ame :) We've got some gorgeous sugar candy here as well! :)) But I try not to use them in my bento, only for special occasions (like hanami).

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I love the Japanese candies, Japanese gum, etc. Always so creative and cute. How do they do it? The colors are always so vibrant and charming.

I was at Arashiyama a few months back, and I came across this shop selling the most beautiful sweets - they even had trays of sushi shaped entirely from sugar, in addition to various flavoured konpeito.

I'll really miss the Kansai region once I move out to Tokyo - there's so much more culture here than there.

Those are absolutely adorable! I usually only find the Japanese chocolates and cookies at the Asian market, now I have to search online for some of these.

Ooh, those look delicious! I bought a bag of konpeito once - it kept me functioning in class on little sleep for two days XD

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these candies are so cute! reminds me of colorful beads!

i've been trying to find a recipe or more information about a type of tea sweet that I bought at a shop in Kyoto. I think its a type of higashi. They were pale pink and apricot colored. They seemed to be some type of molded sugar with a dry, crumbly texture that dissolved in your mouth. I visited during Sakura Matsuri, and the candies were blossom shaped. They were carefully packaged in a beautiful paper box, and came with a tiny green fondant or mochi textured string, to make leaves and vines for each blossom when serving.

The sweets were beautiful and very pleasant. Do you have any ideas?

oohh sooo cute! i remember eating these all the time growing up in hawaii. funny now that i am in okinawa i haven't really seen them. gotta go look for them now!!!!

Before I finished reading your entry I offered this candy (pretend though) to 2 of my daughters who are watching Naruto thats funny you mentioned the pink one... They look beautiful..

Those candies are absolutely beautiful! I had no idea you could make candies using the cane method. I'm familiar with making cane from glass, but I wonder how on earth you could make candies like that? I am intrigued!

Oh, they sell it here as well (Malaysia). At a shop called Sticky which originates from Aus. I've seen those with words in them! here's a vid for those who haven't seen how they make these:

Kinda cool eh :-)

They look like little toys. Kawaii!

My how those colors pop out of this page! They definitely look fun to eat. Thank you for this post!

They are really pretty and I received some as a gift once. Was it just my gift or do they typically just taste like plain sugar? are there varieties made with other flavours?

Really cute candies, wanna try them

i've tried those candies sent by my friend from japan. they're really cute but i find that they're quite sweet but the taste is great!

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AWW! Too cute! How can I get this?!?!