Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day) Mochi

Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day) Mochi

Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi

May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan. Two important icons for this day are the Koi-no-bori (flying carp banner) and the kabuto, or armored battle helmet worn by samurai. At Suetomi, we found some delightful and unique koi-no-bori and kabuto themed wagashi, traditional Japanese confections.

We stopped by Suetomi to get their Kodomo-no-hi namagashi set. Namagashi (生菓子) literally means raw, or wet ‘kashi‘, confection.

Traditionally Kodomo-no-hi was known as Boy’s Day (Tango-no-sekkyu) and Girl’s Day was on March 3rd (Hinamatsuri). In 1948, May 5th was designated a national holiday for the happiness of all children. The symbols of May 5th are still decidedly masculine and continue unchanged from the traditional Boy’s Day. The March 3rd Hinamatsuri symbols are also unchanged.

The armored helmet is symbolizes masculine strength and the flying koi banners health and vigor.

Suetomi creates a manju with the koi-no-bori branded on it and a namagashi in the shape of the kabuto helmet. Also, below is a mochi wrapped in kashiwa oak leaf.

The Package
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi

Three Piece Set Served
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi
From left to right; manju with koi-no-bori yaki-in (brand), kabuto shaped namagashi and kashiwa mochi.

Three Piece Set – detail
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi

Kashiwa (Oak Leaf) Mochi
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi
This popular mochi is wrapped in a fresh kashiwa oak leaf.

Kabuto Namagashi
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi
The samurai’s kabuto helmet is beautifully rendered in soft, moist mochi. The dark form slightly visible inside is azuki paste.

Kabuto Namagashi
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi

Koi-no-bori Yaki-in Manju
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi
The Koi-no-bori is branded with a hot iron, called yaki-in in Japanese.

The taste of these three wagashi was excellent but the flavors themselves are not unique to the Boy’s Festival, just the shape and decoration. Kashiwa Mochi is a springtime wagashi, usually available in April and May. The taste of the mochi itself is conventional but the kashiwa leaf does impart a light and fresh flavor and fragrance.

Miniature Yoroi (armor) Display for Boy’s Day
Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day) Mochi
Peko photographed this at Takashimaya Department Store a few months ago, this detailed and beautifully crafted display costs about $10,000USD!

Kabuto (Samurai Helmet)
photo credit: robizumi

Child and Miniature Kabuto Display
photo credit: egg on stilts

photo credit: teseb

Koi-no-bori – detail
High quality koi-no-bori are still hand painted and quite expensive.
photo credit: qa™design

Children’s Day Google Logo

13 Responses to “Wagashi: Suetomi Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day) Mochi”

  1. Oanh H says:

    They look delicious! The kid is so cute 😀
    Can you make mochi at home? Is there a kit that I can buy and make mochi into any shape I want? Thanks!

  2. kat says:

    the sweets look delicious! hope you are enjoying Golden Week.

  3. Oooo these look so good. I remember putting the koinobori out when I was little. I always wanted to take them down and run around with them.

  4. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Oanh H,
    Actually, making wagashi, especially namagashi is quite difficult and time consuming to make and is rarely made at home in contemporary Japan. The exception would be mochi for New Year’s in which the family or entire neighborhood gets together and make mochi that will be enjoyed at New Year’s. ‘Just’ mochi is actually not very complicated. It just takes time and a lot of pounding. Also, this mochi is not proper wagashi. I did read that some very dedicated mother’s still make kashiwa mochi for their children (sons), but I would expect this is also quite rare in contemporary Japan. (I wish my mom made kashiwa mochi from scratch for me when I was a kid!)
    I have not seen any kits, but I would imagine there are some. I will keep on the look out. Please subscribe to comments here, if we find anything regarding kits, we will post it here.

  5. PekoPeko says:

    Hi kat,
    Sorry I haven’t been over to visit your site recently. Yes, I am enjoying Golden Week, the weather is beautiful. Hope you are too!

  6. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Marc,
    You did koi-no-bori? You lived in Japan?

  7. Cindy says:

    I’ve always wanted a koi no bori for myself,
    They’re so beautiful!

  8. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Cindy,
    Me too! They are great. The big, handmade ones are REALLY amazingly beautiful.

  9. Yep, I was born in Miyazaki-ken.

  10. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Marc, I see. I have been down there just once I think. Kyushu rules! Great food, great people … and some weird sounding dialect!

  11. Peko Peko says:

    Hey Everybody,
    So I went over to Suetomi this morning and talked to them about a detailed interview wagashi. Look for a great new wagashi article coming pretty soon.

  12. Hahaha yea, I guess Miyazaki-ben is a bit like a Texas accent here in the US. I have a few regional recipes on my blog if you’re interested. Looking forward to seeing your feature on wagashi.

  13. Amato says:

    This is the most beautiful picture with kodomo no hi wagashi I know.

    I have a question about chimaki, do you maybe know, what is the meaning of these long shaped chimaki in bamboo leaves which are bound together? it reminds me on a “broom”. 😉
    I have read it has something to do with protection from bad spirits?
    I would be very thankful about some clarification…
    I found some information on Japanese websites but the translation doesn’t make much sense to me…
    Thank you!
    I made chimaki few days ago, but not these long shaped, there are many different kinds: with mochigome, joshinko flour, kuzu and so on, a little confusing…

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