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.
Three Piece Set Served
From left to right; manju with koi-no-bori yaki-in (brand), kabuto shaped namagashi and kashiwa mochi.
Three Piece Set – detail
Kashiwa (Oak Leaf) Mochi
This popular mochi is wrapped in a fresh kashiwa oak leaf.
The samurai’s kabuto helmet is beautifully rendered in soft, moist mochi. The dark form slightly visible inside is azuki paste.
Koi-no-bori Yaki-in Manju
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
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