Kashiwa mochi is a kind of traditional Japanese sweet that slightly resembles a white clamshell. It is made from a sticky rice cake filled with red bean jam and wrapped in a folded kashiwa (Japanese Emperor Oak) leaf, from which it gets its name.
The origins of this sweet treat date back approximately 260 years to the Edo era. The kashiwa leaf endures through the bitter winter and does not fall from the branch until a new leaf bud appears. This was seen as a metaphor for parents staying alive until their heirs could come of age and inherit the household and for one’s family lineage continuing unbroken.
Thus it became a symbol of parental hope that their children would grow up healthy and prosper down the generations.
The tradition continues to this day, with families eating kashiwa mochi on the fifth of May to celebrate the traditional festival of Tango no Sekku. The filling in a kashiwa mochi is usually either koshian (sweet red bean jam with the peel removed), tsubu-an (cooked red bean jam with the peel left in) or miso-an (white bean and miso jam). The leaf itself is not edible, but surely carries with it the aroma of the Edo era and days gone by!
The taste of authentic Japanese confectionary.