Rice Cakes wrapped in Oak Leaves (Kashiwa Mochi)

Every year on May 5th, Japan celebrates Children’s Day (kodomo no hi). On this occasion, people here eat a special treat called kashiwa mochi. It’s made up of a soft gooey rice cake that’s folded over a ball of sweet red bean paste filling. The whole thing is then wrapped in an oak leaf, which is not only beautiful but it also gives the mochi cake a very pleasant aroma.

I’ve had kashiwa mochi before in the past, but I usually get them from regular grocery stores. As it turns out, these are totally different from the real traditional kashiwa mochi. (Although I still love the common store-bought ones, too hehe.)

When I was walking home the other evening, I passed by a discrete little sweet shop tucked far back off the side of the road. The place looked really old, and it was so quiet and still that I thought it was closed. But here’s what caught my eye when I peeked through the window…one final remaining tray of kashiwa mochi. Real ones.

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Everything else had been sold out for the day, and these were the only sweets they had left in the little shop. Lucky me! I didn’t think twice before buying one because these are such a precious find. They were fairly cheap, too, at just 90 yen each.

Compared to the pre-packaged kashiwa mochi in regular stores, these ones were extremely soft and sticky. They’re more delicate and I felt like the mochi might tear apart just by peeling off the oak leaf. You could tell that the mochi was made simply from pounded rice and nothing else. No sweeteners, no flour, no preservatives…just good old rice. The red bean paste filling also had a distinct flavor, which makes me think that they must make it themselves in the shop instead of buying it in ready-made packages. I’m really glad that I was lucky enough to catch the last kashiwa mochi of the day.

I asked the lady there, and apparently the sweet shop has been in operation for eighty years! I’m definitely going to stop in again next time I pass by.

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15 thoughts on “Rice Cakes wrapped in Oak Leaves (Kashiwa Mochi)

    1. I’m starting to really notice that! The old discrete little bakeries that look like they’ve been around for generations…those are the best! They’re the most legit, and the old man or old lady who runs it is always super friendly too haha

    1. I’m so glad I found this place! Next time I’m in the city I’ll drop by earlier in the day and see if they have any other sweets for sale. Looking forward to it 😀

  1. Oh, your post made me want to eat kashiwa mochi just in this moment! I have made only ‘Kashiwa less Kashiwa Mochi’ (you know what I mean, ‘kashiwa mochi without leaves’) before. It is because I thought I cannot get Kashiwa leaves here in London. However, your post made me realise Kashiwa is Oak, isn’t it? We have plenty of Oak here. Maybe in somehow I can get & prepare leaves by myself and I will be able to make some Kashiwa-mochi? Cheers!

    1. There is also something called “poison oak”, so I would be careful! Hmm…I think kashiwa leaves would be hard to buy in London, but I wonder if sasa would be available? I know that China and a lot of Southeast Asian cultures use sasa leaves or some similar bamboo leaf, so it may be easier to find. I tried sasa dango for the first time this month as well! I loved it 😀

      1. I brought back Cherry leaves and flowers (I also have some my own preserved cherry flowers I made before) but did not get Kashiwa leaves. Oh, I didn’t know poison oak. Thanks for telling me.

      2. Cherry leaves? That sounds really neat! How do you use those? I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with them!

      3. Preserved Cherry leaves are used for wrapping Sakura Mochi. You must have eaten some sweet with ‘Sakura-An’ which is ‘An’ mixed with shredded Cherry leaves. The leaves give aromatic scent.

      4. Ah yes, I know what you’re talking about that! It’s used sometimes in the centre of an pan. I love that stuff 🙂

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