Japan Environmental Exchange

JEE Wagashi/Japanese sweet-making class for children at Miyako Ecology Center

J.E.E. Emi Hirayama

We, JEE opened a wagashi/Japanese sweet-making class, which was our first trial, at Miyako Ecology Center on Feb. 23rd (Sat).

22 people for the morning class and 18 people for the afternoon class joined us that day.

As you know, now that children's favourite sweets are chocolate, cookies and potato chips etc., they seldom have wagashi/Japanese sweets.We came up with opening a wagashi/sweet making class for children so that they can get more familiar with Japanese traditional sweets. For the class, we chose a typical Kyoto souvenir sweets, Nama-yatsuhashi which children can make with relative ease at home with their family members.

The Nama-yatsuhashi we made was not usual one. With the keywords of 'local products' and 'seasonal ingredients', we created Nama-yatsuhashi a la JEE!

Wrapping less sweet azuki bean paste and spinach paste with the dough made with only rice flour and sugar, no chemical food additives, they tried making pretty shaped (looks like a flower) yatsuhashi.

During the arrangement, we were a little nervous as this was the first time that we did the class, had a worry if children can make the thin dough. But that worry was unnecessary, all of them both in the morning and afternoon class did it very well.

They very much enjoyed making their original nama-yatsuhashi.

As for the ingredients, Hosoki-san went to buy 'Dainagon azuki' beans grown in Tanba, Kyoto and Saeki-san's organic spinach grown outdoors in Kamigyo-ku.

We used less sugar to make azuki bean paste and spinach paste in order to taste the ingredients' natural flavours. It was fortunate Children liked the both paste! Even some children who don't like spinach came to like the spinach paste.

(By the way, Saeki-san is a farmer who grows organic vegetables and used to appear in a supplementary reader, which Miyako Ecology Center published, for the 5th grade students at the Kyoto public elementary schools)

If this sweet-making class could be a little help to start children on the interest in safe and local products, pleasure of hand-making and good points of traditional Japanese sweets, we would be glad.

We got a great help from some staffs of Miyako Ecology Center in the class.

We really appreciate it.

Our yatsuhashi!