Ocha & Wagashi: The Tastes of Japanese Tea and Sweets Workshops

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan in collaboration with Matsukawaya and Teaism

Experience the essential flavor of Japan in this hands-on workshop with Matsukawaya’s head confectioner, Yoshitaka Nishino. Guests will learn how to create their own wagashi (sweets) as well as learn how to prepare and enjoy the perfect cup of ocha (Japanese tea) with Teaism.

The Concept of "Ocha & Wagashi"

There are many ways to experience a culture. Each culture’s distinct flavor can been seen in its customs, lifestyles, food, and industry. For some, culture is experienced in the rhythm of life or through its products.

However, food is the most revealing aspect of culture and there is no better way to experience it than through tea, that universal "sensory experience" enjoyed by people around the world. Tea has been enjoyed in Japan for nearly a thousand years and Japan’s distinct cultural flavor is evident in its "tea culture."

There are two essential ingredients of tea culture in Japan: ocha (tea) and wagashi (sweets). The history and culture of both are intimately connected and that is what this program hopes to bring to you. See, learn, and experience these important cultural ingredients with masters and artisans from the lead makers of ocha and wagashi.

What is "wagashi"?

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets, which portray the season with their shape, color, and ingredients. They are works of art designed to appeal to all the senses with their appearance, flavor, aroma, feel, and the sounds of their names and why they are also known as the "art of the five senses." Usually accompanied by Japanese ocha (tea), wagashi are an essential part of Japanese culture and tradition.

Please note that there will not be any products available for purchase at the JICC.

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