Toraya wagashi are made with all-natural, plant-based ingredients (with the exception of eggs).
Azuki beans are filled with vitamin B1, iron, protein, folic acid and polyphenols,among other highly nutritious substances. We choose the best of the beans from Hokkaido-grown azuki, known for their distinctive flavor, lustrous color and pleasant texture. Integral to the Japanese diet in general, azuki beans are a defining ingredient, without which wagashi can hardly be made. Their reddish color has associations with ancient beliefs that red wards off disaster and disease.
White azuki beans
White azuki beans are a premium wagashi ingredient. The beans are produced in limited quantity, since most of the cultivation process, from planting to harvesting, must be carried out by hand. The white azuki beans Toraya uses are our own proprietary cultivar, grown under exclusive contract since 1927. Light and delicate in flavor, the beans are an essential ingredient in white bean paste.
Most varieties of wagashi make use of white or red azuki beans, usually in the form of bean paste, an indispensable component of Japanese confections.
Agar-agar (Kanten) is a traditional Japanese food product made from various seaweed plants including red algae, known as tengusa. It is considered a health food ingredient because of the abundance of dietary fiber it contains. It is frequently used as a coagulant in wagashi, especially useful because unlike gelatin, mixtures set with agar-agar will not melt even at room temperature.
At Toraya, we use agar-agar that has been made according to traditional methods, sourced exclusively from producers in Nagano and Gifu prefectures.
At Toraya, we use shirozarato, a highly pure variety of sugar with large crystals. It brings about a delicate sweet flavor and a subtle aftertaste, a distinct quality of Toraya’s confections.
Wasambon sugar is a Japanese sugar that is still made in the traditional handmade method.It is characterized by its fine grains, a smooth melt-in-the-mouth texture, and a rich but clean aftertaste. Found in various wagashi, it is the essential ingredient in dried confections known as higashi.
Kokuto sugar (Kurozato)
Rich in minerals and with a robust, full-bodied flavor, kokuto is a blackish-brown unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice that has been boiled down. At Toraya, we use kokuto from the Okinawan island of Iriomote-jima in sweets such as Omokage (Reminiscence) yokan .