Kashiwa Mochi (柏餅)



If you have lived or currently are living in Japan, I bet you have seen Kashiwa mochi in stores, especially at the beginning of May. It is a Japanese sweet, usually made with mochi (rice cake) filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped with an Oak (Kashiwa) leaf. Japanese people enjoy Kashiwa mochi as part of the celebration of Children’s day (Kodomo no hi), which is on May 5th. 

What is Kodomo no hi?

Kodomo no hi is a celebration of children’s growth, health, and strength. Kashiwa mochi is enjoyed on this day because oak trees represent family prosperity. The trees don’t shed leaves until new leaves have grown = The family line remains until the next generation has grown. So Kashiwa mochi became a part for the celebration in the mid-Edo era, and the tradition remains today. 

Can I eat the leaf? 

Unlikely Sakura mochi, you cannot eat the leaf. Oak leaves were also used as dishes because of their size and strength. It would be tough and also doesn’t taste good. You can enjoy their earthy fragrance, but make sure to peel it off before you eat. 
Kodomo no hi has already passed this year, but Kashiwa mochi is in stores year round. If you are in Japan, you should definitely try nice sticky sweet dessert.