Daifuku are made of soft rice cake (mochi) wrapped around a small round of smooth, sweet bean paste or other fillings. They are covered with a light dusting of potato starch to keep them from sticking together. Popular daifuku variations include strawberry (ichigo), beans (mame) and ice cream. Daifuku should be eaten quickly as they become hard if left exposed.
Dorayaki is a tasty snack made from anko sandwiched between two sweet pancakes, typically made from castella sponge cake, another popular snack in Japan. Anko is a red bean (adzuki) paste commonly found in Japanese desserts as a filling or topping.
Taiyaki are sweet cakes shaped like fish and filled with a sweet filling. Anko is the most traditional flavor, but taiyaki can be stuffed with anything from pastry cream to black sesame paste. They are one of Japan’s most well-known street foods.
Monaka consists of a wafer shell filled with sweet bean paste. The wafer shells come in different shapes and sizes from simple, round shells to more intricately designed ones. A popular modern variation of monaka is filled with ice cream. The wafer shells tend to go stale once exposed to air and should be eaten as soon as possible.
Dango is a small dumpling made from mochi powder. There are varieties of dangos, such as mitarashi dango, a sweet soy sauce dango, dango with kinako powder, dangpo with anko, and so on. Some dangos are served on a skewer. You can easily get one at food stalls or any grocery stores. They go perfectly well with Japanese green tea.
Manju are small buns that are steamed or baked and filled with sweet bean paste or some other sweet filling. They are traditionally round with a smooth outer layer, but baked versions in various shapes are also popular. Examples of the baked versions include momiji-manju from Hiroshima.
Senbei are rice crackers that are very popular in Japan and not only as a snack but also with travelers to bring back for coworkers and friends as omiyage, or souvenirs. As a result, every region in Japan has its own variation or twist on the classic snack.