Gosei: Ryuugetsu (柳月)
Gomei: Willow Wafers (Yanagi Monaka)
Type: Kashi
Ingredients: Sugar, Adzuki Beans, Mizuame, Mochi Rice, Kanten Gelatin, Trehalose

Last weekend I went to Obihiro for a certain event and afterwards stopped by the factory of Ryuugetsu, a sweets shop of some renown in Hokkaido. I picked up several sweets to sample, since they are sold in both gift boxes and individually wrapped. The sweet I want to feature today is called Yanagi Monoka. Monoka is a type of wafter shell filled with a sweet adzuki bean paste. Yanagi means willow and is written with the same kanji as the “ryuu” in Ryuugetsu, which literally means “Willow Moon”.

The wafter of the monoka is crisp and slightly crumbly which provides a nice constrast to the smooth sticky koshian inside. This sweet is easy to hold in one’s hands since it isn’t sticky, although since the wafer slightly crumbles when breaking it, hold it over paper while doing so. While I bought the koshian version, there is also a chunky tsuboan version, designated by a one of the willow leaves on the package being dyed a deep red. The anko itself is made from adzuki beans from Tokachi, an area in Hokkaido most famous for adzuki beans. Over all, this is a delicous and uniquely Japanese sweet.