Namagashi is a category of Japanese dessert, more elaborate and expensive than most other wagashi.
They are small unbaked cakes, usually based on rice, used at tea ceremonies. They may have sweet bean paste (anko) or fruit jellies in the centre.
There are many different kinds, but they are generally shaped to reflect what is happening in nature at the time of year they are made. One kind, sakura mochi, is a rice ball, dyed light pink and either wrapped in a cherry leaf or cherry blossom, with anko at the centre. The symbolize cherry blossom time in April, but the cakes are usually in stores by February for those who can’t wait for a “taste” of spring.
The Imperial palace in Tokyo has its own branding iron for the Imperial Court’s sixteen-petal chrysanthemum design that is stamped on some of their Namagashi. It is lent to makers such as Toraya, but must be returned after each use.
Ohagi is a rice-ball Namagashi, oval-shaped, covered in anko.
They don’t store well.
Maruko, Mami. A confectioner for all seasons. Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. Saturday, 17 April 1999.