In making and appreciating Japanese sweets, much attention is paid to shape, texture and colour.
Ingredients commonly used include rice flour, anko (adzuki bean paste), and sugar. Most Wagashi are anko, and much depends on the quality of that paste.
It’s a Western myth that Japanese sweets are not as sweet as Western desserts: the least-sweet bean paste used will be 60% sugar, compared to Western milk chocolate at 50% sugar. Some Wagashi will be 85% sugar.
Some shapes are for special occasions, such as births, funerals, passing certain stages in school,
Different Wagashi are made for different seasons. It’s considered bad form to serve ones out of season, so the makers will stop making them ahead of a season end so you won’t be caught in that embarrassing situation.
Kyoto is a specialty area for Wagashi.
Wagashi don’t stay fresh for more than a few days.
“Wa” means “Japanese things”; “gashi” means “confections.” Western style ones, in contrast, are called “yo-gashi.”