Extracting the essence of each season, Higashiya Ginza brings traditional Japanese confectioneries back into the day to day scene.
In looking at the history of confectionary shops, there was once one for the upper class associated with the Imperial Court called Onkashitsukasa, and ones for the general public called Omanyasan that lined the streets selling simpler sweets such as manju (steamed buns filled with bean jam) and dango (rice dumplings). Yet with Western sweets filling the marketplace in recent years, what was once common Wagashi is less seen, serving as sweets only bought on occasion for traditional celebratory events.
Striving to revive neighborhood confectionary shops, Higashiya is recreating the ideas of Wagashi, making them more approachable for common enjoyment. Encapsulating the subtle nuances of the seasons in sweets, Japanese confectioneries are nothing less than a work of art.
Founder and creative director Shinichiro Ogata has written a book about Higashiya, one that expounds on wagashi and the philosophy behind it. Appreciation for the changes of the seasons and nature’s gifts are his inspiration for creating new confectionaries, tableware and spaces. His site, Simplicity displays his refined sense of beauty that comes to light in all of his work.
Though sweets, architecture or crafts, living in harmony in nature is a core element that defines the Japanese identity.