When the tea ceremony became popular during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), it led to the development of the art of Japanese cake making.
The color and shape of each small cake encompasses allusions to the beauty of nature and the seasons.
For instance, spring may be represented by cherry dumplings or cakes in the shape of a bush warbler, dusted with pale green powder, summer by soft bean jelly and winter by citron rice cake.
If you look inside a Japanese cake shop over the course the year, you will soon realize that the cakes on sale change according to the transition of the seasons or annual customs.
They can be enjoyed as an accompaniment to the seasons.
Many of the ingredients such as rice flour, bracken-root starch, kudzu-root starch, agar, green soy flour, etc, are natural and unique to Japan.
Japanese sweets do not use butter or margarine and so make a healthy snack.
Many of the names of the cakes are derived from poetry or the seasons, imbuing them with a refined air that adds to the pleasure they provide when they are eaten.