Mochi Reiskuchen


Rice cakes (mochi 餅)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various
***** Category: Humanity


Mochi are used in many kinds of food, from soup to sweets. Mochi can be grilled, fried, and simmered.
The Japanese have traditionally believed that all material things are imbued with spirits, and so by partaking of the rice mochi - thought to symbolize the spirit of rice - they hoped to gain the strength of these rice divinities for themselves.

. Mochi 餅 rice cakes and 妖怪 Yokai monsters .

sticky rice cake, rice dough

Pounding Rice (mochi tsuki)
kigo for mid-winter

... 雑煮 (ぞうに) New Year Soup
kigo for the New Year

Kagami mochi ... 鏡餅  ... Decoration Rice cakes for the New Year
kagamibiraki 鏡開き "opening the mirror"
kigo for the New Year

. . . . . Sweet Mochi

. . . . . Food Mochi

CLICK for more photos

Mochinage 餅なげ (もちなげ) throwing mochi
is a great social event, when the important participants of a festival or cheremony throw bags full of white and red mochi for good luck to the crowds.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Abekawa Mochi 安倍川餅 rice cakes from Abekawa river, with kinako soy bean flour
Once eaten by Tokugawa Ieyasu, because the local producers told him the kinako flower was really gold powder.
. kinako 安倍川の金な粉餅 pun with Gold Powder .

Akumochi, aku-mochi あくもち / 灰汁餅 for 5.5. Boy's festival.
with mochigome and lye.
akumaki あくまき(灰汁巻き)mochigome rice cakes, Chimaki
Kagoshima prefecture

Ankoro mochi, ankoromochi あんころもち (餡ころ餅, あんころ餅) wrapped in sweet bean paste, an
They are prepared in Kyoto for the hottest days of summer (doyoo) and eaten with the hope to ward off evil and get stamina for the summer.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Benkei no Chikaramochi 弁慶の力餅  
Mochi for the strong monk-warriour Benkei
Offered at various temples in Japan

Botamochidera Temple in Kamakura
in memory of Saint Nichiren

ebimochi 海老餅 mochi with shrimp
slightly roasted shripm, the mochi are red-pinkish

Echi no Goshiki Mochi 越の五色餅
Mochi in five colors, from Echi (Echizen/Echigo)
CLICK here for Photos
Special rice from "Remote Echi" 奥越 is used together with black beans, soy beans, millet, yomogi mugwort and others.

goshiki mochi for Saint Nichiren
and more about the "five colors"

ekoeko kinako mochi エコエコきなこ餅 Eco eco ... ecologically useful mochi
made from azuki beans which are usually thrown away for less quality.
Sentaroo no ekoeko wagashi / eco eco wagashi
CLICK For more photos
仙太郎 エコエコぼうろ Sentaroo eko eko hooro Sentaro Eco eco
The leftovers from boiling red beans are baked in the dough.
☆ 京菓子司 仙太郎 本店 ☆

Wagashi no o-hanashi

. fukumochi shinji 福餅神事(ふくのもちしんじ)
"ceremony of auspicious mochi rice cakes"
at Sumiyoshi Shrine
kigo for the New Year

gyuuhi mochi 求肥餅 / ぎゅうひ餅 gyuhi mochi
The dough is whipped to get more air into the mochi and thus they taste more bubbely and soft.
often wrapped in kinako powder or sesame seeds.
They can be colored in white and pink for auspicious occasions.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
gyuuhi too 求肥糖
gyuuhi ame 求肥飴(あめ)

. hiuchi yaki 火打焼 a kind of mochi
a kind of gyuhi mochi from shrine Kasuga Taisha.

Hakata no shio mochi 伯方の塩餅
shio daifuku 塩大福
flavored with Hakata salt
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Salz-Mochi aus Hakata 384

. horagai mochi 法螺貝餅 Horagai sweets .
- - - - - and
gyooja mochi 行者餅 Mochi for Yamabushi mountain priests

igusa no warabimochi いぐさわらび餅 fern mochi with igusa rush grass
from Okayama
igusa, Juncus decipiens Nakai

Irikomochi, いりこもち Toshikazumochi from Miyazaki
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. irimochi 煎餅  Senbei .

Isobemaki 磯部まき (いそべまき) mochi wrapped in nori seaweed
roasted and dipped in soy sauce
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. kawabitarimochi 川浸り餅(かわびたりもち)
mochi prepared on the day of kawabitari

kigo for early winter
. . . . . also called
otogomochi otogo mochi 乙子餅
"mochi for the youngest child"

kibi mochi きび餅 millet mochi
with different kinds of millet grains pounded together with mochigome rice.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Kokubun-ji Daifuku 国分寺大福 Kokubunji-Dumpling From Temple Kokubun-Ji, Shizuoka

kurimochi 粟餅 mochi with sweet chestnuts
made since olden times.

kuromame tobo mochi 黒豆とぼ餅 mochi with black soy beans
From Fukui prefecture.
tobo is a stick with which the masu box for measuring grains was brushed straight.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kurosato mochi 黒砂糖餅 mochi with black sugar
they are usually dark brown.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kuroto mochi 黒糖餅 mochi with black sugar

kusamochi くさ餅 mugwort rice cakes
The young mugwort leaves are boiled and added when pounding mochigome rice. The fragrance of mugwort is supposed to ward off evil influences in your life. The aroma comes from cineole and essential oils. mugwort is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and contains iron, phosphorus and calcium.
They are eaten at the Doll Festival, March 3.
kusudama 薬玉(クスダマ)is another word for these mochi.
kigo for mid-spring

kuzumochi くずもち, 葛もち from arrowroot
Usually served with kinako. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Küchlein aus Pfeilwurzel-Stärke
kuzu no sashimi 葛の刺身 kuzu sliced like sashimi
served with a perilla leaf. Temple food.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
kuzuage 葛揚げ deep fried ingredients wrapped in kuzu starch, for example small tomatoes or pickled salted plums, umeboshi kuzuage 梅干葛揚げ

mamemochi, mame mochi 豆餅 soy beans mochi
Soy beans are pounded together with mochigome rice.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

miso chigirimochi 味噌ちぎり餅 with miso flavor
other types of chigirimochi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. muuchii 鬼餅 (むうちい . ムーチー) muchi,
"demon mochi"

observance kigo for mid-winter : Okinawa  

. 長まし Nagamashi mochi
Ishikawa Prefecture, Nanao town

. . . . .

sobamochi, soba mochi そば餅 buckwheat mochi
Buckwheat seeds are pounded together with the mochigome rice.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tanjooiwaimochi, tanjoo iwai mochi 誕生祝い餅(たんじょういわいもち)
isshoomochi  一升餅・一生餅(いっしょうもち)
mochi for the first birthday of a baby
fumimochi 踏み餅 "stand with both feet on the earth" mochi
CLICK for more photos The round mochi weights isshoo (一升, ca. 1,8 kg) and is put into a rucksack for the baby to carry. If it does so without crying, it will have rice to eat for his whole life (isshoo 一生).
The round mochi also represents the sun and the sun deity Amaterasu.
They are also sometimes used for other important birthdays, especially when people get older, with the wish for a long life.
I once was present of the birthday party of a little boy who carried it with great joy.

tochimochi, tochi mochi とち餅
dumplings from horse chestnuts

Speciality of Tottori. They are usually brown.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tonsho mochi 屯所餅(とんしょもち)"garrison mochi"
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Eaten in memory of the Shinsengumi in 1863, near Temple Mibudera.
The leafy vegetable mibuna 壬生菜 is cut finely, and mixed with dainagon azuki red beans 大納言小豆.
Reference : Shinsengumi Peacekeeping samurai group in Kyoto

Shinsengumi Daruma Doll 新選組だるま

. . . . .

tooji mochi 冬至餅(とうじもち) ricecakes for winter solstice
kigo for mid-winter

urumochi うる餅 mochi with flower from uruchigome
うるち米 uruchigome, rice flour of Oryza sativa

Ushiwaka mochi 牛若餅 from the Kurama Mountain, Kyoto
Named after Minamoto no Yoshitsune in his boyhood (Ushiwaka, the one as strong as a bull), when he was trained at the Kurama Mountain Temple by the Forest Goblins (tengu).

. . WKD : Kurama Mountain Festivals  
- - - . Minamoto no Yoshitsune 源の義経 (1159 - 1189) .
- Introduction -
牛若丸 Ushiwakamaru (his boyhood name at Kurama)

Warabimochi 蕨餅 / 笑来美餅 from Bashodo, Osaka
Fern Mochi, mochi with bracken powder
warabiko わらび粉 Stärke aus dem Wurzelstock des Warabi-Farns.


yakimochi やきもち (焼き餅) to roast mochi over hot ambers
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
a pun on the sounds of YAKI and KIMOCHI
to be jealous of someone 妬き餅、嫉妬 yakimochi

These mochi were used to tell the fortune of lovers.
If two rice cakes puffed at the same time and the tops touched each other, this signified that all would be well and happy in your love-life.
If they did not plop close together, you could push the mochi closer together and hope for the best.
This fun by the fireplace was called "yakimochi o yaku", to be jealous.

There is even a special sweet soy sauce to go with the grilled mochi rice cakes.

Ceremony for yakimochi at the shrine Takabayashi

February 2
in Gunma, Ota Village 太田

© PHOTO : Abe Tomoyo

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

During the great famine of Tenmei after the eruption of Mount Asama the people of Takabayashi village on the river Ishisagawa 石田川 found a wooden statue of Fudo Myo-O in the water and saved it. To celebrate, they used the last bits of small grains of rice and millet (awa, hie) for mochi dough and fried some leaves of daikon radish and other wild leaves for the filling. They presented these mochi to the deity and celebrate it to this day. The mochi are good for pregnant woman. The mothers of the villge come to this shrine to celebrate on January and August 28, the memorial days of Fudo Myo-O.

Yakimochi Fudoo Son 焼き餅不動尊
Since 1783

WASHOKU : Famine in Japan 天明の大飢饉

. yakimochi Jizoo やきもち地蔵 Jizo for jealousy .
Joorakuji 常楽寺 Joraku-Ji Jorakuji
群馬県館林市木戸町580, Tatebayashi town, Gunma


yakimochi ni karasu no hane ya haru no ame

a crow's feather
on the toasted rice cake...
spring rain

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue


yomogimochi よもぎ餅 mochi with ground mugwort
kigo for mid-spring
They are well loved because of their fresh green color.
also called: kusamochi 草もち, see above.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Types of flower used for mochi

domyojiko, doomyoojiko どうみょうじこ (道明寺粉)
dried and granulated glutinous rice flour
for kashiwamochi, sakuramochi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Domyo-Ji Temple Festivals  

joshinko, jooshinko じょうしんこ (上新粉)nonglutinous rice flour
regular rice flour
for kusamochi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

shiratama-ko 白玉粉, shiratama-ko rice flour
used in Tokyo for sakuramochi
Shiratama 白玉 (しらたま) Shiratama Dango dumplings


Mochi (Japanese: 餅; Chinese: 麻糬) is a Japanese and Chinese rice cake made of steamed glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

Mochitsuki is the traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan.

Polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes (usually a sphere or cube).
Mochi may also be made in an automatic mochi machine, similar to a breadmaker. In fact, mochi can be made using a breadmaker if the rice is soaked and steamed separately and the machine can be started in a kneading mode.

Making mochi at home is possible without an automatic machine. Use a bamboo steamer or other apparatus that the sweets will not stick to while steaming. Add only enough water to allow the flour to stick together, form a small circle of the dough, then put a small amount of bean paste in the center. Close the dough over the paste and place in the steamer until the mochi congeals. Immediately upon removing the mochi from the steamer, coat the mochi in more sweet rice flour to prevent it from sticking to the hands of the maker.

Many types of traditional wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are made with mochi. For example, daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste (an) or white bean paste (shiro an). Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside.

Kusa mochi is a green variety of mochi flavored with yomogi (mugwort). When daifuku is made with kusa mochi, it is called yomogi daifuku.

Mochi ice cream

Oshiruko or ozenzai is a sweet azuki bean soup with pieces of mochi. In winter, Japanese people often eat it to warm themselves.
Chikara udon (meaning "power udon") is a dish consisting of udon noodles in soup topped with toasted mochi.
Zōni soup. See New Year specialties below.

New Year specialties
Kagami mochi is a New Year decoration, which is traditionally broken and eaten in a ritual called Kagami biraki (mirror opening).
Zōni, zooni soup is a soup containing rice cakes. Zoni is also eaten on New Year's Day. In addition to mochi, zoni contains vegetables like honeywort, carrot, and red and white colored boiled kamaboko.
Kinako mochi is a mochi dish that is traditionally made on New Year's Day for luck. This style of mochi preparation includes roasting the mochi over a fire or stove, and then dipping it into a mixture of soy sauce, water and sugar, before finally briefly coating it in kinako (soy flour).

Dango is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour).
Warabimochi is not true mochi, but a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch and covered or dipped in kinako (sweet toasted soybean flour). It is popular in the summertime, and often sold from trucks, not unlike ice cream trucks in Western countries.
More recently, "Moffles" (a waffle like machine used to cook mochi) has been introduced with much fanfare.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

more MOCHI reference


Kinako (黄粉 or きなこ),
also known as roasted soybean flour, is a product commonly used in Japanese cuisine. In English, it is usually called "roasted soy flour." More precisely it is "roasted whole soy flour." Usage of the word kinako appeared cookbooks from the late Muromachi period (1336 – 1573).
Kinako means "Yellow flour" in Japanese.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. daizuko 大豆粉 soybean flour, soy flour .


ohagi おはぎ wrapped rice cakes
sweet rice balls
wrapped in sweet bean paste, sprinkled with kinako.
They are an offering during the ancestral celebrations at the autumn equinox.
hagi 萩  is the bush clover, one typical blossom of autumn.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
kigo for mid-autumn

WKD : Autumn equinox 秋彼岸 aki higan

キットカットきなこおはぎ Kitkat sweet with ohagi and kinako taste
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Kit Kat for Valentines with Daruma  

Worldwide use

das Mochi; Reiskuchen

糯 mochi, Klebreis

Ohagi: Mochireis-Klößchen, mit Anko bedeckt
mochitsuki Neujahr 118
Momotaro Mochi 310
sakuramochi „Kirschblüten-Mochi" 172
yomogimochi, tsukimimochi Beifuss Mochi 314

Things found on the way


mochi wa mochiya 餅は餅屋
mochi are best made by a mochi specialist
Leave rice cakes to the rice cake makers.
Leave difficult things to the specialist.



All haiku with MOCHI by

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Mochi no Hosomichi もちの細道 in Memory of Basho


shiokarai mochi no uretaru shigeri kana

business is good
in the shade of a tree --
salty rice cakes

Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶

This hokku is from the 5th month (June) of 1812, when Issa is traveling around in the area just east of Edo. A shigeri (a summer season word) is a leafy tree or group of trees under which people can escape the hot summer sun. It's often linked with the feeling of freshness you get when you stand under fresh new leaves. Salty baked rice cakes and thinner salty rice crackers are often eaten in summer to replenish body salt, although they are popular in every season. A traveling rice cake seller has set down his boxes (probably carried hanging from both ends of a pole over his shoulder) under a large, shady tree presumably by the road. The hokku before this one in Issa's diary says Issa is standing in the shade of a single tree, so I've translated shigeri as one tree.

Translation and comment by Chris Drake

shiomochi 塩もち "mochi with salt"

They are still quite popular in our days, the one's with Salt from Hakata are especially famous.
Some also sell a kind of mochi-manju with salt in the red bean paste.


tonari sumu hinshi ni mochi o wakachi-keri

with the poor man
who lives next door
I share some mochi . . .

Masaoka Shiki  正岡子規

Related words

Mochi from the KANTO region

***** WASHOKU : sweet mochi of spring





anonymous said...

i really don't know why but i really like this verse
i also LOVE moochi

Gabi Greve said...

What's the secret? I love this one, too. Never had mochi/moochi,
unless it goes by other names.

Pris said...

I would love to find a place that sells this food. In West Palm, the restaurants that call themselves Japanese are more U.S. culturally oriented. I can find sushi easily. They sell that in supermarkets now, but moochi? Nowhere except as a topping for a sweet dessert. It's the same with so many other foods. I worked in Hawaii and ate food with my Hawaiian friends that was never seen by the tourists who were served fish with pineapple on it in the tourist restaurants and told it was Hawaiian.

Pris said...

I forgot to check email followup. If anyone reading this knows where to find any of these dishes in the area I would love to know.

Gabi Greve said...

Hi Pris,
it is not only the mochi you are missing ... :o).
There is so much more not served outside of Japan.

Same goes for Fuji, Samurai and Sakura ... they are just a crust on the Japanese culture.

I hope you find some shops.


Pris said...

Hi Gabi, just from my experience living in Hawaii and eating all sorts of things I'd never seen before let me know a lot more was out there. Two of my co-workers were Japanese..in fact I was the only haoli...and they took me to a Japanese grocery store and advised me what to buy and try. Unfortunately, the Japanese restaurants were still pretty much the same fare you find here.

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD

Mochi Haiku

Gabi Greve - facebook said...

山下りて 一之鳥居の 走井餅
yama orite ichi no torii no hashiri-i mochi

descending Mt. O-yama,
droped in Hashiri-i-mochi shop
at the First Torii"

Visited Iwashimizu Hachiman-guu(Otokoyama Hachiman-guu).

Naotaka Uematsu

The Hashiri-I Mochi Store


and a haiku by Kyoshi - fb

Gabi Greve said...

mashimizu no hashiri-i mochi o futatsu tabe

I ate two
of the Hashiri-I mochi
from Iwa-Shimizu

Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

mochi yaite shinboku no hashi kogashikeri

as I grill rice cakes
the chopsticks of divine wood
get burned . . .

Suzuki Yaeko 鈴木ヤエコ
Some shrines, especially the Grand Shrine at Ise, prepare special chopsticks from the divine trees for rituals or sell them as amulets to people.
MORE about divine wood

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Rokkakudoo 六角堂 Rokkaku-Do, Rokkakudo
In front of the main hall of the temple is a hexagonal stone, known as the Navel Stone, which is believed the mark the center of Kyoto.

with a store selling
Hesoichi Mochi ヘソ石餅 "navel stone rice cakes"

Gabi Greve - Washoku said...

Yukimi Daifuku (雪見だいふく)
"snow-viewing daifuku"

A brand of mochi ice cream made by the company Lotte.

goroawase for November 18
goroawase語呂合わせ :
11 for ii (tastes good)
18 : when you open the package, there are two sweets and a pink stick on the side, looking like 18.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

from Oita 大分県, Hamanoichi (Hama no Ichi) 浜の市
Yusuhara Hachiman-gū 柞原八幡宮 Yusuhara Hachimangu.

shikishi mochi, shikishimochi しきし餅 / 志きし餅 Shikishi rice cakes
rice cakes with red bean paste, in the form of little cushions.
The white ones contain koshi-an (soft red bean paste) and the green ones, with yomogi mugwort color, contain tsubu-an (thick red bean paste).

Gabi Greve said...

Umegae mochi (plum branch ricecakes)
Umegae mochi are a famous specialty, and shops selling them line the road leading to Tenmangu. These grilled mochi contain red bean paste, and are delicious eaten while still hot from the griddle. There are many shops along the road to the shrine, so it's fun to try ones from different shops.
Dazaifu Tenmangu
The renowned god of learning Tenjin-sama, the deified spirit of the government official Sugawara Michizane, is enshrined here. The shrine was established in 905. A mausoleum built to enshrine Michizane, it is said to trace its origins to the time when the ox pulling the cart which was bearing Michizane's remains to Kyoto lay down in this spot and refused to move. Worshipers visit from across Japan, and it is bustling not only in entrance exam season but throughout the year.


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

はらみ餅 harami Mochi rice cakes, to pray for a safe pregnancy. .
Kobe 太福寺 Taifuku-Ji and others

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

tengumochi 天狗餅 Tengu mochi rice cakes
tengu no chikaramochi 天狗の力餅 Tengu Mochi to become strong

Fukumochi Tengumochi 福餅 天狗餅 Mochi for Good Luck, Mochi for Tengu

Gabi Greve said...

amemochi, ame-mochi 飴餅 "sweets rice cakes"
At the waterfall 不動が滝 Fudo-ga-taki in Muro village there was a tea stall. Once a beautiful lady came to get some ame-mochi 飴餅 "sweets rice cakes". The curious shop-owner asked her where she had come from, but she did not answer. Later he followed her footsteps and found they disappeared in the basin of the waterfall.
Since then, these Mochi became a speciality of the tea stall.

Legend from Nara, 宇陀郡 Uda district 室生村 Muro

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Fukushima
南会津郡 Minami-Aizu district

. 天照大神 Amaterasu Omikami .
In the local dialect this deity is called
otentoo sama おてんとうさま O-Tento Sama, Honorable Sun
On the 16th day of the first and seventh lunar month, the hunters have a special festival. They hang Shimenawa in the living room and place mochi 餅 rice cakes to honor Amaterasu Omikami. The hunters stay in the room for one day and night, offering prayers. The rice cakes are then taken to the mountains. They are said to prevent mountain slides in the coming six months.

Gabi Greve said...

. shimimochi シミモチ / 凍餅 / 凍み餅 frozen Mochi rice cakes

Frozen Mochi are softened in water, then wrapped in fuki no ha フキの葉 the leaves of butterbur and placed near the stove.
The soft Mochi can be used as geridome 下痢止 to heal diarrhea.

Gabi Greve said...

yakimochi legend from Tokyo
haagen jiisan ハーゲン爺さん grandfather Hagen
The secong of July is called ハーゲン爺さんの日 Day of Grandfather Hagen.
People prepare fresh yakimochi 小麦の焼餅 roasted rice cakes from wheat and make offerings to the ancestors.