10types of Sugar Essential to Japanese Cuisine.

Although Japan is surrounded by the sea, there are few types of salt.
However, Japan has the most kinds of sugar.

Each sugar has a unique flavor, it is decided that using this sugar for this dish.
We use granulated sugar when making western sweets or bread. But we never use granulated sugar for Japanese recipe. 

Because, this sugar is too sweet to not work well with Japanese foods.

Today, I introduce Japanese sugar.


“Johaku” means well refined. “Tou” means sugar in Japanese.
It looks like powdered sugar. But the texture is more moist and soft flavor. Almost all Japanese foods and sweets mainly are used this sugar.

This sugar is often translated “Super fine glanulated sugar” but actually very difference…I have never seen this one except for Japan and Korea. 

Grain Comparison


The left is granulated sugar and the right is white sugar.

This sugar is wetter than granulated sugar, so it doesn’t seem as much sweeter. It is sold every Japanese supermarkets.

Zarame (ざらめ)


“Zarame” is clear, glossy and larger than granulated sugar. This is one of the expensive sugar. So, it is used in high-quality Japanese sweets.

The unrefined and brown sugar is called “Chu Zarame(中ざらめ)” that is with a unique mellow flavor.

Koorizatou (氷砂糖)


“koori” means ice. this sugar looks like ice cube shape.
It melts slowly because grain is big. We often use this for making fruits wine at home.

Umeshu (梅酒)


Umeshu means plum wine.

We make plum wine with this koorizatou and green plums at home in June.

Sanontou (三温糖)


Sanontou is unrefined Johakutou that is often used in simmer or stew. This is extract the flavor of cooking.

Wasanbon (和三盆)


“Wa” means Japanese,”San” means 3 and “bon” means tray.
Wasanbon is named “Grinding sugar 3 times on the tray”.
This is a specialty product of Shikoku. The very high-class sugar and costs for approx. 30USD per 1kg(2.2lb)!

Higashi (干菓子)


It has refined and mellow sweetness.
So, it is used in high-quality Japanese sweets like  Higashi(Japanese dried sweets) or Yokan(azuki-bean jelly).

You can often see these sweets at tea party. When you come to Japan, Why not join at tea party?

Tensaitou (甜菜糖)


“Tensai” means beet. This sugar  is beet sugar.

This contains oligosaccharides, and the sweetness is lighter than the other sugars. It is used in vegetable dishes.

White sugar is said to cool down the body. Whereas beet sugar is said to warm up the body, improving blood circulation. So, this sugar is better for ourselves😊

Kibitou (きび糖)


Kibi-tou means sugar made from sugarcane. It has a richer cane flavor than Johaku-tou. It is used in summer or stew also, but it is not used usually.

Kokutou (黒糖)


Koku-tou is Brown sugar. This has a sucrose content of only 80% over. This has also astringency and bitterness because of this contains much minerals.

We often eat this chunks instead of chocolate.
Made in Hateruma island near Okinawa is the most famous.



The molasses is kuromitsu(黒蜜). They are often used in Japanese sweets and Kakuni.

Children under 2 years can never eat this as same as honey!

Mizuame (水あめ)


Mizuame is a sweetener made by saccharifying acid and diastatic enzymes with starch. this texture is similar to corn syrup.

This syrup is also used in Japanese sweets.

Amazake (甘酒)


Amazake is a sweet drink made from fermented rice. Under the macrobiotic diet, Amazake is often used as a sweetener instead of sugar.

I explain about this, here.

If you want to know about Japanese food, you should learn the difference of sugar.

Why not buy Johakutou as souvenir in Japan?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: