Gretel's Ovenグレーテルのかまど

  • 4 x 24 min.
  • English, M/E, HD

©NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Japan's traditional sweets are rooted in the climate and the seasons. This program introduces the history and stories behind a variety of such sweets, and also explains how to make them. The presenters are a magical Oven, and a 15th-generation descendant of the fairy tale character Hansel. Oven guides Hansel through each step as he makes sweets for his sister Gretel.

1. A Kyoto Treat to Beat the Heat / 京女の夏越しの和菓子

It's a Kyoto tradition to eat sweets called minazuki on June 30 every year. They symbolize a wish to make it safely through the merciless summer heat of Kyoto. According to tradition, the triangle shape is a reminder of cool ice, and the beans on top ward against evil.

2. Kashiwa-mochi for Children's Day / “端午の節句”のかしわ餅

Kashiwa-mochi are a key part of celebrating Children's Day. The leaves of a kashiwa (oak) don't fall until new shoots have formed. These symbolic leaves are used to wrap mochi filled with sweet beans. It's a wish for the success and prosperity of a family's descendants. This episode will introduce the different types of kashiwa-mochi made and eaten across Japan.

3. For Students Everywhere: The Plum Sweets of Tenjin / 受験生応援!天神様の梅スイーツ

Umegae-mochi, literally “plum-branch rice” sweets, have a very old relationship with Sugawara no Michizane. This real-life historical figure is now celebrated as the god of learning in Japan. Discover more about these sweets, which are now eaten all over the country.

4. The Peach Festival: Hanamochi in Matsue / 桃の節句 松江の花もち

Matsue is an old castle town in Shimane Prefecture with a long tradition of eating sweets with a cup of green tea. A unique local sweet called hanamochi is eaten to mark Hinamatsuri, or Girls’ Day. It is brightly decorated in pink and pale green in honor of the festival. We’ll meet the people carrying on this special tradition.