Dango is a sweet Japanese dumpling with various flavors, such as red bean paste, green tea, and soy sauce syrup. I will then take you through the history and types of this Japanese sweet treat and share a recipe for making your own.
Dango is a sweet Japanese dumpling that can be eaten all year round. The chewy texture and variety of flavors make Dango a special treat. It is a casual traditional Japanese sweet and goes well with green tea, especially matcha. Let’s take a closer look at this simple but very satisfying Japanese dessert below.
What is Dango? 
Dango is a traditional Japanese sweet and dumpling. It is said that the first ‘dango’ was originally made in a Kyoto tea-house called Kamo Mitarashi, which was located near Shimogamo Shrine.
The dessert’s name is thought to have been inspired by the bubbles that flow through the shrine’s Mitarashi.
Dango was originally made from five balls strung together, the upper part representing the head, the lower part the arms, and the last two parts the legs.
Dango is regarded as an offering to the Japanese gods.
One of the biggest events on the Kyoto calendar is the Mitarashi Festival held at Shimogamo Shrine. This festival is one of Japan’s most solemn and elegant festivals and has been popular since the 8th century. Dumplings are the main offering brought to the spirits at the festival. The Dango obtained as tribute usually comes in three colors: white, red, and green.


Types of Dango
Dango is a classic Japanese dessert with a wide variety and tastes best with green tea, a combination that makes this subtle dessert an ideal snack or breakfast.
These little balls are made from rice flour and eaten on skewers with bamboo sticks, making them a great snack.
Mitarashi Dango
This is the most popular dumpling and can be found in convenience stores and supermarkets. So covered with a sweet and salty syrup made from soy sauce, sugar, and starch. So delicious.


Red bean Dango (Anko Dango)
Anko Dango is a chewy ball coated with red bean paste and a popular traditional sweet enjoyed by children and adults alike.


Green tea flavored Dango (Chadango)
Chadango is a classic green-tea flavored dumpling, available all year round.


Three color Dango (Bocchan Dango) 
Bocchan Dango is a delightful treat that comes in three colors and flavors: red (red bean paste flavor), yellow (egg flavor), and green (green tea flavor).


Starch Dango (Denpun Dango)
These Dango come from Hokkaido and are made from potato flour and baked with sweet boiled beans, making them a special treat with a filling.
If you go to Hokkaido, starch dumplings are a great souvenir.


Cherry blossoms Dango (Hanami Dango)
Hanami Dango is only made during the cherry blossom viewing season, and this dumpling gets its name from Hanami – the cherry blossom viewing event (Hana means cherry blossom and mi means to enjoy).
This dessert is also available in three colors – pink, pale green, and white, similar to the color of the cherry blossom, and is widely enjoyed by friends, colleagues, and family.


Soya flour Dango (Kinako dango)
Soya flour dumplings with sweet and salty roasted bean flour, eaten with green tea for a great taste.
How to make Dango at home
If you want to make your own Dango, this is great news!
Making Dango at home is the easiest thing in the world!
Let’s have a quick look at the recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: tofu – 250g, glutinous rice flour – 200g
Quantity: 30 pieces
Detailed steps
1. Mix the tofu and glutinous rice flour in a bowl. The dough should not be too loose or too hard.


2. Use a teaspoon to scoop a spoonful and roll it into a ball.


3. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the dough until it floats.


4. Once the dough floats in the boiling water, cook for 2 – 3 minutes, then remove from the water and place on a plate covered with paper towels.


If you like red bean Dango, make a red bean paste (cooked with red beans and sugar) to put on top of the Dango.
To get okonomiyaki dumplings, brush them with soy sauce, sugar, and starch syrup.
Mount Takao grilled Dango


Grilled green tea Dango will be an even more memorable experience if you are summiting Mount Takao, located in western Tokyo. These Dango are flavored with soy sauce syrup and sesame seeds. This unique flavor, combined with the amazing views from the top of Mount Takao, can quickly invigorate a person after a tiring day.
I recommend you try this famous Dango at least once at Mount Takao. Every visitor dreams of tasting a unique and wonderful dessert in Japan.