IKOMA, Nara -- "Sugar art" made with a sugar-based paste is courting popularity not for being a tasty surprise, but also as long-lasting ornamental art. To find out more, a Mainichi Shimbun reporter visited a "sweet art" creator in this western Japan city.
"The charm of these products is that they are delicate, yet are comforting and give you a warm feeling. Please try holding them," said 34-year-old Yu., who runs Sweets Labo kasi in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. The store is lined with sugar art pieces such as decorated cakes, gorgeous bouquets, and cute characters.
Yu. has loved making sweets since she was a child, and her dream was to open a cafe that offers tea, cakes and other baked goods, saying, "I want to create a cozy space where people can spend a relaxing time having sweets and tea."
After graduating from university, she studied at a vocational school and worked at a cake shop, among other jobs. She discovered sugar art that could be preserved and did not melt easily in the summer of 2012, when she had an opportunity to make a cake to be displayed at a friend's wedding.
Yu. honed her skills at a sugar art class and opened her own business in May 2015. She creates custom-made cakes and bouquets to celebrate marriages and births. She also tries to combine Nara's unique features, such as pairing deer with cherry blossoms.
In 2017, Yu. created a sugar art work of Amalka, a well-known Czech animation character, for a Czech Republic products fair held at a department store in Tokyo's Ginza district. Yu.'s seasonal decorative works including sunflowers are also drawing the attention of guests at the front desk of the Daiwa Royal Hotel D-Premium Nara in the city of Nara.
Yu. said, "It is valuable work that allows me to be part of celebrations. I want people to enjoy the pieces with both their eyes and their palates."
The sweet products are not offered for sale in the store, but only by reservation. For inquiries, please contact Sweets Labo kasi at 090-6058-0141 or visit the website at https://sweetslabokasi.com/ (both in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Takemori Horikawa, Nara Bureau)