Wagashi / 和菓子: The Art of Japanese Sweets

Tuesday, March 3rd 10:00am - 12:00pm
380 Lone Pine Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Cranbrook House Library
$35/person (Adults, Seniors, and Students)
Demonstration is limited to 45 Guests

Presented by Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research in collaboration with GEN-J: Grassroots Exchange Network Japan
Wagashi Expert: Toshiko Sugii Steffes
Tea Master: Takatomo Katagi

Join Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research as we explore four traditional Japanese arts, celebrating the ongoing revitalization of the Cranbrook Japanese Garden—and the long connection between Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan.  

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets typically enjoyed in combination with a cup of green tea. They are made in a wide variety of shapes and consistencies and with diverse ingredients and preparation methods. Some are popular across the country and throughout the year while others are only available regionally or seasonally. For the demonstration at Cranbrook, certified wagashi expert Toshiko Sugii Steffes will create a variety of wagashi, including the most traditional type, namagashi. Made of rice flour and a sweet bean paste filling, and delicately shaped by hand to reflect the season, namagashi traditionally are served at tea ceremonies.

The demonstration also will include an introduction to houji-tea presented by Takatomo Katagi. Katagi is a certified tea master and the seventh head of Katagi Kouka En, an organic green tea farm located in Asamiya, Shiga Prefecture. Following the demonstration, participants will sample both the wagashi and the houji-tea. Houji-tea also will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

For more information on Toshiko Sugii Steffes, please visit her website: kohakuto.com/. The wagashi demonstration is sponsored by GEN-J: Grassroots Exchange Network Japan, which is part of The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. For more information on GEN-J, please visit their website: www.cgp.org/exchange_network_japan_program. The introduction of houji-tea is sponsored by the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Program. For more information, please visit their website: michiganshiga.org/.


For more information on the Cranbrook Japanese Garden, including the recent rehabilitation of the Lily Pond Cascade, please visit the Center for Collections and Research Japanese Garden website: center.cranbrook.edu/visit/japanese-garden.


The wagashi (Japanese sweets) demonstration will take place in the Cranbrook House Library.  Designed by Albert Kahn for George and Ellen Booth to house their library and hold large gatherings for families and friends, the library is the perfect space for studying these traditional Japanese arts. Guests will be seated while the experts demonstrate their art.  Questions will be encouraged at the end of the demonstrations.

Cranbrook House is located at 380 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, across from Christ Church Cranbrook. Free parking is available in the Cranbrook House parking lot, a five-minute walk from the house’s front door.

$35/person (Adults, Seniors, and Students)

Advance registration is required as participation is limited.  Tickets are non-refundable (but may be transferred to another participant).  For more information, please contact Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.  Our Administrative Assistant, Alissa Seelmann-Rutkofske, may be reached at 248.645.3307 or center@cranbrook.edu (Tuesday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm).


Ikebana / 生け花: The Art of Japanese Floral Arrangement

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Presented in collaboration with Ikebana International, Detroit Chapter 85, and organized by Lauren Paul, President, Detroit Chapter 85
Cranbrook House Library

Shodo / 書道: The Art of Japanese Calligraphy

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Presented by Shodo Expert Kyoko Fujii
Accompanied by Koto Musician Yuko Asano
Cranbrook House Library

Chanoyu / 茶の湯: The Art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony

Saturday, May 2, 2020| 1:00pm, 2:30pm, and 4:00pm
Presented by Tea Master Tomoyo Koehler and the Local Omotesenke School of Chanoyu
Tea Ceremonies Conducted in the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House
Each Tea Ceremony is limited to 20 Guests

Photo Credits
Banner (from left to right): Chou you no sekku Chrysanthemum Design of Nerikiri sweets by Toshiko Sugii Steffes. Photography from Toshiko Sugii Steffes Instagram; Basket Arrangement from Ikebana International Detroit Chapter 85. Photography by Beverly Benson Wolf, BB Wolf Fine Art Photography, Copyright 2020 Ikebana International Detroit Chapter 85; Kyoko Fujii during a Demonstration at the Detroit Institute of Arts, March 2019. Photography Courtesy of Kyoko Fujii; Tea bowl and Whisk with Chrysanthemum Blossom. Photography by Steph Carter licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Toshiko Sugii Steffes. Copyright 2020 kohakuto.com

Little Bird & Stone Hand Bath Design of Nerikiri Sweets by Toshiko Sugii Steffes. Photography from Toshiko Sugii Steffes Instagram.