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How To Make The Most Beautiful Lollipops In The World

One of the most beautiful lollipops in the world.
One of the most beautiful lollipops in the world.

OK, I admit, I did not make this lollipop. I went to the workshop taught by the artist who made it, but the thing I ended up making did not remotely, remotely, REMOTELY resemble this lollipop.

First of all – to be fair – we weren’t supposed to be making goldfish (which is, like, the Mt. Everest of lollipop making). Our job was to make these:

A bunny. Easy, right?
A bunny. Easy, right?

So, take a guess: how do you think they’re made? (I, for example, assumed there were molds, that we’d pour in some hot sugar syrup stuff, it would harden, then we’d clean them up and paint them. This guess earned me the Infinite Buzzer Of Wrongness.)

But if you guessed that these lollipops are all sculpted by hand, using only a pair of primitive scissor-things as a tool, and that the shapeless blob of raw candy has to become a work of art within three minutes, you just knocked it out of the park.

It starts out looking like this.
It starts out looking like this.
Then you make a few artful snips HA HA HA THIS IS SO NOT WORKING and quickly shape the ears and paws and tail WTF! NO! WAIT! THE POINTY BITS ARE GETTING HARD! I'M NOT FINISHED YET!
Then you make a few artful snips HA HA HA THIS IS SO NOT WORKING and quickly shape the ears and paws and tail WTF! NO! WAIT! THE POINTY BITS ARE GETTING HARD! I’M NOT FINISHED YET!
And you end up with something like, uh, this. Good thing it was just the practice one, because if I didn't know it was supposed to look like that pretty model bunny in the background, I'd have a hard time saying WHAT that brown thing was.
And you end up with something like, uh, this. Good thing it was just the practice one, because if I didn’t know it was supposed to look like that pretty model bunny in the background, I’d have a hard time saying WHAT that brown thing was.
Fortunately, I was not alone in my shame. The fail was all around.
Fortunately, I was not alone in my shame. The fail was all around.
Round two: success! Er, comparatively, that is. At least my team's next attempts looked a lot less like pointy poo on a stick.
Round two: success! Er, comparatively, that is. At least my team’s next attempts looked a lot less like pointy poo on a stick.
Here's a close-up of my teammate's rabbits, for comparison.
Here’s a close-up of my teammate’s rabbits, for comparison.
And this is, uh, mine. If we pretend I was trying to make a sort of crude Pokemon-looking thing instead of a rabbit, it's all good.
And this is, uh, mine. If we pretend I was trying to make a sort of crude Pokemon-looking thing instead of a rabbit, it’s all good.

But if you find yourself in Tokyo, you really ought to go ogle the gorgeous stuff at Ameshin, Shinri Tezuka’s shop! (A map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had). He makes all kinds of animals – from pandas to unicorns – and every single one of them is gorgeous. His creations cost ¥1000 – ¥2000 each, which is a lot for a piece of candy – until you watch him crafting them right there in his shop. When you see how much work goes into them, they look like a bargain.

If you’re really brave, you can sign up for a workshop, which takes about an hour and a half and costs ¥2500. It’s all in Japanese, but they demonstrate each step very clearly (plus, there are cheat sheets with diagrams for you to consult while you do it). Ameshin is open from 11:00 – 18:00, closed Thursdays.

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

7 thoughts on “How To Make The Most Beautiful Lollipops In The World Leave a comment

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun (^_^) I don’t know if I would be brave enough to try a course. I saw a video about how they do those candies and it looked very hard (and possibly painful if hot).
    I like your Pokerabbit though 😉

    • You should try it! At first I felt sort of weird because I was the only one there by myself, but all the women at my table soon became friendly in our shared failure to make anything that remotely resembled a rabbit. Even if you don’t take the workshop, go look at the shop. The lollipops are really gorgeous in person, and there are a lot of different ones!

  2. Amazing! Yours is nice, too. I don’t think I would get more than a lump. I’m not good at doing my artwork fast. Thanks for sharing this. As for that fish, I don’t think I would ever try to lick it. It looks too real!

    • I did try to lick mine (after taking pictures!) but although it’s gorgeous, it has zero flavor. (><) Typical of traditional Japanese sweets. You pop them i your mouth expecting a taste to match their beauty, but they just taste like sugar.

  3. This looks excellent! Not for the faint of heart of for the people with a lot of pride in themselves. I can imagine the pain of utter fail must be very nearly unbearable.

    • Oddly, everybody sort of bonded over the fail, because we were all equally inept! The unbearable part was that the workshop assistant could only prepare one ball of hot candy at a time, so we had to make our lollipops one at a time, with everybody in the group watching. (°_°;;)

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