Sweets mean different things to different people. Some say such treats are their perfect stress release, while others say they bring back childhood memories — whether the smell of homemade cookies or the chocolate beans they used to pop into their mouths. For artisans and patissiers, though, sweets are what they make a serious career out of, while competing with other professionals to win customers and accolades.

The currently ongoing Zenkoku Kashi Daihakurankai (National Confectionary Exposition), the biggest sweets fair in Japan with a 102-year history, showcases what Japan’s ¥3 trillion confectionery industry has to offer. It boasts 6,000 different items on display and some 150 sugar-craft exhibits, including a gigantic, one-15th scale model of the iconic Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, a small island in the Inland Sea.

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