Nowhere is the intersection of Japanese food culture and style more obvious than in the genteel, refined world of wagashi. For centuries, Japanese confectioners, especially those associated with Kyoto and the rituals of the tea ceremony, have produced sweets of astounding intricacy and beauty.

But, as with Japanese cuisine, tradition is just the starting point for inventiveness. Over the past decade, one of the leaders of the movement to develop contemporary wagashi has been Higashiya, which is marking its 10th anniversary this year.

Created by noted designer Shinichiro Ogata, the original Higashiya shop overlooking the river in Tokyo's Naka-Meguro set a new standard for matching design with sweets. It is still mourned by those who used to browse the gleaming display cases on the ground floor or linger over bowls of frothy matcha or intensely sharp gyokuro tea in the upstairs tearoom.