From the drive to Canmore, with its vistas of the Rockies, to the delicate Japanese confections that await, a trip to Wagashi Tea House is a thing of beauty. Japanese-born Mariko Thomson, a certified wagashi chef who owns the tea house with her husband, makes two types of wagashi from scratch using beans from an Alberta farm: Nerikiri is made of glutinous rice flour and sweetened bean paste, while kinako daifuku mochi is filled with azuki bean paste and coated with soybean powder. Each wagashi comes in exquisite shapes, like cherry blossoms. Keep in mind, you’ll need to pre-order the treats online at least 24 hours in advance.
Driving distance from Calgary: 1 hour west
Bring home: You may actually want to bring your wagashi home (be sure to eat them within 24 hours) and enjoy lunch, brunch or afternoon tea on the mountain-view patio. Dishes range from a pork katsu sando to wagashi waffles served with matcha ice cream, red bean jam, strawberry compote and whipped cream. Reservations are recommended.
Stretch your legs: You can’t drive to the mountains without spending some time in the great outdoors. Hiking the Heart Creek Trail in Lac des Arcs, a mellow 2.6-kilometre out-and-back route through a mini canyon, should do the trick.
60 Lincoln Park (inside Bow Valley Garden Centre), Canmore, 403-497-6144, wagashiteahouse.com