Spring has finally arrived, and Japan’s favorite time of the year is at the door: sakura season. And along with the blossoming of the cherry trees, cafes, convenience stores, and supermarket shelves have started blooming with limited edition sakura snacks and beverages.
Let’s have a look at some of the best sakura-themed and flavored sweets and drinks for 2022!
Cafes, Restaurants, and Chains With the Best Sakura Snacks
McDonald’s might not be the first place that comes to mind when talking about delicious and out-of-the-ordinary desserts, but Mcdonald’s Japan always offers season-limited menus that, despite coming from a global chain, have a big following and gain rapid popularity among foodies. This year’s cherry blossom special is a sakura mochi pie—made up of a not overly sweet red bean paste and soft “mochi mochi” (chewy) cherry-flavored rice cakes which have been wrapped in a crispy pink pie, fried, and served hot.
The Swiss Chocolatier that landed in Japan in 2010 has understood very fast how to keep up with the pace of sakura season lovers. This year, a new limited-edition Lindor sakura and creme flavor chocolate limited to Japan was launched. But the lineup is constantly growing, offering us another brand new drink in 2022. The ”Sakura Caramelized” chocolate drink is a white chocolate base drink with a blend of two types of cherries that give the drink its distinctive sakura-like pink color, topped with pink caramel flakes.
Starbucks’ season-limited drinks are always very popular throughout the year, and without a doubt, the sakura limited-edition drinks are the most awaited.
Photo credits: @ausud_cafe (Instagram)
This year’s sakura season-limited drink is the “Sakura Strawberry Shiratama Frappuccino,” which became available from March 16th. It features sakura-colored shiratama (ball-shaped mochi) and “sakura” strawberry-flavored sauce, topped with whipped cream, sakura strawberry shaved chocolate, and cherries. The soft pink color of this Frappuccino is reminiscent of cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Even better, Starbucks roastery offers its own limited sakura-infused brews if you feel like a caffeine booster in keeping with the season. Their “sakura jasmine tea” is a soy latte with jasmine tea and vanilla bean syrup, with a hint of cherry allure, while their “sakura macchiato” is a simple and smooth macchiato with shaken espresso poured over strawberry cream.
A Happy Pancake
A Happy Pancake (幸せのパンケーキ) is a very popular chain with various locations around the country, which specializes in Japanese-style pancakes, tall, wobbly and fluffy. The seasonal special, which became available from March 7th, is their signature sakura pancakes, available almost every year around cherry blossom viewing season. Two large fluffy pancakes are served with chunky sweet red bean paste and a sakura-scented whipped cream.
Convenience stores offer a wide selection of sakura-themed limited-edition sweets and drinks that you can easily grab 24/7. You will be spoilt for choice!
Seven-Eleven’s sakura lineup starts with the “Sakura An and Mochi Parfait” released on March 8th. This is a Japanese-style parfait consisting of Sakura warabimochi jelly, sakura, and green tea flavored mousse, whipped cream, sakura flavored red bean paste, and two kinds of small mochi on top. A sweet treat perfect for bringing along to along cherry blossom viewing.
The “Sakura Creme Chiffon Cake,” which was also launched at Seven-Eleven stores throughout the country on March 8th, is a sakura pink chiffon cake filled with sakura flavored whipped cream. Not only delicious but also aesthetically pleasing.
Another dessert, the “Sakura An Pie,” is a Japanese-style sweet with white bean paste and pickled, salted cherry leaves wrapped in a pie crust, and then baked.
Family Mart won’t disappoint either!
The “Cherry Blossom Roll Cake,” released on March 1st, marked the debut of sakura season: an airy cake with a soft dough shaped into a roll filled with cream and mixed with cherry blossom sauce.
The “Sakura Hitokuchi Daifuku” are cute bite-size daifuku (chewy mochi filled with sweet red bean paste) that have had pickled, salted cherry added to the red bean paste filling. The pink color and the small round shape will remind you of small, pink cherry blossoms.
Lawson stands out with two interesting products for the sakura season. The first is the “Tabemasu Sakura Flavor Doraemon,” a colorful wagashi shaped like Doraemon and filled with Sakura-flavored anko (sweet red bean paste).
The second, created by Lawson’s cafe brand Uchi cafe, is a sakura green tea latte with roasted green tea and salted sakura leaves infused in cold milk.
Get Out and Find Your Favorite Sakura Snacks!
Spring is the season to be in Japan if you have a sweet tooth. Whether you gave tried sakura flavored sweets and beverages this year or not–gotta have them all!
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Featured image credit: Unsplash