Cherry blossom specialties for spring

Date of publication :

Sakura Taiyaki

Tastebuds tickled pink

The arrival of a new season is always a great time to discover new products in Japan, and spring is definitely no exception. Known for pleasant weather and beautiful blossoms, the Japanese spring also brings great culinary surprises! Drinks, dessert buffets, cakes, and even udon... in March nothing escapes the influence of favorite flower of the Japanese: the sakura!

Japanese specialties, reimagined

When spring arrives, many traditional Japanese snacks turn pink in celebration. They aren't necessarily cherry blossom-flavored, but their festive color is certainly a feast for the eyes.

Pink udon for the Spring!

Pink udon? This may surprise you and yet, these colorful noodles are all the rage in Japan when spring arrives. They are found both in udonya (restaurants specialized in udon) and at street stalls in big cities, their unusual color attracting young and old alike.

But you might be disappointed if you were expecting cherry blossom-flavored udon, these noodles are (fortunately) only blossom colored.

For spring, these small fish-shaped cakes filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) are often tinted a tempting pink. Called sakura taiyaki, they regularly appear in other flavors at various times of year, such as chestnut in fall, for example! Like udon, you'll find these specialties on street food stands from the beginning of April.

Seasonal menus at big cafe chains

Coffee chains like Starbucks and Tully's regularly offer special menus depending on the season. Cherry blossom season is one of the most popular, so it's no wonder that these big brands offer a lot of items inspired by the favorite flower of the Japanese.

  • Starbucks (from the 15th of February)

This year, the American chain is releasing its Sakuraful Frappucino, an iced cherry blossom flavor blended drink with sakura-strawberry sauce and strawberry jelly pieces, topped with whipped cream and pink chocolate shavings. There's also a hot Sakuraful Milk Latte, and a whole range of exclusive themed merchandise to collect!

The Spring 2018 seasonal drinks at Starbucks in Japan

  • Tully's (from the end of March)

Although the 2019 spring products at Tully's have yet to be announced, no doubt good things are in store! In previous years, the Japanese brand has offered a matcha-cherry blossom latte, sakura tea, colorful pancakes, and waffles with cherry blossom mousse.

Discover more: Japanese fall specialities

Snacks and seasonal drinks at konbini

If there's anywhere you can find interesting snacks at low prices, it's at a konbini!

Always a step ahead of other food stores, Japanese convenience stores offer a variety of seasonal - including cherry blossom - products. From Asahi sakura beers, to cherry blossom-matcha flavour Kit Kats, to various cakes and cherry blossom flavored sodas and teas, this year there's sure to be something for everyone!

Cherry blossom daifuku

Buffets at large hotels

Renowned for their incredible menus, luxury hotels often offer dessert buffets to match the season. To herald the spring, cherry blossom cakes and sweets are of course on the menu!

Where to go

  • The Peninsula Tokyo Hotel

Address : 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda, 100-0006 Tokyo

Dates : from the end of March

Price : between 3,500 and 6,000 yen

Access : in front of Hibiya Station (Hibiya, Chiyoda, Mita lines)

  • Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Address : 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032

Dates : from the end of March

Price : between 3,500 and 6,000 yen 

Access : a few minutes walk from Roppongi Station (Hibiya lines, Oedo)

An example of a seasonal hotel buffet: Grand Hyatt Tokyo's strawberry-themed buffet

Comments Read comments from our travellers