We love the sakura season as much as the next person. But one thing that makes our excitement peak is the anticipation for limited edition cherry blossom and sakura flower-themed food! From mid-March, you will start to see a rush of sakura foods in supermarkets and convenience stores.
From limited edition drinks, desserts, cookies, chips, rice balls, and even bread with preserved cherry blossoms placed beautifully on top. No food is safe from the wave of pink and white that floods Japan, and we’re delighted with that! Although specifics may change from year to year, you can expect to see similar trends. So what exactly can you see at the local convenience store?
When it comes to sakura-inspired sweet treats, desserts are at the top! Japan is the land of plentiful desserts, so it’s no wonder they are amongst the most popular this season. Although it may seem overwhelming, a few stand out as must-tries for anyone visiting Japan during cherry blossom season.
One of the most popular and iconic is sakura mochi, a sweet rice cake wrapped in a cherry blossom leaf. The leaf adds a subtle and delightful floral flavor to the chewy mochi, making it a unique and delicious treat! Because of its popularity, you will often see a stack of pink and green mochi at the counter of the konbini (convenience store).
Another popular sakura-inspired dessert is cherry blossom-flavored ice cream. This delicate flavor is typically made with real sakura flower extract. It can be found in various forms, like soft serve, hand-dipped cones, and even sakura-flavored ice cream bars! It may still be chilly during this time of the year, but we can’t recommend enough about grabbing a few of these varieties. Not all konbinis are made the same, so make sure you head to all the different ones, 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Lawsons, and even the lesser-known Mini Stop.
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No konbini is complete without the aisle dedicated to chips and senbei (rice crackers). It is no surprise that we are lucky enough to have special sakura-themed chips! These types are often unique and delicious and are the perfect companion to a cherry blossom picnic. One popular brand is the Suppamucho Chips Ume Plum Flavour chips. The beautifully pink packet and cherry blossom branches make this tasty savory snack a needed sakura aesthetic. The flavor combines ume (plum), sakura, salt, and butter. These chips are light and crispy, with a subtle floral taste. The only problem? They are very difficult to put down!
It’s not just chips that get a sakura makeover! You can also find sakura-flavored popcorn, shrimp rice cracker chips, and corn puffs. These crunchy delights are often made with sakura flower extract, giving them a delicate, floral taste!
Gloriously pink sakura drinks are a great way to enjoy the flavors of cherry blossoms without the need for a spoon or fork! One of the more popular cherry blossom-themed drinks is the specialty Coca-Cola released during spring. Although the flavor is classic cola, the outside of the bottle is beautifully designed with cherry blossom motifs. Every year since 2017, Coke has released these limited editions, Japan-only glass bottles. Often adorned with pink floating cherry blossoms, the iconic designs make this drink popular among visitors and locals.
If you’re looking for something that has a bit more of a sakura flavor inside and out, don’t look past the boxed drinks! The convenient konbini-sized milk cartons are the perfect few slurps of a tasty drink. For the sakura season, Lipton updates their beloved original Milk Tea to include a delicious twist! With an added bit of fun flair and a refreshing touch of cherry blossoms, this drink is ideal for a thirst-quenching treat!
Although this is technically a drink, we think Starbucks deserves its own category. Why? Because they consistently raise the bar in their flavors! The oh-so-special Sakura drink released to konbinis across Japan is the supreme drink of the season. The sweet and cream combination of sakura and milk is reminiscent of a gentle and delightful spring day. Previously Starbucks released an exclusive Sakura White Chocolate with Milk Pudding. The dessert turned drink was an absolute hit in Japan and became hard to find item!
The limited edition flavors and the ever-cute pink sakura flower designs make Starbucks a must-find and buy item of the season!
The humble Kit Kat is another triumphant stand-out in the exclusive flavors game! Every season and holiday Kit Kat release new and exciting flavors that create a flurry. The Kit Kats fly into local convenience stores and fly out of stock at the same speed! So, of course, the highly awaited sakura release is a must-buy! Kit Kit typically releases two themed flavors during the sakura season, the seasonally appropriate cherry blossom-inspired chocolate bars, Sakura Nihonshu (Japanese sake), and Sakura Mochi flavor, a traditional springtime treat!
From a visitor’s point of view, it may be overwhelming navigating which Kit Kat flavors are worth trying. We can’t recommend enough that the sakura-flavored Kit Kats are a part of the must-try quintessential Japanese Kit Kat experience!
Sakura is not only a flower, but it is also a flavor. Sakura-inspired snacks and drinks are a great way to experience the flavors of cherry blossoms and enjoy the beauty of this iconic Japanese flower. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat or a refreshing drink, you’re sure to find something you love at a convenience store in Japan!
Which convenience store treat is next on your list to try? Let us know in the comment below!
Tokyo based writer that's very enthusiastic about snacks, treats and all things sweet!
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