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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogSpring Desserts and More: Best Seasonal Flavors in Japan!

Spring Desserts and More: Best Seasonal Flavors in Japan!

Anna AyvazyanAnna Ayvazyan
Published Time
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February 28, 2024
A platter of spring desserts featuring cherry blossoms.

One of the most exciting things to do while visiting Japan is try various spring desserts and snacks. Many cafes and restaurants serve savory and sweet dishes according to seasonal produce or historical trends. There are many things to try, from sakura mochi to chocomint sandwiches to Mont Blanc to strawberry tower parfaits!

But it’s not just spring–Japan has unique seasonal flavors you can enjoy all year round! Let’s take a closer look at spring desserts and different flavors you can enjoy throughout the year!

Spring: Cherry Blossom and Plum

If you visit Japan during the spring, it won’t be long until you come across beautiful cherry blossom (sakura) trees. Many people have hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties and picnics during this time. Sometimes, people can eat spring desserts such as sakura mochi or sakura soft-serve at picnics.

A plate of plum blossoms and plum blossom snacks.
Cherry blossoms and plums are flowery spring snacks! Image via Shutterstock

Sakura mochi is a type of wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet). It typically features red bean paste wrapped with a thin layer of pink mochi and then covered with a salted sakura leaf. Sakura soft serve is ice cream with a slight sakura flavor. You can usually buy it at a park or visit a store such as Muji, Baskin Robins, or their seasonal unique sorbets.

Another familiar flavor is ume, or plum. Sakura flavors tend to be sweeter, whereas ume tends to be more sour. An example of a typical ume dessert is the ume daifuku. Ume is also a popular flavor for alcoholic drinks during parties. You can even offer umeshu (plum wine) if you join a picnic. It goes well with many spring desserts

Summer: Chocomint and Lemon

Summer in Japan can be sweltering and humid, so many refreshing sweets are available during this season to cool you down. The two most common flavors you will come across are chocomint and lemon.

Two chocomint ice cream bars.
Chocomint is refreshing during the summer! Image via Shutterstock

Chocomint refers to chocolate and mint; almost all sweets have this option during summer. Some popular chocomint desserts are chocomint pocky and Rich Choco Mint Gari Gari Kun ice candy. If you’re adventurous enough, you can also try to find a choco-mint sandwich at convenience stores. 

The lemon flavor can also be very refreshing during summertime. Typically, you can find lemon-flavored kakigori (shaved ice) at many cafes or food stalls during summer festivals. There are also many lemon-flavored popsicles in convenience stores, which can be refreshing after exploring! Some shops will also sell lemon cakes made using lemons from Hiroshima, famous for its lemons. 

Are you looking for some seasonal snacks this spring? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers limited-edition Japanese noodles, snacks, drinks, and sweets right to your door so you can enjoy the latest spring goodies directly from Japan!

Fall: Chestnut and Sweet Potato

As the temperature cools, you can start smelling roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes at various department stores in Japan. During this time, many patisseries and cafes start to sell mont blanc cakes. Some cafes offer exciting experiences where they squeeze the chestnut paste onto the cake before you! Other popular chestnut desserts are kuri dango and chestnut roll cakes, sold at most convenience stores during the fall.

Sweet potatoes and chestnuts on a picnic table?
Sweet potatoes and chestnuts are earthy fall falvors! Image via Shutterstock

Sweet potatoes are often baked and sold in stores, but there are also various sweet potato desserts. Some cafes will have a particular sweet potato and chestnut flavored mont blanc with purple paste! There are also many sweet potato specialty stores where you can try ice cream with baked sweet potato. This dessert is usually called Yaki-imo Brulee (Sweet Potato Brulee), and it can be very addictive but also very healthy! 

Winter: Strawberry and Chocolate

Winter desserts typically feature strawberry and chocolate flavors. They particularly stand out during Christmas when stores nationwide sell special Christmas cakes. The most common type of Christmas cake in Japan is a spongy Japanese strawberry shortcake covered with whipped cream or icing. Some can be as expensive as 5000 yen (33 USD), but you can usually find cheaper ones for around 500 yen (3 USD) at convenience stores. 

A strawberry falling in a vat of melted chocolate.
Strawberries and chocolates makes for a delightful Christmas treat! Image via Shutterstock

Strawberries are also a popular ingredient in many parfaits. Some cafes will serve a unique parfait tower of strawberries that look like skyscrapers! Many parfaits have special strawberry and chocolate options. If you love chocolate, you’ll also love the various seasonal specials brands put out during winter, such as Muji’s Melty Kiss line. This chocolate is only available in winter and comes in strawberry, green tea, and premium flavors.

Why are seasonal flavors important in Japan?

Seasonal flavors are a great way to experience the variety of desserts and snacks and their flavors. While many of these flavors exist outside Japan, some of these desserts can only really be found and enjoyed in Japan. Some seasonal desserts also come with experiences.

A plate of spring desserts using hanami dango.
Which seasonal flavors are your favorite? Image via Shutterstock

Such as having a hanami picnic with sakura mochi or, in the fall, seeing chestnut paste being squeezed in front of your eyes! Trying a strawberry parfait tower in winter will be a memorable experience if you want to impress a friend.

If you’re a foodie or sweet tooth, there are many desserts. Even if the flavors are limited, it can give you an excuse to visit Japan in another season to try something new! Which seasonal flavor do you want to try and why? Let us know in the comments below! 

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