Since we’re still in the season for it, I’ve decided to focus on a sakura-themed post. This one is more on actual products that you can buy and eat.
Japan is definitely attuned to the changing of seasons, and this is clearly shown in the way they churn out products. Of course, each part of the country has different goods that they always produce, but the one thing that is constant is the “seasonal limited goods.”
So the beer package below is only available in the spring, but the beer taste itself is the same 🙂
I think the best way to think about it is Starbucks and it’s pumpkin spice latte in the fall. Since fall is about pumpkins and apple pie, you’ll also get lots of those types of flavors with sweets and souvenir goods. I mentioned this with the Kitkat series I did in a previous post.
Of course, spring in Japan has always been about cherry blossoms, hence, Starbucks’ sakura latte during this time of the year. But I wouldn’t know if they have it this year because I haven’t been to one for a couple of months.
So some of these sakura products you can easily pick up at a grocery stores. Country Ma’am is a cookie brand that sold this version recently: regular vanilla and sakura.
Regular vanilla is normal chocolate chip while the sakura one had a top layer of sakura flavored cookie and some white chocolate chips mixed. To be honest, it wasn’t as good as I thought they’d be.
Others are definitely going to be in touristy places. The ones below I got in Hakodate two years I go when I visited in the early spring with a friend. Sakura soft serve ice cream with azuki beans and locally-brewed sakura beer. Both were good.
You can also pick up souvenirs:
I picked this up from the Star-shaped fort Goryokaku a few years back, which explains the packaging. This was sakura-flavored madeleine cakes. The butter flavor and the sakura was really good. I haven’t seen them in the stores recently, so I wonder if they were only available at that time, though.
In Sapporo, Hiraoka Park always sells Ume (plum) or Sakura soft-serve ice cream when the park is available for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. It is very popular, so a lot of people will line up just to buy one.
Yes, it is definitely worth the wait. It’s creamy more than cherry-blossom flavor, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the floral taste. The sakura is more subtle, which makes it really popular, I think, because it tastes more like a regular soft-serve ice cream.
Of course, you can always get sakura-flavored tea and the mochi products at the grocery store. (Sorry, no photos.) But these are always available on hand so you it doesn’t have the “limited time” urgency as the other products. I do like that it’s always available, though, so can always pick them up whenever you feel the urge to eat something with sakura in it.