Is it that time of year already?!
The other day, I stumbled across a Starbucks sakura latte in a Family Mart convenience store. It’s just one of the many exciting sakura-themed treats we’ll be experiencing for the approaching cherry blossoms, the pink flowers that bloom for just a few weeks in early spring.
People go crazy for it; they lay out picnic sheets, prepare a huge amount of food and beer, and have a great time under the falling petals. It’s enormous fun and I’ll be sure to attend at least one of these events, “hanami” in Japanese, in March.
To celebrate, here are ten upcoming (and current) goodies that various companies release for one of Japan’s most beloved seasons.
1. The Starbucks Sakura Latte
Starbucks is as well loved here as it is anywhere, and the huge American coffee chain has wasted no time in releasing its strawberry jelly treat. Served hot or cold, it’s recommended you only buy this if you really like sweet drinks.
2. Lipton’s Sakura Milk Tea
Don’t like coffee? How about tea?! Lipton’s is releasing a brand new Sakura-infused milk tea to celebrate the upcoming blossoms. You can read more about this on SoraNews.
3. Sakura Kit Kats
Kit Kats may have hailed from the town of York in England, but Japan has made them great. Gaining traction in Japan for their name, which sounds like “kitto katsu” (I’ll surely win) in Japanese and thus giving schoolchildren a boost when they buy them in exam season, Kit Kats now come in an enormous amount of different flavors, ranging from green tea and pumpkin to strawberry and sake.
It’s no surprise, then, that Kit Kats are bought by the bucketful when sakura season rolls around.
4. The Limited-Edition Sakura Pie at Lotteria
Lotteria is a fast-food place mostly selling burgers, similar to McDonald’s. In 2017, they brought out a limited-edition sakura pie for just 180 yen (about $2 USD). It was really delicious, and fans of this sweet treat are praying for a re-release.
Sakuramochi have been around for decades; mochi is the word for rice cake, and this seasonal treat is soft rice filled with red bean paste and wrapped in a salted sakura leaf. It’s insanely more-ish and you can find them in supermarkets all over the country come cherry blossom time.
6. Sakura Milk
Perfect for kids and those who aren’t keen on coffee, this snack-sized treat adds a cherry blossom twist to normal milkshakes. I’ll definitely be grabbing one next time I visit Kaldi Coffee.
7. McDonald’s Sakura Teriyaki Egg Burger
Not keen on sweets? You won’t miss out! Every spring, McDonald’s comes up with a range of sakura-themed treats, determined not to be missed out. They have a whole menu of sakura stuff: drinks, burgers, and even fries sprinkled with special cherry blossom salt.
I’m hoping for a return of the sakura teriyaki egg burger. It sounds so bad it has to be good.
8. Lindt’s Sakura Menu
Lindt has shops all over the place in Japan, the sales of their pricy but high-quality cacao-filled treats boosting in February and March anyway due to Valentine’s Day and White Day, respectively. They continue to sell well by introducing their sakura-themed menu, imitating other cafes with blossom-infused drinks and selling their own sakura macarons.
9. Eitaro’s Sakura Jelly
This sakura-themed jelly is a frequent yearly release by Eitaro that dessert-lovers should keep an eye out for. It’s 300 yen for one piece, making it slightly pricier than some others on this list, but a great treat for fans of sakura-infused foods.
10. Sakura Coca Cola
Yet another international brand jumps on the cherry blossom bandwagon! With other Japan-exclusive flavours such as peach cola, it’s not much of a surprise that sakura coke is a thing, too. The fizzy drink is already pretty sweet, so it remains to be seen whether the blossom infusion will improve it or not.
Seasons and related foods change fast, so grab these sakura goodies while you can! Before we know it, it’ll be summer and we’ll all be fainting under the humidity again.