Foods of the Cherry Blossom Festival


With the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival ending in Japan, there are many tasty treats and specialites to look back upon! Lasting from just March 20 – April 11 (an incredibly short period of time), Japan offers a variety of both festive and pink colored foods ranging from drinks to street food. Hanami, meaning ‘cherry blossom viewing’, offers a chance to detract from normal foods; think of it as how the United States celebrates Thanksgiving: once in a year, stores sell fall-themed foods, and the tree leaves are starting to turn orange! I might not get to all the incredible foods this festival offers, so I have compiled a very short list of the changes that might occur during the festivities. 

Starting off with the most iconic snack to enjoy: Hanami Dango, a tri-colored rice flour “dumpling” that is skewered onto a stick, and a staple for cherry blossom viewing. The typical colors of rice flour dumplings used are green, pink, and white. This sweet treat does not require many ingredients, but it can prove to be difficult to find (unless you have a local Asian market to check out!) 

Another change hanami-watchers may see are the twists to traditional Japanese dishes. It is very common to see families bring grilled or fried meat, fish and vegetables, onigiri (rice balls that contain various flavors of filling, sometimes dyed pink to represent the sakura trees), mochi, miso (white or red colored) paste to go as dipping sauce, and bento boxes (which stores sell as special hanami bentos). Bento boxes around the festival can contain pink onigiri, red bean treats, and mochi; anything inside the bento box matches the overall colors of the festival. 

Confidently, I can say many of us have had Starbucks or at least heard of it. Well, Starbucks has a limited time drink that is only purchasable during the Cherry Blossom Festival: the Sakura Fuwari Berry Milk Latte and Sakura Fuwari Berry Frappuccino. They also sell a wide collection of mugs and bottles designed with pink blossom patterns- and a hint of blue to represent the sky. These are only available in Japan, and supplies are limited!