Ahh, Spring. It’s the most popular time of year for visitors flying over to Japan, and certainly one of the most beautiful seasons. Hanami or ‘flower viewing’ is the activity of enjoying the sakura in full bloom while having a picnic underneath them, and it’s the activity to do during this season. Of course, that means you’ll need to have a few cherry blossom snacks to try at the same time!
I’ve already written a general post about Japanese snacks you need to try, so make sure to check that out if these aren’t enough for you! And remember, you don’t have to be in Japan to enjoy cherry blossom season. That’s exactly what these snacks are for!
1. Mini Caplico
Mini Caplico are the perfect example of Japanese Kawaii culture. Let’s take ice cream, make it smaller, and give it two layers of cream filling inside a savory cone. How could you say no?! They’re the perfect mini-sized snack to add to your Hanami food basket, and will make excellent additions to your cherry blossom picnic!
Depending on what you chose, strawberry and sakura, you’ll get to experience two of Japan’s most popular flavors. Or, do as I do and grab both if you can. It’s just too hard to decide!
2. Strawberry King Cider
Strawberry season runs from January to May in Japan, so while cherry blossom season is in full swing strawberries are still around! They definitely deserve a space at your Hanami picnic, and this King Cider (strawberry soda) is a fantastic way to incorporate its flavor.
It may not be as important to some people, but I love the aesthetic packaging of Japanese food and drink. Not only does it make for great photos and content, but it also helps you stay grounded in the moment. With packaging like the above soda bottle, it doesn’t take away from what you’re doing and experiencing at the Hanami picnic. Obnoxious packaging and loud designs have no place here!
3. Sakura Matcha Cookie Bites
In case you haven’t read my bio at the end of this post, I love matcha. I love its taste, the color, the ceremony, the act of making it, and the bowls and equipment used – it’s just perfect. It’s so quintessentially Japanese that I drink it whenever I can. Admittedly I have been getting into matcha lattes as of late, but I still vastly prefer it in its original form.
As such, when it’s mixed with a sakura flavor it makes for the perfect Japanese cherry blossom snack. In this case, it’s in the form of mini cookie bites which sits extremely well with me. The slightly bitter taste of matcha combined with the sweetness of the sakura cream, all in a bite-sized portion, makes this an absolute winner for any Japanese spring picnic!
4. Sakura Cherry Candy
Would it really be a sakura picnic without a packet of sweets? This Japanese cherry blossom candy is flavored with Nishiki cherries. Originating in Yamagata, these cherries are some of Japan’s most popular varieties and have even been called the ‘king of cherries’ in the past.
The extreme sweetness makes it a perfect choice to add to a hard candy, with each one releasing an incredible amount of flavor. Plus, because of their resealable design, you can start eating them before you get to the blossom picnic spot, because who has time to wait when these things taste so good?
5. KitKat Peach
KitKat is famous the world over, but no other country produces flavors as spectacularly crazy as Japan. In this case, it’s not as crazy but it’s incredibly well done. The packaging gets my seal of approval, and the peach flavor is epic!
There are many peach blossoms in Japan, and their bloom is just as beautiful as their cherry blossom counterparts. It’s a shame they don’t get as much coverage, but you’ve likely seen and observed them just as much if you’ve ever visited Japan during the spring.
Anyway, these pocket-sized cherry blossom snacks are a great addition to anyone’s picnic basket and as they’re individually wrapped, you can save them if you don’t manage to eat all of them. Though, with the way these bad boys taste, I doubt that will be an issue!
6. Sakura Senbei
If you’ve never heard of senbei before, the best way I could explain this sakura senbei to you is by calling them cherry blossom chips. They’re crunchy and hard, but never dry and always packed full of flavor. Technically they’re rice crackers but you can think of their ‘role’ in your Hanami picnic to be similar to chips. But as these are made from real sakura leaves, they’re far more unique.
I will warn you that on pretty much any occasion we’ve bought senbei, we’ve demolished the entire pack in one sitting. That includes those massive packs you find in the big supermarkets as well. Don’t judge us until you can successfully fold the pack up and put it away before eating them all first. がんばって! 😉
7. Sakura Manju
Last but by no means least we have this cute little Manju. It’s not quite as divisive as marmite, but some people definitely won’t be a fan. The outside of Manju is made from rice flour, and the inside is made from red bean paste. To be fair, I honestly don’t mind it!
This specific Manju (awesome packaging by the way) is filled with a pink cherry blossom-flavored paste, and that’s why it’s ideal to take on your spring picnic. They’re incredibly popular across the entirety of Japan and make excellent pocket-sized snacks!
Cherry blossom snacks don’t have to be flavored
Of course, you don’t have to have all your snacks flavored with some sort of blossom or other, and that’s exactly what Tokyo Treat, the company I got this entire list of food from, understands. So, as well as including all those cherry blossom snacks in their Spring box, they also include 8 more! Each other is specifically chosen to either eat at a Hanami picnic or feel the lasting impressions of the cherry blossom.
If you’re interested in crafting the perfect sakura snack cupboard or simply want to dive into the food Japan has to offer without actually being here, Tokyo Treat is one of the best ways to do so.