One of the many things Japan truly knows how to do well is the celebration of the seasons. Seasons are so important here, and each season has its events, foods, and traditions to celebrate and enjoy each year, the vast array of seasonal food in Japan is evidence of this.
This attention towards each season emphasizes the changing of seasons as a celebration and event for us all to appreciate! Spring in Japan is famous across the world for the fluffy pink cherry blossoms, sakura, which attract crowds of tourists. It’s no surprise that spring in Japan is largely celebrated, so with the season fast approaching, there is so much Japanese spring food we can look forward to!
Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms have inspired various sakura-flavored snacks and drinks, and many companies and chains will have at least one product that celebrates spring in Japan.
Some of the spring seasonal food in Japan we discuss below include ichigo daifuku and a variety of sakura flavored snacks, such as sakura mochi and sakura Kit Kats.
One popular spring seasonal food in Japan is sakura mochi. They are one of the most popular wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, as well as the most famous of the sakura flavored snacks.
Sakura mochi is pink rice cakes filled with anko, a classic sweet red bean paste. They even look reminiscent of cherry blossom since the pink rice is wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom tree leaf.
Sakura mochi is eaten whilst celebrating Hinamatsuri, Dolls Festival, on March 3rd. However, these sweet treats represent spring and are enjoyed throughout the season as well!
Hanami dango are a trio of sweet rice balls on a skewer. They are distinct from other dango (also delicious) because each ball is a different color, each representing one of three different seasons. White is representative of winter snow, pink of the cherry blossom flowers (of course!), and green for Hazakura, representative of the leaves of the fallen cherry blossoms.
Not only are they symbolic but this Japanese spring food is also a delicious snack you should try!
The ichigo daifuku is another popular mochi-based seasonal food in Japan, and they are a lot of peoples’ favorite spring desserts. It is made up of a sweet and succulent strawberry wrapped in a mochi outer coating, with a sweet anko paste filling in between. This sweet treat is an iconic Japanese spring food.
The stickiness of the mochi, combined with the sweetness of the anko and the fresh citrusy juice from the strawberry makes the ichigo daifuku a unique and delicious combination that you must try!
Strawberry season is in late spring in Japan, so this is when you’ll find the best strawberries in ichigo daifuku. However, despite the strawberry season occurring in late spring and early summer, the excitement of strawberry season really begins in late December as they are a popular fruit to eat during the New Year’s celebrations and Christmas.
Since strawberries are so popular in winter now, you will likely see ichigo daifuku around winter too – they are also eaten throughout spring and winter.
Sakura Kit Kats
Spring is very much the season of change in Japan; it is when the school year finishes and begins anew; when a lot of businesses do their recruitment, and it is also when people are most likely to move.
This is why spring in Japan is the best time to have a supply of Kit Kats! Kit Kats are a good luck charm, so it makes a great gift for anyone about the experience some of these spring changes. Some Kit Kats even have a blank space for you to leave a message to who you want to gift it.
Japanese Kit Kats are famous for a never-ending list of seasonal and regional flavors, so it is no surprise they have a great deal of spring-themed treats.
There have been a variety of sakura-flavored Kit Kats which we recommend you try, like the sakura sake Kit Kat, sakura matcha Kit Kat, and the sakura mochi Kit Kat, to name a few… Beyond sakura, there are also other Kit Kats inspired by Japanese spring food, like the ume plum Kit Kat.
If you are looking for classic Japanese spring food, Pocky is one of Japan’s most beloved snack foods, and the sakura-flavored Pocky is no exception.
Pocky is a thin pretzel stick covered in chocolate and they are a famous Japanese treat in plenty of other countries too. The sakura version is flavored with cherry blossom in both the biscuit part and the chocolate. It makes an addictively good sweet and salty spring snack!
There are so many other sakura-themed treats, to find more, just take a stroll through your local konbini and you are sure to come across a load of exciting combinations; sakura tea latte, sakura puddings, sakura chocolate, and sakura crisps.
Beyond sakura flavored snacks and spring-themed food, there is also plenty of other seasonal food in japan you can enjoy. We recommend trying takenoko, baby bamboo shoots, which are delicious when served as tempura amongst other dishes. They are great for any vegans or vegetarians looking for a meaty substitute too! Strawberries are also very popular in spring and it is popular to go strawberry-picking or to an all-you-can-eat strawberry farm. Be sure to enjoy the numerous spring foods Japan has to offer!