Springtime in Japan means the cherry blossoms will soon bloom, giving people across the country the chance to see the stunning pink beauty of the sakura...albeit for only a couple weeks. The fleeting nature of the flower is a metaphor for life itself, and fittingly a lot of major life changes tend to happen around this time.
It’s also all the reason major snack companies in Japan need to roll out special limited-time snacks featuring sakura flavors and packaging. For upwards of a month — long before the trees themselves have even burst into vivid pink — special products line supermarkets and convenience stores across the nation.
This month’s edition of the Omiyage Box from Wowbox celebrates these limited-edition items, giving folks all around the world a chance to enjoy some of Japan’s sakura treats.
A Bright Time Of The Year
The cherry blossom season arrives at different times in Japan depending on where one is — the West, such as Kyushu and the Hiroshima area, tends to see it happen a little early, usually in mid to end of March. Tokyo and the areas to the north of it, meanwhile, can count on them coming out in early April, while Hokkaido has to be the most patient.
Hanami culture in Japan / Photo Credit: Stardog Champion on Flickr
Whenever those buds open, people enjoy strolling underneath them and have hanami, a sort of picnic under the sakura with friends and family. There’s also added metaphorical weight to cherry blossom season — they represent the transient nature of life itself, and the fact they arrive at the same time so many people change jobs or schools has turned them into a emotional representation of existence itself.
That can push someone towards some pretty existential thoughts...but hey, don’t worry about that! Rather, enjoy some of the limited-time snacks that also are a common sight during the spring in Japan.
Coming Up Pink
The sakura season doesn’t really begin in spring — rather, it truly starts when the major snack and drink companies in Japan flood the shelves with limited-edition cherry-blossom-flavored items complete with pink-heavy packaging. It usually starts appearing in early February — though sometimes earlier! — and lasts until early April.
It isn’t easy to experience these snacks before they vanish, which is why Wowbox’s Omiyage April Box exclusively highlights some of the nation’s best sakura offerings for 2021. Wherever you are, you can take part in this snack-centric hanami.
Sakura snacks aren’t just limited to sweets though. It can also grace chruncy items, ranging from potato chips like Calbee’s Spring Salted Flavor Chips (complete with nifty cherry blossom packaging on the bag) and Bakauke Sakura Shrimp rice crackers, which add a touch of the season to a seafood snack.
Round it out with something boasting a slightly different flavor thanks to Pocky’s Sakura Matcha flavor, available for a brief time in Japan. Chocolate that uses Uji matcha with umami richness, covering the pretzel that contains sakura leaf extract.
Pink With A Sweet Twist
The easiest way to take a familiar snack and make it appropriate for the cherry blossom season is to change the color of the foodstuff itself, and the most common way is by using strawberry.
That’s the strategy embraced by long-selling snacks such as Puku Pukutai (a snackable take on the fish-shaped dessert taiyaki) and Koala March cookies, as they take the familiar animal shapes of their food and turns them a shade of light pink. They also boast a nice strawberry taste on top of it, which is also the case with the circular Fue Ramune candy included here, also boasting a seasonally appropriate theme.
Sweets For Your Spring
Whether you need a nice snack or something to enjoy while sitting under the sakura (or just looking at them online), Japan has plenty of sweets with a cherry blossom bend for 2021.
In the Omiyage Box this month, Wowbox features some strawberry caramel candies from Hokkaido, limited strawberry flavored caramel candy that fills your mouth with juicness! Using strawberry powder from Hokkaido, it is deliciously finished for a pleasant sweet candy.
The sakura mochi is one of the traditional Japanese dessert that you must eat during cherry blossom season. A long-selling chocolate maker Tylorean decided to incorporate the mochi texture and sakura flavor into their chocolate!
Tirol Sakura Mochi Chocolate let you experience this seasonal sweet with the taste of cherry blossom mochi in the center with every bite you take! Giving you a sticky but a 'sakura' taste for a spring experience!
Crave more sweets? You can add a little extra sugar rush via the Cup Cotton Candy Strawberries sweet included here, and you can wash it down with some refreshing Sangaria-brand Mellow Strawberry and Milk beverage.
Like You Are Under The Petals
You might not be able to sit under the sakura in Japan this year, but with these limited-edition cherry blossom snacks and drinks found in our Omiyage Box, your tastebuds can at least experience the flavor of the season.
Subscribe to Omiyage Box by 3/31 & Taste the sakura spring flavors!
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