Taste of SpringーCan You Eat Sakura?

    Taste of SpringーCan You Eat Sakura?

    Sakura (cherry blossom) season is just around the corner! And as the delicate pink petals begin to adorn trees across Japan, the country's food vendors are busy preparing an array of sakura-flavored treats. So here’s the burning question:

    Can you actually eat sakura?

    Before you think about munching on a raw cherry blossom petal, let me stop you right there—it tastes like grass. However, when sakura is infused into drinks, snacks, or other culinary creations, it transforms into a delightful blend of sweetness with subtle floral notes; sometimes with a touch of sourness.
    Indeed, sakura has been a staple ingredient in a lot of Japanese confectionery for centuries. So, what can you expect?

    Salt-pickled Sakura Leaves / Petals

    SALT-PICKLED SAKURA lets you enjoy the taste of cherry blossoms anytime. These blossoms are preserved in salt, giving them a flowery flavor that works in many Japanese dishes, like desserts and tea.

    When cherry petals and leaves are pickled, they smell amazing because of something called "coumarin". Japanese people think that is what cherry blossoms taste like, but it's actually from the pickling process, not the petals themselves. It adds a special touch to cherry blossom-inspired foods in Japan.


    One of the most sought-after treats during this pink season is SAKURA TEA (or sakuracha [桜茶] in Japanese), also known as sakura-yu (桜湯). Instead of using leaves, sakura tea is a unique beverage made by pouring hot water over salt-pickled cherry blossoms.

    Tea brands like Lupicia eagerly embrace this pinky trend year after year. But what's the story behind sakura tea? In important celebrations such as omiai (arranged marriage meetings), engagement ceremonies, and weddings, the act of whisking tea, particularly making it cloudy (such as with matcha), or pouring tea, is associated with bad luck.

    Thus, sakura tea was born because it doesn't contain any actual tea leaves (which is believed as bad luck).

    When sakura petals are steeped in hot water, they release a subtle sourness that enhances the drink's overall sweetness and refreshing aroma.


    Several coffee chains in Japan, like Tully’s and Doutor, offer a limited-edition SAKURA LATTE during the spring with salted cherry blossom petals mixed into the drink for a sweet and salty beverage.

    The sakura’s sweet floral fragrance pairs perfectly with the bitter cafe latte.


    Of course, you can’t miss the abundance of limited-edition SAKURA SNACKS you encounter on your Japan trip such as sakura matcha Pocky and sakura chocolate wafer. Keep in mind: as tempting as all of these pink snacks are, be sure to check the ingredient labels first (let’s make sure it’s Muslim-friendly).


    Yes, you read it right—there’s SAKURA RICE! Sakura rice is made from steeping short-grain rice alongside salted sakura flowers. Giving the rice a hint of floral fragrance and a slightly salty flavor from the steeping liquid.


    When in Japan, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets. Wagashi is often made from simple ingredients like rice flour, agar, and red bean paste. So, many are suitable for vegans and Muslims as they mostly use plant-based ingredients.

    During spring, wagashi artisans prepare an array of sakura wagashi, in honor of the blooming pink petal. Among the most renowned spring wagashi is SAKURA MOCHI, featuring a unique twist with salt-preserved sakura leaves from the previous year.

    Another beloved wagashi is HANAMI DANGO.  It’s a humble sweet mochi dumplings dyed in soft shades of white, pale green, and pale pink, mirroring the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.


    In Japan, the blooming sakura is a beautiful yet brief scenery, and so are the sakura treats. As you enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom, why not savor the experience with a delightful array of sakura-inspired food and drinks?!

    So the answer is YES. You CAN eat sakura and trust admin-it’s delicious!

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