Top ten cherry blossom sweets

Taste the sweet beauty of Japan in Tokyo

Top ten cherry blossom sweets

Tsudayen ‘sakura no happa cookies’

Sakura (cherry blossoms) have long held a special place in the hearts and minds of Japanese people. From late March through early April, the pale pink flowers signal the coming of spring. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is just but one of the great things about this time of year.

Before the blossoms begin to open, sweet shop display cases come alive with the colours of spring. As in past years, stores this year are selling a range of cherry blossom sweets with their own original twist. While cherry blossom roll cake and macaroons are as popular as ever, you can’t go past items their own distinctive character such as sakura no happa cookies (cookies with salt preserved cherry blossom petals) as well as sakura coup saison (cherry blossom flavoured parfaits). Sweets such as these are one way to get a taste of spring before it arrives on your doorstep.

These gorgeous pink sweets are also perfect for taking to a range of events such as hanami and parties. Bring your friends and family the taste of spring with sakura sweets from Time Out Tokyo’s picks for the season.

Tsudayen (sakura no happa cookies)

Located a one minute walk from the south exit of Odakyu Seijoen-mae station, Tsudayen sells tea and tea related goods. Seijo Gakuen is well known for its many cherry blossom trees including its cherry blossom tree-lined street leading to the station. When spring arrives sakura no happa cookies are displayed in Tsudayen’s storefront. To make these cookies, salt-preserved cherry blossom petals from Izu are placed on top of the cookie dough before baking. Their light and crispy texture, and blossoming flavour have made them an extremely popular item. Such is the great care and attention to detail with which they are made, that Tsudayen makes a limited amount in one day. Be sure to put in an order so you don’t miss out.

Address: 2-39-2 Seijo, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3416 6261
Open: Mon-Sat 1-8pm, closed Sun
Website: (Japanese only)

Fauchon (Éclair Sakura)

Established in France in 1886, respected brand Fauchon is as loved as ever by gourmet food fans from around the world. Fauchon Boutique makes colourful and attractive éclairs for every season. For spring 2010 and available until the end of March, customers can try ‘Éclair Sakura’, which are filled with cherry-flavoured cream and make for an attractively springlike vision with their cherry blossom decorations. Get yours at Takashimaya’s Nihonbashi, Shinjuku and Yokohama stores.

Takashima Fauchon Boutique Nihonbashi
Address: 2-4-1 Nihonbashi, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3211 4111
Open: daily 10am-8pm
(Full details & map)

Bigot (sakura macaroons, Roulee Sakura)

At Bigot, the aromas of baked bread and sweet treats waft throughout the store. Chef and owner, Jiro Fujimori, bakes his bread in the style of Matthew Phillipe Bigot, the man credited with introducing real French bread to Japan. New spring items at Bigot are the ‘Roulee Sakura’ and sakura macaroons. The ‘Roulee Sakura’ is a roll cake made using salt preserved cherry blossoms and a moist cake made with egg whites. The sakura macaroons will delight your tastebuds with the scent-flavour combination of cherry blossoms. Both of these items are only available until the aromatic blooms begin to fall from the trees. Catch them before they’re gone at Bigot Saginuma, Tonton Bigot (Kounandai ), Aux Petites Friandises (Futako-tamagawa) and Bigot Douche France Ginza)

Esprit de Bigot
Address: 2-13-19 Tamagawa-denenchofu, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3722 2336
Open: Mon-Tue, Thur-Sun 8am-7pm, closed Wed
Website: (Japanese only)

Gramercy New York (sakura roll)

Gramercy is a popular western-style sweet store with a New York touch. One of its top selling items is its New York Cheesecake with its characteristically rich cheese flavour. For spring only, Gramercy is selling sakura rolls, which shoppers can see on display at the front of the store. Fresh cream, green tea flavoured adzuki bean paste, regular adzuki bean paste and strawberries are rolled up in a cherry-blossom-flavoured sponge. The exquisite flavour of the cherry blossom combines perfectly with the fresh cream. Gramercy outlets can be found inside Takashimaya’s Nihonbashi, Tamagawa and Yokohama stores, as well as other suburban branches.

Shinjuku Takashimaya
Address: 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5361 2997
Open: daily 10am-8pm
Website: (Japanese only)

Yokumoku Aoyama (sakura cookies)

Yokumoku has been making western-style sweets in Japan since 1942. The shop has earned a reputation for baked goods such as their ‘cigars’, which look just like the real thing. For the spring season, try the sakura cookies, which have a delicate cherry blossom flavour and are couched in cute packaging. They are available in two versions: sakura hana (cherry blossom flowers) and sakura happa (cherry blossom leaves). Sakura hana is a pale pink cookie with cherry blossom petals, and the sugar crystals around the edge of the cookie give it a crunchy texture. Sakura happa is a pale green cookie with specks of preserved cherry blossom leaves throughout. The slightly salty taste of the cherry blossom leaves makes for a good match with the sweetness of the cookie. In addition to the Yokumoku Aoyama store, these cookies are also for the taking at Mitsukoshi (Nihonbashi and Ginza) Takashimaya (Tokyo and Shinjuku), Tokyu Department Store (Shibuya), Shibuya Seibu, Isetan (Shinjuku), Seibu Department Store (Ikebukuro), Tobu Department Store (Ikebukuro) and Matsuya (Ueno, Asakusa and Ginza).

Yokumoku Aoyama
Address: 5-3-3 Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5485 3330
Open: daily 10am-7pm (lounge closes at 11pm, 7pm on Sun and nat. holidays)
Website: (Japanese only)

Wa•Bi•Sa (sakura kahoron cookies)

Wa Bi Sa sells Western style sweets using Japanese ingredients and methods, carrying on in the tradition of Yokumoku. A popular seller is the delicious pudding filled with delicate bubbles, as are the kahoron cookies, which have a delicately crumbly texture. The coming of spring sees a special item in store: sakura kahoron cookies made using cherry blossom powder. The preserved cherry blossom leaves combine with the buttery flavour make for a heavenly cookie.

Address: 5-3-3 Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5485 3330
Open: daily 10am-7pm (lounge closes at 11pm, 7pm on Sun and nat. holidays)
Website: (Japanese only)

Muji (Sakura Cream Sandwich Cookies, Sakura Roll Cake, Sakura Boucheé)

This well-known Japanese brand has a full range of lifestyle gear including clothing, sundries, electronic equipment, furniture and food. It has gained popularity for selling affordable products, which are simple and streamlined. While Muji’s focus is predominantly on household items, Muji also stocks a range of foods too. Sweets for spring are centered around the theme of – what else – cherry blossoms. New items include Sakura Cream Sandwich Cookies made using cream infused with cherry blossom leaves sandwiched between two cookies and topped off with a cherry blossom flower; Sakura Roll Cake made with sponge cake flavoured with cherry blossom flower paste and cherry-blossom-flavoured cream; and Sakura Boucheé comes in a choice of three flavours and has been graced with cherry blossom essence. Also available are popular items from last year making a comeback, such as sakura mochi iri no tora yaki (Japanese pancake sweets with a cherry blossom rice cake filling), cherry blossom green tea bags and cherry blossom green tea. Aside from the Yurakucho outlet, Muji has stores across Tokyo and the rest of Japan.

Muji Yurakucho (Full details & map)

Tokyo Kaikan (sakura yama, sakura anpan)

Tokyo Kaikan is located right next to the Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya, Nijyubashi-mae and Yurakucho stations. Customers can pick up Tokyo Kaikan cakes, cookies, bread and deli items to take home from the Sweet Plaza located on the first floor near the store’s entrance. Popular items include cakes made using seasonal ingredients, and for spring, Tokyo Kaikan is selling sakura yama (cherry blossom mountain) comprised of a light, fluffy meringue with a generous helping of cherry blossom scented mont-blanc cream. Just as its name suggests, it’s a dead ringer for a mountain of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. If you can’t stand the wait to get these irrestible treats home, sakura yama are also on the menu in the café terrace located on the first floor. Another item worth a mention is the sakura anpan, made using white adzuki bean paste, which has been mixed with pieces of cherry blossom turning the paste a lovely shade of pink.

Tokyo Kaikan Sweet Plaza
Address: 1F 3-2-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3215 2126
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-9.30pm, Sat, Sun and nat. holidays 10am-9pm

Fraoula (sakura coup saison)

This petite western-style shop is just a two minute walk from retro Setagaya Station on the Tokyu Setagaya line. Fraoula’s popular (and aptly named) chef Syuichi Sakurai, who worked at Patisserie Madu (Ebisu) as a chef and patissière after training in Paris. Fraoula has a café space, and the seasonal coup saison parfaits are always a big hit. In spring, Fraoula sells sakura coup saison which is sure to be memorable, with its cherry-blossom-flavoured soft cream topped with cotton candy. For take out, try the cherry blossom chocolate or baked treats.

Address: 1-14-17 Setagaya, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5451 0015
Open: Mon, Tue and Thur-Sun 10am-8pm

Isetan Shinjuku (Only I Spring Campaign)

Until Tue March 16, Isetan’s Shinjuku store is holding the ‘Only I Spring Campaign’ in the dedicated food section in the basement first floor. As part of the campaign, shops on this level will help create a spring feel through the use of pastel colours in their displays and decadent sweets. At Miyabian, there are a limited 200 sakura no makie Habutae rice cakes which express the elegant world of springtime and are made by Japanese sweet artisan Norimasa Minagawa. Jyukyu is selling a ‘kyu maro’ set. The ‘maro’ are made from the firm yet less sticky Himeno mochi rice and are carefully steamed and baked producing a light, melt-in-your-mouth type sweet. Each box has eight of both green tea and cherry blossom flavours. They are available until Tue March 16 at Food Collection and from Wed March 17 to Tue March 30 at Kan-no-mi/Imamekashi. (Full details & map)

By Ai Terada
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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