Top 10 Sakura Items for 2020 🌸 This Year's Best Cherry Blossom Treats & Souvenirs!

Nationwide Culture Sakura 2020.03.17
Love Japan's sakura season? Wish you could make the very most of Tokyo's cherry blossoms, or bring a little of the blooms surrounding Osaka Castle home with you? Here are our 10 favorite sakura (cherry blossom) items of spring 2020!

① Sakura Kit Kats (& Other Chocolates)

  • The arrival of sakura season in Japan means a whole wave of new, excitingly pink floral products and sweet new snack flavors. You know it's time to start the search, though, when you see new packaging and flavors for (that's right) Kit Kats! While chocolate and cookie brands of all kinds hop onto this bandwagon, Kit Kats in Japan are obviously known for their wild flavors and unique gimmicks, so there's no way they'd miss out on the opportunity each year to go in the sakura direction.
  • This year the company went for a few different concepts, from sakura packaging with spots designated for writing sweet messages of encouragement, to these bags (inspired by a popular Japanese drama) made out of a strong paper material, which can be cut and folded like origami into the shape of a traditional Japanese protection charm.
  • "Yeah, yeah," we hear you saying, "but what about the new limited-edition seasonal flavors!?"

    Well, no worries, there are at least three of those for 2020. The earliest release was this sakura/kinako flavor, which combines the sweet, floral notes of cherry blossom with the nutty flavor of Japanese soybean powder. Also on the shelves this year: sakura mochi flavor (cherry blossom rice cake + red bean) and sakura Japanese sake (traditional Japanese sake, or nihonshu, with hints of cherry blossom).

② Sakura Sheet Masks (& Other Beauty Products)

  • It's hard for us to say how effective "sakura extract" is as a part of beauty serums, but it sure does seem to make its way inside a lot of products every spring, and the cute pink packaging and floral scents in a lot of products are pretty appealing!

    This year we were most intrigued by these facial sheet masks from Saborino, which come in a pretty convenient multi-mask (28-sheet) package, and are specially marketed as "morning masks." The idea is that you put one onto a clean face as the first step of your morning routine, and leave it on for just 60 seconds. The masks have a fruity scent, with just a touch of menthol, so they certainly have that "wake up mask" effect!
  • Lookin' good and feelin' fresh, thanks to sakura!

③ Sakura Royal Milk Tea

  • Walking down the aisle in the grocery store, we noticed this popular brand of milk tea in unusual, limited-edition seasonal pink packaging, and we knew we had to pick some up to sample for ourselves. Creamy, instant milk tea and sweet sakura flavor - if that sounds good to you, you're going to like these little packets of instant tea from Royal Milk Tea. The tea can be made hot or cold, which is nice for sakura season when weather can fluctuate between warm and cool. We think the individual packets also make them a convenient souvenir (if you don't end up just hoarding them for yourself), especially for large groups of friends or offices.

④ Sakura Bath Powder (& Other Bath Products)

  • Even with the sakura season just beginning, we've already seen our fair share of sakura-scented soaps, shampoos, and miscellaneous bath products in stores. What really caught our eye, however, was this unique bundle of bath powder called Sakura no Hanayu (桜の花湯, or sakura flower water) from bath product brand Charley.
  • The flashy packaging might look like it surrounds a big, single-use bath bomb, but it's actually simpler (and probably less messy) than that: inside are three tea-bag-style packs of bath powder scented with the fragrance of weeping sakura (we still aren't sure of the shape of the trees' branches really has an effect on the scent or not, but...)

⑤ Sakura Tsujiri Matcha Milk

  • The brand Tsujiri (辻利) hails from Uji, Kyoto - an area famous for its matcha products - so it's no surprise they came out with this seasonal drink that combines the rich flavor of green tea, and an aroma of sweet sakura. It's definitely a fun treat, and the flavors don't get much more Japanese than this! Since it comes in larger bags of loose drink mix, we'd recommend it for committed matcha lovers everywhere.

⑥ Sakura Mintia Mints

  • While sakura-flavored products usually lean towards floral sweetness, we found these Mintia mints appealing because their flavor profile leans more towards fruity, with just a hint of tart cherry.
  • Of course, the tiny little sakura blossoms embossed on the surface were pretty endearing as well.

⑦ Sakura Green Tea

  • For a bit of refreshing sakura flavor without any of the sweetness, though, we recommend you look for bottles of standard green tea... with sakura. We found this nice unsweetened bottle of sakura green tea at the grocery store, and you're likely to find other brands coming out with similar products (green tea with just a touch of floral sakura aroma) as we hit peak cherry blossom season.

⑧ Sakura Curry

  • When we sent this product home with our photographer to take nice homey pictures of, he came back the next day... traumatized. We had neglected to tell him just what to expect when he went to open the pouch and pour it onto the plate, and, as if he were telling us a horror story, he explained that "instead of normal brown curry, bright pink liquid started leaking from where I was cutting the pouch..."

    In the end, despite the distinctly pink color, the instant Japanese curry inside the pouch did indeed taste like curry, with just the faintest hint of sakura aroma. Take it home to shock your friends with surprise pink curry, too!

⑨ Sakura Karinto (& Other Traditional Japanese Snacks)

  • If you've never had karinto of any kind before, you really must try them while you're in Japan. The traditional snacks are fried till crunchy, and (traditionally) coated with a coat of brown sugar. In terms of texture and flavor, they are in many ways the caramel popcorn of Japan, and certainly equally (if not more) delicious.

    The sugary-crunchy-sweet snacks have a surprisingly light texture, which makes them a pretty good match for the seasonal sakura flavoring. We picked these up, along with some other unusual karinto flavors, at Nihonbashi Nishiki Norin, a store specializing in gourmet traditional Japanese snacks.

⑩ Sakura Starbucks Lattes (& Other Chain Cafe Drinks)

  • There's one variety of sakura treat that really can't be taken home and given to others (making it a good choice for indulging yourself while you're here in Japan), and that's specialty cafe drinks! We managed to snag a cup of Starbucks' first sakura drink of the season, the flowery pink Sakura Milk Pudding Frappuccino, which was indeed just as sweet and creamy as you'd hope from a pudding drink!
  • For this frappuccino, Starbucks also created a special AR camera website, complete with blooming cherry tree, which worked... to a questionable extent. Of course, this was certainly not the only specialty sakura drink offered by cafes and coffee shops in 2020! (And not even the only one offered by Starbucks!)
  • Image Sources: Nana's Green Tea Official Website, Dotour Official Website

    Establishments big and small get in on the theme every year, so if you see a trendy little cafe, you might just find a fun little sakura drink there, too. But big chains certainly can't escape the pull, with reasonable coffee shop Doutor offering a special sakura coffee blend, and Nana's Green Tea (normally a green-tea themed cafe) coming out with a whole series of sakura & strawberry sweets. Even Belgian chocolatier Godiva has a special "Chocolixir Sakura" (ショコリキサー さくら) just for the 2020 season.


So, which of these gloriously sakura-full items of 2020 do you find most appealing? Which do you plan to bring home for friends, and which do you plan to hog all to yourself this spring? Let us know on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


For more on sakura this year, check out:

🌸Our 2020 Cherry Blossom Map
🌸Japanese Sakura You Can See in Autumn!
🌸A Guide to Some of the Best Sakura Spots in Japan
🌸The Best Amusement Park for Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)
🌸A Sakura-Themed Japanese Spring Makeup Look, Courtesy of Japanese Cosmetics Brand Can Make

and more!

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