Sakura season is upon us, and that means hanami, hanami, hanami. Whether you’re stuck drinking with your boss or you’re viewing the blanket of white and pink above you arm-in-arm with a loved one, cherry blossoms will be part of your life for the coming month.
But Mother Nature is temperamental, so it’s hard to judge (despite forecasts) when the cherry blossoms will hit, or how long they’ll actually last. Have no fear: Tokyo Station has you covered with cherry blossoms that are good enough to eat.
Le Billet, famed for their tasty tarts and their mouth-watering macarons, have a sakura selection of both. The tarte au sakura is slathered in creamy Hokkaido mascarpone with sakura blossoms dotted inside. The sakura macarons are a delicate vanilla and sakura-flavored sugar rush, with a limited edition sakura print on both box and macarons.
Sakura Macarons ¥1,296, Tarte au Sakura ¥642. Available March 15-April 2 at Le Billet Ecute Store lebillet.jp/index.html
For more Japanese tastes, sakura mochi is the quintessential spring confection. Ginza Kanra makes them in Domyoji-style (using rice cake powder called domyoji-ko), which originated in Kansai. The delicate white and pink mochi mounds have shiroan (white bean paste) and koshian (red bean paste) fillings, respectively.
Sakura mochi,¥237. Available until mid-March at Ginza Kanra Tokyo Station Store, www.kanra.co.jp
This blooming sakura rare cheesecake is as pretty as a picture, but far more delicious. Pickled sakura blossoms rest in a layer of gelatin on top of a soft and creamy cheesecake base, balancing out the sweetness.
Blooming Sakura Rare Cheesecake, ¥1,118, Available March 15-April 2 at Hana Syunpoo Ecute Store, www.syumpoo.com/hanasyumpoo
Sakura Sips and Spirits
Dairy giant Koiwai Farm is famed for its high quality cream and butter products and this season’s sakura float is no exception. It’s both creamy and refreshing, with a delightful touch of pink that makes it an extremely Instagram-friendly offering.
Sakura Float, ¥480. Available March 15-April 2 at Koiwai Farm Ecute Store, www.koiwai.co.jp/ecute
What would hanami be without some sauce? Rather than downing chu-hai on a plastic tarp amid the crowds like a pleb, why not do your cherry blossom viewing in your glass? For those with a more sophisticated palate, Tokyo Station Hotel has sakura-inspired martinis and gimlets at retro-chic Camellia Bar and Cafe. Pop into nearby Bar Oak if Bellinis and highballs are your tipples of choice.
Sakura Martini ¥1,650, Sakura Flower Gimlet ¥1,900. Available throughout March at Camellia Bar and Cafe www.thetokyostationhotel.jp