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Kitamachi Design Lab

Sakura and Sakuramochi

You will never know how important cherry blossoms are for us Japanese.

Honestly I had never realized it until several years ago.
When I was young I didn’t think about cherry blossoms so much, it was just one of the signs of spring.
When I was young I was attracted to showier flowers with strong characteristics such as roses and tulips.
When I was younger than that, I was not interested in flowers at all.

I have heard people say that women get interested in flowers when they get older because their own beauty fades. Flowers are like compensation for that. I don’t know if this is true or not.
But indeed, there are no flower arrangers who are particularly beautiful.

Cherry blossoms are not only beautiful but also herald the start of spring, and it makes us feel refreshed.

Anyway cherry blossoms are very Japanese flowers in terms of  that they don’t display strong characters such as a variety of colors or shapes. The beauty of it is frail,  though the inside of the tree itself is strong and lives hundreds of years.

One more significant point is that the blooming season is very short. It’s only for around two weeks.
If we miss it, we have to wait for another year.

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frail but strong

This urges people to go cherry blossom viewing.

Famous cherry blossom viewing spots are like this on the weekend.
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Aside from the chaos caused by cherry blossoms, they are not only beautiful but actually delicious!

Cherry blossom is not only beautiful but delicious.

There are some famous Japanese sweets made with cherry leaves.
We call them Sakuramochi.
Sakura means cherry blossom, and mochi means rice cake.
Surprisingly enough there are two types of Sakuramochi born from Japan’s two major cities.
One is Tokyo, the Japanese capital, and  the other is Osaka, the second biggest city located in western Japan.

These two types of Sakuramochi have different names respectively.
Sakuramochi in Tokyo is called Choumeiji, and Osaka, Doumyouji.
Both are named after famous old temples. Ji means temple.

In the picture below, we can see Choumeiji on the left, and Doumyouji on the right.
Both are confusingly called Sakuramochi in local areas, so if people in Tokyo go to Osaka, and try to buy Sakuramochi they will get something different ones from what they want, and vice versa.
Nevertheless, both of them are very delicious.

These sweets are also only available during cherry blossom season, so if we miss our chance to eat we have to wait for another year.

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Two types of Sakuramochi

 

 

 

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