Posts Tagged ‘Baskin Robbins’

Get a taste of spring with cherry blossom-inspired goods

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

sakuracombo2All of Japan will soon be in the pink as the country celebrates the sacred sakura with picnics and drinking sessions underneath the cherry trees

Part of the hanami tradition includes eating cherry blossom-flavored snacks, including classics such as sakura mochi. Now the number of sakura-themed goods are blossoming as more and more major corporations jump on board with their own snacks and items. Here’s a taste of some of the items on shelves now.


This season Starbucks isn’t roasting just coffee beans but cherry petals with its sakura chiffon cake. You can also wash down the sugary treat with even more sugar — either strawberry sakura lattes or strawberry sakura frappuccinos.

If you want to experience spring all year round, you can also pick up Starbucks’ cherry blossom-themed mugs and tumblers. Get a move on; these sell out fast.

Kimura Drink

Now that you have your sakura mug, why not fill it up with Kimura Drink’s sakura cola? This fizzy concoction contains the extract of real sakura leaves for an authentic taste of spring.

Worth noting that Kimura Drink has previously launched sodas with curry, tomato and wasabi flavors so they clearly know what they’re doing.

Suntory Chu-hi

If you want something with more of a kick, Suntory has got you covered with their sakura flavored chu-hi (a canned alcoholic drink consisting of shochu and fruit juice.)

Suntory’s chu-hi drink is made with real Sato Nishiki cherries and sakura liqueur. At 4 percent alcohol, it’s about half as strong as most shochu drinks, giving it a light, sweet and fragrant taste.

Sanktgallen beer

If sake or chu-hi is a little strong for your taste, you can always go with the more refined option of this sakura-mochi beer. This beer uses much less hops than your average beer and balances it out with flavors inspired by sakura-mochi — a traditional spring treat consisting of rice cake and bean paste wrapped in a cherry leaf.

This delicious beer is produced by Sanktgallen, a microbrewery based in Kanagawa Prefecture, who insists on using only the famous Takato cherry blossoms from Nagano Prefecture in its sakura beer brewing process.


In the past McDonald’s has released a sakura burger, but this year they are keeping it simple.

Available now are the sakura soda, sakura float and ume fries. While the soda is just what it sounds like, the fries are more interesting. Probably inspired by its successful chocolate fries, the side comes with plum powder, which should be put on the fries and liberally shaken.

Kit Kats

It’s well-known that Nestle saves its wacky flavors for Japan. In the past the company has created a variety of Kit Kat flavors ranging from pumpkin to, yes, cherry blossom.

This year it is trying something new with pistachio and raspberry-flavored Kit Kats that come in a spring-themed box along with a sakura keychain. The company says, naturally, that the new flavor is the “perfect” hanami treat.

Lindt Chocolate

For a more sophisticated sakura treat, Lindt is rolling out its sakura macarons. The treat is filled with a cherry puree ganache. Its special macarons are available until April 12 and the company’s Lindt Chocolate Cafes.

And if that wasn’t sweet enough, Lindt also has a white chocolate cherry ice drink. Its topped with white chocolate shavings and cherry syrup.

Calbee’s sakura butter chips

Sakura butter might sound like an odd flavor, but if you’ve ever had sakura shortbread cookies, then you’ve already experienced it. What does it taste like in the form of a chip? That’s for you to find out.

Calbee has never shied away from strange flavors as it has produced shrimp, pizza and okonomiyaki chips in the past.

Red Bull

In case you need some pep in your step at the hanami party, Red Bull has a Japan exclusive for you.

Its “spring” drink, featuring a bright pink can, will keep you out of a food coma. Grab a couple of these in case your party heads off to an izakaya once the sun sets.

Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins is doing something really special this time around. After a 24-year hiatus it is finally bringing back its sakura salted ice cream.

The ice cream contains real sakura leaves and a hint of sea salt to contrast the light, sweet floral taste. It’s available till the end of May, so stop by your local Baskin Robbins and scoop it up.

But wait! There’s more …

You’re sure to be a hit at the hanami parties if you show up in Nike’s sakura shoes. The modern kicks have a traditional look with prints that somewhat resemble suibokuga (Japanese ink wash paintings).

The sakura line is available as skate shoes, sneakers and even high tops. So whether you’re on a short jog or taking it to the courts, you can do it while decked out in your sakura swag.

Need to have that spring feeling wherever you go? You can bring sakura experience with Itoman’s cherry blossom toilet paper.

Itoman’s cherry blossom toilet paper.

Itoman’s cherry blossom toilet paper.

This sakura toilet paper is covered with sakura print, making your trip to the bathroom almost as great as a hanami party.

Happy hanami!

Hunting a golden Easter egg in Japan

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

During Easter, Disneyland is one of the few places you'll see Easter eggs in Japan

Though most Japanese are familiar with and celebrate Christmas and Halloween (as consumers at least), Easter has yet to impinge on the national conciousness in the same way. But it seems that Disney wants to do something about that. Since 2010 the company has been holding the Disney Easter Wonderland event which involves a parade and an egg hunt. So can Disney ignite interest in Easter in Japan?

According to a survey by Trend Souken, awareness of what Easter is all about is highest among women. In a survey of 300 people in their 20s and 30s, 49 percent of women said they had some idea of what Easter was about, compared to just 37 percent of men. However, what they think it’s about has far more to do with Disney’s message than the religious meaning of Easter. When asked what sprang to mind when they heard the word “Easter,” 89 percent checked “eggs.” Other items were “painting colorful eggs” (64 percent); “spring” (46 percent); “rabbit” (32 percent); and “egg hunt” (25 percent).

Religious connotations don’t really register in this survey report, which is good news for marketers. If more Japanese can be made aware of the fluffy side of Easter, then they’ll be more opportunities to sell cute Easter items and experiences. To some extent the market is already there, at least in Tokyo: 30 percent of respondants said that they had purchased such things as chocolate Easter eggs and in terms of Easter events, 23 percent said that they had participated in egg painting.

Though the potential is there for Japan, or at least its major cities, to adopt Easter in the same way that Halloween has been embraced, along with all the yummy sales opportunities that come hand in hand with that, domestic companies have yet to get behind this drive. Disney is leading this push, followed by Baskin Robbins’ Wonderful Easter campaign, offering Easter ice creams that come in an egg-shaped cups and two special Easter ice cream flavors. This year the foreign-owned Peninsula Hotel has also got in on the act and is selling chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies at its boutique cafe.

And beyond that? Not much is popping up on Pulse’s radar. Though this survey seems to indicate that young Japanese consumers are ready to spend money in the name of yet another foreign tradition, are Japanese companies ready to take the leap of, um, faith.


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