Sakura Mochi 桜餅

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  • Chewy with sweet red bean paste filling, you can now experience the taste of cherry blossom season in Japan by making these sweet pink Sakura Mochi at home. Enjoy the recipe!

    Sakura Mochi on a plate.

    Sakura Mochi (桜餅) is a type of wagashi (Japanese confectionery) made of sweet pink mochi (sweet rice or sometimes called glutinous rice).  It’s usually filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in a salty pickled cherry leaf.

    Sakura means cherry blossoms in Japanese and both flower and leaves are used in Japanese cooking, especially with making sweets.   Sakura mochi is usually eaten on Girl’s Day (known as Hinamatsuri) on March 3rd and enjoyed throughout the spring season in Japan.

    Watch How to Make Sakura Mochi 桜餅の作り方

    Chewy mochi with sweet anko filling is simply delectable! Mix in the aroma of cherry blossom leaves and the experience is simply amazing!

    Now you might wonder why I’m sharing this in September?  Well, large numbers of Just One Cookbook readers actually live in the Southern Hemisphere and they are in the middle of spring!  Yes, I am finally share a “seasonal” recipe just for the other hemisphere.  I’m thinking of you guys!

    I really appreciate readers from Australasia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere putting up with my summer recipes in the middle of your winter.  To be honest, I was actually looking for the sakura leaves back in spring for this recipe but couldn’t find them.  Then I happened to find a vacuumed package of Sakura leaves at the local Japanese grocery store right before our summer break started.  So I waited and waited to post this recipe till Southern Hemisphere hits spring…and now here we are!

    Sakura Mochi on a white plate.

    Various Types of Sakura Mochi

    The style of Sakura Mochi in Japan actually differs by region.  Generally, the east of Japan or Kanto region (Tokyo area) uses shiratamako (sweet rice/glutinous rice flour 白玉粉) as the main ingredient for mochi.  It resembles a mini pancake rolled up.  The west of Japan or Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto etc) uses domyojiko (coarsely broken sweet rice/glutinous rice 道明寺粉) and you can actually see grains of sweet rice, like the one I shared for this recipe.  Domyojiko is cooked sweet rice that is dried and broken up to smaller pieces.  It’s available in Japanese supermarkets but not in Asian grocery stores.

    Important Tips on Making Mochi 

    For this recipe, I actually used regular sweet rice and cooked from scratch.  Then I broke the grains into smaller bits and pieces by pounding the sweet rice.  If you could find domyojiko, go ahead and use it instead since it’ll save you a bit of work.

    Now please remember that Japanese short-grain sweet rice/glutinous rice is NOT same as Thai/Chinese long-grain glutinous rice.   Mochi made of long-grain glutinous rice is more starchy and it’s not the same as Japanese mochi texture (I wouldn’t recommend substituting Japanese glutinous rice with Thai/Chinese variety).

    Sometimes you might see a cherry blossom on top of the Sakura Mochi.  They are pickled just like pickled cherry leaves.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the luck to find them this season so I omitted it.  If you could find them, soak in water to remove the brine and salt, just like how I did it for the leaves.  Decorate the mochi with cherry blossom on top.

    Sakura Mochi on a white plate.

    Sakura Mochi has a nice balance of the taste between the salty pickled leaves and sweet red bean paste.  The texture of the chewy sweet glutinous rice with sweet anko filling is simply deletable.  Mix in the aroma of cherry blossom and the experience is simply amazing!  Make some green tea and enjoy the mochi with it.  Happy Spring!

    Sakura Mochi on a white plate.

    By the way, I’m partnering with Lunch-a-Porter to give away this beautiful lunch box set to two (2) Just One Cookbook readers!  It’s a worldwide giveaway so anyone in the world can enter for a chance to win!  Click here to enter and read more details.

    Bento Box Giveaway | Just One Cookbook

    If you are interested in learning about wagashi, check out Wagashi Guide: History of Japanese Confectioneries.

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

    5 from 1 vote
    Sakura Mochi | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Sakura Mochi
    Prep Time
    40 mins
    Cook Time
    6 mins
    Total Time
    46 mins
    Chewy with sweet red bean paste filling, you can now experience the taste of cherry blossom season in Japan by making these sweet pink Sakura Mochi at home. Enjoy the recipe!
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: cherry blossom, mochi
    Servings: 6 mochi
    Author: Nami
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Sakura Mochi Ingredients
    2. Rinse the sweet rice and soak it for at least 1 hour to overnight.
      Sakura Mochi 0
    3. Soak the sakura leaves in water for 15 minutes to remove salt. Then dry the leaves with paper towel.
      Sakura Mochi 6
    4. Wet your hands and roll anko into 6 small balls between hands.
      Sakura Mochi 5
    5. Drain well and put the sweet rice in a large bowl.
      Sakura Mochi 1-2
    6. Add water and red food coloring and mix well (don’t add too much as the color of the mochi will be too pink. I think I added a little too much.).
      Sakura Mochi 2-1
    7. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 6 minutes. Mix once in between.
      Sakura Mochi 3
    8. Uncover the plastic wrap and mix. Then cover with kitchen towel for 5 minutes.
      Sakura Mochi 4
    9. Add sugar in the sweet rice and mix all together.
      Sakura Mochi 7
    10. Pound the sweet rice with pestle until sweet rice is very sticky (keep some rice shape). Divide the rice into 6 portions.
      Sakura Mochi 8
    11. On the prep surface, place a sheet of plastic wrap and spray a bit of water. Place 1/6 of sweet rice and spread into a rectangular shape. Make sure there is no void in the center area.
      Sakura Mochi 9
    12. Place an anko ball in the center and roll the sweet rice over it to cover anko.
      Sakura Mochi 10
    13. Tighten the plastic wrap and twist to make a nice oval shape.
      Sakura Mochi 11
    14. Lastly wrap with a sakura leaf. Leave it at room temperature for an hour or so till the mochi absorbs the flavors from the sakura leaf. Enjoy!
      Sakura Mochi 12
    Recipe Notes

    Red bean paste (anko): Homemade recipe, click here.


    Pickled sakura leaves: Buy online, click here.


    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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