Sakura Mochi (Kansai-style) 関西風桜餅
In Kyoto, this year’s sakura blossoms have begun to fade and fall, pavements are covered in pink petals and streams are covered with them to the extent that the water cannot be seen. The sakura season is not over for foodies though, we may still feast on sakura themed yummies for another few weeks. This is sakura mochi, as it is made down here in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe.
Kansai Style Sakura Mochi
Kansai, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe has it’s own distinct version of sakura mochi. Kanto (Tokyo) style has a pink crepe-like wrapping around the anko (azuki paste), however down here in Kansai, it is typically made with steamed mochi rice formed into a ball.
In terms of taste Kansai-style is quite different in texture, but less in taste. The sakura taste, the salt ‘hit’ and the perfumy fragrance of the salted sakura leaf are the same. It is softer and more chewy and ‘ricey’ than the Kanto variety.
I like both styles very much, usually I prefer Kyoto style to Tokyo, but in this case I think that Kanto style is actually more sophisticated and refined. I can’t think of anything else in Japanese culinary culture in which Kanto-style is more sophisticated. This Kansai-style sakura mochi is more ‘homey’ and country-style.
Both styles are readily available most anywhere in Japan and one sakura mochi is not much more than a bite, so you can easily try both! Both taste wonderful, I would say that if you are enjoying sakura mochi with maccha, Kanto style is a bit more suitable.
See this article for more about Kanto-style sakura mochi , a photo with the anko filling and the history of this wagashi confection.
Some people don’t eat the leaf, but you absolutely must!