I was a little unfortunate on my last trip to Japan; it was raining quite hardly when I visited Kawazu to witness the infamous cherry blossom festival. Luckily, there are food stalls to relieve my disappointment. Basically, everything I tried was delicious, but Sakura taiyaki really surprised me.
Location: Kawazu, Izu Peninsula, Japan
Price: ¥300 per piece
Japan is popular of its Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing in the spring time. However, the cherry blossom trees in Kawazu are special, as they start to bloom in mid February and last until early March.
Food stalls are spreading along the way, on the alley of sakura trees, as Japanese people have a culture of ‘hanami’–enjoying the full bloom of cherry blossom trees while eating together. Most of them were closed on the rainy day, but some remained open. I tried yakitori (skewered chicken) and some seafood skewers before laying my eyes to the pink coloured Japanese fish shaped cake known as taiyaki.
I have always been fond of this humble dessert with red bean paste filling. However, I nearly canceled my intention to buy the cake as I thought there was nothing special about it, aside from its pink colour–which is not my favourite colour.
In the end, I decided to give it a go and surprised by the fact that it was exceptional. The pink cake has an incredibly pleasant chewy texture that I have never found in other taiyaki cakes. I could not distinguish the flavour of Sakura in it, but I really loved the texture and taste.
PS: There are plenty of food with Sakura essence sold in the omiyage zones. They give free samples, so that you can decide which food suits your taste. If you are brave enough, I recommend you to try Sakura tea 😉