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Legendary Sakura: Live Vicariously Through These Photos of Japan's Sakura Food Styling

Legendary Sakura: Live Vicariously Through These Photos of Japan's Sakura Food Styling

Date published: 25 March 2020
Last updated: 25 January 2021

Sakura is one of the most special times in Japan. People all around the country pause their busy lives to breathe in the fresh air and take in the vistas of teeming blossoms.

Every year, the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto joins in on this wonderful, fleeting time with a limited edition “Sakura Special”.

Whether for afternoon tea, lunch, cocktails, or souvenirs, the culinary delights mixed with the perfumed fluttering air of sakura will show you why people flock to these events every spring!

Perfect Place to Be to Enjoy Afternoon Tea

Perfect Place to Be to Enjoy Afternoon Tea

The Four Seasons Kyoto boasts a luxurious afternoon tea, with over ten different items. Their service is available from March 16th to April 9, at either noon to 2:30 PM, or 3:00-5:30 PM. The tea service is either available at 5,300 yen per person for the tea service or an additional champagne plan for 6,800 yen. Their sweet lineup consists of Sakura Pain de Gênes, Sakura butter sandwich (a type of cookie made with barely sweetened buttercream between two sable cookies). Sakura roll cake, Verrine of Sakura and plum, and Yuzu macaron finish the sweet portion of the tea service.

The second course of the Afternoon Tea puts a savory twist on the ideals of the spring season. Sakura shrimp, named for their light pink color, join bamboo shoots in a delicate quiche, along with a spring cabbage and plum wine jelly, a mini sakura burger, and fresh spring rolls with firefly squid and seasonal vegetables.

The tea includes their famous fawn-bean scones as well as vanilla scones, with as many lashings of clotted cream as one’s heart could wish. With 18 varieties of European Imported Tea, luxurious single-origin coffee, and a full bar menu available to drink, this is a wonderful way to take in the famous 800-year-old garden and enjoy a meticulously prepared meal.

Sakura Cocktail Bar: Spring-Themed Drinks? Yes Please!

Sakura Cocktail Bar: Spring-Themed Drinks? Yes Please!

There are several limited-time special cocktails to help you add a little festivity to your usual drink date. These beautiful and undeniably delicious cocktails are designed to be as pleasing to the eye as the palate, with decorations of real cherry blossoms rising with sparkling wine. All Sakura Special cocktails are masterfully crafted by the head bartender, coming in all the way from Barcelona. The cocktails are 2,600 yen each and are exclusively available at “The Lounge and Bar” from 6:00pm-midnight.

This year’s special cocktails are as follows:

1. Sakura Blizzard Mojito
This sweet and refreshing drink evokes that almost-summer feeling with just a hint of pink sakura shining through the classic taste of mint. It is designed to look like a cherry tree in full bloom, with a faint pink hue and sakura aroma.

2. Sakura Sake-Tini
For those hoping to upgrade the traditional Japanese liquor, this delightfully light sake-tini is designed to look as if you’re standing under a massive, blooming cherry tree. The addition of the light sakura liqueur gives that faint cherry fragrance that wafts through city streets this time of year.

3. Hanami Spirits
This is a fun and flirty cocktail, designed to evoke the spirit of hanami, the delightful practice of sitting under the cherry trees to gaze through pink and white curtains of blossoms. A little sweeter than some of the other offerings, this light pink drink is especially beloved by young women for its darling presentation and tasteful sweetness.

4. Blossom Sour
This cocktail comes to your table exploding with color. When most people think of Cherry Blossoms, they think of the light pink petals-- but little do they know, there are many different types of cherry blossoms throughout Japan. This drink brings all the cousins together, with yellow, pink, and white blossoms sprinkled throughout this twist on a classic sour.

5. Smokey Old Fashioned
For those who like a simple new twist on an old-fashioned favorite, this cocktail is an impressive innovation. Starting with the Four Seasons’ expertly crafted Old-Fashioned, the cocktail is then smoked with cherry wood chips to infuse the liquor with just that hint of sweet among the smoky, bitter tones.

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch is available at the Brasserie, the beautiful restaurant overlooking the ancient garden and pond at the heart of Four Seasons Kyoto. This prix-fixe menu is five courses plus coffee or tea. Each course showcases a different ingredient famous for its role in the coming of spring, from the bioluminescent tender Firefly Squid to charred Sakura Trout with spring cabbage and rape blossoms. This course is available every day from March 12th to April 16th, from 11:30-2:30 PM. It costs 6800 yen per person, and the five delectable courses are as follows:
Firefly Squid and Scallop Tartare
Sakura Shrimp Consommé
Sakura Trout Confit
Roasted Veal
Cherry Blancmange
Coffee or tea

Lounge Service

Lounge Service

In addition, the more casual lounge Kaeduki is the Four Seasons’ famous tearoom on the banks of the legendary Kyoto pond. You can prepare Sakura Ice cream as you sip from any of the tearoom’s traditional Japanese blends, like the light green sencha or heartier roasted Houjicha. There are very few places better to enjoy a cup of perfectly prepared tea, a traditional Sakura-themed sweet, and the romance of a Tokyo spring afternoon. The lounge is open from 2:00-9:00pm from March 16-April 12th, and the entrance fee of 2,500 yen includes your tea.

Take-Home Service:
Looking for a small souvenir to remind you of the flavors and aromas of cherry-blossom season? The Four Seasons Kyoto’s bakery has prepared a selection of treats especially for guests to bring home to their envious families, or as a special thank you to those you love upon your return. These tasty baked goods are beautifully packaged to make the perfect gift. Choose from the:
・Sakura Galette (300 yen)
・Sakura Pound Cake (2,000 yen)
・Sakura Madeleine (200 yen)
・Cherry Guimauve (400 yen)
・Sakura Berry Meringue (600 yen)

Want to bring luxury to your tour group or company gathering?

Want to bring luxury to your tour group or company gathering?

No problem! Four Seasons Kyoto’s seasonal banquet plan brings the beauty of Japanese culinary tradition into the modern-day gathering! Available from 30 people, this plan includes a guided tour of the garden area, as well as a special bento box and a welcome (non-alcoholic) sakura cocktail. All-you-can-drink plans are also available on this option. This plan can be purchased through the banquet reservations department, and is a steal at 6,000 yen per person for the basic plan. It only goes from March 1 to April 30, so catch it while you can.

No matter how you choose to take in the Sakura, the Four Seasons Kyoto offers an impressive place to do it. This beautifully designed hotel combines stylish, modern architecture with the essence of Japanese traditional beauty. The famous garden is a historical landmark, with a rich history dating back over 800 years to one of the earliest stories in Japan.

Tucked away in a magical oasis where bamboo tower over your head, there is truly no better place to take in the cherry blossom season in all its fresh, fleeting, gorgeous glory.

  • Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
    フォーシーズンズホテル京都
    • Address 445-3 Myohoin Maekawacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0932
    • Phone Number 075-541-8288

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Written by:

HanaSara Ito

HanaSara Ito

HanaSara Ito is a writer, actor, and educator born in Japan and raised in the U.S.A. She loves writing about her experiences across Japan, and hopes everyone enjoys the beautiful amalgam of novelty and tradition that defines modern Japan. Happy trails!

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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