“Sakura-mochi” Differing in Taste and Appearance in East and West
Sakura-mochi, cherry-leaf flavored rice cake, presents the pleasant aroma of cherry leaves and allows us to feel the arrival of spring. Sakura-mochi is a type of sweet offered at the Doll’s Festival, and the word is used as a haiku seasonal word for spring. Did you know that these seasonal treats actually have different variations in Kanto and Kansai areas?
The Kanto-style sakura-mochi is referred to as “Chomeiji-mochi,” with strained sweet bean paste wrapped in a thin pancake made of flour. The origin is said to be that in the Edo era, Shinroku Yamamoto, guard of Chomeiji Temple on the Sumida-gawa River troubled by a large amount of fallen cherry leaves, brined the leaves to wrap cake with. He found his creation extremely delicious and started selling them in front of the temple gate.
The Kansai-style “Domyoji-mochi” was invented in Kyoto and Osaka, based on the idea of Kanto’s Chomeiji-mochi. With coarse sweet bean paste wrapped in the batter made with Domyoji flour and then steamed, the cake features the texture of mochi rice remaining in the batter and its round shape.
The brined cherry leaves not only add flavor to the cake and bring out the sweetness of the bean paste but also offer natural antibacterial properties.