What’s the difference? Sakura Mochi, Domyo-ji, Chomei-ji

Wagashi, a light pink-colored rice cake wrapped in a cherry leaf, is a very popular Japanese confectionery available in early spring in Japan.

Cherry blossom-inspired wagashi have different names and appearances, such as ” Sakura Mochi,” “Domyo-ji,” and “Chomei-ji,” depending on the region and store. What are the differences?


What is a Sakura Mochi?

Sakura Mochi is the name of a Japanese confectionery associated with cherry blossoms.

The rice cake, which is light pink like cherry blossoms, is wrapped in a cherry leaf and filled with azuki bean paste.

It is most commonly sold in early spring, but some stores sell it all year round.

Difference between Sakura Mochi, Chomei-ji, and Domyo-ji

Chomyei-ji and Domyo-ji are both a type of Sakura Mochi. They are called separately due to differences in the region where they were invented and the manufacturing process. In some areas and stores, they are sold as “Sakura Mochi” instead of Chomei-ji or Domyo-ji.

About Chomei-ji

◉ Origin:

Chomeiji Temple located along the Sumida River in Tokyo.

It was invented by the gatekeeper of Chomeiji Temple, who was troubled by the falling leaves of cherry trees. The confectionary wrapped in cherry leaves became a very popular product when it was first sold in Edo (now Tokyo). Later, he established a store called “Yamamoto-ya“. It is still popular today as the original Sakura Mochi.

◉ Main ingredients: wheat or rice cake flour, azuki bean paste, etc.

◉ Method:

A lightly baked dough such as flour is used to wrap azuki bean paste, and the dough is then wrapped with salted cherry leaves.

◉ Characteristics: Soft texture like a crepe

About Domyo-ji

◉ Origin:
It is said that the name “Domyoji flour” was given to a preserved food made from glutinous rice processed at the Domyoji temple in Osaka.

Later, rice cake sweets wrapped in azuki bean paste and wrapped with cherry leaves on the outside (so-called “sakura mochi”) came to be called “Domyo-ji” or “Domyo-ji Mochi”.

◉ Main ingredients: glutinous rice, azuki bean paste, etc.

◉ Method:

Dough made from dried and ground glutinous rice flour is steamed. The dough is then flattened, filled with azuki bean paste, formed into a round shape, and wrapped with salted cherry leaves on the outside. The appearance and texture varies depending on the size of the crushed grains, but in general, it looks like rice.

◉ Characteristics: The grains are like rice, and the texture is elastic and sticky.

The unique aroma and taste are due to salted cherry leaves

The unique aroma of sakura mochi is due to the salted cherry leaves.
After the cherry blossoms have fallen, the tender cherry leaves are pickled in salt. The fresh leaves have little aroma, but when pickled in salt, an aromatic ingredient called coumarin is produced. This aromatic component produces a unique aroma and taste called “cherry blossom flavor“.

Are the rolled leaves edible?

The leaves wrapped around the Sakura Mochi can be eaten if they are soft, but do not have to be eaten.

The National Wagashi Association recommends not to eat the cherry blossom leaves. They say that the cherry leaves are used to prevent drying and to add aroma. It is better to remove the leaves and eat only the rice cake itself to enjoy its original flavor.

Coumarin, the aromatic component of cherry leaves, is known to be hepatotoxic. Eating one or two cherry leaves is safe and has no effect on the body. However, if you are worried about liver dysfunction, it is recommended not to eat the leaves.

Cherry blossoms pickled in salt are also lovely looking!

Sakura mochi and other cherry blossom-flavored sweets are sometimes topped with pickled cherry blossoms.

It adds just the right amount of saltiness and a soft floral aroma. The topping of small pink blossoms adds to the gorgeous appearance.

How to make salted cherry blossoms

You can use it as a topping for cookies and other baked goods and cakes, and as a seasoning for salads, fish, chicken, and other flavorings.

Where can you get Sakura mochi ?

From mid-February to late April, you can get Sakura Mochi at various places all over Japan.

If you want to try aromatic sakura mochi, go to
・Japanese confectionery shops
・Sweets section of department stores, etc.

If you want to eat it easily, go to
・Convenience stores

In any case, they are often available in single pieces. The price is also around 100~300 yen per piece.

Spring in Japan is in full bloom in stores with cherry blossom sweets

After Valentine’s Day, you can enjoy easy sakura sweets all over Japan. Coffee chains such as Starbucks, cafes, and convenience stores offer a wide variety of sakura sweets.

Starbucks Japan releases Sakura Frappuccino and other beverages from mid-February to mid-March every year. Image: Sakura Frappuccino in 2022

MUJI will sell sakura sweets again this year.

Even McDonald’s Japan sells Sakura Mochi Pie (2022).

Enjoy a delicious spring full of cherry blossom flavors!

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