Feeling Nostalgic: Limited Edition Spring in Kyoto

Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.

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Jennie here.

Hanami season (or cherry blossom season) is the most iconic time to visit Japan, as cherry blossoms symbolize the transience of all living things.

The first thing I associate hanami season with is Ivan. We met back in 2009, when we were both 20 years old and somehow, through a series of strange events, started dating at the beginning of spring in Kyoto.

The second, and more important thing I associate spring with are all the seasonal, limited edition snacks. Like the cherry blossoms, some of these snacks were only around for about two weeks before they disappeared from the shelves. In some cases, never to return:

Spring time in Kyoto was filled with sakura ice cream, sakura mochi, and Yebisu...

Sakura ice cream - Source:  Travel Caffiene Blog

Sakura ice cream - Source: Travel Caffiene Blog

  • Sakura ice cream. It’s an understatement to say that I LOVE sakura ice cream. During my first (and so far only) hanami season in Japan, I stuffed my face with more than 20 sakura ice cream cones. By the end of April, I remember desperately dragging Ivan all over Kyoto to find the few remaining vendors that had this elusive treat. It got so bad, I remember bursting into tears when the last ice cream vendor told me that the season was over.    



  • Sakura-mochi (Cherry blossom mochi). These handmade and fluffy mochi are filled with sakura cherry blossom paste and wrapped in a fragrant cherry tree leaf. Need I say more? I remember eating these and sitting along the river, watching the cherry blossom petals drift into the water.

Yebisu beer. - Source:  sapporobeer.jp/  Fun trivia fact - the character/sound "YE" (YEH) doesn't exist in the Japanese language today.

Yebisu beer. - Source: sapporobeer.jp/
Fun trivia fact - the character/sound "YE" (YEH) doesn't exist in the Japanese language today.

  • Yebisu beer. This one is kind of a cheat because it doesn't actually taste like sakura, but every year Yebisu beer does a cherry blossom design on its cover. If you've never heard of Yebisu beer - that’s because they don’t sell it here in the U.S.  However, it is one of my favorite beers while living abroad. Some of my best memories were of outdoor picnics, drinking Yebisu along the Kamagawa river with friends and strangers.

It’s been 8 years now since my first hanami season with Ivan but I can still remember those long walks and bike rides through various temples and districts -- trying to search for that last sakura ice cream of the season. It was the beginning of something so fresh and vibrant in our lives.

It makes me sad that we can never go back again.