Japanese Festival Foods in March and April

11:02 03/27/2024

Japan is famous not only for its majestic natural scenery with tourist attractions such as Mount Fuji, Tokyo Tower, and Himeji Castle but also for its cultural heritage preserved for thousands of years and expressed through festivals.

Therefore, each season, each month, in each region, people celebrate and express their gratitude to the gods through festivals. Because of this characteristic, each festival has its unique culinary imprint.

This March, Japan welcomes festivals such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Omizutori Water Drawing Festival, and the Doll Festival. So what are the typical dishes that will be available during the festival season this March? Let's go through the most typical dishes with GoEMON!

1. Hishimochi

The Doll Festival is the first festival celebrated by the Japanese people and Hishimochi is the traditional rice cake eaten during this occasion. The main ingredient is rice, which is molded into various shapes with three main colors: white, green, and pink, colored from rice, mugwort, and jasmine flowers. Each color of the cake has its meaning, with white symbolizing winter, green symbolizing the life of early spring, and pink symbolizing the cherry blossom fragrance.

Source image: kyoo_cool

The sweet flavor of the cake brings a comfortable and pleasant feeling to the eater. You can also enjoy this dish with tea to enhance its characteristic flavor!

2. Chirashizushi

This dish is called "messy sushi" by the Japanese because it is a bowl of rice topped with vinegar and many other ingredients. Although it may seem messy, it is a random arrangement to create harmony and the most attractive and delicious overall color.


Source image: kamehouse.syd

The ingredients of the dish are also carefully selected from many quality ingredients such as tuna, crab roe, salmon, vegetables, etc., which are arranged in a ratio of 1:1.5. Unlike other traditional sushi which are molded into different shapes, Chirashizushi is arranged in a bowl and then all the ingredients are mixed.

The dish is a combination of the sweet and nutty taste of rice, the salty taste of fish, the creamy taste of eggs, and the refreshing taste of vegetables. The way to enjoy this dish is also quite special as diners have to use chopsticks to pick up small pieces into their rice bowl to ensure they can taste the flavor of the dish as well as be polite when eating with others.

The Japanese also believe the dish will bring good luck and prosperity when enjoyed together.

3. Hanami Bento

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Hanami Bento is a lunch box prepared for cherry blossom viewing picnics and spring outings. The lunch box will be decorated according to the taste and preferences of each person. Usually, the lunch box will be decorated meticulously with beautiful shapes with the main ingredient being rice and side dishes such as seaweed, eggs, sausages, tuna, etc.

4. Sakura Mochi

Cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan, so it is no stranger to dishes made from cherry blossoms. Sakura Mochi is also one of them, which is eaten by the Japanese people in early spring, specifically the cherry blossom festival at the beginning of the year throughout the country. With its characteristic bright pink color like cherry blossoms and the sweet red bean paste filling, the mochi has a fresh, soft, and sweet taste.

Source image: rakkohomemade

Similar to other rice cakes made from rice flour and glutinous rice, this dish is also very suitable when enjoyed with matcha. The combination of the sweet taste of mochi and the bitter taste of matcha creates harmony in the taste of Japanese cuisine.

Above are 4 typical dishes in the March and April festival season in Japan. Please comment and let GoEMON know what other dishes GoEMON has not mentioned yet!