SoraNews24’s crack reporter might miss all cherry blossom season with a food coma, but it’s still worth it to enjoy three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of sweets!

With the sakura now blooming, it’s time for cherry blossom viewing parties, or hanami, as it’s called in Japanese. Most of the time, hanami takes place under the branches of the cherry trees in a park, which means that the parties are generally potluck affairs, and we think we’ve found the ultimate thing to bring to be a hanami hero among your friends or coworkers.

Tokyo’s Ginza Kimuraya bakery chain was founded in 1930, and one of its most popular items is the humble anpan, an unassuming roll of bread with anko (sweet bean paste) filling.

▼ Kimuraya’s original branch in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood

This being sakura season, Kimuraya is offering a special sakura anpan, with salted cherry blossoms placed across the top of the bun.

That’s a seasonal treat that a lot of Japanese bakeries offer at this time of year, but what’s considerably harder to find at Kimuraya’s competitors…

…is a gigantic anpan that’s 50 times the size of the normal standard palm-sized version!

▼ Taking on his second giant dessert assignment of the month, Mr. Sato has never looked happier.

As you might expect, the idea to eat this crazily huge pastry came from our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato (who’s also crazy, though not particularly large of frame). He’d actually heard about Kimuraya selling the tokudai anpan (“giant anpan”) last year, but waffled on buying one (perhaps because he’d already filled up on waffles) and missed his chance. This year, though, he made sure to save time and stomach-space for the tokudai anpan.

The tokudai anpan must be reserved at least three days in advance, and is ony available at Kimuraya’s original location in Ginza. Once his order was ready, Mr. Sato made his way across town to pick it up, then carried the three-kilogram (6.6-pound) bun to the subway station and rode back to Shinjuku before carrying his heavy, and sweet, load to SoraNews24 headquarters.

Unwrapping the plastic packaging sent an enticing salty sweet sakura scent free in our office. Like most pastries, anpan is supposed to be finger food, and so Mr. Sato carefully gripped the tokudai anpan, took a bite…

…and achieved such a state of decadent dessert bliss that it nearly brought tears to his eyes.

Despite its size, the tokudai anpan’s bread is as soft and fluffy as that of its standard-scale counterparts.

Sadly, we had to restrain him from continuing to cram his face into all that tempting anpan, so that we could slice the bun in half for a cross-section, which revealed two layers of sweet bean jam and a surprisingly deep reservoir of sakura at the center.

But even Mr. Sato’s legendarily large appetite isn’t big enough to eat the entire tokudai anpan all by himself, and those of us who were lucky enough to be in the office that day were the lucky beneficiaries of his eyes-bigger-than-stomach madness.

At 7,700 yen (US$72), the tokudai anpan isn’t the cheapest dessert, but it’s an undeniably memorable way to enjoy eating sakura while you look at them.

Bakery information
Ginza Kimuraya (Ginza branch) / 銀座木村屋(銀座本店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-5-7
Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he firmly believes that anko makes everything better.

[ Read in Japanese ]