A box of doughnuts like no other.

With the buds now forming on sakura trees, hanami flower-viewing season is yet to get into full swing, but in stores around the country, the cherry blossoms are already blooming.

One place where the blossoms are particularly beautiful is over at Mister Donut, the country’s top doughnut chain. They bring out a Sakura Mochi Donut series every year, but this time they’ve outdone themselves with a range of four doughnuts that take you on a journey from bud to beyond full bloom.

We were keen to taste the life cycle of a sakura, so we picked up a box to try them all, starting with the first stage: Tsubomi.

▼ “Tsubomi” means “bud” in Japanese.

This doughnut is dusted in a light coating of sugary kinako (roasted soybean powder), while on the underside of the doughnut is a sweet glaze.

Taking a look at the cross-section, you can clearly see that the dough is pink, and one bite reveals it’s filled with the delicious flavour of cherry blossoms. The combination of chewy dough and sticky glaze actually makes you feel like you’re eating a sakuramochi sweet, adding an extra element of fun and celebration to every bite.

The subtle yet distinct sakura flavour was a great introduction to the blossoming cycle, which continues with the next doughnut: 50 Percent Bloom.

▼ The blossoms halfway to full bloom are beautifully represented with a doughnut half-dipped in chocolate.

While the coating on the outside is made with strawberry-flavoured chocolate, the inside of the doughnut is filled with a cherry-flavoured whipped cream. This amps up the sakura flavour slightly, creating a moderate cherry blossom taste that’s both delicious and in keeping with the blooming stage it represents.

▼ The next stage in the blooming process is “mankai” or “full bloom“.

This doughnut goes all out with a pink sakura glaze and topping, which gives it the most intense cherry blossom flavour of all. It’s also the sweetest, especially when compared to to the final doughnut in the series: Hazakura.

Hazakura” (literally “Leaf Sakura“) describes a cherry blossom tree in leaf, after the blossoms have fallen. This stage is represented by a brown-green bean paste glaze that contains pickled cherry blossom leaves, giving it a hint of sakura flavour, with a slight saltiness.

As we finished our final bite of doughnut, we were left feeling full, satisfied, and impressed by the journey of flavours in this range. It was a fun and flavour-filled experience that was well worth the hunt we had to go on to find them, as these doughnuts were so popular they’d sold out at a lot of stores.

All the doughnuts are priced at 172 yen (US$1.27) for takeout, except the Tsubomi, which is priced at 151 yen. We highly recommend trying them all, though, in a set that Mister Donut calls the Cherry Blossom Enjoyment Set, which contains all four doughnuts for 667 yen (takeout only).

The doughnuts will be on the menu from 22 February until late March at Mister Donut stores around the country.

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