Local chain from Harajuku proves it can cherry blossom with the best of them.

When it comes to sakura drinks in Japan, the Frappuccinos and lattes from Starbucks tend to steal the spotlight every year, but a number of other chains also have limited-edition cherry blossom drinks that are equally impressive.

One such chain is Doutor, a coffee shop born in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district in 1980. This chain has been offering sakura drinks and sweets for many years now, and one of its most popular seasonal items is its “Sakura” blend of coffees.

For our reporter Mariko Ohanabatake, however, the must-try item in the range is the signature drink, the Iced Sakura Au Lait Tailored with Sakura Mochi (580 yen [US$3.85]).

This drink has a gorgeous pink hue to get you in the mood for cherry blossom season, and it contains pieces of sakura-flavoured warabi mochi, a traditional sweet made with bracken root starch. The chewy texture provided by these jiggly bits is reminiscent of Starbucks’ current sakura drinks, which contain hanami dango pieces.

▼ Doutor’s sakura drink has significantly less whipped cream on top, though, and a swirl of cherry blossom paste and a dash of matcha powder to finish.

The main body of the drink has a milky sweetness with a subtle sakura flavour, but the main highlight is the cherry blossom-flavoured warabi mochi at the bottom, which are far more chewy and delicious than Mariko had anticipated.

Warabi mochi and cherry blossoms are a divine combination, blurring the lines between drink and dessert in a delightful way.

Because pink is the colour of the season, Mariko recommends adding another item to your order — the Camembert & Shrimp Gratin Milan Sandwich (580 yen).

Though not officially part of the sakura menu, this sandwich is a great alternative to the sweets, with the pink shrimp matching the mood of the season and the colour of the drink.

Containing a large mound of camembert cheese, alongside plump shrimp, white sauce, and macaroni, this is a filling side that’s great for a light lunch.

The flavour of the crispy bread goes perfectly with the hot gratin filling, but as is the case with many of the chain’s seasonal items, it’s only available for a limited time while stocks last so you’ll want to get in quick to enjoy this combination.

So next time you’re wondering if you should make another trip to Starbucks to buy their sakura Frappuccinos and lattes for the umpteenth time, why not explore some more local options like Doutor instead? What you’ll find may surprise you!

Related: Dotour
Photos ©SoraNews24 
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]