Traditional flavours make hanami flower-viewing more captivating than ever before.

McDonald’s knows how to cater to local tastes in Japan, releasing a series of special exclusives throughout the year that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Now, as we approach sakura season and people around the country take part in the Japanese custom of hanami or “flower-viewing”, the chain is outdoing itself again, honing in on the traditional nature of the event with a new series of drinks and sweets, and a commercial set in a tea ceremony room to bring it all together.

The new range will be available at the chain’s McCafe branches, with the two star drinks being the Uji Matcha Frappe, a mainstay on the menu, and the Adzuki Milk Frappe, a brand new menu item.

The popular Uji Matcha Frappe (470 yen [US$3.17]) is made with matcha powder sourced from the esteemed region of Uji in Kyoto, with milk added to give it a gentle sweetness and richness, and a whipped cream topping and dusting of matcha powder to finish.

The Adzuki Milk Frappe (490 yen) contains a blend of milk and adzuki red bean paste in the body of the drink, with more beans on top, surrounded by a swirl of whipped cream and matcha powder.

Joining these beverages on the menu for a limited time is another very Japanese menu item — the Yuzu Macaron (190 yen), a brand new offering that contains the refreshing flavour of yuzu.

Those wanting a warming beverage can opt for the brand new Vanilla Uji Matcha Hot Latte (440 yen), which contains Uji matcha, vanilla syrup, foamed milk, and a whipped cream and caramel sauce topping.

▼ The sweet scent of vanilla and caramel is said to pair well with the bitterness of matcha.

All these ingredients are as Japanese as a flurry of sakura petals in spring, making them perfectly timed for cherry blossom season. The timing is no coincidence, as the commercial to promote the new menu items features Japanese actress and model Suzu Hirose in a spring kimono against a backdrop of blossoms.

Nobuyuki Hanawa and Nobuyuki Tsuchiya from the comedy duo “Knights” also star in the ad, which is set in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony room.

The comedians, dressed as tea ceremony masters, present Hirose with the two star drinks, sending her into a state of confusion as she ponders over which one to choose, as they both contain so many “和” (“Wa” or “Japanese”) flavours.

▼ Take a look at the new commercial below.

The spring lineup is only available for a limited time, from 21 March to the end of April. If you’re after even more traditional flavours at the golden arches this spring, the first-ever McDonald’s matcha pie is also on the menu.

Source, images: Press release
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