A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

How to Make (and Eat) Salted Cherry Blossoms- SAKURA NO HANA NO SHIOZUKE (桜の花の塩漬)- again


Tofu garnished with a salted cherry blossom


By Avi Landau


The cherry blossom season is one of the most festive times of year in Japan, one eagerly anticipated and then slowly savored. But alas, the delicate petals usually break away from their trees within a few days- filling many Japanese ( and lovers of Japanese culture) with a deep sense of regret for the passing of beauty, and for the fleeting nature of all things.

There is a way, however, to enjoy SAKURA NO HANA (cherry blossoms) even after the last ones have fallen away- and in fact throughout the year!- with SAKURA NO HANA NO SHIOZUKE (桜の花の塩漬), cherry blossoms preserved with salt and vinegar.

Just my cup of tea: sakura-cha (April 14th 2015)

Just my cup of tea: sakura-cha (April 14th 2015)

These can be used as a garnish ( especially in April and May, for adding  a seasonal touch to a spring meal), used as a topping for rice balls, steeped in boiling water to make fragrant sakura tea, or cooked with rice in the rice cooker to make sakura rice.

Being a highly auspicious blossom, these salted sakura often appear ( in some form) at wedding receptions.

A meal consisting of the IN-SEASON fish and produce of May: bamboo shoots, sora-mame, tofu garnished with salted cherry blossoms and young sansho leaves, and mostly famously- BONITO (katsuo) SASHIMI


Here is how to make these pickles ( tsukemono).

You CAN use any cherry blossoms, though the variety YAEZAKURA is prefered. You pick them before full bloom ( anywhere from when the buds just open till about 70 percent bloom.

For 300 grams of sakura you need 3 tablespoons of salt

and 3 tablespoons of vinegar (plum vinegar, 白梅酢, is preferable

Wash the blossoms, remove the water and cover thoroughly with salt.

Cover with a pressing stone and let sit (in the fridge) for 1- 3 days ( to remove liquids).

Remove the liquid and add vinegar and put in the fridge for 3 days.

Remove liquid, and then spread out and dry outside for 3 days

Preserve in a glass jar with some more salt

And enjoy cherry blossoms at any time of the year!

Yaezakura- the varieties of double-flowered cherry blossom which are best for making SHIOZUKE


  • Mamoru Shimizu says:

    The meal in a photo looks very delicious, one of the best of the season- May!! The one ,salted cherry blooms was on Tofu. Beside it there is Bonito Sashimi.
    Bonito-Sashimi (Katsuo no Tataki)is my favorite(burned skin Bonito Sashimi). Bonito Sashimi with garlic, lemon added-soya sauce is so cool combination!! Cherry brooms have been a good matchmaker not only in Kochi Prefecture but all over Japan.

  • Mira says:

    I had just bought some salted Sakura from Japan but they’re too salty. Do I need to wash the salt off before use?

    • Mamoru Shimizu says:

      Yes better wash it, or just leave it in water until you can taste salty just little ,two to 5,6hours, try and error you can find suitable time.
      Chinese Za-sai needs same way.

    • Mamoru Shimizu says:

      Dear Mira, Just soak a few minutes to extract heavy salt taste, then test to taste until you contend.
      Usually I put salted salted Sakura flower in hot water few mines then with fine smell and you could get a little bit salty better taste.