All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Sakura gohan / steamed rice with salted cherry blossoms

Enjoy the soft, tangy taste and aroma of salted cherry blossoms as a harbinger of a warm, bright spring.


3/4 cup* regular rice
1/4 cup* mochigome sweet rice
160-170 cc water (not in photo)
1 tbsp sake
1/2 umeboshi pickled plum
20 sakura no hana no shiozuke salted cherry blossoms
1/4 tsp salt from jar of salted cherry blossoms (not in photo)
3 cm square piece kombu kelp
*1 rice cooker cup = 180 cc


Rinse regular and mochigome sweet rice together, drain, and let sit for 30-60 minutes.


When nearly ready to cook rice (about 5 minutes before starting to cook), soak salted cherry blossoms in water to get rid of excess salt.


Finely chop umeboshi flesh.


Put sake in rice.
Add salt from salted cherry blossom jar. 
Pour water used to desalinate cherry blossoms to slightly below 1-cup mark.

Add umeboshi, and mix well.

Save 2 or 4 cherry blossoms for garnish, add the rest and kombu to rice, and cook.


When done, wait 10 minutes, remove kombu, and gently turn rice.

Serve in individual bowls and garnish with cherry blossoms.

  • Adjust the amount of salt depending on the saltiness of cherry blossoms and umeboshi. After mixing umeboshi in rice in Process 4, taste the water before adding salt.
  • Some umeboshi is extra flavored, such as with bonito flakes. Use plain ones to bring out the maximum flavor of salted cherry blossoms. (Akajiso purple perilla leaves included in umeboshi packages are for coloring and to add aroma/flavor to plain umeboshi; they can be used together with umeboshi in this recipe.)
  • Salted cherry blossoms are typically made with pink, double cherry blossoms harvested when 60-70% open. The above is made with Shirotae (aka Mt. Fuji), a white, semi-double flowering cherry in our garden.
  • See sakura shiokoji gohan for reduced-sodium version.

(Last updated: April 4, 2016)


Seth said...

Hello. I'm curious, would it be possible to use fresh cherry blossoms for this? I know it's not traditional, but a long time ago, somebody must have tried fresh blossoms before salting them.

neco said...

Hi Seth,
Cherry blossoms are edible, but I would only used them as a garnish because fresh blossoms lack the aroma. The distinctive aroma comes from a substance called coumalin, which only is produced during the salting process.