Sakura Mochi

Sakura Mochi

Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia


  • cooked mochi rice
  • azuki koshian (smooth bean paste)
  • salted cherry leaves
  • kanten (agar agar) 1/4 stick
  • water 500cc (2c)
  • sugar 100gm (3.5oz)


  • Wash the kanten and tear it into small pieces. Soak in cold water until it softens a bit.
  • Cook the kanten and water over low heat until it is dissolved and then add the sugar. Cook until everything is dissolved and then let cool. Use this liquid to moisten your hands when working with the mochi rice. (If small pieces of kanten remain, the mixture can be strained.)
  • Quickly rinse the cherry leaves in fresh cold water and gently pat dry.
  • Use approximately 20gm (0.7oz) koshian and 25gm (0.9oz) to 30gm (1.2oz) rice. Flatten out the rice and wrap it around an an ball. Roll between the palms of the hands to make even shapes. Wrap a cherry leaf around the mochi ball. (The dull side of the leaf is on the outside.)
  • If you don’t have salted cherry leaves, you can put the rice ball between two camellia leaves and you have tsubaki mochi.

For mochi

  • mochi (sweet) rice 400cc (1.6c)
  • boiling water 400cc (1.6c)
  • sugar 150gm (5.28oz)
  • red food color


  • Remove any small rocks, etc. from the rice. Wash it well in fresh cold water and soak it overnight in ample cold water.
  • Drain the rice and place it in a cloth-lined steamer (remember to place a towel under the lid). Steam over high heat for 30 to 45-minutes or until the rice is cooked and is soft.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water and add red color (approx. 3 drops) to achieve desired pink color.
  • Remove the cooked rice to a glass or stainless steel bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Using a wooden spoon, mix the rice and hot water well.
  • Cover the rice with a damp cloth and then the entire bowl in foil (to help keep it warm). Let the rice sit for 1-hour, uncover and mix again and it is then ready to use for the sakura mochi sweets.
  • When you mix the rice you can push it a bit to break down some of the grains to make it slightly more sticky. (Makes approx. 30 sweets.)

For salted cherry leaves

Salted cherry leaves can be purchased at some markets in Japan. You can also find an excellent array of sakura products online at Anything From Japan.


  • Pick fresh cherry leaves from the yaezakura (double cherry tree) just after the blossoms fall from the tree and the leaves are the right size. The longer you wait the harder the leaves will be.
  • Wash the leaves well in fresh cold water, drain and blanch in boilng water quickly (in and out).
  • Separate the leaves in a cloth lined steamer and gently steam for a minute or two. Remove from the steamer and place in fresh cold water to cool. Drain. Layer the leaves in a glass (or non corrosive) container sprinkling salt between each layer. Salt the top layer as well. Place a weight over the top and remove the weight after a day. The leaves will keep well in the refrigerator (or they may be frozen).

For tsubaki mochi (camellia mochi)

  • Prepare mochi rice as for sakura mochi. The red food coloring can also be omitted.
  • Wash fresh camellia leaves well in cold water and pat dry. Cut off both pointed ends to square off.
  • Wrap the mochi rice around an an ball as for sakura mochi. Place between two camellia leaves (the shiny side of the leaves are on the inside).
  • NOTE : The leaves are removed before eating the sweet