This year’s hanami season is shaping up to be a weird one. The beginning of spring rarely forces people to choose between having a good time under the cherry blossoms and grappling with a pandemic, but that’s where we’re at in 2020.
For those proactively practicing social distancing, it’s still possible to have a hanami from the comfort of your own home thanks to konbini (convenience store) sakura (cherry blossom) offerings. FamilyMart currently boasts a range of cherry blossom-themed sweets, from a pinkish pound cake to dorayaki pancake sandwiches. The highlight, though, is a sakura anpan bun (¥128 after tax), which adds a slightly tart cherry taste to the red bean paste.
Seven-Eleven’s best offering is a dango dumpling trio (¥170 after tax), which is a nice variant for those who might be sakura-flavor fatigued. The best ongoing konbini sweet, however, isn’t explicitly tied to the season — that’s Lawson’s dorayaki (¥240 after tax). Inspired by “Doraemon,” it’s a fluffy creation with a juicy strawberry in the middle. It won’t evoke a crowded park, but it will perk you up during any periods of isolation.