What is Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Cheese?

A lot of people around the world know the famous beautiful tree in Japan, which is the Sakura Tree. The name Sakura is derived from the words Cherry Blossom, the tree that has pink or cherry-colored flowers. And with this, little do people know that the name Sakura in Japan is also used for their mouth-watering treat called Sakura Cheese.

This unique Japanese cheese gained popularity in different countries due to its distinctive taste and name. In some cases, people would send a request for orders internationally to get a taste of the native Japanese cheese.

There are many things to know about this one-of-a-kind cheese. So, to gain more insight about Sakura Cheese, just continue to dive deeper below and discover the beautiful and delicious cheese in Japan.

Where Sakura Cheese Originated

Different types of cheeses

Kyodo Gakusha Shintoku Farm in Hokkaido, Japan, developed and produced Sakura cheese. Sakura Cheese is a camembert-style cheese washed in local sake Yachi Yanagi, sprinkled with locally grown Dutch myrtle and Sasayuki, and wrapped in bamboo leaves from the producer’s farm.

Shinichiro Miyajima started Kyodo Gakusha Shintoku Farm in 1974, a Hokkaido dairy that makes Sakura Cheese. Shintoko, a multi-award-winning, seasonally produced Gruyère-type cheese matured for over ten months for a rich taste, is also made on the farm. Nozomu Miyajima, Miyajima’s son, and a Wisconsin State University graduate with a dairy science degree, now runs the farm. 

Miyajima credits his farm’s volcanic soils and naturally filtered water for a significant part of his cheesemaking success. This creation marked a special milestone in the history of cheese around the world. 

Before Japan Started to Produce Cheese

Mongolian-style cheese was introduced to Japan centuries ago by China and Korea. During the Meiji period in the late nineteenth century, cheese became popular in Japanese cuisine. It was a pivotal period in Japanese history in many ways, including politics, culture, and food. 

Japan became an active part of the world community in 1868 when it moved from a closed and highly controlled feudal society ruled by a harsh military system to an open representative government. With all of the cultural changes, a national nutrition policy was adopted in school meals throughout Japan, a country whose inhabitants were primarily Buddhists, with an edict prohibiting meat in their diets. Japanese authorities say that the Western man’s diet included dairy and meat, which contributed to his strong body. In Japan, cheese eventually became an essential part of everyday diet.

How Sakura Cheese Gained Popularity In Japan

Cheese manufacturing and consumption in Japan is a recent phenomenon that is not part of Japanese culinary history. In 1900, the average yearly intake of cheese per person was only 0.9 grams. Japan’s consumption and production, on the other hand, grew considerably following World War 2, and the country is currently the world’s largest importer of cheese.

Sakura Cheese marks another milestone in the country’s expanding cheese love by becoming the first globally renowned Japanese cheese, receiving a gold medal in the soft cheese category at the Mountain Cheese Olympics in Appenzell, Switzerland. The Mountain Cheese Olympics is an event that promotes and fosters the economic interests of mountainous areas across the world. Cheese production is one such venture, as mountain cheese is said to have characteristics that distinguish it from other types of cheese. Mountain cheeses are often softer and produced from sheep or goat milk.

This was an unusual honor for a non-European cheese, as honors are usually given to Swiss, Italian, or French cheeses. Sakura Cheese, on the other hand, was honored in the soft-cheese category, a well-deserved accolade for the delectable and unique Japanese cheese.

Recipes for Sakura Dishes

Now that you have an idea of where this food came from and stood in the limelight, you are probably craving it right at this moment. But in reality, it may be difficult to taste the actual cheese if you are tight on budget or has no passport to fly in Japan. With that, here are some of the inspired Sakura dishes that you can make wherever you are.

Sakura Cheese Muffins

This is one of the drooling desserts that everyone should try. To prepare it, you need some: 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Tbsp milk
  • 4 Tbsp raisins
  • 20 salted cherry blossoms

Preheat the oven to 180°/355°. Wash the cherry blossoms and soak in water for some time. Next, soak the raisins in hot water. Get a bowl and mix the butter and cream cheese until smooth consistency. Add the sugar and eggs one at a time. Add the flour and baking powder, then gently pour the milk. Drain and dry the cherry blossoms and raisins, chop evenly, and then mix in the batter. Stir well, then pour in the right amount per cup or in a tin.  Bake for twenty minutes, and there you have it. 

Sakura No-Bake Cheesecake

If you are a newbie in the kitchen or want to have less critical dishes, this Sakura Cheesecake might suit your taste. 

  • 150 grams Biscuits
  • 75 grams Unsalted butter
  • 200 grams Cream cheese
  • 55 grams Granulated sugar
  • 100 grams Plain yogurt
  • 150 grams Heavy cream
  • 15 grams Sakura liqueur (or with juice)
  • 5 grams Gelatin powder
  • 30 grams Water 
  • 240 grams Water
  • 20 grams Granulated sugar
  • 30 grams Sakura liqueur (or with juice)
  • 1 Salt-preserved sakura blossoms
  • 5 grams Gelatin powder
  • 30 grams Water 

For the crust, dissolve the gelatin powder into water, then soak the Sakura into another container. Place baking paper in the tin. Crush the biscuits and mix in the melted butter. Press it tightly in the bottom of the tin. 

About the cream cheese, whisk it and then pour the sugar and yogurt, then part it in two. Whip the other cream cheese and add sakura liqueur. Get the gelatin mixture and heat it, add the cream cheese, then put it in the freezer. Afterward, divide the cream mixture with cream cheese into three. The mixture should go into the tin and chill it.  

For the Jello, heat the water with sugar, then warm it for twenty seconds. Add the gelatin and cool down before pouring in the sakura blossoms. Cool the mixture and then put it above the earlier crust. Refrigerate until ½ day, then share with your loved ones.   

Sakura Shrimp Pizza

For picnics and cheat days, comfort food or a savory meal would be the best choice. PIzza, one of the most engrossing foods, could have been more interesting with Sakura in it. 

  • Pizza crust or gyoza skin.
  • Sakura shrimp.
  • 1 tbsp of Olive oil
  • Pizza cheese or parmesan cheese.
  • Black pepper.
  • Shredded nori seaweed, daikon radish sprouts.  

Prepare the pre-made dough for the crust. Coat it with olive oil, then place the shrimps in it. Top with toppings like nori, radish, then season with black pepper. Pour the cheese all over the pizza. Bake it until the desired crunchiness, and then you already have a quick meal. 

Final Thoughts

Sakura cheese is a type of Japanese cheese that gained popularity after World War 2 because of the Mountain Cheese Olympic event. Although cheese production in Japan was not popular in the early twentieth century, the Mountain Cheese Olympics paved the way for the knowledge of the delicious Sakura cheese that later became a national sensation.

Dozens of production of Sakura cheese from numerous local business farmhouses in Japan increased, as the demand for its consumption by Japanese consumers also dramatically increased. As a result, Sakura cheese did not just become a popular local product of the Japanese, but as an internationally known cheese that most people crave. Today, sakura cheese can be added to different dishes, but there are also practical recipes you will surely enjoy.