With the Spring equinox just a week away and the first blossoms of the sakura (cherry trees) around the corner, now is the perfect time to savor seasonal sakura sweets.

Fortunately, if you happen to be in Japan in Spring, you don't need to find a special wagashi shop to sample something sakura-flavored. Your local convenience store has plenty of choices available to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Whether you're looking for traditional Japanese favorites or more Western-inspired desserts with a sakura twist, there's surely something for everyone.

Five Recommended Conbini Sakura Sweets

We visited three different convenience stores, 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart, sampled various sakura selections and came up with five favorites we'd like to share with you:

Photo by grape Japan

Cherry Blossom Roll Cake 桜のロールケーキ (Family Mart)

This Famima Cafe & Sweets branded roll cake comes in an attractive packaging with cherry blossom petals. The cake is a light pink color with a nice white and dark red swirl from sakura sauce. The soft cake is moist with a gentle cherry aroma and the sauce is sweet like jam. Closer to cherry than sakura in flavor, it's perfect for those who aren't ready to take the dive into traditional sweets with salted sakura petals or leaves but still want to celebrate Japanese spring with a dessert. It's probably also great served chilled.

Photo by grape Japan

Sakura Mochi Dorayaki 桜もちどら焼 (found at 7-Eleven)

Dorayaki are a famous Japanese sweet which look like two small pancakes sandwiched together. They usually have a filling of sweetened bean paste, usually azuki but sometimes white beans as well. For this Spring version, the filling is a mix of white bean paste and soft gyūhi mochi with tiny pieces of salted sakura leaves giving it a very subtle aroma of sakura mochi. The mochi filling is so chewy and the flavor is subtle and not overbearing. A great hybrid of dorayaki and sakura mochi. Although we found this at our local 7-Eleven, it's made by Yoneya, a sweets manufacturer based in Chiba Prefecture.

Photo by grape Japan

Bite-Sized Cherry Blossom Daifuku 桜のひとくち大福 (Family Mart)

Sometimes you just want a little bite of something sweet (and keep the rest for later). Daifuku are round mochi cakes with a sweet filling, usually anko paste made with red azuki beans or other beans. While a whole daifuku can be quite filling, this dessert in the Famima Cafe & Sweets series gives you four bite-sized daifuku in a colorful sakura-themed package, each one of them filled with a tasty mix of red bean paste and finely chopped salted sakura leaf and petals. Very soft and chewy and, these cute pink daifuku bites have the perfect blend of saltiness and sakura flavoring. They're great for sharing with friends and go well with green tea!

Photo by grape Japan

Sakura Mochi (Pink Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste) 桜もち (7-Eleven)

If you're looking for a traditional sakura sweet, you can't go wrong with sakura mochi. This one in "The Seven Sweets" series comes with a genuine salted sakura petal on top, so you can realy get the feeling of "biting into sakura" with this. The pink glutinous mochi rice is sweet and delicious and the fragrance of the petal can still be noticed on the mochi even after you remove it. However, the real star of this dessert is the silky koshian paste made with azuki beans from Tokachi, Hokkaido. You can also eat the sakura petal and enjoy the blend of flavors with the mochi and paste.

Photo by grape Japan

Sakura Mochi (Rice Cakes with Azuki Bean Paste) 桜餅 こしあん (Lawson)

This is probably the most traditional type of sakura mochi you'll find, with a salted cherry tree leaf wrapped around the pink mochi. The version you'll find at Lawson in their Uchi Cafe series contains a very smooth koshian azuki bean paste. You can see the individual grains of glutinous rice in the mochi, which is pleasantly firm. We appreciated how both the mochi and paste were not overbearingly sweet, as sakuramochi can sometimes be. As for the leaf, it imparts a pleasant aroma to the mochi once you remove it. If you're feeling adventurous, you can keep it on and enjoy the texture and stronger flavor together with the mochi, but it's an acquired taste.

Look for these and other sakura sweets at your local convenience store. You can also find sakura-flavored ice creams in the frozen dessert section, if you prefer your sakura sweets cold.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.