Find These Spring Sweets at Kulu Kulu and Minamoto Kitchoan

These shops bring the flavors of Japanese springtime to Honolulu.


It’s cherry blossom season in Japan, which means anyone lucky enough to go is feasting their eyes on sakura blossoms floating in the spring breezes and filling their bellies with pale pink sakura-inspired desserts. For the rest of us, especially foodies, two Japanese shops in Honolulu have pretty-in-pink treats that are limited-time spring specials.


Pink Springtime Treats Kk Sakura Jelly Latte Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


Kulu Kulu

Our first stop is Kulu Kulu, which is known for its kawaii Japanese style cakes and other desserts. The sakura lineup is impressive, with Sakura Tiramisu ($6.25), Sakura Matcha Strawberry ($6.25), Sakura Butter Cake ($6.00), Sakura Jelly Latte ($5.95), and Sakura Twist and Vanilla & Sakura Twist soft serve ice cream (both $5.50). All are only available for the month of March at Kulu Kulu’s two locations at Royal Hawaiian Center and Eaton Square.


Pink Springtime Treats Kulukulu Twist Softserve Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


My favorite is the Vanilla & Sakura Twist soft serve. We get it in a cone, but you might want to opt for a cup to avoid any drips. The soft serve is absolutely delicious with its mixed flavors of creamy vanilla with light hints of cherry throughout.


SEE ALSO: New Bakery Sachi Sweets Combines Japanese and Local Flavors


Pink Springtime Treats Kk Cakes Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


The first bite of the Sakura Tiramisu melts on my tongue and the whipped frosting is smooth and creamy. At this point the sugar rush is kicking in, but not enough to dampen my enjoyment of the Sakura Matcha Strawberry cake with its thin layer of mousse on-top and fruity strawberry jelly center. All the cakes are pleasantly light and airy. Bite after bite reminds me of all the beautiful cakes and treats on display at Tokyo’s countless dessert shops.


Pink Springtime Treats Mk Tray Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


Minamoto Kitchoan

The next day we head to Minamoto Kitchoan. Both the flagship at Ala Moana Center and the kiosk at Kāhala Mall are known for high-end selections of traditional and contemporary Japanese snacks. The springtime lineup here is available while supplies last: Ouka Shigure ($4.50), similar to a soft steamed manju; Beni Hogyoku ($4.80) a soft, sugar-coated mochi with a whole cherry fruit wrapped in white bean paste inside; Hanahana Ichigo ($4.20), a strawberry tart; Sakura Goromo ($4.50), a fluffy pancake filled with red bean and mochi; and the Sakura Waffle ($3.70), two crunchy cherry waffle cookies sandwiching a creamy filling.


Pink Springtime Treats Minamoto Sakura Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


I love the Hanahana Ichigo, a light strawberry tart with a filling of white bean paste with cream cheese. There are hints of sweet strawberry as you bite in. The crust slightly crumbles and the cream frosting is smooth to the touch.


SEE ALSO: We Tried Mana Sandwiches, a New Japanese Sando Shop


The Ouka Shigure is a more traditional treat that represents seasonal symbols of nature. It’s topped with a real cherry blossom and is delicate and soft enough to nearly dissolve in your mouth. Inside is a center of sweet white bean. Beni Hogyoku, the whole cherry mochi, is a new item and the first sakura dessert I’ve seen with an actual cherry inside.


Pink Springtime Treats Mk Sakura Waffle Credit Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


Minamoto Kitchoan’s packaging is always beautiful and sophisticated, almost too cute to tear open, which is why they’re so popular as gifts. Each dessert had a unique filling and packaging was almost too cute to tear open. Now remember, these desserts are only available during springtime. If you’re like me and you miss the flavors of Japan, it’s fun to know that these shops can bring us a little taste of the season.


Kulu Kulu: Multiple locations,, @kulukulucake

Minamoto Kitchoan: Multiple locations,, @minamotokitchoanhawaii