In a country with a large snacking culture where sweet things are king, there are a variety of chocolatey treats to choose from when you need something sugary. When the treats are different from those available in your home country, it can be a process of trial and error to find your new favourites. I decided to take one for the team and try out a bunch of Japanese chocolates in order to provide you with a handy guide of what to choose next time you go shopping. So what features in my list of top 5 Japanese chocolates?
A Nestlé product, KitKat has been popular in Japan for many years. It’s popularity is due mainly to the name, which sounds very similar to the Japanese phrase Kitto Katsu – the meaning of which is ‘surely win’, a popular phrase often uttered to students before exams. These days, KitKat’s are a traditional good luck gift for exam-sitting students. KitKat in Japan is well known for it’s crazy flavours, including green tea, strawberry cheesecake, wasabi, edamame soybean and hot chilli. Sadly, most of these funky flavours are only available regionally, but there is a dedicated KitKat store in Tokyo where you can try odd flavours to your heart’s content.
Kit Kat Chocolatory*Automatic translation
Meiji is a popular Japanese chocolate brand, and their sugar coated marble chocolates are my favourite Meiji products. Similar to Nestlés ‘Smarties’ (one of my UK favourites) these little chocolate drops are coated in colourful sugar, some of which have little characters printed onto them. Take a look inside the tube when you’re done with the chocolate – each pack comes with a sticker, vaguely inaccurately (but ever so cutely) depicting different countries around the world.
These little medallions of sweetness are the perfect pick-me-up. They’re small enough to eat one or two without feeling guilty, though if you need something more you can always scoff a few dozen… They are about 60 calories per chocolate, cost roughly 30 Yen each and are available from most convenience stores. Usually shops only stock one kind, but there are limited edition flavours to look out for including almond, coffee and a crunchy biscuit variety. To add to the cuteness, the pandas have all different cheeky facial expressions, so give their melty faces a glance before you gobble them up.
This brand of chocolate is really tasty. I particularly like their little chocolate cubes – they’re soft and smooth and utterly delicious. You can also buy Ghana brand bars of chocolate in a variety of types.
Daiso (one of the biggest chains of 100 Yen stores) has an ever changing stock, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you keep finding new gems amongst all the hundreds of items they have, and bad because you discover a favourite product and suddenly they don’t stock it anymore. This happens frequently with confectionery items.
For a long time they sold these fruit jelly chocolates – little coins of fruit jelly (raspberry and apricot flavour) coated in chocolate, which were an instant favourite of mine, when they suddenly stopped selling them. But luckily for me, a few new items have appeared recently to take their place – one being the Caramel Apple flavour M&M’s (yum!) and the caffeine-licious Americano Chocolate covered coffee beans. Good old Daiso!