Japan is not only home to some of the world’s best ancient structures, most amazing natural scenery, and friendliest people, but also to many different snacks and sweets that are tasty and to-die-for. On your next visit, make sure to buy plenty before you fly back home to have something to remind you of all the fun and enjoyable experiences you made in this wonderful country, and give your family and friends a taste of what Japan is.
Below are some highly recommended Japanese snacks and sweets to bring back home:
In Japan, you can find a wide variety of Kit Kat flavors that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. It is one of the best-selling chocolate brands in the nation, and is known for offering several unique varieties, limited edition recipes, and seasonal offers.
In addition to the regular chocolate-flavored Kit Kat, Japan has numerous specially-flavored Kit Kats, such as:
- Ginger ale
- Baked potato
- Miso soup
- Soy sauce
- Hot Japanese chili
- Cough drop
- Lemon cheesecake
- Red bean
There are also matcha, brown sugar syrup, and purple sweet potato -flavored Kit Kats, and they are available at convenience stores, department stores, and airport shops across the country.
Matcha Green Tea
Made by grounding dried green tea leaves into powder, matcha green tea is a popular Japanese traditional tea that has a long history that dates back to over eight centuries ago. To prepare it, the Japanese add it to boiled water, and stir the mixture to create foam on top. It is typically served at tea ceremonies by the hosts for their guests to show hospitality.
In addition to matcha flavored green tea drink, there are other matcha green tea flavored foods found in Japan. In many supermarkets and souvenirs shops across the country, you can find cookies, ice cream, bread, mocha, smoothie, cake, latte, and crepes that are matcha green tea flavored. You can even find matcha green tea flavored Pocky and Kit Kat products.
At Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, and at numerous stores and shops around Tokyo, you can easily find a popular food souvenir among tourists called Tokyo Banana. It is a banana-shaped sponge cake that comes in a variety of flavors. Since its launch in 1991, there has been many different variants released, including:
- Tokyo Banana Miitsuketa – This is a banana-shaped sponge caked that has a banana custard filling.
- Tokyo Banana Miitsuketa caramel – This comes in a caramel-colored sponge cake filled with banana custard and caramel filling.
- Tokyo Choco Banana – This variant has banana cream and chocolate.
- Tokyo Banana Summer Choco – This is released in the summer time, and also has mint, in addition to banana cream and chocolate.
Other notable Tokyo Banana products are the Tokyo Banana Raisin Sandwich, Tokyo Banana Fresh Cream Puff, and Tokyo Banana Pie.
A type of Japanese pancake, dorayaki is a confectionary made with sweet Azuki red bean paste sandwiched between two small-size pancakes made from castella. If you know Doraemon, who is a beloved Japanese manga and anime character, you probably already have an idea what dorayaki is. In the series, Doraemon’s favorite food is dorayaki, and he is frequently shown craving for it.
Across Japan, it is commonly found in souvenir and food shops, and costs about 100 to 300 yen. It is best eaten with hot cup of coffee or green tea. In some areas though, like in the Kansai region, it may be called differently. For instance, in Nara and Okasa, it is more frequently called mikasa.
Invented by the Japanese food company Nissin in 1958, Cup Noodles are a great souvenir item to buy in Japan. They are sold at almost all supermarkets, convenience stores, and shops across the country, and cost around 100 to 300 yen per piece.
Also sometimes referred to as instant noodles, they are very easy to prepare — by just adding hot water. They are available in several variants, including yakisoba, soba, udon, pasta, and ramen, and come in different flavors, such as beef, seafood, curry, chicken, chili crab, spicy chicken, cream of chicken, spicy seafood, laksa, and black pepper crab.
First sold in 1966, Pocky is a Japanese snack made up of thin, long biscuit sticks that are coated with chocolate or some other flavored coatings. The first Pocky products were only chocolate-coated, and it took five more years for an additional variant to be introduced, the almond-coated Pocky, which was first made available in 1971.
Since then, Pocky has added more varieties in their product line, including Pocky coated with strawberry, milk, green tea, banana, mousse, honey, coconut, and cookies and cream. Over the years, there has also been some seasonal or limited edition flavors, which include Pocky coated with kiwifruit mango, giant mikan or tangerine, grape, yubari or melon, Kobe wine, five-fusion berry, and azuki bean.
Other interesting Pocky flavors that you may come across while in Japan are kurogama or black sesame, pineapple, hazelnut, blueberry, Brazilian pudding, tomato, cherry, orange, sweet potato, pumpkin, and corn on the cob.
Every spring season in Japan, you can find not only densely crowded sakura viewing spots around the country, but also a large selection of sakura-flavored snacks at many souvenir shops, grocery stores, and convenience stores.
There are sakura-flavored chocolates, mochi, tea, dorayaki, bread, and cookies that you can buy, and feast on with your friends and family while sitting under the beautiful cherry trees in full bloom. It is also common for popular sakura destinations in the country to offer sakura-flavored soft serve ice cream that tourists from different parts of Japan and the world can enjoy while checking out the stunning cherry trees.