In Japan, it’s quite common to find products — most specially food products — that are themed around specific times of the year. These seasonal Japanese Kit Kats are often only available for a short period of time before they’re taken off the shelves until they come back again the same time next year.
Many people in Japan anticipate this yearly rotation so that they can get their hands on their favorite limited edition chocolate bars. The fact that they’re not around forever can also add to the excitement. If you want to know what kind of seasonal Kit Kats there are out there and join in on the fun, this article will tell you what you need to know to pick your new favorite flavor.
While there are classics that will likely never go away, like the standard chocolate Kit Kats and the matcha green tea Kit Kats, there’s a whole spectrum of flavors you might not have been aware you were missing out on this entire time: the seasonal or limited edition Japanese Kit Kats.
For the seasonal flavors of Kit Kats in Japan, they’re inspired by food or other kinds of things that Japanese people associate with each of the seasons. Cherry blossoms or sakura, for instance, are a quintessential part of spring in Japan. So naturally, there are already a few variations of Sakura Kit Kats, like sakura mochi and sakura matcha. Another one that’s inspired by a warmer season is the Salt Lychee Kit Kat, which is based around the lychee, a small, red tropical fruit that’s often eaten during the summer.
The variety in flavors of Kit Kats isn’t limited by just the four seasons though; there are also seasonal Japanese Kit Kats based around certain holidays. For example, even though Halloween is a relatively new thing in Japan, the celebration for it continues to become more and more popular with Japanese people throughout the years. When it comes to its equivalent in Kit Kat flavor, there is the Apple Pie Kit Kat. It comes wrapped in a cute Halloween-inspired packaging, complete with images of ghosts and jack-o-lanterns. You can sometimes find this and the other seasonal flavors of Kit Kats in convenience stores across Japan.
For the next set of Japan only Kit Kats, they’re not exactly limited by time per se, but instead, they’re limited to certain places in Japan. This is because Nestlé Japan uses ingredients that are unique to these areas, so it only makes sense that the Kit Kats would be sold there as a souvenir for tourists visiting the area.
The Red Bean Sandwich Kit Kat is marketed as a souvenir from the Tokai-Hokuriku region. This is where the city of Nagoya is located, a city where red bean (also known as adzuki) paste is quite a popular flavor. Another example is the Tokyo Banana Kit Kat. Tokyo Banana is a type of sweet sponge cake that’s sold as a souvenir of the Japanese capital, and this flavor is a result of Nestlé Japan collaborating with the cake’s manufacturers.
Lastly, there’s also the Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat. It has a special souvenir edition that comes in a box shaped like Mount Fuji, printed with depictions of famous Japanese landmarks. The wafer is coated in a rich white chocolate that has delicate hints of strawberry and cheese.
However, if none of these flavors so far pique your interest, you can also plan a visit to a Kit Kat Chocolatory. These are stores that specialize in both limited edition Kit Kats and serving up the chocolate bars in a more elegant way. You can find branches of them all across Japan, with a handful of them focused around the Tokyo area.
The Kit Kat Chocolatory is stocked with exclusive flavors of Kit Kat that were developed by classically trained pastry chef Yasumasa Takagi. Some shops also have a dedicated cafe area, where visitors can sit down and enjoy some Kit Kats dipped and drizzled in a variety of things like cakes, parfait, and ice cream — proving not only that there’s a Kit Kat flavor out there for everybody, but also that there are so many different ways people can enjoy their favorite pocket-sized chocolate treat.
Seasonal Japanese Kit Kats offer a taste experience that’s different from the common Kit Kats that you can easily find at any time of the year, almost anywhere in Japan. These unique flavors make smart use of ingredients that have meanings attached to certain seasons or certain areas of Japan, thus ensuring that they’re completely one-of-a-kind. With all of these uniquely developed flavors, you can really feel as if you’re taking a piece of Japan with you every time.
Jen is a freelance wirter and translator living in Japan. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new snacks and traveling with her friends.
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