As your friendly snack-experts, we wanted to share with you some of the great, and rare, Japanese snacks, drinks and candies. From limited edition Pocky flavors to classic dagashi, you can trust that we’ll give you the best Japanese snacks that aren’t easily picked up from just any convenience store!
We can’t talk about snacks from Japan without mentioning KitKats. But not just any kind of the famous chocolate coated wafer bars. In most western countries, you may be used to the standard milk chocolate with red packaging, but here, Japanese KitKat flavors go beyond the imaginable! We’re talking about the wasabi, ice cream, and Mont Blanc flavors!
But nothing was as hard to get your hands on as the Ruby Chocolate KitKat! And no, it’s not just pink colored milk chocolate, it’s actually classified as the fourth type of chocolate along with dark and white chocolate. The pink hue comes from Ruby cocoa beans that are sourced from around the globe.
Ruby chocolate was first mass produced for KitKat’s specialty flavor, and first hit the market in 2018 in Japan and South Korea. As you can imagine, it was so popular amongst KitKat varieties that it is practically impossible to get your hands on them now. Cry emoji… If you were ever able to try some while they were in circulation, you should consider yourself VERY lucky!
Just behind KitKat for having some of the most variety of flavors comes Glico’s Pocky! They come in an original milk chocolate rendition with a red box (similar to KitKats), and you can see them stocked on shelves in over 30 countries now. But if Milk Chocolate or Strawberry Pocky sticks are getting a bit run-of-the-mill, try your luck in finding some of these super rare Pocky flavors that come in seasonal, regional and specialty product line adaptations.
In the spring, you can expect to see the Sakura Pocky, which takes the original chocolate stick and dips them with a pink sakura coating sprinkled with pink salt. Summertime will bring a twist of tropical flavors like coconut, pineapple, kiwi, and mango! Fall brings a creamy and orange pumpkin flavored pocky to match the Halloween vibes, and in winter, Pocky will release their Fuyu no Kuchidoke (Winter’s Melt In Your Mouth) option. Glico knows how to keep their famed chocolate covered biscuit sticks in with seasonal trends!
With Pocky’s regional flavors, you can really get a sense of how each area of Japan specializes in a certain type of food. These versions are typically hard to find outside of the locations the flavors are inspired by. For instance, the Nagano Grape Pocky, the Kyushu Giant Mikan (Japanese tangerine) Pocky and Kyoto Powdered Tea Azuki Bean (red bean) Pocky are only available in Nagano Prefecture, Kyushu, and Kyoto respectively!
Lastly, Pocky has a range of specialty product lines; the most notable product is their Mousse Pocky, which features a thicker and creamier chocolate layer. Make it a fun game and see if you also find their Dessert, Decorer, and Reverse Pocky!
Considered to be the Hawaii of Japan, Okinawa is a small group of islands and the southernmost prefecture of Japan. Okinawa is known for its beni imo (Okinawan sweet potato), shisa (Okinawa’s guardian lions), and shikuwasa citrus (lime-like fruits, or citrus depressa). Having its own regional produce offers yet another unique food subculture within Japan, which can also bring new flavors to our favorite snacks!
Let’s discuss the shikuwasa lime. This citrus fruit comes from the mandarin family, and has a unique sour taste. People in Okinawa use this fruit in a number of different ways, and popular Japanese snack and drink makers fused its distinct flavor to give us incredible things like Calbee’s Shikuwasa Potato Chips and Fanta’s Shikuwasa Soda!
Both of these fusion flavors were once available in the monthly subscription box TokyoTreat, but because they were only available in Okinawa and sold in limited quantities, they may be some of the rarest Japanese snacks and drinks now! Our friends over at JapanHaul might be worth checking out if you want to try them!
At last, we’ve come to some of the oldest of the bunch, and the ones that carry on some traditional Japanese flavors. In every TokyoTreat box, you’ll always find a few of these Japanese candies known as Japanese dagashi snacks (cheap candies and snacks similar to American “penny candy”). Dagashi typically includes things like rice cracker snacks (also known as senbei), konpeito (bite-sized sugar candies), ramune drink flavored candies, and Umaibos!
Umaibo literally translates to “delicious stick”, and the typical Umaibo flavors are cheese, corn potage, natto, and even pizza! But unless you go to specific dagashiya (dagashi specialty stores), it may be quite difficult to bite into some of Japan’s oldest snacks.
You may be wondering now where you can find rare Japanese snacks: well, you can find them with TokyoTreat of course! If you are ever in need of green tea flavored chips or soy sauce flavored KitKat (yes, that IS a real flavor), our curators will be there to give you everything you’re looking for! What’s the rarest snack you’ve tried, and have you been able to find it since? Let us know below!
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