Kit Kats are probably the one brand of chocolate most synonymous with Japan. To most of us, the connection may seem like a mystery, but in Japan, there’s a good reason to love Kit Kats.
You see, Kit Kat sounds a lot like the Japanese words “Kitto”, which means “absolutely”, and “Katsu”, which means to win. Put them together and you have a play-on-words that could mean something like “You’re sure to win!” It’s for this reason that Kit Kats have taken off within Japan, as they’re often given to students taking entrance exams, or just as a general souvenir or token of good luck! Due to their charm and popularity, Nestle Japan churns out dozens of unique Japanese Kit Kat flavors every year. Some are unique to specific regions, while others celebrate the coming and going of the seasons.
Feeling intrigued? Well, we’re basically expert Japanese Kit Kat samplers here at TokyoTreat, so allow me to guide you though the four seasons of Japan through the splendor of Kit Kats in this edition of the Japanese Kit Kat Chronicles!
Winter: Almond & Cranberry Flavored Kit Kats
The tart sweetness of cranberry is an iconic flavor of the holidays, so it’s no surprise that these special edition Kit Kats make their way to shelves across Japan during the winter months. While there’s a variety of Almond & Cranberry Kit Kats available during this time of year, I like the soy milk version the best. The soy milk flavored chocolate gives the whole experience a creamy vibe, and the combination of crispy wafer, crunchy almonds and tart and chewy cranberry all work together to bring you a satisfying, more hearty snacking experience than a typical Kit Kat would be able to deliver.
Spring: Sakura Mochi & Sakura Sake Flavored Kit Kats
Spring is synonymous with sakura in Japan. As the snow begins to melt, and the chilly winter air gives way to a warm breeze, the cherry blossoms aren’t far behind! The beautiful scenery that sakura trees provide make the Japanese spring famous worldwide - but have you ever tasted spring? The Sakura Mochi & Sakura Sake flavored Kit Kats have a delicate, fragrant, and floral flavor that is totally unique to the Japanese spring.
You may not immediately think of eating a flower, but these special spring-time treats are delicious! The sakura typically only bloom for about a week before they disappear, so it’s always a big celebration when they appear once a year. The Sakura Mochi flavored Kit Kats have a subtle saltiness and a sweet Japanese red-bean filling. The Sakura Sake flavored Kit Kats have a more, how should I say, adult flavor profile. The bitter sake flavor offsets the perfume-like essence of the sakura, making for a more refined tasting experience. Both flavors are a pleasant take on Japanese tradition, and they’re certainly worth a try for any Kit Kat aficionado.
Summer: Lychee Salt & Sea Salt Flavored Kit Kats
There’s really nothing quite like the smell of salt in the air while relaxing on the beach - and during the sweltering Japanese summer, refreshing fruit juice and salty sports drinks are a must to stay hydrated! So playing with these experiences makes so much sense for summer-inspired Kit Kat flavors.
The Salt Lychee flavor is bright and sharp. The salty white chocolate acts as a flavor enhancer while rounding out the sweet and sour Lychee feeling. It really does invoke the sensation of sipping a cool sports drink on a hot summer’s day. The Sea Salt flavored Kit Kats, on the other hand, are much more subtle. Invoking that peaceful day-at-the-beach vibe I mentioned earlier, delicate white chocolate surrounds the signature crispy wafer, and delicious setouchi sea salt elevates the entire experience. Close your eyes, take a bite, and drift away.
Fall: Chestnut & Sweet Potato Flavored Kit Kats
You can’t go anywhere during the fall in Japan without catching a whiff of roasted sweet potatoes wafting from grocery stores and street stalls alike. Warm, buttery, soft and sweet, they’re an iconic traditional dessert that’s an essential seasonal experience. The Sweet Potato flavored Kit Kats have a honey-like sweetness and rich, creamy filling that does an excellent job of invoking the flavors of fall. In much the same way as the sakura flavors, the Chestnut flavored Kit Kats have a delicate aroma that delivers a more subdued tasting experience. Both are great options that I’d highly recommend for anyone that loves the warm flavors of fall!
And so concludes the first installment of TokyoTreat’s Kit Kat Chronicles blog series! Don’t worry though, there’s plenty more Kit Kats to experience - so stay posted and let me know what other Japanese Kit Kat flavors you’d like to try in the comments below!