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15 Snacks to Bring Home from Japan
ViaHero · August 28, 2018
You haven’t experienced Japan until you’ve snacked on all the sweet and savory creations it has to offer. We’re sharing our list of top Japanese snacks—get ready to crunch, slurp, and sip your way through your Japanese adventure! Get a Hero on board and build your personalized trip around your snack food obsessions—no judgment here. Oishi
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1. Crazy Kit Kats
Flavor profile: For a Japanese take on the English chocolate wafer bars, sink your teeth into edamame, cinnamon cookie, and citrus golden blend.
- Let’s start with the very foundations of Japanese treats—Kit Kats. After adopting these English chocolate bars almost 30 years ago, Japan amassed a treasure trove of over 300 (that’s right, 300) unique Japanese Kit Kat flavors.
- Coolest part? Kit Kats are given as gifts before tests and interviews because of the similar sound to the Japanese phrase “Kitto
katsu,” or “You will surely win!”
2. Bizarre potato chips
Flavor profile: Feed the potato chip frenzy with bizarre flavors like sushi and salmon—the more bizarre, the better!
- You might think you know Lays and Pringles, but you’ve never seen potato chips like this! Go on an off-the-beaten-path Japanese adventure and try flavors like sushi, walking taco, wasabeef (wasabi and beef), and crispy salmon.
- Don’t be deterred if the brands aren’t in English—simply take a chance on the bag with the cutest mascot!
3. Pocky (all the pocky)
Flavor profile: Go lowkey with flavors like chocolate and strawberry, or fancy ones like cheesecake and champagne.
- Pocky (
pokki) has been at the top of the Japanese snack food chain for over 50 years, and for a darn good reason.
- With flavors like cocoa milk, wine (yes, wine), and chocolate banana, you’ll need to buy a few boxes just for your secret midnight snacks.
4. Morinaga DARS (Japan's signature chocolate bar)
Flavor profile: Chocolate connoisseurs, rejoice! Morinaga DARS come in chocolatey and fruity-flavored bars.
- “Dars” is Japanese for "a dozen", and you’ll absolutely want to bring home a dozen of these. You’ll know you’ve reached the peak of Japanese dessert (and of your adult life) when you bite into one of these babies.
- Choose from foundational flavors like white and milk chocolate to the slightly funky flavors like fermented rice and bitter Setouchi lemon.
5. Unique Oreos
Flavor profile: Start with Crispy Lemon Mousse Oreos and top off the celebration with Birthday Cake and Tiramisu.
- Come home with all the cavities after stuffing yourself with this Japanese take on a worldwide icon. Eating them is a Japanese must-do.
- Japanese Oreos are so sought after that they’re auctioned off on Ebay—why not just plan your own Japanese journey and meet the legendarily delicious Oreos on their home turf?
Flavor profile: Small, sweet, multi-colored cakes and dumplings that glide across your taste buds.
- Part of Japanese food culture for over 300 years, these petite, sweet-tooth entrancing creations seriously look like fairy food.
- With wagashi, the beauty is in the details—you really have to taste the sweet rice flour, bean paste, and sticky rice desserts to believe they’re real.
7. Hiyoko Sweets
Flavor profile: These fluffy, kawaii sweet buns most well-known for being shaped like baby chicks.
- According to legend, the design for Hiyoko cakes came to the company’s founder in a dream—with an origin story like this, it’s got to be delightful.
- These sweet buns are meant to “create a more friendly and lively society,” and we think world peace would certainly come about faster if everyone had a Hiyoko bun. (I mean, look at these things!)
8. Calbee Shrimp Snack
Flavor profile: Exactly what it sounds like—french fries with that savory seafood taste.
- Calbee snack sticks are famous all over Asia, but the company’s home base is in Japan, and Flavor HQ breaks out the best flavors every day!
- Ditch the diet at home, and dive into a flavor that is far from shrimpy. For the discerning chip lover, pair with Calbee’s Pizza Potato Chips.
9. Takenoko No Sato
Flavor profile: The cutest little chocolate-covered biscuits meant to look like bamboo shoots.
- For around 300 yen a pop, you’ll want a suitcase for your new collection of boxes of Takenoko No Sato.
- While the flavor isn’t all that strange, these little cookies are seriously addictive. (Personally, we think the cookies look like pinecones, but bamboo is cool too.)
Flavor profile: Sweet, sticky, and chewy, these rice cakes can be enjoyed by themselves but are also the best addition to your ice cream sundae.
- No one really knows where the mysterious mochi originated from, but Japanese mythology attributes this delicacy to the arrival of kami (Shinto spirits) to Earth.
- This otherworldly dessert actually comes as its own mochi ice cream flavor, so it’s perfect for cooling down in Japan’s hot summer months.
Flavor profile: Green tea, also known as
- You might think Japanese green tea only comes in drink form, but you’d be missing out!
- Japan is crafty with its green tea creations, giving the world incredible gifts like white chocolate matcha cream pie (say that 5 times fast), tea cake cookies, and strawberry-matcha fondue.
12. Tokyo Banana
Flavor profile: A cream-filled cake and the more frou-frou cousin of a Twinkie (also 50 times more delicious).
- As the name so discreetly suggests, this banana-shaped goodie originated in Tokyo, Japan’s trendy HQ.
- Tokyo Banana cakes aren’t just your grandma’s desserts—with flower, panda, giraffe, and Hello Kitty patterns, the cakes are a trip for your taste buds and your inner kid.
Flavor profile: Famous Japanese cakes shaped like fish, commonly filled with a red bean paste (that doesn’t taste like fish at all).
- A classic dessert with a flavor that pretty much speaks for itself, taiyaki is named after the Japanese
or snapper. tai,
- The fish is a lucky symbol for Japanese Buddhists—basically, taiyaki are good for you all around! You’ve got to check them out while you’re in Japan.
- Go on a treasure hunt for the flaky taiyaki in Osaka’s Dotonbori, Japan’s #1 foodie destination.
14. Mitsuya Cider Candy
Flavor profile: Hard candy flavored like the popular Mitsuya Cider drink.
- Mitsuya Cider has been proving that happiness is fizzy and sugary since 1884—one pop of a cider candy onto your tongue, and you’ll know why this company is still kickin’ (seriously, it’s something you have to try while you’re in Japan).
- The cider candies are the Japanese answer to Pop Rocks, with carbonated bubbles that pop as the candy dissolves.
- Our Heroes recommend the grape, apple, and pear flavors.
Flavor profile: A popular treat made of two pancakes filled with a sweet red bean paste.
- Dorayaki (also known as the “Dora Cake”) are perfect for a posh afternoon tea.
- Available year-round, these fluffy cakes’ fillings are sometimes mixed with cherries or lemons.
- Averaging 300 yen each, dorayaki are the ideal way to satisfy your sweet tooth without busting your budget.
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