One of the things I LOVE about Japan is its food, and that really does include their packaged snacks, which you can buy from every konbini in every street corner. Honestly, hauling snacks has never been as fun as when I did it Japan. They have all sorts of interesting and curious-looking things there, and by my experience, even if I can’t read the Japanese names on the food packages (though the Chinese words do provide clues to me) I haven’t eaten anything that I disliked.
It’s taken me quite some time to put this together because we kind of went through the stash slowly, but I definitely know which from the snacks below are going back into my shopping basket on my next return to Japan. My favourites will be highlighted in bold. And by the way, tourists do get a tax discount of 8% for purchases made over ¥10,000, so I really would suggest stocking up. 😉
Let’s start with the pile that really gets my heart aflutter, namely the Matcha goodies!
Most of the items above were purchased from Family Mart (which is everywhere in Nippon) as well as Le Edo in Odaiba’s AquaCity. Now the thing I really like about Japanese snack packaging is that the picture of the food on the pack is pretty much the exact same thing you’ll find inside. Kind of alleviates the worries of non-Kanji readers huh?
- Lotte Ghana chocolate and matcha sticks (¥108) — On one side you’ve got milk chocolate, and on the other is matcha-flavoured white chocolate. The gold you see on the packet is actually its wrapping. I wasn’t a big fan of these since they were on the sweet side and didn’t really give me a satisfying hit of matcha. That small box contained four thin sticks.
- Toppo matcha (¥163) — Your typical pretzel sticks filled with some matcha-white chocolate inside. The pretzel sticks are slightly salty and tended to overpower the matcha filling.
- Matcha-Chocolate Daifuku — My Dad bought this during one of our stopovers on the way to Toyama. I couldn’t find the receipt so I have no idea what the price is, but I actually surprisingly enjoyed this matcha-coated mochi with chocolate filling. Surprising, because I really am not a fan of mochi.
- Kit Kat Itohkyuemon Uji-Matcha (12 bars for ¥800) — This is one of the regional Kit Kat’s exclusive to Kyoto, and I don’t know how we managed to get these since we didn’t even go there. But I figured since Kyoto is like the matcha capital of Japan, it’s bound to be good! Honestly, the only time I ever eat white chocolate is if it’s been mixed with matcha. The matcha Kit Kat’s are pretty legit.
- Kit Kat Original Matcha (¥500) — These are the less rare version of the matcha Kit Kat, and they also happen to be my favourite variety among the Japanese Kit Kat’s out there. (I literally stash this in my room when I can.) It simply has that classic matcha-flavour I so love!
- Meiji Rich Matcha Biscuits (¥200) — I’m pretty sure one look at the picture will remind you of another certain popular brand. Indeed, these cookies have those deep chocolate cookie discs sandwiching a matcha cream centre. They are less sweet than Oreos, if I remember correctly. Yum!
- Friend Bakery Matcha Cookies — These are crisp matcha cookies half-dipped into matcha-white chocolate, giving a pleasant but sweet matcha flavour.
- Alfort Chocolate Cookies coated with Matcha (¥140) — These remind me a bit of Oreos in that the chocolate cookies are dark against a layer of white chocolate that’s been matcha-fied. It’s not a sandwich cookie so it’s not too sweet if you pace yourself.
- Pocky Double Matcha (¥143) — I am addicted to this particular Pocky flavour. ADDICTED you guys. Instead of the regular vanilla Pocky cookie, we get a light matcha cookie coated with a flavourful matcha-white chocolate. It’s remarkably well-balanced in flavour. I am so going to hoard these in the future.
- Pocky Matcha Chocolate Crunch Sticks (¥800) — Extra green matcha sticks coated with milk chocolate and bits of matcha candy. This type of box has four packets of 6 sticks inside. The moment you open the packet the smell of matcha will float out. Never fails to make my mouth water. But I do prefer the Double Matcha Pocky because I find these more sweet and less matcha in flavour. I wish the chocolate was bittersweet instead of milk.
- Tokyo no Koibito Pudding Langue de Chat (¥1000 for box of 24’s, ¥600 for box of 12’s) — These cookies come in a bunch of different brands, the most famous being the Shiroi Koibito [白い恋人] from Hokkaido. It’s actually a sandwich cookie made of milky langue de chat (a.k.a. lengua de gato) with a thin layer of white chocolate in the center. It’s sweet, but if you like milky cookies then you will surely enjoy these! It also comes filled with milk chocolate.
Let’s talk about the Tokyo Bananas for a second. They were harder to find than I expected! I just chanced upon these as I was walking around DiverCity in Odaiba so I managed to get only the Tokyo Banana Original (box of 8 for ¥953). I definitely understand all the hype surrounding this cute little treat. You get an airy sponge cake filled with sweet and custardy banana puree. It smells lovely too!
I also spotted the Tokyo Banana Kurobe Cookies (box of 16 for ¥943) which looks a lot like the koibito cookies right? These are also thin milky cookies flavoured with vanilla and chocolate, but the filling has a light banana flavour. They’re okay, but I feel like if you’re going to splurge, might as well go for the Tokyo Banana cakes and the Koibito cookies.
The Rainbow Pocky (¥1200) is a box of giant pocky sticks as long as an arm! They come in 7 colours and flavours, namely: chocolate, banana, blueberry, strawberry, vanilla, matcha green tea, and orange. The cookies are THICK so I wish it had a thicker coating of flavour as well. My favourite flavours here are the blueberry and strawberry. The matcha was too think for me here. In each box, you get 3 pieces of each flavour for a total of 21 pieces. Also got this from DiverCity in Odaiba.
Now we get to the Kit Kat stash I accumulated on this trip. I’m not really a Kit Kat person but I just wanted the novelty of seeing how many varieties I could collect during my trip. I checked online for the flavours and they were pretty mind-blowing in number. These are the ones I managed to find:
- Kit Kat Wasabi (box of 12 for ¥870) — Got this from Hotou Foodou at the Fuji area. The Wasabi flavour is so light it’s hardly there. It’s like an aftertaste you have to force out of the white chocolate base with which the wafers are coated. I was expecting more wasabi than what this gave me so I was largely disappointed!
- Shinshu Apple Kit Kat (box of 12 for ¥800) — Got this from the Shinhotaka Ropeway. The smell of these are amazing! However the taste comes across as more artificial than I would’ve liked. The base coating of this is milk chocolate, and the apple flavouring sits right on top of the chocolate taste. Not a fan of the aftertaste but you can smell it a mile away!
- Kit kat Red Bean (box of 12 for ¥800) — Got this at the Narita Airport. And when they say red bean, they really mean it! This one is pretty sweet but I was delighted to find legitimate bits of red bean on the bars.
- Kit Kat Dark Chocolate — You can buy this pretty much in any supermarket or convenience store. It’s in a dark chocolate flavour that’s slightly sweet but also deep.
- Hot Japanese Chilli Kit Kat [Yawataya Isogoro Ichimi] (box of 12 for ¥800) — I like that the chilli kick comes clearly at the end of each bite. That’s what makes chilli-chocolate flavoured treats so great!
- Kit Kat Rum Raisin (box of 12 for ¥800) — Got this at the Narita Airport. Some people aren’t fans of rum raisin, and I don’t happen to be one of them. This one has a pleasant rum scent, though since it is covered in white chocolate it can be quite sweet!
The Kit Kat’s are sold in two sizes. The smaller one has only 3 bars inside. Here’s a little comparison shot:
I managed to score a bunch of mini boxes at the Narita Airport. I thought the Sakura Matcha Kit Kat (3 bars for ¥150) was going to blow my mind, but it tasted kind of like… purple yam? Ube, in Filipino. Not that that’s bad, but I guess I expected something else?
- Kitkat Strawberry Cheesecake (12 bars for ¥800) — It might be the strawberry flavour but I found these quite yummy! There’s that slight salty tang from the cream cheese that makes it even more pleasant.
- KitKat Wa-Ichigo (3 bars for ¥150) — Another yummy strawberry treat! This is among the top three of my favourite Kit Kat flavours. Honestly I have one bar left and I keep not wanting to eat it hahaha!
- Kit Kat Hokkaido Red Bean (3 bars for ¥150) — This one has finer red bean bits and I do believe they used a slightly darker chocolate coating for this.
- UCC Special Blend Drip Coffee — Cloth-like bags of ground roasted coffee beans you tear open and set atop your coffee mug. They have cardboard “wings” that hook on the mouth of your glass so you can slowly pour some hot water on top of the beans and allow the coffee to drip into your mug. Really genius way of commercializing drip coffee, especially since it tastes pretty good!
- The Meiji Choco Baby is something my younger brother asked me to buy. Got both that and the coffee from a grocery store we passed by in Odaiba.
Being the huge fan of strawberry flavoured candies that I am, I fell head over heels for these Meiji Apollo RICH Strawberry Chocolates (¥216). The word RICH is important since there are two versions of this particular chocolate. The other one has a very light strawberry flavour and lots of sweetness, but this one– Oh boy. If you like strawberry flavoured chocolate, then you HAVE to get this. Smells fabulous, and the strawberry taste is spot on! Luckily these can be bought at convenience stores!
Moving on to something that’s a little more branded, I took the opportunity to grab a couple of the ever-popular Royce chocolates at Narita right before we boarded.
- Royce Chocolate Bar Rum Raisin (¥350) — I decided to get these for a change. I always receive Royce Chocolate Bars in the typical flavours from friends who gift me with souvenirs from Japan and I thought I’d get these for them in exchange. Fans of rum raisin, this is for you!
- Royce Fruity Bar (18 pcs for ¥1160) — Pictured up up above, these bars are white chocolate rice crispy bars with fat pieces of dried cranberries. I was surprised at how much I loved these considering I just really dislike white chocolate! Must be the berry element to it.
- Royce Potato Chips Covered in Dark Chocolate (¥700) — Potato chips with chocolate isn’t unheard of in my world, and I did enjoy the salty and slightly sweet play this one had. It’s like an indulgence snack. I don’t think it’s for everyone though as I’m sure some people will find it a bit bizarre.
- Royce Nama Chocolate Champagne & Matcha (¥700 each, sliced into 20 rectangles inside) — These luxurious blocks of chocolate melt in your mouth and are quite possibly some of the most divine chocolates I have ever eaten. Traveling and afraid they’ll melt? You have the option to place these in a freezer envelope with an ice pack inside for ¥100. Yes, these need to be kept in the freezer.
This is by far the best Matcha chocolate I have ever put in my mouth:
Umaibō (うまい棒) are puffed cylindrical corn snacks that are majorly popular with the kids. The 7-year old girl in my tour group literally told me with adorable wide eyes that these were “super yummy”. I do tend to agree as these come in a variety of delicious flavours. They cost a measly ¥10 and can be bought from Daiso.
Flavours range from pizza and terriyaki, to beef tongue and… natto. Say what?
For our regional snack purchases, my Dad bought a bunch of crunchy stuff at the Takayam Old Town. Rice crackers– lots of them in different shapes and sizes and flavours. I wasn’t paying much attention to the store names at the time so I guess I’ll just give you pictures…
Now these deep-fried little crispies called karinto are from a Sugi Bee Garden shop at Takayama. That store sells honey pure as well as integrated to all sorts of things such as beauty products, and food! We got the karinto in Purple Yam with Honey flavour (in pink) as well as matcha, of course! The honey flavour is the most prominent.
I don’t know what spurred my Dad to buy that dancing solar-powered Kimono girl (¥1500) at the airport. My choice of souvenir was this gorgeous Japan Mug (¥1200) with a carving of the Japan map, as well as the highlights and attractions of each city. I love eating my meals with this mug and kind of daydreaming about which place I will visit next.
You know those gigantic soup mugs? The size of these mugs are like that, meaning massive. I bought the Sumo Mug (¥900) for my brother.
Speaking of drinking, a habit I developed while I was in Japan was to buy some hot coffee from their numerous vending machines. The weather was cold then so I liked holding the hot cans in my hands as I drank slowly. I forgot to take photos of the canned coffees I enjoyed, so instead I’ll recommend that you get yourselves some yoghurt drinks. Japan has some really amazing yoghurt drinks, and it doesn’t even have to be from a vending machine.
This Meiji one I bought from a vending machine, but I think the convenience stores sell it cheaper.
As an endnote, I just wanted to say if you get the chance to stop by any Japanese bakery, please do so! Asian breads are soft and flavourful and filled with so much personality, you shouldn’t miss them! Just like with this Curry Tempura bread we picked up at a bakery along the road to Toyama. There were a lot of interesting-looking breads but this in particular really caught my attention.
It’s a curry filled bun with a piece of shrimp tempura smack in the middle, then coated with cornflakes and fried. Doesn’t get an A+ for healthiness but I’ve certainly never seen anything like this before. I’m working on recreating it!
Aside from that, just try out every street snack you can! Skewered things and soft serve come to mind. I hope you guys also try out some of my recommended Japanese snacks and let me know if you liked them as much as I did!
If you haven’t caught up with my Japan Travel blogs of my trip last April yet, here’s your chance! Here’s my Japan travel video for you. I also provided the links of the individual travel diaries for each location in the video below, and some of them are long. You might want to grab a drink and a snack. 😉