From Sea Salt to Fresh Melon, There’s Nothing Quite Like Japan’s Kit Kat Craze
Did you know Japan’s favorite chocolate bar started back in 1930s England? Or that it’s a popular good luck charm for students? How about the fact that it comes in OVER 300 different flavors, including Salted Lemon, Green Tea, and even Wasabi?!
Kit Kat is a big deal in Japan. In fact, Kit Kat of Japan estimates that it sells about 4 Million 2-bar packages every single day. However, Japan’s obsession with Kit Kat goes far beyond a simple love for wafer cookies. Instead, it’s a complex intersection of the gift-giving culture of Japan, regional Japanese flavors, and high-quality chocolate.
If you’ve ever been curious about what makes Kit Kats from Japan so unique, and want to try some for yourself, read on!
Green Tea Matcha is just one of more than 300 unique Japanese Kit-Kat Flavors
From Convenience Stores to Boutique Department Stores: A Quick History of the Japanese Kit Kat
Although Kit Kats originated with a British confectionary company named Rowantree’s in the 1920s, it would take them more than half a century to finally reach the Japanese market. After establishing a presence in 1973 Japan, the brand quickly became popular among students and parents for an interesting reason: its name.
In Japanese, the phrase “Kitto Katsu” roughly translates to several encouraging terms like “Good luck” or “You’ll surely succeed.” When Kit Kat reached Japan under the transliterated name“Kitto Kato,”it quickly caught on as a good luck charm for students during the busy exam seasons of the Japanese school year. Over the next 20 years, it became a popular gift for parents to give students ahead of important school tests.
That tradition continues to this day when the busiest time of year for Kit Kat in Japan is during peak exam time in July.
With More Than 300 Flavors, Kit Kats are an Edible Tour of Japan
today, If you walk into a Japanese grocery store, it’s easy to appreciate the literal walls of unique Kit Kat flavors. While Classic Chocolate and Fresh Strawberry remain popular Kit Kat flavors, countless flavors stem from every corner of Japan’s highly regional food scene.
Some of these flavors, such as Cheesecake or Green Tea Kit Kats, are year-round, full-country classics. Others are released to celebrate specific events or incorporate special regional flavors. For instance, visitors to Japan’s Southern cities can try region-specific Kit Kat bars flavored with purple Okinawan sweet potatoes. Meanwhile, visitors to Kyoto can enjoy Kit Kats flavored with Itokyuemon matcha (a rare, bitter blend of green tea).
Flavors of Kit Kat like Hiroshima’s Momiji Manju (maple leaf) or Nagoya’s Azuki Bean have become popular gifts. These different regional flavors cater to Japan’s culture ofomiyage, which roughly translates to “giving souvenirs.” Instead of buying souvenirs for oneself in Japan, it’s considered thoughtful to purchase region-specific gifts for family, coworkers, and friends. After all, they offer both Japanese and International tourists a chance to bring back unique local food in a handy, easy-to-gift package of chocolate wafer cookies.
Ready to Try Japanese Kit Kats?! Introducing: Japan Crate by Lolli & Pops 50-piece Kit Kat Sampler Box
If these delicious-sounding Kit Kat flavors have you searching for plane tickets to Tokyo, we’ve got an exciting new announcement.
Lolli & Pops has partnered with Japan Crate to feature an exclusive 50-piece Japanese Kit Kat Sampler Box. This sampler box is the first (and only!) of its kind in the United States, offering a chance to try 6exciting flavors of specialty Japanese Kit Kats. It includes the iconic Cheesecake Kit Kats, along with Banana Caramel Kit Kats, delectable Chocolate Orange Kit Kats, and many more! The Japan Crate x Lolli & Pops 50 Piece Japanese Kit-Kat Sampler Box also comes with the legendaryDark Chocolate Otona no Amasa flavor, a special blend of Japanese dark chocolate that’s incredibly difficult to find on this side of the Pacific Ocean.