One of the most curious things among foreigners traveling to Japan is something seemingly simple: the Kit Kat. So why does something that we all have in our own country cause so much curiosity and anger among foreigners? Because in Japan, there are Kit Kats in many different flavors!
How the Kit-Kat Came to Japan
The Kit-Kat bar originated in London in the mid-1930s and was then exported to other countries in the 1940s. But the chocolate treat with the crispy crunch did not make its way to Japan until the early 1970s. Since then, it has become somewhat of an obsession and is one of the top-selling confections in Japan since 2014.
Kit-Kat Varieties and Flavors by Region
The most popular package variety of Kit-Kat bars in Japan is the mini, consisting of two bite-size pieces. Typically there are about 40 different flavors of the Kit-Kat mini available at any given time.
Some unique flavors or limited releases may also feature exclusive designs and other premium ingredients, such as dehydrated fruit, higher-quality chocolate, and mocha.
Since 2000, Nestlé in Japan has developed over 200 Kit Kat flavors, because the Japanese are very fond of everything to do with food. There are Kit Kat hard to get regional editions that are only sold in their region and limited editions on significant dates.
The regional varieties, which are also available in specific packs, are
-Tōhoku (north of the main island): edamame.
-Tochigi: Tochiotome-type strawberry.
-Tokyo: rum raisin or rum with raisins.
-Yokohama: strawberry cheesecake.
-Shizuoka: wasabi. This edition is made in collaboration with the Tamaruya Honten store, an establishment that has been dedicated to the best wasabi for over a century.
-Tōkai and Hokuriku (central Japan): azuki sandwich, some sweet red beans.
-Chugoku and Shikoku: citrus golden blend.
-Kyushu: amaou-type strawberry
-Kyoto: three exciting varieties, like the one at hōjicha, a roasted tea, made in collaboration with the famous Itoh Kyuemon tea shop located in Uji, a region of Kyoto famous for its green tea, another variety of Shogoin yatsuhashi, a cinnamon cookie, and a third variety of matcha or Uji green tea, also in collaboration with the Itoh Kyuemon shop.
-Shinshū (around Nagano): two types, one of hot chili and one of Shinshu apple.
Another option is to go to one of the Kit Kat Chocolatories. Some of them, like the ones in Kyoto. They also sell some Kit Kat with unique flavors that are not sold in other stores. They sell them in various packs and not individually, but it’s also an excellent option to try different flavors.
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