25 Best Japanese Snacks You Should Try Once In A Lifetime
Japanese food always knows how to make people amazed and surprised by its one-of-a-kind dishes. And so do Japanese snacks. This article will share 25 best Japanese snacks that definitely make huge fans of snacks jaw-dropped. These Japanese treats are so unique and exclusive that you can only try all of them in Japan.
Top 25 Best Japanese Snacks To Try
Mochi is a rice cake whom flavor profile is sweet and texture is soft, sticky and chewy. It comes in a wide range of other flavors such as matcha, red bean, green bean, cherry, and so on. Many people cannot resist mochi as it is delicious with diverse flavors. Especially there are some kinds of mochi whom filling is vanilla, strawberry and matcha ice cream. Those are very popular and favored by many people from other foreign countries not only in Japan.
Let’s try some mochi flavors in the video below:
It is not exaggerating to say that Japan is a treasure trove of KitKats. Having adopted the chocolate bars from England nearly 30 years ago, Japan is now renowned for more than 300 different unique KitKat flavors.
Some best flavors are matcha (green tea), strawberry or blueberry cheesecake, sakura (cherry blossoms), lemon, grape, red bean paste…. And it can go without saying that the weirdest KitKat flavors are varied such as grilled potato, wasabi, brown sugar syrup, French salt, pumpkin, soybean powder, houji tea, apple vinegar, cappuccino, and the list goes on and on. An interesting fact is that Japanese people consider Kikat as a lucky gift before exams or interviews as Kitkat is pronounced similar to “Kitto katsu”, which means “You will surely win!” in Japanese.
Watch this funny video to discover some KitKat flavors:
Pocky by Glico is one of the most popular snacks in Japan. It was first sold in Japan over 50 years ago, and now exported to many countries around the world both Asian and European.
Pocky is the biscuit stick whom two-thirds are coated with solid chocolate cream. The biscuit part is crunchy and its plain flavor with the sweet coated cream make a perfect combination. Today, pocky has a wide range of flavored cream, not only chocolate. Some unique flavors can only be found in Japan such as Almond Crush, Wagokoro (the finest matcha and red bean and very limited in Japan), the rainbow pocky (the coolest with 7 different flavors), Aldult Amber Whisky (very exclusive and enjoyed when drinking whisky), Giant Cantaloupe (only in Hokkaido!), Pumpkin Apple (the limited edition for Halloween), etc. Have you ever heard of any of those? With flavors like champagne, cocoa milk, wine and chocolate banana, you’ll need to buy a few boxes just for your secret midnight snacks.
This video below will introduce you many flavors of Pocky:
Jagabee, made by Calbee – a major food maker, is a popular potato snack shaped like french fries. The flavors are lightly salty, cheese and butter soy sauce. This tasty potato treat is crunchy both outer shell and inside. Its flavor is great as it contains a right amount of salt. The packaging is so cute and eye-catching with the image of a little potato fairy. One tip for enjoying Jagabee, feed the potato chip frenzy with bizarre flavors like sushi and salmon – the more bizarre, the better!
Oreo will be always on the top of the list of best Japanese snacks. It is the Japanese must-try as its taste are so unique that no other food brands can intimate and make a success like that. The flavor of the circle biscuit is so special: crispy, a little sweet, a little bitter combined with chocolate flavor. The filling cream is so diverse with many flavors. And the Japanese Oreo comes in so many crazy and weird flavors: lemon mousse, green tea latte, watermelon, pumpkin spice, candy corn, red velvet, peanut butter, etc. You must be surprised to know that Japanese Oreos are so sought after that they’re auctioned off on Ebay.
6. Goldfish Apple Yokan
Goldfish Apple Yokan, also known as Yokan, is a jelly dessert made of sugar, agar and the apple juice the most popular apple – producing region in Japan – Aomori Prefecture. The jelly is sweet, chewy and delicious. The wrapping is cute with the face of a goldfish which refers to a traditional game “Kingyo Sukui” (goldfish scooping).
Taiyaki is a sweet treat shaped like a fish – a lucky symbol for Japanese Buddhists. This classic dessert is named after the Japanese tai, or snapper. The yellowish wrapper of tayaki is made from dough or wheat flour, the filling inside is traditionally sweet red bean paste. Nowadays, taiyaki with other savory fillings like custard, chocolate, matcha ice cream or cheese can also be found in supermarkets. Basically, taiyaki are good for youto enjoy all around year.
Another popular taiyaki is ice cream taiyaki. It is like waffle ice cream from Western countries. The frozen taiyaki is cool, delicious and perfect for hot summers.
Let’s try some taiyaki ice cream!
There is no doubt to say that Doraemon is the most popular and favorite comic character of all time. And the hobby of this cute fat cat robot is also famous all over the world: he is a huge fan of Dorayaki! His hobby may make Dorayaki a household name and it has become one of the most popular Japanese snacks.
So what is Dorayaki? It is two round pancakes with filling of red bean paste. The texture is soft and fluffy, the flavor is very sweet and favored especially by sweet – toothed persons. Available year-round, these fluffy cakes are sometimes mixed with cherries or lemons and they’re perfect for a posh afternoon tea. Sold as a street vendor snack with only 300 yen each, dorayaki are the ideal way to satisfy your sweet tooth without busting your budget. Nowadays, these are so popular that many Japanese snack makers now package them for grocery store shelves.
Let’s watch how to make Dorayaki professionally:
9. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is the finely ground green tea powder which has slightly bitter, but deep and delicious flavors of green tea. The process of producing matcha includes many steps from tree care, coverage, selecting tea buds, high-temperature steam and rapid cooling, etc to plant and transfer from aracha to tencha and then matcha. The oldest known matcha farm in this country is a small plantation with about 2,000 trees and located in the center of Uji, Kyoto. With an extremely high amount of antioxidants (including EGCG), matcha has remarkable health benefits. It is believed to help detoxify the body, boost metabolism, improve mood and ability to focus.
Matcha products can be enjoyed in various different ways, from the ground powder itself and green tea to desserts such as ice cream, cakes, milk tea, snacks and so on. The two best cities to explore Matcha flavors are Tokyo – home to a great number of cafe houses, and the other is Kyoto – the city of the finest Japanese tea leaves and authentic teahouses.
Below is a simple guide to make matcha:
Namagashi is one of the sweet Japanese treats along with daifuku, dorayaki, taiyaki,… All of these are called “wagashi”. Namagashi is made from flour, egg, sweetened beans and sugar. This sticky and sweet snack is often used in tea ceremony. Unlike other wagashi types, namagashi is beautifully designed in shape of mini – size colorful flowers and leaves. The special thing is namagashi lends its gorgeous color from other plants so it is completely fresh, natural and healthy.
Namagashi is truly a representative of Japanese candy art:
Namagashi is the most expensive among all types of wagashi maybe because of its so delicate and charming appearance. Another noticeable feature is that namagashi is highly moisture so it is perishable. You need to eat it immediately.
Some people argue that crepes have the origin from France, not Japan. However, crepes have made their way in Japan and managed to become popular here. Crepe is a type of thin and round pancake rolling the filling inside. It is served with a wide variety of fillings, mainly two types: sweet and savory. First, they spread the dough on a heated frying pan. After that, they put the filling on and start to roll up slightly.
This amazing video below will certainly make you mouth – watering:
The most common fillings of sweet crepes are whipped cream, multi – flavor ice cream and cookies, cheese and some fruits like strawberry, kiwi or banana. The savory crepes have some fillings such as tuna, mayonnaise, shrimp, sausage, meat,…
12. Tokyo Banana
Tokyo Banana is a Japanese sweet cake shaped like banana. The original one is full of banana custard inside wrapped by a fluffy sponge. But Japan is a very creative nation; needless to say, Japanese have made some other flavors.
The honey flavor has a triple pattern that looks like the honeybee. The Heart maple one is cute with the colorful heart patterns and delicious with maple-flavored filling. And there are so many other flavors like almond milk cream, banana caramel and chocolate caramel. They are even coated by chocolate or drizzled with other icing and/or rolled in sprinkles and sold at street vendors during Japan’s summer festival.
Tokyo Banana is packaged in a square gift box so many people buy it as a souvenir for their loved ones.
Anmitsu is a mixed dessert of jelly, agar, fruits, mochi, peas, ice cream and red bean paste; the fruits are made in thin slices. It is served in a bowl of sweet black syrup mixed with some ingredients mentioned above.
Like other Japanese snacks and desserts, anmitsu also have a few types. Mitsumame has no red bean paste, cream anmitsu has the topping of ice cream.
Anmitsu is a cold, fresh and sweet dessert for warm summers:
Konpeito is a traditional Japanese candy which was first introduced in Japan in 16th century. It is a type of hard sugar candy coated with sugar syrup. Until now, Konpeito is still delicately hand crafted and it takes 7 – 10 days to produce a candy.
Konpeito is colorful, very small (only 5 – 10mm) and shaped like a star. This charming sweet now has many different flavors like sake, sakura, whiskey which are sure to delight the senses. The special thing about these cute candies is that they are deeply rooted in Japanese culture. They have appeared in some famous anime and manga (Japanese cartoon and comic). While more common and affordable today, they are still used as souvenir or a gift as they are prepared in a beautiful and elegant box.
Would you try these ancient candies? They are certainly in many people’s childhood memories.
15. Yamachan Snacks
Yamachan is a food store chain selling Nagoya fried chicken wings. But they also have squid snack and rice cracker snack. Yamachan squid snack is crunchy outside, chewy inside and a little savory. The rice cracker one is salty and spicy. Both of yamachan snacks are perfect to use with beer.
16. Ice No Mi
Ice No Mi by Glico is a small gelato in shape of round ball. It is a frozen treat which has 80% fruit juice so it will melt instantly when you put it in your mouth. The juice filling comes in many flavors: grape, orange, peach and other seasonal variations. When you enjoy ice no mi, you will feel like eating iced fruits.
17. Royce Nama Chocolate
It comes as no surprise that Royce Nama Chocolate is the best Japanese candy due to its fresh ingredients, amazing flavors and luxurious packaging.
This one of a kind chocolate contains 70 – 75% pure chocolate, 20 – 25% fresh cream and a little prestige liqueur. The chocolate is then coated with a layer of fine cocoa powder and cut into rectangular pieces. Each chocolate box has 20 pieces in a vacuum bag.
Nama chocolate’s flavor is fresh, elegant and slightly fragrant and its texture is so silky smooth. It offers 6 main flavors: matcha (green tea), milk cocoa, Hennessy (a kind of liquor, this flavor is especially suitable for luxurious parties), nama chocolate white (milky flavor), nama chocolate AuLait (extracted from fresh cherries) and nama chocolate champagne.
Arare is a kind of small Japanese cracker whom main ingredients are glutinous rice and soy sauce. It has many different sizes, colors and shapes. They are traditionally flavored with soy sauce, but modern Japanese snack makers are exploring other flavors such as butter, lemon and vinegar, and cheese curry.
Arare is also a popular japanese snack as Japanese people eat it in the Doll Festival on 3rd of March – Girl’s Day in Japan.
19. Meltykiss Chocolate
Meltykiss is a kind of chocolate truffles that are only sold in winter. These cocoa powdered chocolate cubes are so addictive with velvety texture and a slightly milky sweet and bitter flavor. Like other Japanese candies or snacks, Meltykiss series also offer many different flavors besides the classic one (premium chocolate) such as strawberry, savory soybean, matcha (the most favorite flavor),….
20. Iwatsuka Confectionery Inaka no Oakaki
Iwatsuka no Oakaki are thin and roasted slices whom the main ingredient is glutinous paddy rice. The outer shell and the body are firm and crispy. Its classic flavors are salt and soy sauce. Iwatsuka no Oakaki with the darker brownish color is richly flavored and becomes the best – seller for 6 years consecutively.
21. Kameda no Kaki no Tane
Kameda no Kaki no Tane is a type of rice crackers bearing resemblance to the long seeds of peanuts or persimmon. Each packet also contains a hearty amount of peanuts, resulting in a crunchy treat that blends textures and seasonings. These crunchy rice crackers come in many flavors such as soy sauce, umami, wasabi (so spicy),… This iconic snack contain 30% less amount of salt so it is good for health.
22. Amanoya no Kabuki Age
Kabuki Age is created in 1960. It is a kind of deeply fried senbei (Japanese rice cracker) and has soy sauce flavor. Its flavor is slightly sweet, robust and delicious.
Kabuki Age can be used with green tea or beer.
Manju is a traditional Japanese confection made from buckwheat flour, rice powder and sugar. The filling of manju is often red bean paste. This round and soft cake is a very cheap sweet treat and often consumed with tea.
Manju is often steamed or baked. It is somewhat like mantou of China. Manju offers a thousand of fillings but most of them are very sweet. Today, you can find many flavors of manju like matcha, chestnut, fruit,…
24. Tokyo An-Pudding
Tokyo An-Pudding is a sweet dessert made from egg, heated sugar and milk. It is very tasty, and has creamy and smooth texture. The thing that distinguishes Tokyo An-Pudding from other types of pudding is Hokkaido red bean paste is used as an ingredient instead of caramel.
25. Fried Seaweed
Japan is a nation famous for nori (seaweed). Many Japanese foods have the topping of seaweed. And the list of best Japanese snacks definitely have some snacks from seaweed.
Fried Seaweed is crispy and salty. The one with sudachi (a fruit that is similar lemon) flavor is sour. Another flavor is lemon fried seaweed.
Frequently asked questions
What snacks to buy in Japan 2021?
Snack game in Japan is seriously strong! From Kit Kats of strange flavors to wasabi pistachios, here are 10 must-buy snacks in Japan in 2021:
1. Meiji Takenoko no Sato and Kinoko no Yama
2. Puré Fruits Gummy
3. Meiji Macademia Chocolate
4. Glico Pocky
5. Calbee Jagariko
6. Shiroi Koibito Mixed Biscuits
7. Tohato Chocobi Crayon Shinchan
8. Umaibo Japanese Corn Puffed
9. Wasabi Pistachios
10. Kit Kat
What is the best Japanese snack box?
In every TokyoTreat subscription box, you’ll find 17 large snacks, which includes a wide assortment of quirky candies, anime-themed snacks, a party snack pack and limited edition surprises. Everything is listed out and described in a handy mini magazine, along with notes on Japanese culture and fun facts. Each month offers a different theme that’s related to a holiday or the current season.
One of the best perks of TokyoTreat is its Streaks reward system. Your continued monthly subscription earns you points that you can redeem for prizes and coupons. It normally costs you $14.99 for a small box, $24.99 for a regular box and $34.99 for a premium box.
Bokksu’s subscription is unbeatable for its price – for $40, you get 20-25 items including high-quality Japanese snacks, candy, and tea which, according to their site, “people in Japan actually eat”. What’s more, you can enjoy their service with free shipping.
Each box comes with a tasting guide that tells the story of each unique item, plus a tea pairing. The products in each box are centered around specific Japanese regions or flavors, allowing you to learn more about Japanese culture through food.
Japan Crate offers the craziest, most unique Japanese snacks, candy and drink. They are hand-selected and sourced straight from Japan, so you know you’re getting an authentically awesome snack experience. The Premium version has the most variety, as it comes with 18-20 different items. They even include a manga-inspired booklet full of info on each totally cool treat!
Prices are quite affordable with $12 a month for the Mini crate, $25 a month for the Original crate, $30 a month for the Premium crate. Free shipping is applied to the U.S. Save with 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions.
Where can I buy Japanese snacks?
List of the most popular stores for purchasing Japanese snacks:
- Matsumoto Kiyoshi
- Don Quijote
- Mini Stop
- Family Mart
- Circle K Sunkus
- Daily Yamazaki
- Department store such as Daimaru Dept. Store
These stores above are available widely across Japan. Personally we prefer to shop at Don Quijote since the shop is huge with wide array of products and it accepts Tax Free transaction
What is the most popular sweet in Japan?
Wagashi (和菓子) is the most popular Japanese sweets that is typically enjoyed in combination with a cup of green tea. They are made in a wide variety of shapes and consistencies, with diverse preparation methods. Basically, the wrapper is white bean starch mixing with a little glutinous rice flour (gyuhi) and sugar water. Some famous types of wagashi are namagashi, daifuku, dorayaki and mochi. Wagashi can be purchased at specialty sweet shops, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and food stands.
The adventure of enjoying best Japanese snacks has come to an end. We have gone through a wide range of flavors: sweet, savory, salty, bitter or sour. The world of Japanese snacks is there and so large for you to discover.