One of the many quirks of Japanese culture is the popularity of KitKats. Although a popular chocolate bar in many countries, the Japanese have a much wider range of KitKat flavours than you might be used to. While many of the flavours sound appealing, there are several distinctly Japanese flavours which might be harder to stomach.
As the Katakana script used to write foreign words is based on consonant-vowel pairs, KitKats is actually written “kitto katsu”. This means “Surely win” in Japanese so KitKats are seen as a good luck charms. You’ll find space on the back of KitKats to write a message as they are usually bought as gifts for someone about to take a test or a job interview. KitKats are sold in multipacks to emphasise the good luck message; the singular version of KitKat is “kitto katto” which translates as “surely lose”…
It’s possible to buy several flavours of KitKat in Japan, and many cities have local flavours that reflect regional specialities. It’s worth keeping an eye out in convenience stores as well as gift shops and tourist shops to find the rarer flavours.
We found Blueberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, Passionfruit, Wachigo Strawberry, Green Tea, Sakura Green Tea, Kyoto Cinnamon Cookie and Red Bean Sandwich. Most of these were tasty but Red Bean Sandwich was perhaps too much of an acquired taste.
Other weird flavours include ube (purple sweet potato), wasabi and edamame rice cakes. These all make great souvenirs and watching friends’ reaction to the flavours is pretty fun!