What’s better than a supportive message? A tasty supportive message! Nestle Japan have really latched on to the idea that Kit Kat sounds like the Japanese phrase ‘kitto katsu’ (きっとかつ), meaning ‘certain victory’, and now regularly produce special edition Kit Kats aimed at passing on messages of good luck (especially at exam time in Japan). This new design includes messages on the actual Kit Kats themselves, which is brilliant!
It seems like there’s also a related song by Naoto Inti Raymi which you can download but, having tried, it looks like it’s only available in Japan.
I have to confess, I spent a ridiculous amount of time photographing these Kit Kats and trying to read them. I didn’t get very far with the reading part though, I’m afraid, as the kanji kept getting in the way! All of the phrases are displayed on the back of the bag:
One bag contains 15 mini two-finger Kit Kats:
The messages are written on the chocolate itself:
And there’s also a space to write a message on the back of the Kit Kat:
Imagine finding one of these in your lunch box on the day you have an exam! Japan is just the coolest country, isn’t it?
Another fabulously designed Kit Kat set from Japan – the Kit Kat Tokaido Shinkansen Set (キットカット 東海道新幹線セット). You might remember a couple of years ago when I bought a Kit Kat Shinkansen (bullet train), which was absolutely incredible. This set is not quite as cool, but still remarkably detailed and absolutely geeky!
Here’s the ad from the Japanese Kit Kat website:
And here it is…
The set contains four boxes, each one containing three mini two-finger milk chocolate Kit Kats. Unlike many other Japanese Kit Kats, there’s nothing unusual about the flavours – this set is all about the packaging. The boxes are designed with Shinkansen station signs: Shin-Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya. These stations are all from the Tokaido Shinkansen line.
This set is perfect for train lovers, with information on the back of the main box, as well as the smaller boxes, about Japanese trains:
The Kit Kats themselves are also decorated with pictures of trains:
This is the ultimate geek treat!
Apologies to those of you also following my other blog, Haikugirl’s Japan, as this is a re-post.
Earlier this year I became aware of a new Kit Kat collection which seemed to be the holy grail of Japanese Kit Kats: the Japanese Kit Kats – Regional Collection (日本国キットカット味遊記) – a special pack containing 15 different flavours from around Japan. To be honest, I had tried all but two of the flavours, but it was the packaging which had caught my attention. I had never seen something so beautiful… and I had to have it!
Luckily, one of my Japanese friends came to my aid, and we managed to come to an arrangement because she wanted something in exchange from the UK. I will be eternally grateful to her – ありがとう！
So, without further ado, here it is…
It comes in a red box:
There’s a mixture of English and Japanese on the box, and it’s clearly aiming to appeal to tourists and the foreign market with this huge ‘made in Japan’ on the box:
The box has a graphic explaining that it is designed like an advent calendar with 15 windows. Behind each window you’ll find two Kit Kats.
Taking the sticker off the front to open it up felt somehow wrong – I almost wanted to keep it preserved forever!
On the back of the box, all of the flavours are listed. It’s worth noting that the English on the box is simplified and, if you can read Japanese, you’ll find out more about the Kit Kats and the regions they’re from. I wish I could read more Japanese, but there’s a lot of complicated kanji on the box. Still, I’ve done my best to translate the flavours as accurately as I can later on in this post.
When you open up the red flaps at the front of the box, you are greeted with this utterly gorgeous map of Japan:
All of the region names are written on the blue fans, and dotted all over the map are images to illustrate the famous landmarks of the different areas, as well as amusing characters.
One thing that really struck me was the type of design used – it seems to be based on Japanese folding screens, and the gold clouds around the edges reminded me in particular of the talk I went to recently about the stage design for the play Anjin. The director of the play had also been inspired by these gold clouds on folding screens.
So, let’s look at the 15 regional flavours:
ずんだ(Edamame-Soybean) Kit Kat from東北(Tohoku)
This one tastes quite ‘beany’, and is certainly a unique flavour. I hadn’t heard of ‘zunda’ before I first came across this Kit Kat, but basically it is mashed up, unroasted, sweetened soy beans. Apparently it’s as popular in the Tohoku region as red bean paste (anko) is in Nagoya.
ル レクチエ(Le Lectier Pear) Kit Kat from新潟(Niigata)
This was one of the new ones for me, and I quite liked it (although it’s not in my top 10). It’s quite sweet, and has a very distinct whiff of pear about it. I hadn’t heard of Le Lectier pears before, so I Googled and discovered that they were imported from France to Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in the early 20th century, and have been associated with the region ever since.
ブルーベリー チーズケーキ (Blueberry Cheesecake) Kit Kat from上・甲信越(Joestu-Koushinsetsu)
This is such a good flavour for a Kit Kat! I’ll always remember the first time I tried these ones, when a student gave them to me as a present after a trip to Nagano.
信州りんご(Shinshu Apple) Kit Kat from信州 (Shinshu)
‘Shinshu’ is actually one of the old names for what we now think of as ‘Nagano Prefecture’. However, the name has been kept when referring to the apples from that region.
八幡屋礒五郎一味(Yawataya Isogoro Ichimi – Hot Japanese Chili) Kit Kat from信州 (Shinshu)
I love chili chocolate, and this is probably one of my favourite Kit Kats. I always thought it was just ‘Ichimi Kit Kat’ but, when I looked at the name more closely today I noticed that it is actually ‘Yawataya Isogoro Ichimi’. I searched for ‘Yawataya Isogoro‘ to find out what it was, and it seems to be a company which produces and sells Japanese chilis and spices.
榮太樓黒みつ(Eitaro kuro mitsu – black honey/syrup) Kit Kat from東京 (Tokyo)
This is one of the very ‘Japanese’ flavours in the box, and I always find it hard to explain to people what ‘kuro mitsu’ is. It could be likened to treacle, but it’s runnier, and I think tastier too.
ストロベリー チーズケーキ(Strawberry Cheesecake) Kit Kat from横浜 (Yokohama)
Strawberry cheesecake seems like quite a standard flavour compared to some of the others, but it’s still miles better than anything we can get in the UK.
田丸屋本店わさび(Tamaru ya Wasabi) Kit Kat from静岡・関東 (Shizuoka-Kanto)
Ah… wasabi. This is one of the Kit Kats that gets Japan its name for producing ‘weird food’. However, most people accept chili chocolate nowadays, so what’s so different? Wasabi chocolate (if you like wasabi of course!) is really tasty – give it a try!
Incidentally, this wasabi Kit Kat is labelled with ‘Tamaru ya‘, which seems to be the name of a a wasabi producing company.
あずきサンド (Red Bean Sandwich) Kit Kat from東海・北陸 (Tokai-Hokuriku)
Red bean sandwiches make me feel nostalgic about Nagoya, as they’re popular there. I couldn’t even tell you how many of these particular Kit Kats I’ve eaten in the past! Oops.
聖護院八ッ橋(Shogoin Yatsuhashi – Cinnamon Cookie) Kit Kat from京都 (Kyoto)
This Shogoin Yatsuhashi Kit Kat was the one I was really waiting for – a truly Japanese flavour which I had never had the chance to try before. Anyone who has ever visited Kyoto should know what ‘yatsuhashi’ is – it’s the most popular traditional food souvenir, which tastes of cinnamon. In the picture above, you can see these wafer-like things – they’re yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi, named after a Japanese musician called Kengyo Yatsuhashi in 1689, used to be sold on the approach to a temple called Shogoin, and got the nickname ‘Shogoin Yatsuhashi’.
These Kit Kats have broken-up yatsuhashi inside the white chocolate, and they are divine! Worth taking a trip to Japan for, I think!
伊藤久右衛門抹茶(Itokyuemon Matcha – Green Tea) Kit Kat from 京都 (Kyoto)
Matcha – green tea – Kit Kat is the classic Japanese Kit Kat now, and even that comes in different varieties. This one, like the hojicha one below, is labelled ‘Itokyuemon‘, which seems to be the name of a tea shop or company in Uji City, Kyoto.
伊藤久右衛門ほうじ茶(Itokyuemon Hojicha – Roasted Tea) Kit Kat from 京都 (Kyoto)
Just like the matcha Kit Kat above, this hojicha Kit Kat is a classic from Kyoto.
柑橘黄金ブレンド(Kankitsu Ogon Blend – Citrus Golden Blend) Kit Kat from中国・四国(Chugoku-Shikoku)
These citrus Kit Kats are really fruity and zingy, and I’m sure they’d sell well in the UK if only someone would try.
あまおう苺(Amaou Strawberry) Kit Kat from九州 (Kyushu)
You can’t beat a strawberry Kit Kat – the chocolate is pink and it smells like bubblegum. Amaou, by the way, is the name of a place in Fukuoka where strawberries are produced.
紅いも(Beni Imo – Purple Sweet Potato) Kit Kat from沖縄・九州 (Okinawa-Kyushu)
Beni imo – purple sweet potato – is a classic Okinawan flavour and, although it might look a bit strange, I highly recommend giving this purple Kit Kat a try!
The box happily declares, ‘Enjoy Japanese unique Kit Kat flavours!’…
If you get the chance, do try some! I’m sure there must be a flavour suitable for everyone, and the 15 flavours listed above only just scratch the surface of what is actually available if you travel around Japan.
New Kit Kats from Japan! I spotted these ones at Hyper Japan recently and was kicking myself afterwards for not buying them. Then, as luck would have it, I received some as a gift! 榮太樓黒みつ (Eitaro kuro mitsu – black honey) Kit Kats have a really unique taste – I guess you could liken them to treacle, but really you need to try them for yourself!
I know some people don’t like wasabi, and the idea of wasabi and chocolate together sounds strange, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I’ve tried these わさび (Wasabi) Kit Kats before, having lived in Shizuoka, but the packaging is slightly different this time.
I’ve had these delicious ストロベリー チーズケーキ (Strawberry Cheesecake) Kit Kats from Yokohama, Japan, before, but this time the packaging is slightly different and they taste better than ever!
I hardly ever post about Kit Kats I haven’t actually tried, but I was having a look at the Japanese Kit Kat website the other day and simply had to share these ones:
Anyone who has ever visited Kyoto should know what ‘yatsuhashi’ is – it’s the most popular traditional food souvenir. In the picture above, you can see these wafer-like things – they’re yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi, named after a Japanese musician called Kengyo Yatsuhashi in 1689, used to be sold on the approach to a temple called Shogoin, and got the nickname ‘Shogoin Yatsuhashi’. These Kit Kats appear to have broken-up yatsuhashi inside the chocolate, which I can only imagine must taste amazing – kind of like a traditional version of cookies and cream.
I wonder if anyone reading this blog has been lucky enough to try Shogoin Yatsuhashi Kit Kats?
I’ve posted about the delicious 桜抹茶 (Sakura Matcha) Kit Kat from Japan before (here and here), but recently I came across new packaging when I won a Sakura Matcha Kit Kat in a competition. Here it is:
The box opens at the top and contains three smaller sized Kit Kats, as opposed to opening at the side and containing two regular sized Kit Kats like it used to.
Remember my last post about Japanese Kit Kats from sushinoms? Well there was one thing I didn’t mention…
I did give in and buy some Kit Kats. I was a little bit broke that weekend, but when the guy running sushinoms told me about a flavour he had recently come across – a flavour which wasn’t on sale at Hyper Japan – I just had to have them. Not only is this one of my all-time favourite flavours, it turns out to be the perfect flavour for a Kit Kat.
Ladies and gentlemen… drum roll please… I hereby present to you: Rum Raisin (ラムレーズン) Kit Kats from Tokyo!
I was so excited about these Kit Kats that I barely dared to open them and have actually only eaten a couple so far. They taste amazing – very alcoholic! Now why doesn’t the UK sell Kit Kats like these, huh?
I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven when I went to Hyper Japan in London in November and saw this lot:
Japanese Kit Kats are notoriously hard to import, but UK-based company sushinoms seem to have cracked it. At Hyper Japan they had around 12 different flavours available – more than I have ever seen at one time in the UK – and they stock some of them on their website, too.
Feast your eyes on these…
Flavours included: 一味 (Ichimi – red pepper) from Nagano, Uji Matcha (宇治抹茶) – green tea from Uji), 和苺 (Wa-ichigo – Japanese strawberry), 信州りんご (Shinshu Ringo – Apple from Nagano, わさび (Wasabi) from Shizuoka, あずきサンド (Azuki Sando – red bean sandwich) from Nagoya, 柑橘黄金ブレンド (Kankitsu Ogon Blend – Citrus Golden Blend) from Shikoku, ブルーベリー チーズケーキ (Blueberry Cheesecake) from Nagano, 紅いも (Beni Imo – Purple Sweet Potato) from Okinawa, ストロベリー チーズケーキ (Strawberry Cheesecake) from Yokohama, 桜抹茶 (Sakura Matcha) and 榮太樓黒みつ (Eitaro kuro mitsu – black honey).
Having now checked through my blog, I’m gutted I didn’t try the ‘Eitaro kuro mitsu’ Kit Kat as that’s the only one I haven’t tried. If I’d had the money I would have bought one of each but, although they were reasonably priced, this Kit Kat hobby has always added up a bit too much!
Talking of expensive Kit Kats…
I spotted something on the sushinoms site which, if it was in stock, I would be seriously tempted to splash out on (£59.99 on chocolate? Yes, I think so!):
Kit Kat Special Edition Collection of 15 Flavors (30 bars): For the first time Nestlé Japan has created a collection box of Regional Kit Kats. This Special Edition box opens out with a map of Japan and the region each Kit Kat is from. Over each region on the map you’ll find a secret door (similar to a advent calendar) with 2 Kit Kat bars inside! This box contains 2 x 15 flavours of Kit Kat, so a total of 30 bars inside. This would be a perfect gift for those on the hunt to try every Kit Kat flavour from Japan. This is a special edition product and it’s extremely rare, so make sure you don’t miss out because our stocks are very limited.
Kit Kat Flavours:
- Brown Sugar Syrup
- Red Bean Sandwich
- Citrus Golden Blend
- Purple Sweet Potato
- Matcha-Green Tea
- Hojicha-Roasted Tea
- Cinnamon Cookie
- Shinshu Apple
- Hot Japanese Chilli
- Blueberry Cheese Cake
- Strawberry Cheese Cake
If anyone can ever find one of these set for me, I will probably marry them!
These amazing Kit Kat Collections may be sold out, but sushinoms still stock a great selection of Japanese Kit Kats and other Japanese goodies. Check them out at: sushinoms.com.