One of the best things about Japan is the huge selection of one-of-a-kind foods and unique snacks. While you’re probably familiar with sushi, sake, and ramen- how many Japanese snacks have you tried?
Japanese snacks have a reputation for being unique, ‘out there’, and sometimes a little bizarre. They can come in a huge variety of strange flavors that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
This is why travelers to Japan will often return home with a huge selection of absurd treats.
If you love Japanese culture and have a sweet-tooth, read on to discover some of the best Japanese snacks and where to find them.
Even if you’re not an expert in Japanese snacks, you’ve almost certainly seen Pocky before. It’s one of the most loved Japanese snacks and it is popular all over the world.
It’s essentially just a box of very thin pretzel sticks which are coated in chocolate and they’ve been sold in Japan for over 50 years.
Like most other Japanese snacks, Pocky comes in a wild range of flavors. Some of the most noteworthy include; orange peel, matcha green tea, Yubari melon, and Shinshi grape.
Pocky often collaborates with other franchises, such as Star Wars and popular anime shows like Dragonball Z and Hello Kitty.
You can find crazy flavors online, with worldwide shipping!
Wherever you are in the world, you’re probably familiar with these English-born chocolate wafer biscuits.
However, they were adopted by Japan nearly 30 years ago, and since then they’ve invented 300 brand new flavors!
One possible reason for their popularity in Japan is because the name of the snack sounds very much like the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu,” which means “You will surely win!”.
This coincidence has led to a Japanese tradition where Kit-Kats are often given as gifts before job interviews or exams as a sort of good luck charm.
Some of the crazy Japanese Kit-Kat flavors you can find online include; wasabi, soy sauce, and miso soup. Try out some of them here.
Just as Lays are the go-to potato chips in the United States, Calbee is the brand of choice in Japan.
Calbee is responsible for the Jagabee line of potato snacks, one of the most popular in the whole of the country.
Jagabee potato chips are shaped like french fries and come in the usual crazy Japanese flavors.
Some of the wildest include; butter soy sauce, spring onion, and plum & salt.
However, you can buy Jagabee in ‘normal’ flavors too, such as lightly salted and cheese. Check them out here.
While Oreos may seem like a staple of American snack foods, it has of course been adopted by Japan and given their signature twist.
You’ve probably tried some North American varieties like double stuff and mint.
However, Japan has taken Oreo flavors to a whole new level.
Some Japanese Oreo flavors include; green tea, peach oolong, cherry cola, wasabi, and even hot chicken wings!
If you’re looking for a more subtle flavor, give Japan’s other Oreo varieties a go, such as cinnamon bun, apple pie, and caramel ice cream.
Takenoko No Sato are a range of snacks created by the brand Meiji. They’re small triangular biscuits, molded to look like bamboo shoots.
The snack’s name means “bamboo shoot village,” which gives the adorable impression that these are tiny bamboo shoot houses— so cute!
The biscuit is super sweet and can be considered more of a candy. The treats are dunked in chocolate, which is somewhere between dark and milk.
Meiji make other botanical village themed biscuit treats too, most notably Kinoko No Yama, which literally means “mushroom mountain.”
They’re of course, shaped like little mushrooms. They come in an assortment of flavors including matcha green tea, strawberry cheesecake, and Japanese chestnut.
The word ‘Umaibo’ literally means “delicious stick,” which is pretty self explanatory. It’s essentially just a long cylindrical corn puff that comes in a variety of different flavors.
It’s known for its extremely fair price of just 10 yen ($0.10) per stick. This is why they’re most popular among school children.
They come in a variety of unique flavors both sweet and savory. We’re intrigued most by their “dragon flavor” stick.
But some honorable mentions include cheese, chicken curry, shrimp mayonnaise, vegetable salad, seaweed, and of course— beef tongue.
You can get variety packs here, so you can give every wacky flavor a try.
While it’s usually recommended to avoid sugar right before bed, these chocolates are designed to send you to sleep.
This is thanks to the added chemical GABA which acts as a sleep aid. It’s a traditional remedy for anxiety, stress, and muscle pain that supposedly works, even in chocolate form.
You’ll only need a couple of pieces to feel the effects, too. Don’t believe us? In a 2018 study, participants who took 300 milligrams of GABA an hour before going to bed fell asleep faster than those who took a placebo.
They also reported improved sleep quality for weeks after starting treatment. Sweet dreams...
A Tokyo Banana is a light and fluffy sponge cake that is popular in... you guessed it, Tokyo. It has a creamy banana flavored filling and it’s considered the official souvenir sweet of the capital city.
They’re often brought home as souvenirs by tourists as their luxurious packaging makes them perfect gifts.
Tokyo Bananas don’t necissarily have to be banana-flavored. Other varieties include caramel-flavored banana custard cake, chocolate sponge cake, and Ginzu strawberry.
You’ll notice an abundance of these snacks in Japanese airports, so be sure to fill up your suitcase before you head home! However, you’ll have to snack swiftly, as they have a very short shelf life (only 7 days).
Above are just some of the best Japanese snacks out there..
While these are some of the most popular snacks in the country, there are countless more Japanese confectionaries to be discovered.
What are your favorite Japanese snacks?