We love to test out the local snacks in every place we visit, and Japan was no different. From chips to drinks, and candy to chocolate nothing escapes the imperious scrutiny of our taste beds. Our favorite Japanese snacks range from flavored biscuits to grape soda.
And, since we spent time throughout the country from Hiroshima to Kyoto to Tokyo we tried a broad range of Japan goodies. Basically this means we are experts.
When it comes to Toyoko treats this list is the best of the best! These are the best Japanese snacks and best Japanese candy on the archipelago! Better yet, you can order them on Amazon yourself, and impress your friends with your eclectic tastes and extremely sugared, I mean, cultured points of view.
8 Japanese Snacks That Will Impress Your Friends
I know what you are thinking. “Duh.” But hear me out.
The huge bulk Costco bag of hi-chews you buy at your favorite mass retailer are nothing like the version that you get straight from the source.
First off, at Costco you get a mere three flavors of these Japanese snacks. The hi-chews on the archipelago actually come in dozens of different flavors.
Family Tip: Banana hi-chews are the very best!
Secondly, there is no candle quite as bright as the fresh one you light. Fresh from the factory, the best Japanese candy has just the right amount of chewiness, juiciness, and sweetness.
Bonus: These Japan goodies are everywhere and come in super bright packaging with authentic Japanese lettering on them. Nothing says impressive like foreign words on candy.
You can find them at convenience stores, grocery stores, vending machines, kids candy machines, claw machines and at local attractions like the Tokyo Metropolitan Building.
So while you may have already heard of, or even tried hi-chews, we bet you didn’t know that there is also another version of hi-chew like candies. These delicious Japanese snacks are called Puchao.
Much like the hi-chew, these Japan goodies are chewy candies that are very similar in flavor, size and tartness, but in addition they have flavor beads inside of them.
Yes, I said flavor beads.
When you chomp down, the bead bursts open to release a second flavor component.
Yes, I said second flavor component.
They are super delicious and also come in a wide variety of flavors from Apple to Matcha to Watermelon.
3. Mistio Grape Soda
We all know grape soda is the very best soda ever created, but nothing touches the grape soda you can find in Japan.
Grape sodas are abundant in Japan, and come in a variety of brands and flavors, but one brand rules them all: Mistio.
We first had this drink after literally running a mile up to the top of Mt. Misen and back down again before the final gondola left for the night. No literally, we ran a mile uphill to the summit of the mountain while holding a toddler. If we didn’t, we would have been left stranded overnight.
We found the nearest vending machine with this mystical and magical elixir and were immediately hooked. That’s great! You might be thinking, but actually, it wasn’t great because this particular brand of soda is surprisingly hard to find.
It’s even sold out online. That’s how good it is.
You can’t find it in any grocery store. It is only located in the abundant vending machines located around every corner, but only in select ones. That’s the kicker.
- One location is at Miyajima – obviously
- Another is outside the Inari JR station in Kyoto
- Finally, one is in the Jujo Ginza Shopping Arcade in Tokyo, but only down one side alley.
We were thorough and we checked everywhere.
There is also a honeydew melon version of this drink that is also insanely good. This is the best Japanese candy drink.
4. Chocolate Biscuits
Chocolate and biscuits are a match made in heaven. You know this, I know this, and everyone else knows it. These cookies are the combination of both.
The cookie top is the equivalent of a chocolate square melted onto a shortbread cookie and then chilled.
I brought home 5 packages. They also have an oreo version, with a chocolate shortbread cookie covered with white chocolate. I brought home 5 packages of this variant too.
In fact, I came home just tonight to find Gabriel had allowed our baby to finish off the last package, and let’s say we had words. I am officially obsessed. These are the easily one of the best Japanese snacks in the entire country.
Family Tip: These cookie treats also come in a butter and pomegranate flavor, but they aren’t as good.
5. MoriMori Hard Candies
Another kind of Japanese snack we loved were MoriMori hard candies.
We were first introduced to them on our All Nippon flight from Hiroshima to Kyoto. The flight attendants bring them around to every customer in a big basket like it’s Halloween and encourage you to take a handful.
They are jolly rancher meets Vitamin C drop, the perfect blend of sweet to tart to satisfying. They come in a variety of fruity flavors, and are shaped into the perfect little ball that melts into happiness inside your mouth.
Sure, you can get Pocky in the states and that may not impress your friends. But, what will impress your friends is your knowledge of how the Pocky came to the market.
Yes, these Japanese snacks first originated on the islands back in 1966. Pocky are chocolate coated, brightly colored biscuit sticks. They are named after the sound they make when you bite into them, also known as onomatopoeia.
That will definitely impress your friends because I’m pretty dang sure no one knows that word. (I sure didn’t until 5 seconds ago.)
They come in a variety of flavors like strawberry and chocolate which you can buy in the states, but also in flavors like cookies and cream, banana, almond crush, Brazilian orange and Star Wars flavor, which you can only purchase in Japan.
7. Kit Kats
The Japanese are nuts over Kit Kats. Not the chocolate covered wafer sticks they give away for free on Qantas airlines, but the chocolate covered wafer sticks in flavors like soy sauce, sake, strawberry, bean curd and more craziness.
More on that over at the Kit Kat Chocolatory.
You can’t go to Japan and not get Kit Kats. That’s straight up nonsense. They are known for their crazy flavors and they are the best Japanese candy.
You can find these Tokyo treats in none other than Tokyo at the Don Quixote store. This is not however a family friendly store, and you may just get pick pocketed while you are there. However, if all your money is not stolen you can purchase lots of different Kit Kat flavors here for super cheap.
8. Kasuagi Gummy – All 10 flavors
Clearly, this list of Japanese snacks is pretty heavy on Japanese candy, but what can I say? Japan knows how to do gummy candies right.
These candies are a lot like peach rings in the states, but I’ll say it again, so much better.
The flavor is spot on, they are covered in just the right amount of microscopic sugar. Plus, they come in petite little sizes so when you consume an entire package in 3.5 seconds you don’t feel so gluttonous.
The full flavor of treats includes peach, purple grape, green grape, watermelon, strawberry, mango, kiwi, pineapple, apple, and orange.
► For Kids: Kids + Candy. What did you expect me to say?
Go ahead. Impress the heck out of your friends and order these to share. Or don’t, and just enjoy the best Japanese snacks and best Japanese candy you can buy for yourself.
► What We Learned: Don’t waste your money on hi-chews at Costco. They are gross.
Did we leave any out? What are your favorite insanely delicious Japan goodies?