With so many unique (and occasionally intimidating) Japanese candy options, you might be surprised to learn that one of the country’s most popular sweets is a western invention: Nestlé’s Kit Kat bar. Part of that popularity comes from the name “Kit Kat,” which sounds like the Japanese phrase “Kittokatsu” (“surely win”), which makes them popular good luck gifts for students at test times.
But another reason they’ve become so beloved in Japan is their wide range of special edition releases, with Nestlé offering over 400 unique Kit Kat flavors since they introduced Green Tea Kit Kats in 2004. Many of these flavors are exclusively sold in specific regions or cities, with the flavors based on local treats and delicacies, allowing travelers to bring them home as souvenirs to friends and family. And while you can usually find these rare flavors resold on Amazon at comically inflated prices, here’s a few Japanese Kit Kat flavors that we wish we were widely available in the U.S.
- Kobe Pudding Kit Kat
The city of Kobe is known for its signature pudding, a sweet caramel treat made with eggs and cream, flavored with a bit of citrus liquor and then drowned in caramel. And while all that sounds amazing, to be honest, I was on board at “pudding.”
- Kokuto Donut Flavour Kit Kat
Nestlé joined forces with confectionary store Fuji Bambi to create this treat based on the Kokuto Donut, a stick-like donut covered in an unrefined sugar with the heavy metal band name of “black sugar.” To make this Kit Kat, the black sugar is combined with white chocolate to make a paste, which is sandwiched between wafers to give it a sweet, molasses-esque taste. Tell me you don’t want to eat a dozen!
- Summer Mango Kit Kats
In Japan, mango is a popular summer flavor, which explains this treat, which boasts a mango and white chocolate coating, filled with a cream made of the slightly tart, Indian Alphonso mango. Chocolate and tropical fruit? Now that’s summer lovin’!
- Whisky Barrel Aged Kit Kats
Probably the “snootiest” Kit Kat ever made, this bar is made from Ghanaian cacao nibs that have been aged 180 days in whiskey barrels from Islay, a Scottish island known for its single malt scotches. The Kit Kats are described as delivering the “delicate aroma and taste of whisky,” which brings a whole new meaning to the term, “choco-holic.”
- Setouchi Salt and Lemon
The Setouchi region of Japan is famous for its beautiful seaside views and numerous lemons, which explains this Kit Kat flavor’s blend of lemon, sea salt, and white chocolate. The blend of sweet and sour and salty sounds so amazing, it’s made me completely forget about those two depressing words: “white chocolate.”
- Wasabi Kit Kat
While this sounds like something specifically created for practical jokes, this Wasabi Kit Kat is described as having a very subtle spice taste that complements the chocolate flavor. So I guess I’ll just have to slather on some real wasabi before my soon-to-be-former friends come over.
- Mount Fuji Strawberry Cheesecake
One of the selling points of this flavor was its unique box, shaped like Japan’s tallest mountain. But I’m more interested in its delicious combination of strawberry cheesecake-flavored white chocolate and cream cheese filling. It’s a good thing it’s so expensive, or I’d be the size of Mt. Fuji.
- Shoyu Kit Kat
One of the most popular Japanese Kit Kat flavors is this one, flavored like Japanese soy sauce. Despite the name, it’s not as savory as you’d expect, with reviews saying that the white chocolate coating is more maple-flavored with a salty soy sauce cream center. Apparently, the combined tastes cancel each other out, leaving you with a maple-flavored Kit Kat and the bragging rights that you ate a candy bar that should taste like something out of your condiment drawer.