aka Things I did buy in Japan.
aka Vacation Shopping Insanity – Japan edition.
You may or may not know this, but the Japanese love Kit Kats! Why? I hear you ask. Well, the reason for this is because the name is similar to the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu” which roughly translates as “surely win”, or in other words “good luck”, hence why students are often bought Kit Kats before their exams. So Kit Kats are basically a good luck charm. They even have a crazy amount of Kit Kat flavours in Japan, which vary region to region. You name it, they probably have it.
So when I found out that the world’s first ever Kit Kat boutique was opening in Japan shortly before I was due to travel there, I was very excited. And I wasn’t the only one, I’d read a couple of articles about it and there was much hype and anticipation about this chocolate paradise.
But, I’m not going to sugar-coat this (or chocolate-coat this, if you will). The world’s first ever Kit Kat boutique was a big fat disappointment! Firstly, it’s not a shop. It is a section of a department store and a very small L-shaped section at that. Secondly, they did not have the massive array of flavours I was expecting, there were literally 3 or 4 flavours to choose from. and that. was. it.
Even though it was quite expensive, we still made a purchase – one solitary box of Sakura green tea flavour.
Sure, the packaging is pretty and it did taste quite nice but I’m not sure it was worth it. Although they did have a really cool chandelier.
After the visit to the Kit Kat Chocolatory it became my mission to track down these mysterious and exotic Kit Kat flavours, I made a point of looking whenever we popped into a 7-11 or a Family Mart but I could find nothing but the original milk chocolate flavour.
After consulting the internet and keeping my beady eyes open, I did eventually manage to find the following flavours (although I hasten to add that I didn’t purchase ALL of these) – green tea (minus the sakura), cinnamon, rum & raisin, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry (minus the cheesecake), purple sweet potato, red bean, apple, chili, orange & lemon and wasabi.
Some of these were bought in random gift shops dotted around Tokyo and Kyoto but I will let you in on a little secret… the best place in Tokyo to buy Kit Kats is a little shop under Tokyo train station. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of this store but it was on a corner in the basement of Tokyo station near Yaesu Central Gate. And it looked like this –
I was an actual kid in a candy store. I probably would’ve got swept away with emotion and bought a box of each flavour but fortunately I had my husband there to calm me down. We still ended up buying about 4 boxes though, which came to about 20 quid (£20 on chocolate!!! Ack! See? Vacation Shopping Insanity!). I will also like to state that we didn’t keep all 4 boxes for ourselves, some were gifts.
The remaining Kit Kat purchases we made were, as I said above, at random shops we found on our travels but Narita airport was also a good place to find some interesting flavours – that’s where we bought the Hokkaido Red Bean flavour amongst others. The shop is easy to find, it’s pretty much the only shop you can use up all your yen coins in without breaking into a note.
So which Kit Kats did I actually try? Well here they are…
Cinnamon, Green Tea, Rum & Raisin, Strawberry Cheesecake, Hokkaido Red Bean, Sakura Green Tea, Purple Sweet Potato, Strawberry and Shinshu Apple. Yes, we bought quite a lot but these were gifts for family and work colleagues too.
Surprises? The bars are more like “fun-sized” bars, a lot smaller than we’re used to but you get several in a box. Purple Sweet Potato is quite nice, just sweet really and Green Tea just tastes like white chocolate.
The strawberry ones went down a storm at work, the other flavours taste pretty much how you would expect them to. And Hokkaido Red Bean? I didn’t mind it, I can’t really describe it, I found this ok-ish but my husband thought this particular flavour was foul!
Have you tried any random Kit Kat flavours? What were they and what did you think of them?