Kit Kat arrived in Japan in 1973, and the country has spent each year since personalizing the bar to their preferences. About 40 flavors of Kit Kar bars circulate through Japanese shops every year. Manufacturers in the region produce several consistent flavors and add between 20-30 unique treats to keep consumers interested in the brand.
Consistent Kit Kat Flavors
The traditional bar flavors used for the Kit Kat in Japan include expected versions like milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Uniquely Japanese variations include sake, wasabi, and matcha. Fruit flavors also proved popular in the country, so manufacturers routinely keep Tokyo Banana and strawberry on the shelves. Tokyo Banana is a much-loved local cream-filled cake used as inspiration for the taste of the candy bar. The matcha versions of the Kit Kat include green tea, roasted, and a strong green tea.
Previous Popular Japanese Kit Kat Flavors
The manufacturer of Kit Kat does not hold back in providing unique flavors to their Japanese consumers. Some past options have included a spicy Japanese chili, soy sauce, and a miso soup. Beni-imo, a popular purple sweet potato, and momiji manju, a steamed cake made in the shape of a maple leaf, also had flavors designed to represent them. Many other options have appeared on store shelves. Over 200 flavors have made it into circulation since 2000. Some of the most popular include,
- Easter banana
- Yuzu matcha
- Around 10 varieties of green tea
- Wine and other alcohol flavors
- Baked potato
- Ginger ale
- Strawberry shortcake
- Shingen mochi
- Jujitsu Yasai – vegetable juice
- Cacao Fruit
You usually can find them in convenience stores such as 7 Eleven or Famility Mart or also in Don Quijote. If you’re not in Japan you can find on some speciliazed online stores or on Amazon.
Notable Kit Kat Flavors Once Offered
If baked potato and miso soup flavored Kit Kats were not enough to draw attention, there are a few other former options that seem hard to imagine. The Cough Drop Kit Kat not only had the flavor of throat lozenges but had actual lozenge powder in the formula. Another memorable release was European cheese. The manufacturer selected the most odorous cheese available to make this bar as noticeable as possible.
Special Event Kit Kat Flavors
Rather than release all flavors at the start of the year, Kit Kat manufacturers enjoy stretching the fun throughout the year. To make the releases more interesting, the company offers seasonally appropriate flavors and those made for specific holidays. Winter ice cream is a popular trend in Japan, so a winter release in 2019 included Party Ice Cream. Kouhaku, or red and white, represents the traditional colors of the New Year. The kouhaku candy bars are the basic white or milk chocolate candy, with white chocolate in the white package and milk chocolate in the red wrapper.
Upcoming Flavors for 2021
A global pandemic could not dampen the desire of the Japanese for their unique treats. As always, the company created a list of unexpected taste sensations for their fans for future release. The flavors announced for 2021 have already drawn interest from many Kit Kat devotees. Surprises to sample from the new inventory includes Azuki sandwich. Azuki is a popular snack made from a bean paste on toasted bread.
More traditional options include another variation of Matcha tea, raspberry, and a premium mint flavor. Sakura Kinako is another flavor to try that includes roasted soybean flour (kinako) mixed with Sakura, a cherry blossom. Umeshu Sake, a plum flavored liquor, adds to the inventory of alcohol-inspired Kit Kats.
Busy Manufacturers Entice Shoppers
The efforts of the Kit Kat manufacturers in Japan have not gone unnoticed. Fans of the candy bar wait anxiously for new releases, and most people buy more than one of each of the sweets. Collecting every new bar as it arrives has become a popular hobby for many people in Japan. Many of these collectors never open the packages because they want them only for display.
Of course, it is not only locals that search for every flavor to add to their collections. International visitors also seek out the unique flavors to try for themselves and take home as souvenirs and as gifts for friends and family. Many retailers near tourist sites, airports, and hotels now keep a large inventory of Kit Kat bars on-hand to satisfy their visitors.
International Kit Kat fans who want to try the flavors available in Japan do not need to spend their money on a plane ticket. Many online retailers offer all the variations as they become available. Some sellers include assorted collections, so Kit Kat lovers can sample numerous flavors in the search to find their favorite.