The Japanese KitKat obsession…and 300 great reasons to learn more (2024)

I was talking to a couple of Lexis Japan students the other day, and they shared with me their mission for their time in Japan… try each and every flavour of Kitkat. This is no simple task! Did you know about the Japanese KitKat obsession?

The KitKat is one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world, but in Japan, it has become an icon. The Japanese love for KitKats is not only limited to the original chocolate wafer bar, but also to the wide range of flavors that are exclusive to Japan. Ready for a deep dive into this uniquely Japanese obsession?

The KitKat first arrived in Japan in 1973, and since then, the brand has become a staple in the country. In 2000, Nestlé Japan, the manufacturer of KitKat, decided to release limited edition flavors, and since then, the number of flavors has continued to grow. Today, there are over 300 flavors available in Japan, with new ones being introduced regularly.

One of the reasons behind the popularity of KitKat in Japan is the cultural significance attached to the brand. KitKat is often given as a gift to students before exams, as “Kitto Katsu,” which translates to “You will surely win,” is a popular expression in Japan. In addition, the chocolate snack is also associated with good luck, making it a popular gift for various occasions, such as weddings and new year celebrations.

Some of the most popular flavors to be found in Japan include matcha (green tea), strawberry, and sake. Matcha is and all time favourite, with the company boasting that it is made from high-quality green tea leaves. The matcha type has a delicate balance of sweetness and bitterness, and the green tea flavor is evident in every bite.

Strawberry is another popular flavor, and it is especially loved by women. The flavor is made from fresh strawberries and has a natural sweetness that is not too overpowering. Sake is a more recent addition to the range of flavors, and it has quickly become one of the most sought-after types. The KitKat is made with real sake, and it has a unique taste that is not too sweet or too strong.

In addition to these popular flavors, there are also regional flavors that are exclusive to certain parts of Japan. For example, the purple sweet potato flavor is only available in the Okinawa region, while the black soybean flavor is only available in Hokkaido. These regional flavors are highly sought after by KitKat fans (people fly between regions just to sample new Kitkat types!), as they provide a unique taste experience. As I said, it’s something of an obsession!

There are also seasonal flavors that are only available for a limited time. For example, the pumpkin pudding flavor is only available during the autumn months, while the cherry blossom flavor is only available in the spring. These seasonal flavors add an extra layer of excitement for KitKat fans, as they provide an opportunity to try something new and different. There are literally KitKat fan groups out there, with discussion boards filled with excited commentary on new seasonal offerings.

The Japanese KitKat obsession…and 300 great reasons to learn more (1)

The most popular Kitkat flavors in the last few years have been:

  • Matcha (Green tea)
  • Strawberry
  • Sake
  • Sweet potato
  • Cheesecake
  • Rum raisin
  • Azure (Blue) Matcha
  • Hokkaido Melon
  • Sakura (Cherry blossom)
  • Purple Sweet Potato
  • Black Soybean
  • Apple
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Vanilla
  • Shinshu Apple

Some of the…well, less conventional flavours I’ve discovered over the years include:

  • Wasabi
  • Soy sauce
  • Grilled Corn
  • Baked Potato
  • Miso Soup
  • Sweet Red Bean
  • Salt
  • Rice Cracker
  • Roasted Tea
  • Apple Vinegar

Set yourself the challenge of trying as many you can while you’re studying at Lexis (make sure you report in)! Good luck!!

If you feel that you’d like to learn more about the Japanese take on the Kitkat, check out this Financial Times article – . Can’t get enough of Japanese snacks? Take a moment to read our blog on the Momof*cku Ando Instant Ramen Museum –*cku-ando

The Japanese KitKat obsession…and 300 great reasons to learn more (2024)


Why is Japan so obsessed with KitKat? ›

Marketing. Marketing for Kit Kats in Japan is believed to have benefited from the coincidental false cognate with "Kitto Katsu", a phrase meaning "You will surely win" in Japanese. Some market research has shown that the brand is strongly correlated to good luck charms, particularly among students ahead of exams.

What does the Kit Kat symbolize? ›

This name closely resembles the phrase kitto katsutoo (きっと勝つとぉ), meaning 'you shall surely win'. In Japanese, kitto mean 'surely' or 'certainly' and katsu means 'to win'. For this reason, Kit-Kats are given to students not just as treats, but as good luck charms before important exams.

Why is kit kat important? ›

KitKat is often given as a gift to students before exams, as “Kitto Katsu,” which translates to “You will surely win,” is a popular expression in Japan. In addition, the chocolate snack is also associated with good luck, making it a popular gift for various occasions, such as weddings and new year celebrations.

Does KitKat mean good luck in Japan? ›

Kit Kat might not have a particular Japanese meaning, but its Japanese pronunciation kitto katto sounds a lot like “kitto katsu,” a phrase that means “you're definitely going to win” in English. Because of that, Japanese Kit Kats are often gifted to students during exam season as a token of good luck.

How much is 1 Kit Kat in Japan? ›

The prices are indicative of this: a single, regular-sized Kit Kat bar costs 324 yen, while a box of 4 mini Kit Kats costs 432 yen.

What was Kit Kat originally called? ›

The KIT KAT® candy bar dates back to 1935 when the wafer crisp chocolate bar was launched in England. Originally, it was known as “Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp,” but in 1937 the candy bar was renamed as "KIT KAT® Chocolate Crisp".

What did Kit Kat used to be called? ›

In 1935, a heartwarming treat named "Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp" hit the shelves in stores around the United Kingdom. This delectable snack consisted of layers of wafer cake, covered in creamy milk chocolate. Fast forward to now, and we all know and love it as Nestle KitKat.

What are three facts about Kit Kats? ›

5 Facts You Didn't Know About Kit Kats!
  • There's no hyphen in Kit Kat!
  • It was first made in 1935 in York, after an employee put the following in a suggestion box (sexism trigger warning) 'a chocolate bar that a man could take to work in his pack up'.
Feb 10, 2021

What is unique about Kit Kat? ›

What makes Kitkat chocolate so special? It is a four fingered wafer bar covered in milk chocolate. It was created by Rowntrees of York and is now sold worldwide. The most special thing about KitKat is it's creative design.

What is a fun fact about Kit Kat? ›


During World War II, a shortage of milk forced Rowntree's to switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate in its Kit Kat bars. To signify the change, the company changed the wrapper from red to blue and dropped “Chocolate Crisp” from its title.

Was Kit Kat invented in Japan? ›

The origins of what is now known as the Kit Kat brand go back to 1911, when Rowntree's, a confectionery company based in York, England, trademarked the terms Kit Cat and Kit Kat.

Why is Kit Kat a good candy? ›

First off, they have the best texture. On the outside, a KitKat has a smooth and silky layer of chocolate that just effortlessly dissolves onto your taste buds. Then once you get further into this delicacy, you will hit three soft yet crunchy wafers that will bless your tongue with satisfaction until you need more.

Is kit kat good? ›

Since Kit Kat has layers of milky chocolate, it is high in calories and sugar content and should be eaten in moderation. Else, it may cause dental caries.

Why is the candy called Kit Kat? ›

(Nestlé's website, too, is more forthcoming about the origin of the name Kit Kat, explaining that it was derived from the nickname of a man named Christopher Catling, or “Kit Cat,” who started “an 18th century Whig literary club.”)

How did the Kit Kat become a phenomenon in Japan? ›

Japanese Innovation and Regional Flavors

The turning point for Kit Kats in Japan came in the early 2000s when the brand introduced the now-famous matcha green tea flavor. This breakthrough flavor marked the beginning of Kit Kats' transformation into a cultural phenomenon in the country.

Did Japan invent Kit Kat? ›

Kit Kats were initially introduced to Japan in 1973, over 50 years after they were first invented in England by British confectioner Rowntree. Present-day, Kit Kat is owned by Nestle.

Why do girls give chocolates in Japan? ›

This tradition began in 1958, when a Japanese chocolate company proclaimed Valentine's Day "a day for girls to give guys chocolate and tell them that they love them." Today, women often give chocolate not only to the object of their affection, but also to their boss and colleagues at work.

Is Kit Kat Haram in Japan? ›

Is KitKat Japan halal or Vegetarian-friendly? Japanese Kit Kats are generally suitable for consumption by vegetarians and halal dieters. While some flavors may contain additional ingredients, the base ingredients do not include animal-derived products. Discover why Kit Kat has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan.

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