5 Japanese Sweets You Must Try 甘いもの
Wasanbon look very pretty, and come in an assortment of shapes and colors.
These kinoko mushroom-shaped snacks can be found in most stores.
Kiriame are a favorite with kids, and come in endless colors and flavors!
Kit Kats come in a fascinating array of flavors. Try the wasabe Kit Kat!
Beware of Cavities...
Sugar used to be a rarity in Japan before gaining popularity in modern times, and is now found in a multitude of flavors, shapes, and colors, to the delight of children and adults alike! This is only a small selection of sweets that can be bought in stores and konbinis.
- The wasanbon
These traditional sweets can usually be bought in specialist stores in tourist areas and at airports. They are pure sugar, made using a complex process to transform it into a dry block. You can chew them or let them melt slowly in your mouth. These small sweets are shaped in a thousand ways: flowers, animals, geometric shapes, etc. This is a very typical Japanese sweet, ideal as a gift. The wasanbon are often used as wagashi during tea ceremonies.
- Kinoko and Takenoko
This famous biscuit duo is found in the bags of all Japanese children (and their parents). It is a simple chocolate and biscuit combination in the shape of a mushroom (kinoko) or bamboo shoot (takenoko), these delicious treats are a perfect on-the-go snack.
- The Karinto
Kasrinto are wheat biscuits that are dipped in syrup and caramelized to become black. Do not be fooled by their somewhat unappetizing appearance, these crispy biscuits are a real treat and contain enough sugar for a whole day!
- The kiriame
This hard candy, formed into rolls and sliced, reveals, once cut, a pattern in the center. There are all sort of patterns such as flowers, words or characters, manga and animated characters. They are among the most popular sweets in Japan.
Kit-Kats have become an institution in Japan, thanks in part to its name. "Kit" is pronounced as kitto in Japanese, meaning "definitely". "Kat" is pronounced in Japanese as katsu, to "win" or "succeed" Therefore the Kit-Kat has become the treat that all students take with them during their exams in hopes of ensuring success (in a similar vein, the breaded pork cutlet tonkatsu, and bonito fish, katsuo, bring luck too). You can find unique varieties of Kit-Kat in Japan, often in limited edition: strawberry, cherry, green tea, sesame, sweet potato, and cheesecake, to name just a few. Kit-Kats make a great Japanese souvenir to take home!