Welcome to the world of Kit Kat in Japan

Kit Kat (キットカット) has become so popular in Japan that a myriad of different varieties have been invented to complement the original chocolate flavour.

Photo by jpellgen

First appearing in 1996, Nestlé, the company behind Kit Kat have experimented no end with the varieties that tempt Japanese consumers, who are already well versed with experimenting with the unusual when it comes to food. It’s become the case that no matter what flavour you think of, it’s likely that it’s already been made into a Kit Kat at some point in its short history

Fan of ginger ale? Photo by Sherima

Love tiramisu? It’s been made into a Kit Kat. Macya flavour? Check. Soy Sauce? You bet! Miso? You get the idea… Even soft drink Kalpis (カルピス) has had the Kit Kat treatment.

Matcha green tea Kit Kat. Photo by unadventurous

Regional Tastes

Last year, Nestlé launched 19 flavours that reflected food specialities from selected regions of Japan. The unique Japanese Kit Kat varieties include green tea from Kyoto; blueberry and soybean from the Kanto region, strawberry from Tochigi prefecture, Yubari melon and baked corn from Hokkaido island, strawberry cheesecake from Yokohama, cherries from Yamagata Prefecture, Kobe Pudding, and sweet potato. Other varieties include wasabi, apple, green beans, chilli and miso.

Unique Kit Kats reflecting food specialities of different regions of Japan. Photo by jenken04

A certain victory for Kit Kat

In what can only be described as exemplary marketing by Nestlé, the similarity between Kitto Katto (the Japanese pronunciation of Kit Kat) and phrase meaning ‘certain victory’ kitto katsu (キット勝つ) has meant that the gifting of a Kit Kat has become synonymous with pre-exam well-wishing. Special packages were even created which were available in post offices throughout Japan which could be sent to students before the exam period.

The tale of the Kit Kat exemplifies Japan’s attitudes towards food—they experiment, they have fun, and they do nothing by halves! How do Japan’s offerings compare to what you have in your country? Would you try the flavours available in Japan?