A cultural and culinary powerhouse, Japan is famous for anime, sushi, ramen, Mt. Fuji, and bullet trains. But here’s one thing I bet you don’t usually associate with this East Asian destination: Japanese chocolates.
If you have a sweet tooth, Japan will prove to be a paradise to you. Sweets and snacks pepper grocery and convenience store aisles in Japan. Among the treats you will find in these places, chocolates from Japan are recommended.
Chokoreeto (チョコレート), or chocolate in Japanese, has a long history in Japan dating back to the Edo period. Japanese chocolates have come a long way from the sweet treats brought by Dutch traders. Today, several Japanese chocolate brands are famous not just in Japan but elsewhere in the world.
The next time you find yourself in a Japanese supermarket or shopping online, keep an eye out for these brands.
Meiji is without a doubt the leading chocolate brand in Japan. The company has created so many best-selling chocolates in Japan including the Milk Chocolate bar, which they introduced in 1926. It’s basic, straight-up delicious chocolate. Meiji claims that the production process and flavor have remained unchanged to this day.
An instant hit when it was released in 2016 and a winner of multiple international awards, Meiji The Chocolate is Meiji’s high-end offering in the chocolate department.
The “bean to bar” concept ensures that only good quality beans are used to maintain the authenticity and consistency of taste. Everything from the sourcing to the manufacturing process to the packaging is done with precision.
3. Hello Panda
Who can forget these bite-sized, chocolate-filled shortbread pillows?
One of the most iconic Japanese snacks, Hello Panda’s chocolate filling is creamy, sweet, and well, nostalgic. It’s also available in Double Chocolate flavor, as in choco biscuits filled with choco cream.
4. Choco Baby
Need your choco fix in a handy, easy to reach container? Meiji’s Choco Baby are mini milk chocolate pellets that are rich and creamy that come in resealable plastic containers that you can put inside your pocket. That’s melt-in-your-mouth goodness within reach!
Kinoko is Japanese for ‘mushroom’ and these mushroom-shaped Japanese chocolate snacks are sweet, crunchy. The mushroom heads feature two layers of chocolate – sweeter milk chocolate underneath and richer dark chocolate on top.
It is sold as Chocorooms in other parts of the world.
Another choco-coated snack from Meiji, Takenoko No Sato is shaped like bamboo shoots. Takenoko translates to ‘bamboo child’.
The texture is somewhat similar to Kinoko No Yama, but Takenoko No Sato’s chocolate coating is darker than milk chocolate.
7. Yan Yan
Yan Yan is one of the most well-loved Japanese chocolates among kids.
Not only does Yan Yan present yummy chocolate but also the novelty of dipping the biscuit sticks in the creamy chocolate (or strawberry, vanilla, or yogurt). The packaging of two compartments is part of what makes this snack so appealing.
Macadamia nuts and almonds are great on their own but with Meiji’s chocolate coating, they become even more scrumptious. The chocolate layer around each nut has just the right amount of thickness, softness, and sweetness. These are among the top bestselling chocolates in Japan.
Like Cubie, Meltykiss comes in cube form. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Meltykiss is premium chocolate filled with flavors like vanilla, strawberry, green tea, or soybean and then covered with cocoa powder for an even more chocolatey taste. These Japanese chocolates are so soft and melt easily that they’re only available during winter.
Chocolatey, fruity… and gummy?
One of the most unique Japanese chocolates to come out of Meiji, Gummy Choco are bite-size eggs of fruity gummy pieces covered in sweet milk chocolate. The mixed fruit package consists of strawberry, grape, and orange gummies.
A famous chocolate in Japan as well as neighboring Asian countries, Apollo Strawberry Chocolates are tiny chocolates resembling Mt. Fuji. It has a gentle cacao flavor and sour-sweet hints from the strawberry layer.
One of the most popular Japanese chocolates, DARS Chocolate Bars are easy-to-eat, bite-sized chocolates that come in an array of flavors.
One of the oldest chocolates in Japan, Morinaga’s Chocoball is a chocolate-coated treat, which can either be peanut, caramel, or strawberry. The brand’s mascot, Kyoro-chan, is famous in Japan and known for his signature large beak. As a nod to this beak, Chocoballs’ box comes with a beak-shaped pull-up opening. Cute, right?
Koeda means ‘small twig’ and that’s exactly what this chocolate from Japan looks like. These delicate, short chocolate sticks are sweet and crunchy because of the tiny crushed almonds embedded around the sticks.
Another famous chocolate in Japan, Ghana is a mainstay in most Japanese convenience stores. The milk chocolate variant has a creamy, rich, and silky texture.
It also comes in white chocolate and black chocolate variants. But its most intriguing flavor is Roast Milk which has a rich taste of roasted milk and gentle cocoa with hints of hazelnuts and caramel.
Crunky is often compared to Nestle Crunch but it’s a different experience. This famous Japanese chocolate bar is sweet and creamy because of its milk chocolate but also crunchy because of the tiny malt puffs. One of the best from Lotte.
If you’re a fan of chocolates but also conscious about your sugar intake, Lotte Zero Chocolate is for you.
This one uses artificial sweeteners instead of sugar so you can still indulge in the same milky chocolatey goodness without worrying about your sugar consumption.
19. Choco Pie
Several brands offer choco pie in many countries but Lotte Choco Pie is particularly famous in Japan. Lotte’s version has a soft, fluffy cake with rich vanilla cream and coated in chocolate. It’s pleasantly sweet and filling.
Toppo is a crispy pretzel stick with a yummy and generous chocolate cream filling. The regular chocolate flavor is a bestseller but it also comes in other flavors like bitter chocolate, strawberry, and matcha.
21. Koala’s March
Koala’s March is Lotte’s answer to Meiji’s Hello Panda.
This bite-sized cookie snack comes in the shape of, you guessed it, a koala. The different koala faces add to the experience. The chocolate cream filling is sweet and rich, and also comes in different flavors like honey, vanilla, banana, and strawberry.
Remember Peko-chan, the cute, lip-licking girl with pigtails? She doesn’t appear only on the packaging of Milky but also on other Fujiya products!
Fujiya is the manufacturer behind some of the most timeless Japanese chocolates and sweets including Peko Chocolate and the cute Peko Poko Chocolate Stick, which feature not only Peko but also her boyfriend, Poko!
Each package has two sticks so you can share them.
You may have noticed that most Japanese chocolates come in different flavors but you’d have to buy multiple items to taste all the flavors. Enter Look, a box that contains 12 pieces of chocolate, four pieces per flavor. So yes, you get to try different flavors in one package!
The A La Mode version contains chocolates with banana, almond, strawberry, and caramel fillings. There’s also Look4, which has four varying percentages of cacao.
Japanese chocolates come in different shapes and sizes. They can come in heart shape like Fujiya’s Heart Chocolate Peanuts. And yes, just like how it sounds, it has bits of lightly roasted peanuts inside the smooth and sweet milk chocolate.
Simple, yet classically delicious.
Like Peko, Anpanman is a super famous character in Japan.
Fun fact: his name is a portmanteau of anko (red bean paste) and pan (bread). Anpanman Licking Chocolate may not have red bean paste but it’s got chocolate and Anpanman so kids still adore it.
You must have seen this coming. No list of Japanese chocolates is complete without Pocky, Glico’s bestselling chocolate-coated biscuit stick.
From the original chocolate flavor, Pocky now has an assortment of flavors like almond, coconut, honey, matcha, pistachio, and even whiskey!
Often described as reverse Pocky, Pejoy is a chocolate cream-filled biscuit stick. In some packaging, it is labeled as “Pocky’s friend”.
Light, crispy, and sweet, you can easily finish a box in one sitting.
28. Caplico No Atama
The original Caplico is a wafer cone with strawberry and chocolate mousse inside. Glico turned this popular snack into atama (head in Japanese), bite-sized, heart-shaped heads.
On one side is the strawberry flavor and on the other side is creamy chocolate. Other variants include star-shaped white chocolate.
Chocolates that fight off stress don’t sound surprising. After all, most of us have turned to sweets when we’re stressed. But Glico’s GABA-enriched chocolates are ‘scientific’ and they’re one of the most popular Japanese chocolates.
What is GABA, you ask? Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in the human brain. It helps reduce stress and also has a tranquilizing effect on sleeplessness and depression. There are 28 milligrams of GABA per 10 grams of chocolates.
GABA has been a hit in Japan since its release in 2004. And as if we need more reasons to eat chocolates, Glico even released GABA chocolates for sleep, which contain more GABA and is said to help improve sleep quality.
Royce’ chocolates are some of Sapporo’s representative souvenirs but the popularity of these luxurious Japanese chocolates has spread to other parts of the world.
Nama (‘raw chocolate’ in Japanese) is its flagship product, fine and fancy chocolate cubes that are so irresistible.
So, what goes in Nama? Select chocolates, fresh cream, and hints of prestige liqueurs make these chocolates rich, creamy, delicate, and so melty, which is why they fit Hokkaido’s cooler climates.
Nama may be the most popular Japanese chocolates from Royce’ but the Chocolate Bars are Royce’s first product.
Rich and smooth, these chocolate bars come in a refreshing and vintage-looking minimalist packaging. Aside from the milk chocolate flavor, it is also available in white chocolate, creamy milk, almond, black, and rum raisin.
Royce’s premium chocolate wafers are little chocolate-coated cubes with delicious cream sandwiched between four layers of crispy wafers. It comes in Hazel Cream, Tiramisu Cream, Matcha, and Strawberry Cream.
From its beautiful design and shape to its creamy texture to its luscious taste, everything in Royce’s Pure Chocolate is designed for indulgence. It comes in 10 varieties, each with different percentages of cacao.
Yup, you read that right. Potato chips and chocolates… can there be a more decadent combination?
Salty and crispy potato chips are coated in Royce’s premium chocolate to form a very popular Japanese treat.
More Japanese chocolates
These crispy chocolate bars are a hit in Japan. Black Thunder is a chocolate-coated plain biscuit with crunchy cookies inside. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so, and pleasantly crunchy.
36. Tirol Choco
Largely popular among children, these tiny chocolates can be bought for around 10 yen per piece. Since its introduction back in 1962, it has had nearly 400 flavors. A package typically consists of around 30 assorted cube pieces.
The combination of chocolates and biscuits isn’t particularly unique but Bourbon’s Alfort does a good job of making these treats look and taste special.
For one, the chocolates come in a variety of flavors like vanilla, maple, strawberry, matcha, and red beans. The biscuits, which are “pasted” into the chocolates, are crunchy and mildly sweet. The pair works so well that you can easily finish a pack.
Last but not least in this list of Japanese chocolates is Nestle’s famous Matcha KitKat. Yes, I know, Nestle isn’t a Japanese brand. But Matcha KitKat is a uniquely Japanese twist to this classic chocolate-covered wafers. It is one of the most famous souvenir snacks from Japan.
Did this list of chocolates from Japan make you crave these delectable treats? Lucky you, these Japanese chocolates are just a click away!