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Cracking the Secret: The Irresistible Popularity of Kit Kats in Japan

Cracking the Secret: The Irresistible Popularity of Kit Kats in Japan

Kit Kats may be a beloved treat around the world today, but their journey to global fame began with humble origins. Let's embark on a historical exploration, tracing the evolution of Kit Kats from their inception to becoming a cultural icon in Japan and a delight for chocolate enthusiasts worldwide.


International Origins

The story of Kit Kats starts in the United Kingdom in 1935 when the Rowntree's confectionery company introduced a chocolate-covered wafer bar called "Kit Kat." The name was inspired by a London literary and political club in the 17th century, known as the Kit-Cat Club. The bar quickly gained popularity, thanks to its crispy wafer layers and smooth milk chocolate coating.

Rowntree's Kit Kat

Exhibit of British foods in the 1940s during World War II. Pictured in replica of wartime packaging, Rowntree's Kit Kat returned to red packaging after the war.
Source: Wikipedia.org


Introduction to Japan

In 1973, Kit Kats made their debut in Japan when Rowntree's established a partnership with the Japanese confectionery company, Fujiya. Initially, Kit Kats were only available in their classic milk chocolate form, captivating Japanese consumers with their delightful taste and unique shape.

Old Japanese Kit Kat commercial by Fujiya. 

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.

Kit Kat Matcha Kit Kat Matcha
Kit Kat Matcha sold in Japan 

Recognizing the Japanese preference for unique and seasonal flavors, Nestlé, the parent company of Kit Kat, began releasing a diverse range of regional and limited edition flavors. Each flavor represented a specific region's culinary heritage and ingredients, creating a sense of pride and connection for consumers. The regional flavors quickly gained popularity, turning Kit Kats into sought-after souvenirs for both locals and tourists.


Cultural Significance: Kitto Katsu!

The cultural significance of Kit Kats in Japan cannot be overstated. The phrase "Kitto Katsu" (meaning "surely win" or "good luck") bears a phonetic resemblance to "Kit Kat." This fortuitous connection sparked a marketing strategy that positioned Kit Kats as a good luck charm during important exams and life events. Today, Kit Kats are commonly exchanged as gifts to wish someone success or to convey positive vibes.

Kit Kat in Japan


Global Expansion and Unique Flavors

Thanks to the popularity of Japanese Kit Kats, Nestlé began introducing unique flavors from Japan to international markets. Matcha green tea, sakura cherry blossom, and other Japanese-inspired flavors made their way onto store shelves worldwide, captivating chocolate enthusiasts eager to experience these tantalizing creations.

Kit Kat Japan Sake Masuizumi Flavor

Kit Kat Japan Sake Flavor

Available only in Japan

Kit Kat Collectibles and Customization

As Kit Kats gained global recognition, they also evolved into collectible items. Limited edition releases and collaborations with popular brands, anime series, and celebrities added an element of exclusivity and desirability to the brand. Kit Kat Chocolatory stores, both in Japan and internationally, offered customers the opportunity to customize their Kit Kats with unique coatings, fillings, and toppings, further enhancing the personalized experience.

You can make your own Kit Kat in KitKat Chocolatory Miyashita Park Shibuya Shop


From its inception in the United Kingdom to becoming a cultural phenomenon in Japan and a global delight, the journey of Kit Kats is a testament to their irresistible appeal. The introduction of regional flavors, the cultural significance of "Kitto Katsu," and the ability to customize and collect Kit Kats have all contributed to their enduring popularity. As we savor each delicious bite of a Kit Kat, we celebrate the rich history and the innovative spirit that has made this chocolate wafer bar an international sensation.

Shop all Japanese Kit Kats in OMGJapan

Starbucks Japan Summer 2023 Collection: Embrace the Blues

Starbucks Japan Summer 2023 Collection: Embrace the Blues

Starbucks Japan is all set to captivate coffee lovers once again with their new wave of new merchandise for the summer season. This collection features a refreshing color palette dominated by shades of blue, adorned with intricate flower motifs, butterflies, and majestic whales. The lineup promises to elevate the summer vibes with its diverse range of mesmerizing blue expressions.

Check out topic picks below!


Starbucks "Been There" Series Stainless Bottle and Porcelain Mug

Starbucks Been There Series 2023 Summer Edition

The new Stainless Bottle and Porcelain Mug from from the 2023 Summer Series  are a delightful addition to the exclusive "Been There" collection. Featuring vibrant designs of sunflowers around Mount Fuji and motifs like morning glories, watermelons, and wind chimes, they capture the essence of a perfect Japanese summer. 


Starbucks Flower Glow-in-the-Dark Tumbler

Starbucks Flower Glow-in-the-Dark Tumbler 2023

This tumbler is designed with a captivating layering effect, featuring a blue inner cup and a sleeve adorned with abundant flowers, evoking the essence of summer. The visually striking design creates a beautiful depth, while certain parts of the blue flowers glow in the dark, adding an enchanting touch to your drinking experience.


Starbucks Stainless Steel Mini Bottle - Whale
Starbucks Stainless Steel Mini Bottle - Whale

The Whale Stainless Petite Bottle is a compact and convenient solution for carrying your Starbucks VIA® coffee (approximately 180ml) while on the move. With its functional shape and easy one-touch opening and vacuum-insulated double-wall stainless steel, it ensures superior heat retention and cold insulation capabilities.

Starbucks Water Intan Tumbler - Blue Glitter
Experience the captivating features of our Blue Glitter Water Tumbler. This unique design showcases sparkling blue confetti suspended in water, creating a mesmerizing visual display.

Starbucks Heat-Resistant Whale Glass Mug

Starbucks Heat-Resistant Whale Glass Mug
Experience the perfect combination of uniqueness and functionality with this heat-resistant glass mug. Its standout element is the bead handle, delicately filled with captivating blue beads and phosphorescent sand that beautifully illuminates in the dark. 


 CLICK HERE to check out all Starbucks Japan Blue Summer Collection 2023 items 

The Beauty and Creativity of Japanese Stationery

The Beauty and Creativity of Japanese Stationery

Explore the unique offerings of Japanese stationery and discover the perfect tools to enhance your writing and creative experiences.
Understanding Best Before and Expiration Dates in Japan

Understanding Best Before and Expiration Dates in Japan

In Japan, two types of dates are commonly seen on food products: the best before date and the expiration date. Here's what you need to know to make informed decisions when purchasing and consuming food products in Japan.

Best Before Date - 賞味期限 (shoumikigen)

The best before date is an indication of when a product will taste its best, as intended by the manufacturer. It is used for products that have a long shelf life and do not spoil easily, such as dashi, snacks, and frozen foods.

It's important to note that the best before date does not necessarily mean the product will go bad on that date. Instead, it can be thought of as a "sell by" date.

Expiration Date - 消費期限 (shouhikigen)

The expiration date is used for fresh products that spoil easily, such as bentos, fresh meat, and some sweets. This date indicates when the product is no longer safe to consume and should be discarded.

Understanding the Date Format on Japanese Food Products

When reading dates on Japanese food products, it is important to note that Japanese dates are typically written with the year first as Year.Month.Date. For example, May 12th 2023 would be written as 2023.05.12 or 23.05.12.

Using Your Judgement

Japanese manufacturers tend to set best before and expiration dates conservatively. This means that products may still be safe to consume beyond their expiration date, but it's important to use your own judgement and follow any storage instructions provided on the packaging.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the difference between best before and expiration dates is important for ensuring that you are consuming safe and fresh food in Japan. By paying attention to these dates and using your own judgement, you can make informed decisions when purchasing and consuming food products.


Japanese supermarket

Sakura Season in Japan: A Guide to Cherry Blossom Viewing

Japan is famous for its cherry blossom season, also known as Sakura season. It is a time when the country is painted in shades of pink and white, and people come out to enjoy the beauty of the blooming cherry trees. Sakura season typically lasts from late March to early May, and it is one of the most popular times to visit Japan.

Cherry blossoms are a symbol of renewal and the fleeting nature of life. They bloom for a short time before the petals fall off, reminding us of the transience of beauty and life. Sakura season is a time for reflection, appreciation, and celebration.

If you're planning to visit Japan during Sakura season, here's what you need to know:


When is Sakura season?

Sakura season varies depending on the location and weather conditions. In general, it starts in late March in the southern part of Japan (Kyushu) and moves northwards, reaching Tokyo in early April, and Hokkaido in early May. The exact timing of the cherry blossom bloom can be unpredictable, so it's best to check the cherry blossom forecast (sakura zensen) before planning your trip.


Where to see cherry blossoms?

Cherry trees can be found all over Japan, but some places are more famous for their cherry blossoms than others. Here are some of the best places to see cherry blossoms:

  • Ueno Park (Tokyo): Ueno Park is one of the most popular places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo. There are over 1,000 cherry trees in the park, and it can get quite crowded during peak bloom.

  • Hirosaki Castle (Aomori): Hirosaki Castle is famous for its cherry blossom festival, which takes place in late April. The castle grounds are covered in pink and white petals, making it a stunning sight.

  • Philosopher's Path (Kyoto): The Philosopher's Path is a scenic walking trail that runs alongside a canal. It is lined with cherry trees that bloom in early April, creating a picturesque scene.

  • Yoshino (Nara): Yoshino is a small town in Nara prefecture that is famous for its cherry blossoms. The town has over 30,000 cherry trees, and it is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan

 Cherry blossom viewing in Maruyama Park

How to enjoy cherry blossoms?

Cherry blossom viewing is a popular activity in Japan, and there are many ways to enjoy it. Here are some tips:

  • Have a picnic: Many people have hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnics under the trees. Bring some food, drinks, and a picnic blanket, and enjoy the scenery.

  • Take a boat ride: Some places offer boat rides that take you along the river under the cherry trees. It's a great way to see the blossoms from a different perspective.

  • Visit a temple or shrine: Many temples and shrines have cherry trees on their grounds. It's a great way to combine cherry blossom viewing with cultural sightseeing.

  • Attend a festival: Many cities and towns have cherry blossom festivals during Sakura season. They often have food stalls, performances, and other activities.

    Hanami in Chidorigafuchi
    Hanami in Chidorigafuchi

In conclusion, Sakura season in Japan is a magical time when the country is covered in pink and white blossoms. It's a time to appreciate the beauty of nature and the fleetingness of life. If you're planning to visit Japan during Sakura season, make sure to check the cherry blossom forecast and plan your itinerary accordingly. Whether you're having a picnic under the trees or taking a boat ride

Japanese Sticky Notes: More Than Just a Memo

Sticky notes, or "memo pads" as they are known in Japan, have become an essential part of Japanese stationery culture. They are used for everything from jotting down quick notes to creating intricate designs and artwork. But what sets Japanese sticky notes apart from their Western counterparts?



 tofu sticky notestofu sticky notestofu sticky notes

Tofu sticky notes  by Geo Design



First and foremost, the design and variety of Japanese sticky notes is unmatched. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, from the traditional square shape to more unique shapes like animals and fruits. Some even have special features like tabs or perforations to make them even more versatile. They also come in a wide range of designs, from cute and whimsical to sleek and professional, making them perfect for any occasion.



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HoHo Cat - Cute Sticky Memo



Another aspect that sets Japanese sticky notes apart is their functionality. Many Japanese sticky notes have special features like grids, ruled lines, or even calendars, making them perfect for planning and organizing. Some even come with special adhesive that allows them to be repositioned multiple times without losing their stickiness. This makes them ideal for use in a planner, on a bulletin board, or even in a scrapbook.


wemo pad sticky noteswemo padwemo pad


WEMO Pad Memo

But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Japanese sticky notes is the way they have been embraced by the art community. It is not uncommon to see intricate designs and artwork created entirely out of sticky notes, from detailed portraits to large-scale murals. Artists have even begun to experiment with layering different colored and patterned sticky notes to create depth and texture in their work.



 omoshiroi blockomoshiroi block


Omoshiroi Block Japanese Memo Pad



In conclusion, Japanese sticky notes are not just a simple office supply, they are a cultural phenomenon. They are not only functional but also versatile, and have become a medium for artistic expression. They are more than just a memo, they are a tool for creativity and self-expression. Next time you reach for a sticky note, remember that it's more than just a piece of paper, it's a piece of Japan. And if you want to experience this culture of creativity and expression yourself, be sure to check out the wide variety of Japanese sticky notes available on OMGJapan. You will not be disappointed!



fuji sticky notefuji sticky notefuji sticky notes

Fuji sticky notes