The Japanese Kit Kat Project

Kit Kats are very popular in Japan- so popular, that many new special and unique flavors of Kit Kats are released all the time. There have been over 300 flavors released since 2000! They became a popular treat to give out to encourage people, since the name sounds close to Kitto Kattsu (きっと勝つ- you will surely win).

Most of these flavors are unavailable outside Japan, but they make for great souvenirs. If you are visiting, how do you know which flavor to buy to take home and try when there are so many? That’s where my list comes in; to help point you in the direction of candy bliss, and away from dropping your hard-earned yen on bags of blech. I hope my tireless and dedicated research to try every Kit Kat I have come across is useful to you.


I have organized the Kit Kats by type, listed my personal rating (and a second opinion from another person), and the location I purchased them. The Kit Kats are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the top score of deliciousness.

Current number of Kit Kat types tested as of Dec 2018: 40

This list will be updated every time I find new flavors to try.

Organization of Kit-Kat types

The Kit Kats are organized by type, and then listed from best to the worst rating.

Bags: Usually found in grocery stores, these are the most affordable flavors. Includes both the traditional two-stick Kit Kats and the less common one stick Kit Kats (the “everyday luxury” bags). Includes the “Adult” flavor serise. The stores I usually purchase these from are my local grocery stores, candy/snack stores, or super stores like Don Quijote (it’s like a Walmart but on steroids). Many flavors are seasonal or only available for a limited time.

Boxes: Usually for specialty flavors including regional flavors, odd flavors, and special souvenir boxes; generally more expensive. I usually buy these at Don Quijote, but I’ll occasionally pick them up at souvenir shops in tourist areas or large train stations.

Kit-Kat Store Exclusives: sold in small amounts at a few Kit-Kat stores in Tokyo. I have purchased a variety pack from the Shinjuku location as a gift, but have yet to sample all their offerings. Will update in the future.

Airport Exclusives: The airports (Narita and Haneda are the ones I’ve checked) carry exclusives -past security- and regionals that are hard to come by otherwise. The annoying thing with these is that I have to lug the Kit Kats to another country with me (for the purposes of this project), but otherwise they make a very convenient last minute souvenir.

Kit Kat Exclusives: Two of the -unusual- flavors I’ve gotten to try (soy sauce and miso) came as bonus bars in a bag of regular Kit Kats to celebrate the 45th anniversary. I’ve yet to see these available for purchase otherwise; I’ll update if I find them.

Special and Collaboration Kit Kats: Includes the Kit Kats that don’t fall into any of the above categories, and collaborations.

With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Bags

Kit Kat

The OG Kit Kat. Tastes slightly different than the USA version I’m used to, but it’s almost unnoticeable. A little more of a richer, fuller chocolate taste. The ingredients sourced for the Japan-produced Kit Kats come a different area than the USA ones (according to Wikipedia), so I’m guessing that why it’s a little different. However, I doubt if you’re in Japan for a visit you didn’t come to stuff your bag with regular, everyday Kit Kats. If you live in Japan, chances are someone has given you one of these, especially if you’re a student about to take an exam. きっと勝つ!

Rating: 4

Bought: Grocery store

 

(Halloween) Purin (Pudding) Kit Kat

I’m so bummed these were a limited flavor, because it’s probably my favorite Kit Kat. I didn’t think so at first, but these slightly caramelly, pudding flavored Kit Kats are so addictive. Also, for some reason they decided to print the little Halloween ghosts and ghouls on the wrapping doing sign language, so you could learn some JSL signs while stuffing your face.

Rating: 5

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 4, as soon as I opened it I smelled the purin! Creamy taste.

Bought: Grocery store

 

(Fall) Chestnut Kit Kat

Tastes good; not necessarily like a chestnut, but more of a slightly maple flavor. It has a bit of an odd after taste though.

Rating: 4

Bought: Grocery store

 

Strawberry Tiramisu Kit Kat

Finally, a strawberry one I actually like. It’s pretty and has a flavor that reminds me more of berries and cream than of tiramisu.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 4, really good but would have liked some more tiramisu-ness. Or maybe these flavors should be separate kitkats?

Bought: Grocery store

 

Sakura and Kinako Kit Kat

Smells just like kinako! If you haven’t tried it before, kinako tastes a little like peanuts. It’s pretty tasty! The sakura (cherry blossom) flavor is very light, which I like. Solid, very Japanese flavor.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 4 Tastes like sakura mochi. It’s nice.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Matcha (heavy) Kit Kat

Really intense match flavor, there’s no mistaking what this ones supposed to taste like. It even has the powdery texture of match powder. If you ever wanted to just lick matcha powder, this chocolate is for you.

Rating: 3

Bought: Grocery store

(Easter) Banana Kit Kat

On sale during Easter time. The light yellow color and smell were pretty off putting, but honestly not as bad as I was expecting. It tastes very similar to banana pudding or banana cream pie. Not my favorite, but a solid flavor that gives you exactly what you want from a “banana” flavored chocolate.

Rating: 3

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Iyokan Kit Kat

Iyokans are citrus fruits that are similar to tangerines and mandarins. The Kit Kat smells like a it has a nice, citrus taste. The taste is similar to an orange hard candy.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 1 Smells like an eraser, tastes like medicine.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Kumamon Sweet Potato Manju Kit Kat

Special Kumamon- the mascot from Kumamoto Prefecture- Kit Kat. Smells weird, tastes funky. The sweet potato part is actually kind of nice, but the white chocolate and other flavors in this make it a pass for me. The packaging is cute though!

Rating: 2

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 4

Bought: Local snack shop

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat

This one has a strong smell and a speckled outside. The berry flavors tend to be very chemically, and this one is not an exception. However, this one is played down a bit to taste more like strawberry milk than cheesecake.

Rating: 2

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 3, tastes like a milky strawberry. I’d eat it again.

Second opinion rating (Bekah): 3.8, it really did taste like strawberry cheesecake, which I love. Authentic flavor.

Bought: Local snack shop

 

Cookies and Cream Kit Kat

I was excited for this one, but what a miss! Strong chemical flavor, more reminiscent of a lollipop flavor than that of chocolate. You know those big, round pretty lollipops kids used to sell in school for fundraisers that looked great but tasted like crap? That’s pretty much this Kit Kat.

Rating: 1

Bought: Local snack shop

 

“Adult Sweet” flavor Kit Kats

These Kit Kats come in bags labeled “オトナの甘さ”, which directly translates to “sweetness of adults”… but I’m going to guess it means something more like sweet flavors for adults.

Mint Chocolate Kit Kat

Pleasant, light minty smell. Flavor is very refreshing, tastes just like an after eight or other mint chocolate. Definitely want to treat it like a mint and not eat anything after.

Rating: 5

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 5, tastes like a Milano cookie

Bought: Don Quijote

 

“Adult Sweet” Kit Kat- Matcha (light) 

The best matcha Kit Kat. Go for this one if you want a good matcha flavored chocolate. If you really like the flavor of matcha, the other matcha Kit Kats will work too, but this mild version has more mass appeal.

Rating: 5

Bought: Don Quijote

 

“Adult Sweet” Kit Kat- Matcha (medium)

Yummy, smooth matcha flavor that tastes just like its name sake. Really enjoyable for any matcha fan. Just like a cup of smooth, rich matcha latte.

Rating: 5

Bought: Grocery store

“Adult Sweet” Kit Kat- Thick Cocoa

Very basic Kit Kat taste, just like the original but with slightly darker chocolate. Obviously marketed as a more “mature” flavor.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Doug): 3.5, slightly better than the original

Bought: Grocery store

 

“Adult” flavor Kit Kat- Raspberry

Kind of sour, not exactly what I was expecting… kind of indifferent about this one. It doesn’t smell very good.

Rating: 3

Bought: Local grocery store

 

“Everyday Luxury” Single Kit Kats

These Kit Kats come only as single, individual packaged sticks, unlike the vastly more common double sticks. The label on these bags roughly translates to “Everyday Luxury”.

 

Matcha Double Berry Almond Kit Kat

Probably one of the prettiest Kit Kats, this is a solid choice. The matcha base is average, but the topping of dried cranberry and almond make for a really tasty combination. I really like this one.

Rating: 5

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 5, I liked this a lot better than the regular one! Was definitely feeling the berry (not overpowered by the almond in this case), I think the matcha really enhances the berry/compliments it well.

Bought: Grocery store

Cranberry and Almond Kit Kat

Yum! This Kit Kat has darker chocolate than the original, and the combination of cranberry and almond reminds me a bit of granola or muesli.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 3, it’s good, but I didn’t get a lot of cranberry. The almond is very strong. I kind of forgot I was eating a Kit Kat… don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

Bought: Grocery store

Strawberry Cheese Cake (with toppings) Kit Kat

Single bar. Tasty, the sour cranberry topping helps cut some of the overwhelming sweetness of the strawberry cheesecake flavor. Better than the regular strawberry cheesecake one.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, sweet, strawberry taste.

Bought: Tourist shop in Harajuku

Boxes

Strawberry Cheese Cake Kit Kat

This one has really cute (if a bit unnecessary) packaging. This would be one of my top recommendations as a souvenir – works great as a gift! I was actually surprised how much I liked this one- while the strawberry flavor is a bit artificial-tasting, the creamy cheese cake flavor is smooth and enjoyable.

Rating: 4

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Ume Shu (Plum Alcohol) Kit Kat

Wow- like the sake one, this really hits you will an alcohol flavor. I was surprised how much if tasted like the drink- excellent execution. Very strong, one is definitely enough.

Rating: 4

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Roasted Green Tea Flavor (Uji Hojicha) Kit Kat

This one is pretty straight forward. It tastes like the roasted green tea that is popular in Kyoto. I’m not crazy about the flavor to begin with, but it works pretty well as a Kit Kat.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 5, it tastes like tea.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Sake (Nihonshu) Kit Kat 

This one really impressed me with the smell- it reminded me of sake right away! The flavor was very true to what sake tastes like as chocolate. I don’t think it really pairs well with the wafers, but still cool they managed to get close to the taste of sake.

Rating: 2

Second opinion rating (Doug): 3. I’m impressed by the execution. Tastes like sake and chocolate.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Amaou Strawberry Kit Kat

The famous Amaou strawberry doesn’t transition well to a Kit Kat. Strawberries are delicious, and I usually enjoy chocolate with strawberries, but this Kit Kat totally misses the mark. It tastes more like the artificial strawberry taste used in hard candy then the fruit.

Rate: 2

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, not good… smells good. It’s not too sweet.

Bought: Harajuku tourist shop

 

Wasabi Kit Kat

I love wasabi, but my first thought with this one was just yuck! It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tried, but I don’t wanna try it again. This is classic novelty candy… fun for existing but you don’t really want to eat it.

Rating: 1

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 2, it didn’t have a wasabi smell, but it has a weak wasabi taste. It’s interesting. I don’t want to eat it again.

Bought: Don Quijote

Regional Special Flavors

Okinawa Purple Sweet Potato Kit Kat

Okinawa’s special regional Kit Kat, these come in small souvenir boxes. The light flavor is similar to a weak white chocolate- it really highlights the wafers. It’s not as strong of a purple sweet potato flavor, but pleasant none the less.

Rating: 4

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Tochigi Strawberry Kit Kat

This one smelled very nice! Tochigi is a prefecture that’s famous for it’s strawberries, and this Kit Kat is much better than the regular strawberry ones.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Maddy): 3, hmm I guess I’m not a fan of Tochigi strawberries? I liked the strawberry flavor that was in the strawberry tiramisu better.

 Bought: Don Quijote

 

Tokyo Rum Raisin Kit Kat

Why the heck is Tokyo’s special flavor rum raisin?!? Ugh… anyway, this was not as bad as I was expecting; the rum flavor was pretty good, and I’m not a fan of raisins but the flavor tastes true to “rum raisin”.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 2, not too sweet, but a weak taste. Not much character, nothing fun.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Yokohama Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat

Slightly better than the regular strawberry cheesecake one, but not by much. Suffers from the same artificial quality of the other strawberry and cheesecake flavors. Also, who is choosing these regional flavors?

Rating: 3

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Hiroshima Momiji

Tbh… I’m not 100% sure what this one is supposed to taste like since it’s named “maple leaf” and I have yet to try the Hiroshima local specialty of maple leaf manju this flavor is based on. But it has a pretty design! Tastes kind of like kinako. Special note: like the Tokyo banana collaboration Kit Kat, this one is fused at the end so it’s more difficult to break in half.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, it tastes like peanut.

Bought: Don Quijote

 

Tokai Azuki Sandwich Kit Kat

My first thought was nope, but it got better as I chewed on it, but then got worse again. The azuki bean flavor was very odd- it had a strong chemical tastes to it.

Rating: 2

Bought: Don Quijote

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 1 it’s terrible. Smells bad, tastes bad. It’s like eating beans.

 

Hokkaido Melon and Mascarpone Kit Kat

This one smells straight up like playdough- and it’s a really strong smell. Shockingly, it didn’t taste as bad as it smelled. High quality melon playdough.

Rating: 2

Bought: Narita Airport

 

Shinshu Apple Kit Kat

Has a very strong apple smell! Tastes like really cheap fake apple- like an apple jolly rancher. It’s really bad. Too bad, but it looks like our issue with fruit flavors continues.

Rating: 1

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 1, Tastes like apple chewing gum- super cheap taste. I don’t even want to swallow it! Terrible. Worst I’ve ever tasted.

Bought: Don Quijote

Air Port Exclusives

 

Peach Kit Kat

This reminded me a lot of the peach ice cream from a local farm in North Caroline I used to love as a kid. (Still a big fan, but I don’t get to NC as much now ;^;) Point being, this one was a huge hit for me and I definitely recommend it as the one to pick up from the airport.

Rating: 5

Second opinion rating (Kelly): 4, it tastes like peach schnapps!

Bought: Narita Airport

 

Uji matcha (Green Tea) Kit Kat

The matcha Kit Kats are as plentiful as the strawberry, but unlike the strawberry ones they manage to stay consistent. Good, solid matcha chocolate. Great as souvenir.

Rating: 4

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, Surprisingly sweet. Matcha chocolate is getting very popular in Japan, and this tasted pretty average. Very normal taste.

 

Strawberry Kit Kat

Decent version of the strawberry Kit Kat, which seems to vary drastically between different strawberry types. This combo of strawberry and the wafers reminds me of cereal.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Kelly): 3, It tastes like strawberry mini wheats.

Bought: Narita Airport

 

Grape Kit Kat

Tastes like a grape jolly rancher. I’ve yet to try and “grape” flavored candy that didn’t have an awful artificial taste. Never tastes like a grape… I think it’s really hard to nail the flavor of a fruit with a high water content (grape, watermelon, etc). Big pass unless you like that artificial “grape” grape flavor.

Rating: 1

Second opinion rating (Caroline): 2, it doesn’t taste good.

Bought: Narita Airport

 

Kit Kat Exclusives

 

Soy Sauce Kit Kat

These came as extras in a regular bag of Kit Kats to celebrate their 45th anniversary. Had a really light flavor; it didn’t really taste like soy sauce. I actually thought it tasted a little like caramel.

Rating: 3

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, it tastes like soy sauce on mochi. A nice white chocolate taste.

Bought: Local grocery store

 

Miso Kit Kat

These came as extras in a bag of dark chocolate Kit Kats to celebrate their 45th anniversary. Like wasabi, miso is a pretty bold choice for a chocolate flavor. And like the wasabi Kit Kat, this one was also pretty gross. It reminded me of bad blue cheese.

Rating: 1

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 3, very normal white chocolate taste and smell

Bought: Local grocery store.

 

Special and Collaboration Kit Kats

Onsen (Hot Springs) Manju

Such cute packaging! Probably my favorite wrapping of any of the Kit Kats I’ve seen so far. The manju taste is there, but it doesn’t have a great first-bite taste… It gets better as you chew. This one gets points for aesthetic, but thats about it.

Rating: 2

Second opinion rating (Ryoji): 2, very normal, if I’m hungry I’ll eat it, but it’s not very good.

Bought: Don Quijote

Conclusion

That’s all for now, but I’ll keep updating with new flavors as I find them!

Current number of Kit Kat types tested as of Dec 2018: 40

*For the giveaway, leave a comment below on which Kit Kat you’d like to try!*

 

Katie is the food and travel blogger behind The Tasty Traveler. An American living in Tokyo, she now also gives tours and does promotional work on social media for locations and business around Japan.
Posts created 18

28 thoughts on “The Japanese Kit Kat Project

  1. I’d love to try the Matcha Double Berry Almond Kit Kat!

    Never tried that one. Well…i only was able to try like 6 types 😔. Another reason to go back.

    1. Yay for another reason to visit! And don’t worry, they release new types all the time so you can try more on your next trip.

  2. I would like to try the matcha double berry kit kat! 😍 it looks delicious and sounds amazing! Thanks for the post Katie you have officially made this prego want a kitkat 😂

  3. I love this project! But, oh my gosh, the Hokkaido melon is my favorite flavor! Kind of sad it got such a low rating, but to each their own. I think it has such a nice satisfying, creaminess to it. I’ve only seen that flavor at Narita, sadly. Gonna get a bunch to bring to the US!

    1. Oh sorry Jen! I couldn’t get past how bad they smelled- but that’s the fun thing about the Japanese Kit Kats, there’s a type for everyone!

      1. :O I thought they smelled like delicious melons >.< haha
        The strawberry ones are definitely a hit or miss.
        I'm curious about that ume-shu one! I refuse to ever try the wasabi one lol

  4. Golly gee, these flavors you guys. These flavors. How can I pick just one? Iyokan is amazing. All of Kit-Kats orange ventures have been homeruns for me. Not about that sake flavor though. I need to find cookies and cream.

  5. Wow, I did not even know there were 40 flavors of Kitkats, let alone more, and that you had actually tried so many! I think you’re probably the only JET giving my 日本100名城 challenge a run for its money, haha, even if in an entirely different field!

    I have to say, due to the fact that I am incredibly weak in the face of both Kyushu and Japanese potatoes, I am very tempted by the Kumamoto sweet potato flavor! I’ll have to go hunt that one down!

  6. I’ve tried the rasberry and the grape. I also got the grape at the Narita airport, is that the only place it’s available?? Buttt I want to try the peach! 🙂

  7. Wow there’s so many strawberry cheesecake KitKats out there! XD I think the one I want to try the most is the double berry matcha. The topped ones are so pretty and I like that they’re a little more creative!

    1. Yeah, once I started this project I was shocked how many different Kit Kats I ended up finding! “Interesting” is a great way to describe the wasabi Kit Kat.

  8. I had no idea there are so many Kit Kat flavors! Very interesting read! I don’t know what Matcha tastes like, but it must be good, since there are so many varieties of it! The strawberry tiramisu sounds the best to me!

  9. Hi Katie. You gave me one of the little オトナの甘さ Kit Kat at Book Share, the Hive jinnan last night. I am so impressed by your blog. So beautiful and extensive! I am so thrilled to read the other articles of yours. Great adventures!

    1. Mutsumi, thank you so much for your kind comment! I work hard on my posts so I really appreciate your complements.

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