HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Tokyo Station Treasure you can find anywhere in Japan! Three Japan-lovers introduce the incredible world of Japanese snacks
Treasure you can find anywhere in Japan! Three Japan-lovers introduce the incredible world of Japanese snacks

Treasure you can find anywhere in Japan! Three Japan-lovers introduce the incredible world of Japanese snacks

Date published: 26 January 2024

Japanese snacks have become a hit around the world. Discover the vast variety of unique flavors and styles that embody Japan's culinary culture. Each confectionery's meticulous attention to ingredients, texture, visual appeal, and packaging represents a slice of Japanese heritage.

In this feature, three connoisseurs introduce the allure and deliciousness of Japan's beloved treats, highlighting why they're the perfect souvenirs available countrywide.

*This article includes advertising content.

Meet your three guides to the wonderful world of Japanese snacks

Kou is LIVE JAPAN's Chinese representative and has lived in Japan since 2016. "I love Japanese snacks, and I have eaten them all the time since I moved to Japan! Today, I want to share what I find charming about them as a foreigner living in Japan."

YUMA has gained popularity in Taiwan and throughout the Chinese-speaking world with her YouTube channel, Ryuuu TV. "I was an exchange student in Taiwan, and now that I'm a YouTuber, I love to share the charm of Japan with the world. I love Japanese snacks, and I've been eating all sorts since I was a kid! I'll share all the details about snacks and my recommendations with all of you overseas!"

YUNI is a young and hugely popular influencer from Korea. "I live in Korea, but I eat Japanese snacks whenever I visit because I love them so much! I can't wait to try new things I've never eaten before today."

Hunting for snacks you can buy anywhere in Japan at a convenience store

Hunting for snacks you can buy anywhere in Japan at a convenience store

You can buy Japanese snacks at supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores, and more, anytime of day or night, anywhere in Japan. They're easy to find, so they're perfect souvenirs.

Today, we'll be learning all about the snacks available at the Lawson convenience store, which is open 24 hours a day and has locations all over Japan.

Strong Point #1: There are tons of flavors and varieties!

Strong Point #1: There are tons of flavors and varieties!

These three are still surprised by the variety available in the snack section.

"There are so many varieties of Japanese snacks. In China, we have similar things like chocolates and cakes, but we don't have this much variety. And in Japan, they have limited-time versions and seasonal fruit flavors, so you can try products only available during special times," Kou says.

YUMA says, "Candies and gummies even have different versions of the same flavors, like chewier versions, mintier versions, or different levels of sourness. There are so many to choose from!" YUNI agrees, saying, "We have soft candies like this in Korea, but I've never seen this much variety."

Strong Point #2: Single servings, family packs, small sizes, and more!

Strong Point #2: Single servings, family packs, small sizes, and more!

In Japan, many snacks come individually packaged, a practice highly praised for hygiene, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kou is impressed by the wide variety of package sizes and types.
"There are lots of different situations in which you might eat snacks. Like during your break at work, when you're drinking at home, or even walking down the street. The amount of time you have or how many people you're eating with varies too, but in Japan, there's a package suited for every occasion."

YUMA says, "They sell small packages you can finish by yourself, and packages you can re-seal, which is really handy. Even the same snack will have large and bite-size versions. You can always find the perfect size."

YUNI is drawn to the cute and stylish package design. "The packages are so cute. Some are shaped like animals or fruit, some have adorable illustrations, and some of them have a photo on the package so you know what you're buying. Just looking at the packages makes me want to eat them!"
"The packages are so appealing, it makes it easy to give them as gifts. The person receiving the gift will surely be thrilled," Kou says.

Strong Point #3: Bonuses, extras, and even games

Strong Point #3: Bonuses, extras, and even games

When Kou first came to Japan, she found the playful nature of snacks here especially interesting.
"The playful spirit of snacks here is very Japanese, I think. Like having one cookie in the bag with a different illustration, or chocolates in all sorts of shapes. Children must adore these."

YUMA, who ate these sweets often as a child, says, "Every day, I used to get those cheap candies, where if you got a special one, you'd get one more free. Even as an adult, I get excited opening the wrapper!"

Strong Point #4: High-quality snacks that recreate authentic gourmet flavors

Strong Point #4: High-quality snacks that recreate authentic gourmet flavors

Lately, more and more high-quality snacks try to capture the flavors of beloved dishes like cheesecake, tiramisu, or French fries.

YUNI, who loves salty snacks, says, "This morning, I had these potato snacks that tasted exactly like a baked potato. It was really high quality."

Strong Point #5: Snacks born in Japan and flavors you'll only find here

Strong Point #5: Snacks born in Japan and flavors you'll only find here

Many Japanese snacks boast unique flavors that are hard to find in other countries, like soy sauce, kombu seaweed, or matcha green tea. YUMA says she always buys matcha-green-tea-flavored treats for her friends from Taiwan, who adore it. Matcha green tea is especially popular with visitors to Japan.

Traditional Japanese sweets are called "wagashi." Some examples include daifuku, yokan, dorayaki, and kintsuba. You won't find sweets like these anywhere else.

Thanks to its frequent appearance in anime, dorayaki (pancakes usually filled with red bean paste) has gained special popularity in China.

YUMA says her favorite sweets at the convenience store are cakes and wagashi. She buys them a lot.
"I love the chewy daifuku and sweets using seasonal fruits. They're very detailed! Whenever you look, there are always seasonal sweets and new products to try."

Speaking of which, at Japanese convenience stores, there are new snacks to try almost every week, and the displays are changed out frequently.
"Japan has a lot of seasonal items that are only available for short periods. This means every time you visit Japan, there's always something new to discover. It's sure to add a special touch to your trip, so don't miss out on trying the latest snacks while you're here," Kou suggests.

During their snack research, the trio ended up buying a mountain of snacks. Now, it's time to dive in and give them a try!

The snack symposium begins!

The snack symposium begins!

Here are the snacks they bought! They'll sample them in different categories.

Savory snacks

Savory snacks

First up is savory snacks.

YUMA loves the sturdy, thick-cut potato chips.
"The wavy kind has more of a crunch, which I love," she said. Apparently, her friends in Taiwan were surprised by how crunchy they were and couldn't get enough.

Kou is addicted to the combination of sweet and salty. "It's like waves of sweet and salty, and I just can't get enough."

YUNI loves salty snacks. "Cheese-flavored snacks are my favorite. Whether it's stick-shaped snacks, regular potato chips, or anything else, if it's cheese-flavored, then I love it! I want my friends to try this, too," she says with a smile.

Chocolate sweets

Next up is chocolate sweets.

YUMA loves the chocolate with orange peels, which you might mistake for chocolate from a high-end specialty shop. "It has a wonderful aroma, and it feels expensive. I'm so glad I can get something like this so easily."

The individually wrapped sweets make them easy to eat without getting your hands dirty, and they're easy to eat on the go, which Kou finds very convenient. "There are some where every single package has a different message, which is fun."

"Just look at the adorable animal-shaped chocolates... and there are so many designs. I was surprised that they vary by season, too!" YUNI says. Chocolates, in particular, have many seasonal and regional versions. When YUMA's friends come to visit from overseas, they always buy Japan-exclusive flavors as a souvenir to take home.

"I brought some chocolate to Malaysia as a present for my friends, and they all said Japanese chocolate was delicious. Not even fancy brands either, but just cheap, regular chocolate from a convenience store or supermarket," YUMA explained.
Kou is so obsessed with Japanese chocolates that she even eats them for breakfast. "Especially chocolate bars. You can use them in all sorts of ways, which is handy."

YUNI, who can't get enough of the sweets she's trying for the first time, says, "These crunchy cookies covered in chocolate have such a great texture! Delicious!"

Rice snacks

Next up is rice-based snacks like senbei rice crackers. One of Japan's most famous products is rice, so of course, tons of snacks use rice as a main ingredient.

"All of these are made using rice, but they're all so different! And there're so many of them!" Kou says.

Even though she's Japanese, this was YUMA's first time trying "nuresen" rice crackers, which are soaked with soy sauce and softer than regular rice crackers. She says, "That's such an interesting texture! It's chewy and delicious!" YUNI aadded, "In Korea, we have kinako mochi rice cakes, but I've never seen crackers with that flavor." From crunchy to melt-in-your-mouth, the two enjoy the varying textures on offer.

"It was so fluffy it just dissolved in my mouth! I love this small package too. The wasabi rice crackers are very Japanese and would be great with drinks!" Kou says.
Rice-based snacks are susceptible to moisture, but lots of packages are resealable, too, making it easy to store them.

YUNI is fond of not only the texture but also their shapes. "Some are in cute shapes, like stars. That makes them seem to taste better."


Gummies, with their bright colors and fun shapes, are the most photogenic snack, according to our snack symposium.
"When you bite into a gummy with fruit juice inside, the delicious flavor of the fruit fills up your entire mouth, like eating a whole fruit in an instant!" YUMA says.

YUNI pops one of the gummies in her mouth whole, but she's in for a surprise! "The difference between the outside and inside is really interesting! But the powder on the outside is too sour!!"
On the other hand, we have YUMA, a lover of the sourest flavor, ume plum. "There are tons of ume plum flavored treats in Japan, but you can't really find them overseas. It makes for a special souvenir."

When it comes to sweets, YUNI says she mainly eats marshmallows. YUMA remembers roasting marshmallows on a stick over the fire at camp when she was younger.
During winter, Kou eats a lot of milk-flavored candy, especially milk-flavored hard candies. "Japan produces very high-quality milk. In particular, I recommend foreigners try candies made using milk from Hokkaido."

Another popular souvenir is candy-making kits you put together yourself. "These are made for kids, but they seem to be gaining popularity with adults too. Depending on which one you get, they're surprisingly challenging," Kou explains.

"You can make sushi-shaped candy, too! It looks kind of bizarre, but it also seems really fun to make!" YUNI says.

What do they think of the Japanese snacks overall?

"Some of these were new, even to me. Trying them reminded me again how much variety there is in Japanese snacks. Even if you look just at salty snacks, there are tons of options. The kinds of salt, the shape, the cooking method used, and so on can all be totally different. That speaks to how detail-oriented Japanese culture is. A lot of these focus on bringing out the flavor of the ingredients. There are special seasonal and regional varieties, too, so visitors should bring a giant suitcase to pack full of these treats," YUMA says.

"I tried a lot of new things, and it was super fun! The designs of the packages were cute, but the shapes of the snacks were adorable, too, and really made an impression. Some have a ton of cheese or are super sour, so using them in a game with my friends might be fun. I want them to try these sour ones for sure!"

"I'm shocked by how much variety there is, and how delicious they all are. Buying snacks in Japan is like going on a treasure hunt. Even looking for presents for other people is fun, I think!" Kou says.

And, "In Japan, besides the plentiful supermarkets and convenience stores, there are also snack specialty shops. Depending on where you go, some have thousands of snacks on sale at a time. Just looking around is sure to be a fun time."

Tons of foreign visitors frequent the snack shops and specialty stores near famous tourist areas, and many of them buy snacks as souvenirs.

Walking up and down the aisles lined with Japan-exclusive products and seasonal flavors is enjoyable in and of itself.

Japanese snacks of all kinds come in every flavor, package, shape, and size imaginable. Plus, whenever you look, there will always be new snacks on sale, and exclusive treats you can only get in certain areas. It's a true snack paradise! Add some flavor to your trip to Japan by sampling different flavors and varieties of Japanese snacks.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Limited time offer: 10% discount coupons available now!