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The 10 Best Sweets and Snacks at Japan’s Most Famous Drugstore

The 10 Best Sweets and Snacks at Japan’s Most Famous Drugstore

Date published: 22 November 2019
Last updated: 28 November 2019

Matsumoto Kiyoshi is Japan’s most famous drugstore chain with numerous shops all over the country. Among them, the Asakusa Nimonten-mae location is particularly aimed at international tourists and is a great location to get some souvenir shopping done or stock up on daily necessities. Especially interesting and unique is the store’s third floor, as it is filled entirely with sweets and candy from all over Japan! The best thing is that most of the offered goodies are even more affordable than at a convenience store, so many a bargain can be made here. We asked the store manager what the shop’s top 10 bestsellers are when it comes to sweets, candy, and snacks.

Calbee Jagarico Salad

Calbee Jagarico Salad
Calbee Jagarico Salad. Price: 131 Yen (Tax Included)

Jagarico Salad is a savory snack that is well-beloved by people of all generations. The “Salad” flavor of this long-time favorite even features little bits of carrot, making it especially yummy. The crunchiness is positively addictive! Also make sure to try other varieties, such as cheese or butter.

Calbee Potato Chips Usushio

Calbee Potato Chips Usushio
Calbee Potato Chips Usushio. Price: 101 Yen (Tax Included)

These delightful potato chips use the natural salt of Japan’s Seto Inland sea to bring out the natural sweetness of the potatoes. Crispy and wonderfully thin, you’ll find yourself craving for more after finishing one bag. In Japan, these “Usushio” potato chips are one of the kids’ favorite snacks to bring along on a school trip, but also grown-ups love to enjoy a bag in front of the TV.

Meiji Fruits Gummi (Grape)

Meiji Fruits Gummi (Grape)
Meiji Fruits Gummi (Grape). Price: 101 Yen (Tax Included)

These flavorful fruit gummies come with no extra coloring, but with an extra 2,700mg serving of collagen. The sweet-and-sour flavor and the exquisite softness of these gummies make them a favorite of both kids and adults. The best thing about them is that they’re entirely made from fruit juice. Next to the grape flavor, also try strawberry, orange, and the flavor assortment! Extra fiber is added to the gummies as well, and it is said that eating five of these gummies provides you with fiber for a whole day!

YBC Chipstar S Usuhio

YBC Chipstar S Usuhio
YBC Chipstar S Usuhio. Price: 108 Yen (Tax Included)

Japan’s Chipstar potato chips boast popularity since 40 years and counting. Made of potatoes from Idaho, they have a wonderfully rich flavor and come in all sorts of flavors, but the classic “usushio” (“thin and salty”) in the red box is the favorite of the nation. They’re not as fatty and oily as other chips, thus they’re a surprisingly light snack to just enjoy in between. Salt and seaweed, as well as consommé, are also popular flavors – why not find your own favorite?

Bourbon Rumando

Bourbon Rumando
Bourbon Rumando. Price: 131 Yen (Tax Included)

Rumando is a classic Japanese sweet that boasts a history longer than 40 years. It evokes the image of a luxurious French dessert. Each one is individually wrapped to preserve the delightful crispiness. The initial crunch is followed by the softness of mellow milk chocolate – Rumando makes for a great souvenir for friends and family with a sweet tooth. (And for clarity: "Bourbon" is the manufacturer's name; these delights aren't alcoholic!)

Fujiya Country Ma’am (Vanilla & Cocoa)

Fujiya Country Ma’am (Vanilla & Cocoa)
Fujiya Country Ma’am (Vanilla & Cocoa). Price: 410 Yen (Tax Included)

These soft cookies are baked at low temperatures, making the outside firm to the bite and crispy while the jam on the inside retains its moistness and flavor. The package of Country Ma’am cookies itself recommends to either chill them in the fridge or to heat them up in the toaster – the choice is yours alone!

Yuraku Confectionery Black Thunder

Yuraku Confectionery Black Thunder
Yuraku Confectionery Black Thunder. Price: 31 Yen (Tax Included)

Black Thunder is one of Japan’s classic candy bars. It’s a crispy mix of cocoa-flavored cookie and rice puffs, coated with mellow chocolate. This yummy chocolate bar has become incredibly popular after Kohei Uchimura, Japan’s famous gold-winning artistic gymnast, named Black Thunder to be his go-to snack at the Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008.

Meiji Chocolate Kouka Cacao 72%

Meiji Chocolate Kouka Cacao 72%
Meiji Chocolate Kouka Cacao 72%. Price: 238 Yen (Tax Included)

Everybody knows the many positive benefits that chocolate is supposed to have: it is full of antioxidants, good for your beauty, and relieves stress and makes you happy. As such, enjoying a nice piece of chocolate is pure bliss! Our recommendation for that is the Meiji Chocolate Kouka 72% - this high cacao percentage may sound bitter at first, but the chocolate actually is delightfully sweet! It’s the perfect bar to snack on piece by piece, stored as little bits of happiness in desk drawers and lockers. If 72% is still too sweet for you, try the 86% version!

Glico Almond Peak

Glico Almond Peak
Glico Almond Peak. Price: 172 Yen (Tax Included)

Almond Peak is a luxuriously delicious treat that consists of flavorful almonds coated with a thick layer of creamy milk chocolate. Because of the almonds and their antioxidants, this choice is certainly among the healthier when it comes to sweet snacks. The almonds are imported from the United States, while the chocolate is blended with milk from Hokkaido, making for an exquisite taste.

Bourbon Alfort Mini Chocolate

Bourbon Alfort Mini Chocolate
Bourbon Alfort Mini Chocolate. Price: 98 Yen (Tax Included)

At first glance, Bourbon’s Alfort cookies seem fairly common, but you’ll be surprised at the amazing deliciousness and the more than reasonable price. The mellow, creamy milk chocolate and the crunchy biscuit are a fantastic combination of flavors and textures. Ever since Alfort’s launch in 1994, the cookies have become a staple sweet at drugstores and are usually around 80% cheaper than anywhere else. Also try the flavors of deep blonde, black, and vanilla white.

About Matsmoto Kiyoshi (Asakusa Nitenmon-mae location)

You can find this Matsumoto Kiyoshi by passing through the Kaminari Gate (don’t forget to take pictures of the gate!), walking along Nakamise Street (go ahead and grab some bites to eat while you’re at it!), and exiting the gate just right of Sensoji Temple. Look for a white sign that says “Japan Tax-Free Shop.” This location is specifically geared towards tourists and the layout makes it easy to find what you want quickly. Medicine and supplements can be found on the 1st floor, the 2nd floor is stocked with skin care and cosmetics, and they sell popular snacks and candy on the 3rd. The manager recommends coming here for souvenirs and guarantees that there are no other Matsumoto Kiyoshi locations like this one!

  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi Asakusa Nitenmon-Mae
    マツモトキヨシ 浅草二天門前店
    • Address 2-34-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    • Open:9:00am to 7:00pm 7 days a week

*Prices listed in this article are those listed at the Asakusa Nitenmon-mae shop 2018 and may vary depending on store and year.

*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.

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