2 min read

An unusual lucky charm?

An unusual lucky charm?
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28056346@N06/46420402774

Find the common thread joining the following words: apples, chestnuts, cough drops, soy sauce, rock salt, cappuccino, sake, and wasabi.

Still scratching your head? Here’s a clue - “Have a break, have a --”.

That’s right. KitKat!

Believe it or not! These are all KitKat flavors sold (only) in Japan.

KitKat in Japan

While it is not a Japanese product per se, KitKat has a rather special significance in Japan.

When people think KitKat, they usually think basic flavors: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate.

Japan being its “extra” self though, has taken it up a notch.

Nestlé has created over 300 varieties of regional and seasonal flavors of KitKats in Japan. These flavors are produced in and only in Japan. 300!

Some interesting (read: strange) ones are mentioned above and here are some more unusual ones: blueberry cheesecake, green tea, hot Japanese chili, sweet potato, and even a pumpkin flavored KitKat!

Japan has a strong tradition of presenting souvenirs or regional delicacies to family, friends, and colleagues when returning from a holiday or business trip. The success of the special KitKat flavors lies heavily in this tradition. These KitKat flavors are regional, rare, scarce and make for interesting souvenirs! It also appeals strongly to the FOMO for “limited” and “seasonal” products.

Regional flavors are easily available in convenience stores, supermarkets, but only within each region.

KitKat as a lucky charm

Here’s another interesting tidbit about KitKat in Japan.

KitKat when pronounced in Japanese sounds like “Kitto Katsu”. Coincidentally, kitto katsu (きっと勝つ) in Japanese means “You will surely win”.

This made KitKat a good luck charm. Family and friends of students taking university entrance exams started buying them KitKats to wish them luck!

This did not escape the attention of the Nestlé marketing team, who even collaborated with Japan Post to create KitKat bars which could be sent easily by post!

Write your message and chuck this KitKat into a post box! Source: https://halcyonrealms.com/japan/have-a-spring-break-have-a-kit-kat/

They also included a small area to write good luck messages for recipients on the packaging. These promotional packages were a superhit and won Nestlé Japan the much acclaimed Media Grand Prix award in the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

This sheer coincidence of a brand name’s resemblance to a motivational phrase turned out to be a “katsu” (win) for KitKat.

Back to KitKat varieties

Nestlé Japan also opened the KitKat Chocolatory in Tokyo where talented pastry chefs design special recipes of premium KitKat flavors like orange-chocolate rum, passion fruit, and raspberry-infused dark chocolate.

KitKat Chocolatory in Japan Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28056346@N06/11996519225

Whether you are feeling adventurous or just want to try a non-chocolatey chocolate, don't miss out on these unusual varieties of KitKats when you visit Japan!