Throughout our trip, the sister and I were constantly finding new snacks to nibble on. As some may be aware, each part of Japan produces snacks that can only be seen or bought from that region.
So not only are you seeking out historical landmarks and monuments, but you are also having a taste of the perfecture's unique characteristic. Without further ado, here is a little compilation for those keen on bringing home edible snacks for family and friends.
** most of these snacks can easily be purchased (in perfectly wrapped conditions) at the region's JR station - will blog more about the wonders of the JR lines in a latter post.
1) Tokyo banana
Not trip to Tokyo is complete without a packet of these banana shaped cakes that have an extremely narrow shelf life of about 2 weeks.
Light sponge cake filled with cream, be it banana flavoured or caramel flavoured. Costs about $2 per piece and comes in different pack sizes to suit your needs.
2) Calbee chips
Too many flavours to choose from - always fun to surprise a loved one with a quirky flavour and watch their reaction.
We stumbled upon a Calbee shop in the Tokyo JR station which serves hot chips with your choice of sauce, be it cheese or chocolate.
I was initially not too keen on these little birdies but the sister convinced me that I might regret my decision and so, I gave in. The pastry layer is thin and generously stuffed with lima bean paste. One bird should suffice as a snack because it is filling.
Thin pieces of biscuits resembling roof panels that has a very strong cinnamon fragrance. The packet that we bought had adorable pictures of flowers, insects and animals on it.
2) Anything green tea
Kyoto-ers appear to be very committed to their tea and there is no shortage of tea options here, especially matcha. Afterall, Uji is just down the road so why not? We loved our treats from Itohkyuemon and if you are unable to visit Uji, Itohkyuemon has a branch located just outside the Kyoto JR station.
3) Kyo Baumkuchen
If I am not wrong, baumkuchen is a name of a German cake. Not entirely sure of how it got incorporated into the Kyoto scene but hey, the Japanese made their own version using green tea.
This cake is extremely rich and has a thin layer of matcha icing around the cake. Just like the Tokyo banana, it does have a short shelf life and best consumed soonest possible.
p.s: if the snacks here do not tickle your fancy, I am sure the sight of their beautiful packaging will.
4) Nama yatsuhashi
Akin a thin layer of mochi enclosing sweetened red bean paste. Also available in other flavours and pack sizes.
1) Prawn crackers
Boy, these prawn crackers are seriously packed with prawn essence and are extremely crisp. A fragile piece of souvenir to bring home so be sure to pack your bags well if you intend to.
A confectionery made of sugar, rice and flour. The squishy texture may not be everyone's cup of tea but hey, it does come in an assortment of flavours. We tried out their green tea, rose, chocolate, plain and brown sugared version and liked it.
p.s: the sister who's not a fan of sticky and sweet ate this.
1) Orange flavoured anything
Wakayama is known for its oranges and what better way to have a taste of it than in an adorable box of chocolates. Would love to try out other snacks but sadly, time was against us.
Pastry filled with milk, butter and white bean paste. I looooooved this treat the best as it does have a very rich buttery aroma to it and is light on the palate.
2) Anything Kuidaore
This clown is an Osaka icon and its no laughing matter when he's been around for sometime despite the restaurant where he originated from is no longer operating. We bought a packet of his honey cakes which were a little dry to my liking.
However, there are plenty of snacks (which has his face) that you can purchase.
p.s: We saw plenty of Pocky boxes whilst wandering around Dotonburi so you shouldn't stuck for ideas if you're running out of baggage space.
Maple leaf cake
I like how this cake has a balanced ratio of cake to filling, making it neither too sweet nor dull on the palate. Plus points again for coming in an assortment of flavours.
If all else fails......
There's always a packet of Kit Kat to fall back on. Again, each region has a flavour unique to it which means you could be rounding up Kit Kats at every town. Both matcha and strawberry flavoured Kit Kats are easily available in most stores.
The red bean flavoured Kit Kat is unique to Fukuoka. A little bland in our opinion, possibly because the chocolate flavour had overpowered its subtle taste. We missed out on other flavours which could have been purchased before we entered the airport's departure hall.