Japan gets all the cool Kit Kats. Since 2000, Nestlé has introduced over 200 flavors and varieties of the chocolate bar to Japan, from chestnut and espresso to baked corn and soy sauce.
Some flavors come and go with the seasons and others are exclusive to certain regions; at the souvenir shops of my home prefecture Nagano you can find the tasty Shinshu Apple flavor and the questionable Ichimi Ground Red Pepper flavor.
One of our Japanese reporters recently came across a new variety of Kit Kat at Nagoya Station that we thought was pretty cool. While the Kit Kat bars themselves are the regular milk chocolate flavor—which, mind you, differs from country to country—the box art is inspired by the Tokaido Shinkansen line and should be familiar to anyone who has ridden the bullet train in Japan.
The JR Tokaido Shinkansen line is the high-speed rail line that connects Tokyo with Shin-Osaka, stopping at several major stations, such as Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nagoya and Kyoto, along the way.
This isn’t the first time Nestlé Japan has sold clever Shinkansen-themed Kit Kats. In 2010 and 2011, they offered boxes of Kit Kats modeled after the Nozomi train and Doctor Yellow train, respectively. The flavor for previous years was also plain milk chocolate.
▼Nozomi Kit Kat (2010)
▼Doctor Yellow Kit Kat (2011)
This year’s Shinkan Kit Kat pack contains four normal-sized boxes of Kit Kats, each one designed after the platform sign of the four major stops on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Shin-Osaka. The opposite side of each box features a photo of the Shinkansen in that particular city.
▼ Main Package: Backside
The backside of the larger package features information about the Tokaido Shinkansen line, as well as the SCMaglev and Railway Park, a railway museum owned by Central Japan Railway Company which opened in Nagoya last March. If you’ve got a thing for trains, make to sure to stop by the next time you’re in Japan.
Even the individual Kit Kat wrappers are printed with one of four Shinkansen trains on them. Now that’s quality!
Train’s aren’t your thing? Head to your local Japanese post office and you can purchase an awesome “Kit Mail” Kit Kat pack with a beautiful sakura (cherry blossom) design.
▼ It even folds open to reveal a sakura tree in full bloom!
Japan Post has been selling Kit Mail since 2009 for the Japanese university entrance examination season (Dec – Feb) as Kit Kats are often bought as good-luck gifts, thanks to the word “Kit Kat” sounding similar to the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu”, which roughly translates to mean “you’ll surely win!”
The idea is to write a message of encouragement to students directly on the “post card” portion of the box and mail it to them. When they go to open the box for a tasty late-night snack to help them stay focused while studying, the sakura tree pops open and the Kit Kat jingle plays. As you can imagine, these things sell like mad every year.
If cherry blossoms don’t do it for you, you can try your luck at souvenir shops in the Kanto region for one of the other well-known special Kit Kat boxes in Japan, the Blue Berry Cheesecake Kit Kat Mt. Fuji box.
See? We told you Japan gets all the cool Kit Kats!
[ Read in Japanese ]