When it comes to pasalubong, you can never go wrong with giving chocolates—even more so if you’re coming from Japan!
From quirky flavored KitKats to exquisite bean-to-bar treats, Japan sure knows how to tickle the fancy of every sweet tooth. And if you’re a chocoholic yourself who loves sharing the joy that chocolates bring, read up because we are about to give you a lowdown on the best chocolates you can get in Japan.
You don’t have to break your budget for a good box (or pack!) of chocolates on your Japan trip, especially if you’re buying them as pasalubong. Hit the nearest supermarket, Don Quijote store, or pharmacy and you can pick up affordable local chocolates that taste surprisingly premium. Many standalone shops, like Royce, also carry a variety of offerings sold at different price points.
Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly chocolates in Japan that you and your folks back home will surely love, too:
Let’s start with the obvious: Japanese KitKats, which are arguably the best in the world, with their wide assortment of flavors. Plain KitKats, orange KitKats, matcha KitKats, wasabi KitKats—you name it, Nestlé Japan has probably done it! The flavors can be as outrageous as a KitKat can be and they all come in pretty packages (packs or boxes) that make for the perfect food gift!
ROYCE’ Nama Chocolate
The velvety smooth ROYCE’ Nama Chocolate is reminiscent of deluxe chocolate truffles made with carefully selected “chocolate and fresh cream with a hint of prestige liqueurs.” On the regular, the brand offers just five kinds of Nama Chocolate, namely Au Lait, Champagne Pierre Mignon, Bitter, White, and Matcha, but occasionally offers seasonal flavors like Sakura Fromage, Strawberry Champagne, and Orange Liqueur.
*Tip: Nama Chocolate melts quickly! To ensure that your Nama Chocolate makes the trip home, pick up a box or a few at the airport before your departure. Your purchase will come with a temperature-controlled bag to keep your chocolates fresh and intact.
Meiji Melty Kiss
It’s virtually impossible to create a list of chocolates in Japan and not mention Meiji. This household name is known across the globe for its delightful sweets enjoyed by all ages like Macadamia, Almond, Choco Baby, and Apollo Strawberry Chocolate.
If you’re in Japan, though, you wouldn’t want to miss giving Melty Kiss a go. This melt-in-your-mouth treat is Meiji’s answer to ROYCE’’s Nama Chocolate, but offered at a fraction of the latter’s price tag. Available only during the cold months, Meiji Melty Kiss comes in milk chocolate, strawberry, and matcha flavors.
Morinaga Carre de Chocolat
Japanese confectionery brand Morinaga is best known for DARS chocolate and the all-time kiddie favorite Chocoball, but if we’re talking about its best chocolate offering, we gotta say it’s Carre de Chocolat.
An exclusive chocolate series, Carre de Chocolat comes in boxes of individually wrapped chocolate thins in a wide variety of flavors—dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and even pictachio chocolate!
Puree Original Tiramisu Chocolate
You will see Puree Original Tiramisu Chocolate almost everywhere. In fact, it’s hard not to, with its contents wrapped in twisted colorful metallic plastic sheets that scream “BUY ME.” These oval-shaped treats are not cake, but chocolate coated and dusted almonds.
Japan is home to several chocolatiers who’ve caught the world’s attention, so if you are looking to satisfy your chocolate cravings with a treat that’s a tad lot more luxe than your usual fix, here are the spots that you should include in your itinerary:
In business for a decade now, chocolate brand Minimal is everything its name suggests—it uses as few ingredients as possible for its line of products to bring out the subtleties in their taste. This philosophy in chocolate making is adopted by Minimal’s founder Takatsugu Yamashita from the Japanese concept of washoku, a practice of food preparation associated with a high regard for nature. All of Minimal’s ingredients are sustainably sourced and the company’s products are all vegan.
Location: 2 Chome-1-9 Tomigaya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0063, Japan
Operating Hours: 11:30 AM – 7:00 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and weekends, 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM on Fridays, closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Musée Du Chocolat Théobroma
Not too far from Minimal, you will find Musée Du Chocolat Théobroma. A chocolate shop with a classic Europeen vibe, it is well-loved by locals and tourists alike for its selection of handmade bonbons. You can also sit down at the store to enjoy a slice of chocolate cake and a nice cup of coffee.
Musée Du Chocolat Théobroma
Location: 1 Chome-14-9 Tomigaya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0063
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Daily
Le Chocolat De H
This chocolate boutique saw its early beginnings in Roppongi back in 2003. Now known as one of the country’s finest chocolate shops, Le Chocolat De H has found a new base in the upscale district of Ginza, where it continues to offer signature chocolates infused with Japanese flavors (think miso and sake) created by award-winning chocolatier and pâtissier Hironobu Tsujiguchi
Le Chocolat De H
Location: 6 Chome−7−6 細野ビル 1F, Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM on weekdays, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM on weekends
Uniquely Japanese Chocolate Treats
Whether your folks have an adventurous palate or you just want to gift them something that their tastebuds will find new, then don’t pass up on the opportunity to add these uniquely Japanese chocolates to your shopping list during your trip:
Bourbon Chocolate Mochi
Mochi comes in countless forms, including chocolate-filled variants! Imagine soft and sticky mochi filled with decadent chocolate cream—yum! If this sounds like something your friends or family will like, boxed chocolate mochi like those from the brand Bourbon are easy to pack in your luggage for your trip back home.
Fujiya Look Chocolate
Local confection company Fujiya launched its “Look” series of chocolates to introduce interesting combinations to the adventurous eater. Look chocolate flavors that made headlines in the past include sweet potato, kinako (roasted soybean flour), and chestnut.
Muji Chocolate-Coated Strawberries
Japan’s strawberries are next-level saccharine sweet. Combine that with a yummy chocolate shell and you get a delicious and addictive snack that you just wouldn’t get enough of. Muji’s chocolate-coated strawberries are freeze-dried, which means they’re travel-friendly. The coating also comes in milk chocolate, white chocolate, and matcha chocolate flavors.
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