SIGN UPLOG IN
CULTURE

Popular Japanese Snacks: 10 Sweet Treats & 10 Savory Snacks to Try

By Emily Suvannasankha
April 24, 2021
Updated: October 4, 2021
We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan’s food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.

Japanese snacks have taken the world by storm with their exciting varieties and unique flavors. Even before I learned anything about Japanese culture, I coveted the colorful boxes of Pocky and charming mascots of Hello Panda at the local Target as a kid. But as I've come to discover, there are so many more delicious treats to enjoy! So why not dip a toe into Japanese snack culture with some beloved favorites, as well as my own personal recommendations? We’ve broken down the sheer amount of different Japanese snacks into two categories, sweet and savory, below.

Would you travel for food? Check out our blog post covering regional Japanese food souvenirs in each of Japan's 47 prefectures, from Hokkaido's Shiroi Koibito cookies to Shizuoka's wasabi Kit Kats and other premium snacks!

Join a fun Japanese candy-making class in Tokyo: the Amezaiku Candy Sculpting Workshop and learn how to make cute rabbits out of hard candy!

Popular Japanese Snacks to Satisfy Every Craving

10 Sweet Japanese Snacks

Here are 10 of my favorite Japanese sweets!

  1. Pocky
  2. Country Ma'am
  3. Choco Pie
  4. Japanese Kit Kats
  5. Caramel Corn
  6. Shittori Choco
  7. Kinoko no Yama/Takenoko no Sato
  8. Baum Rolls
  9. Bisco
  10. Galbo

10 Savory Japanese Snacks

Here are 10 must-try salty and savory Japanese snacks.

  1. Calbee Chips
  2. Jagariko
  3. Sucorn
  4. Pretz
  5. Senbei
  6. Agemochi
  7. Mike Popcorn
  8. Baby Star
  9. Arare Rice Snacks
  10. Piza Poteto

Popular Japanese Snacks: Sweet Treats

1. Pocky

Packages of chocolate and almond pocky on grocery shelf

If there's any Japanese snack you likely already love, it's Pocky. Pocky Japan has perfected the art of putting chocolate on a biscuit stick, and their varieties like the "luxurious" (贅沢) line with extra thick chocolate that's fun as a novelty snack! Also, check out another brand called Toppo if you're curious about what an inside-out Pocky would taste like.

2. Country Ma'am

Packages of chocolate, vanilla, and matcha Country Ma'am cookies on grocery shelves

Country Ma'am cookies are tiny, soft, and come in flavors like vanilla, chocolate, matcha, and strawberry, depending on the season. They're oddly addictive and can even quench a chocolate chip cookie craving in a bind! Try microwaving one... you won't regret it.

3. Choco Pie

Packages of chocolate and vanilla cream Choco Pies on grocery shelves

Of all sweet Japanese snacks, Choco Pie is the one that seems to show up at every party without fail. These soft Little Debbie-esque snack cakes come in vanilla and chocolate cream. The crack of the hard chocolate shell on the outside when you bite into it is surprisingly satisfying!

4. Japanese Kit Kats

Packages of chocolate, matcha, orange, raspberry, & strawberry Kit Kats on grocery shelves

Along with Pocky, the sprawling world of Japanese Kit Kats boasts global fame as two of the most popular brands of snacks in Japan! The intriguing specialty flavors, like Japanese sake and green tea, are either infused into the filling in the middle or into the chocolate coating itself. The flavors are often disarmingly realistic and delicious; my personal favorites are apple pie and "adult" (オトナの甘さ) raspberry. Keep an eye out for rare Kit Kat flavors in different regions of Japan, too!

5. Caramel Corn

Packages of Caramel Corn and almond Caramel Corn on grocery shelves

When you come to Japan, dispose of what you know "caramel corn" to be. This Caramel Corn isn't popcorn, but caramel-flavored corn puffs with a smattering of nuts at the bottom of the bag! For anyone who's ever wished Cheetos tasted like pure sugar, Caramel Corn is a light, crunchy, and fluffy delight.

6. Shittori Choco

Packages of Shittori Choco on grocery shelves

If you were to ask me about the best snacks in Japan, Shittori Choco would be high on my list of favorites. Literally "moist chocolate," Shittori Choco is a crispy aerated corn puff coated in chocolate that melts in your mouth. Don't forget to look out for the occasional heart-shaped one!

7. Kinoko no Yama/Takenoko no Sato

Packages of combined Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato on grocery shelves

Two of the most well-known snacks to buy in Japan, the mushroom-shaped Kinoko no Yama and bamboo shoot-shaped Takenoko no Sato are tiny biscuit cookies topped with chocolate. Try asking someone which one they prefer in the neverending feud between the two! Look out for the elaborate seasonal flavors, like chestnut Mont Blanc and purple sweet potato.

8. Baum Rolls

Packages of baum rolls on grocery shelves

Baum rolls may not get a lot of foreign press, but they are one of the most popular Japanese sweet snacks to hand out at group gatherings. These soft, moist rolls of thin cake are coated in a tasty, light lemon frosting. The Bourbon brand makes tons of mini sweet treats, but baum rolls are perhaps the best!

9. Bisco

Packages of chocolate and strawberry Bisco crackers on grocery shelves

Bisco crackers are the perfect blend of sweet and salty, with the cream on the inside pairing wonderfully with the buttery richness of the sandwich crackers. Like many Japanese snacks, they're tiny and individually wrapped. So while you may not be saving the environment, at least you can enjoy the gaze of the overjoyed Bisco child on the package as you crunch!

10. Galbo

Packages of chocolate and strawberry Galbo on grocery shelves

If you're looking for a hearty, satisfying chocolate snack, Galbo is the way to go. These thick pellets of aerated chocolate are actually quite dense, perfect for a quick decadent treat. All the flavors I've tried, like caramel and royal milk tea, have been spot on!

Popular Japanese Snacks: Savory Snacks

1. Calbee Chips

Packages of soy sauce mayo, shiawase butter, & nori Calbee chips on grocery shelves

Calbee Japan products make up about half the chip aisle in Japanese supermarkets, so you might as well get acquainted! The standard flavors of Calbee potato chips are lightly salted, shiawase "fortune" butter, consomme punch, soy sauce mayo, seaweed salt, and several other regional soy sauce varieties. Calbee chips are a solid, safe choice even if you're unfamiliar with the Japanese flavors; personally, I find their soy sauce mayo chips hard to resist!

2. Jagariko

Cups of many different flavors of Jagariko on grocery shelves

One of the most popular snacks in Japan, Jagariko are brittle potato sticks in a cup with a peel-off lid. Among the wide array of flavors, you're sure to find a favorite! From cheese and salad to more daring flavors like tarako (pollock roe) butter and Japanese plum, you could munch your way through the whole line and never get bored.

3. Sucorn

Packages of seafood and barbeque Sucorn on grocery shelves

Looking for Japan's version of crunchy Cheetos? Sucorn is here to satisfy that craving of yours, with flavors like seafood, barbeque, and quattro cheese. And if you check the other side of the snack aisle, you might find sweet Sucorn flavors too; salted caramel, in particular, is to die for!

4. Pretz

Boxes of salad and roast Pretz on grocery shelves

Glico's savory counterpart to Pocky, Pretz is a Japanese snack so ubiquitous you must try it at least once. Pretz is a thin, seasoned biscuit stick with an addictive quality and satisfying crunch. Try eating a stick of their "mystery flavor" along with the standard salad, roast, or tomato Pretz to see what combination it makes!

5. Senbei

Packages of plain and brown sugar senbei on grocery shelves

Senbei is the most famous traditional Japanese cracker, made of white rice and often enjoyed with tea. Some are sweet, like the delicious brown sugar milk flavor pictured above, but most are savory, like the equally spectacular salad senbei also pictured above! Any rice cracker is sure to give you a crispy taste of traditional Japan, pairing extra well with a hot beverage.

6. Agemochi

Packages of salt and soy sauce agemochi on grocery shelves

Agemochi, or deep-fried mochi snacks, are my most recent discovery in the world of traditional Japanese treats. These delightful pieces of seasoned mochi crunch at first, then melt in your mouth. If you're interested in experiencing mochi in a different way, you can usually find agemochi in the traditional snack aisle!

7. Mike Popcorn

Packages of shrimp and butter soy sauce Mike Popcorn on grocery shelves

Unsurprisingly, Japan has managed to take an already great snack and make it even better. The most well-known brand of popcorn in Japan, Mike's Popcorn, constantly offers limited-time flavors like salted shrimp and milk tea. The popcorn is airy and light, and their standard soy sauce butter flavor is always a crowd pleaser!

8. Baby Star

Packages of Baby Star on grocery shelves

If you're one of those people who enjoys eating a block of uncooked ramen as a snack, Baby Star is for you. These broken pieces of dried ramen noodles are flavored with savory seasonings for your crunching pleasure! Pair them with beer or other alcohol for an even better time.

9. Arare Rice Snacks

Packages of Hineri-age and Posuke on grocery shelves

Arare is a genre of many similar kinds of rice snacks and crackers known to go well with drinks. Two of my most recommended varieties are hineri-age, an impossibly crispy twirled fry dusted with savory powder, and ponsuke, dense cubes of sweet-and-salty herbal flavor. But to be honest, you can't go wrong with any arare!

10. Piza Poteto

Packages of Piza Poteto on grocery shelves

And finally, no discussion of Japanese junk food would be complete without Piza Poteto, the infamous pizza-flavored chip of Japan. Unlike any American cheese-flavored chip I've had, Japanese chips often have drips of real (or semi-real) cheese baked onto them, packing an extra wallop of moisture and flavor. Another great snack to pair with your alcoholic beverage of choice for a sordid night of snacking!

The global popularity of Japanese snacks is on the rise, and for good reason! You can never run out of new and tasty Japanese snacks to sample, but these were some of the most popular, unmissable players in the industry. So next time you're pawing through the Pocky boxes, looking to grab a large bag of snacks before you hit the cash register, look out for any of these delectable treats you haven't yet tried.

Feeling snacky? Try these common onigiri flavors and our favorite konbini foods!

Or, learn how to make handmade candies with artisanal makers during the Higashi Making Class in Miyajima!



18
Click clap if you like this post
Emily Suvannasankha
Masquerading as a grad student in Linguistics, Emily can typically be found counting the minutes ‘til her next peach chūhai. She has two years in Nagoya before her need for jumbo peanut butter sends her crawling back to the US.
You may also be interested in
Stay in the Loop!
We are always discovering the latest foodie trends.
Sign up to receive insider tips about the food scene in Japan's most extraordinary areas.