Why Kit Kat Is So Popular In Japan

When going on your mid-day break, maybe you opt for a pick-me-up cup of coffee or your favorite sandwich or salad. Or maybe you're someone who prefers a little sweet treat to get you through the rest of your day. The most widely known candy for this type of "break" snacking is none other than Kit Kat. Known for its "gimme a break" jingle and slogan, Kit Kat has become one of the most popular chocolate candy bars in the United States. Since launching in 1935, Kit Kats have stood out among other chocolate candies on the market due to their three-layered wafer framework, covered with delicious, creamy chocolate that is fun to break and snack on (via Hershey Land).

While it's the most popular candy bar in Connecticut and Missouri, Kit Kat doesn't have a particularly massive fan base throughout the world. Sure, it's sold in over 100 countries — including China, Thailand, India, and Russia as other major markets — but it hasn't earned as much cultish devotion in those places as it currently does in Japan (via The New York Times). In fact, Kit Kats are the best-selling candy bar in Japan. But how did they become so beloved?

Good luck charm candies

While you're probably planning your trip to Japan to see the country's beautiful landscape of cherry blossoms and landmarks like Mount Fuji, make sure to try at least some of the special Kit Kats there. According to Bokksu, Kit Kats are pronounced "kitto katto" in Japanese, which sounds familiar to the phrase "kitto katsu," meaning "good luck" or "definitely win." Because of this, the country has popularized the chocolate candy bar as a sign of good luck.

And when might you give others omens of good luck? Right before some challenging or stressful experiences. According to Tokyo Weekender, people in Japan gift Kit Kats as "good luck" symbols, especially "before university entrance exams." Additionally, Kit Kat partnered with Japan Post to launch a nationwide Kit Kat package campaign where people can mail friends and family "good luck" and "good omen" gifts. With access to over 20,000 post offices throughout Japan, these novelty gifts sold out within a month of their launch (via Bokksu). Japan surely does love its Kit Kats.

Over 300 flavors to try

With Kit Kats being as popular as they are in Japan, the country's creativity is totally unmatched when it comes to the sheer array of flavors available. According to Japan Candy Store, the famous matcha green tea flavor was first released in the country in 2004. Since then, Nestlé has totally leaned into Japan's love for Kit Kats and has partnered with pastry chefs to come up with new limited-edition and gourmet flavors (per Hypebeast). Additionally, Japan is more relaxed when it comes to introducing new products to the market and doesn't charge companies a "first listing fee" when putting product lines out for sale (via Tokyo Weekender). Because of this, Nestlé was able to fully experiment and create some exceptional and fun new Kit Kat flavors, catering to the different regions and cultural flavors of the country.

Today, there are more than 300 different varieties of Kit Kats throughout the country of Japan. Among the most notable include bars flavored with purple sweet potato, creamy wasabi, Yubari melon, white chocolate, miso, cherry blossom, Japanese plum, pistachio and raspberry, yuzu, and many more.

Want to get your hands on some exclusive Japanese Kit Kats? There are several stores that sell and ship these specialty candies just about anywhere in the world. Check out Japan Candy Store and OMG Japan to shop for cheesecake or whole wheat biscuit-flavored bars.