Wednesday, May 14, 2014

HAJIMEMASHITE, NIHON: KitKat Chocolatory (Tokyo)

(This is the start of a series on a recent trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. It was literally a trip ten years in the making, and a jolly good time was had by all)

Japan is known to be crazy for KitKat chocolate, and has the most variety of flavors sold anywhere in the world. According to Daily Mail, the reason for this popularity was due to how the name was pronounced - in Nihongo, it sounds like "kitto katsu", which translates to 'you will surely win'.

Nestle, the brand owner, has upped the ante, with what is billed as the the first KitKat boutique store aimed for an adult audience.  This small kiosk is located inside Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro district. 

Somehow, i had it in my mind that this store would carry a bevy of KitKat flavors unavailable for sale elsewhere. Alas, instead of the twenty or so flavors i was expecting to gawk at, there were only three flavors on display, namely: Green Tea, Cheesecake and Chili.  Packed in small gift-sized carton boxes, with four individually-wrapped pieces inside, it is not your usual KitKat packaging form. 

Also, as we had arrived early evening, they had run out of the exclusive "Sublime Bitter" flavor, which was sold out (only 300 bars are handcrafted per day). Boo!

Verdict: Disappointing. No need to make a special trip just for this.

By contrast, you will have much better luck shopping for KitKats at Narita airport!  Take a look at the store shelves below.

Here, you can choose to your stomach's content amongst the ff. flavors: Green Tea, Chocolate, Cherry Blossom (seasonal), Strawberry Cheesecake, Rum Raisin, Wasabi (!!!), Hokkaido Red Bean paste, and probably a few more that i failed to recall. 

In short, save your money and shop at Narita airport before your flight back!

Getting There:  Take the Japan Rail (JR) Yamanote Line (i.e. the 'Green' loop), and get down at Ikebukuro station. Seibu Department Store is linked to the station exit.    

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