Wasabi, green tea and sake aren’t foods in Japan, they’re some of the numerous versions of Kit Kats extended in the nation.
While the wafer-and-chocolate snacks are available in over 300 flavors here for at least four decades, recent offerings from custard pudding to ginger consumed made the nation the go-to destination for picking up odd variations. They’re so popular among tourists that Nestle SA is building its first Kit Kat factory in 26 years to satisfy booming demand.
It’s no surprise, then, that the archipelago boasts the world’s second-largest ingestion of Kit Kats. Nestle Japan will begin operating a factory in the town of Himeji from August committed to making upscale, more pricey versions of the snack.
#x 2019 & that;s a safe bet, thanks to Japan’tourism boom. Spending by visitors surged to a record 2.5 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) in the six months through June, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. They’re spending more on confectionaries, with candy consumption more than tripling over the last four years to 131 billion yen in 2016, according to the Ministry of the Environment.
“We have Kit Kat back in Germany, but it’s not the same,” said backpacker Matt Borscak, 34. “The cultural signature makes it interesting. I bought a couple of packs of the ones, and I could’t wait to shock my friends. ”
A popular destination for lovers of the snack is the Kit Kat Chocolatory in an  shopping centre connected to Tokyo Station, where Nestle sells high-end flavors that may fetch more than 1,500 yen each package. Boxes of gourmet flavors — raspberry and grapefruit — with some costing as much as 3,500 yen, or over 10 times the cost of a regular bag of Kit Kats, are stacked across a counter. On Tuesday, Nestle Japan opened its renovated Chocolatory flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo’s shopping district.
“We take pride in our unique flavors and I think that makes Japan special in the Kit Kat world,” Takuya Hiramatsu, a spokesman for Nestle Japan, said in a telephone interview, noting that the company supplies 30 flavors now. He cited matcha as a favorite of tourists and locals alike, with visitors also snapping up flavors like wasabi, sake and purple yam.
While Kit Kat chocolates surfaced in the United Kingdom in 1935 and are an enduringly popular snack in North America and Europe, consumers in Japan embraced them in part because the item’s name sounds like “kitto katsu,” or “sure win” in Japanese. That’s made them a popular present for people about to sit for an examination, or take on an important project. Packages adorned with phrases such as “Do Your Best!” and “Believe in Yourself!” Are popular during school entrance exam season.
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