Despite being one of the last few countries to open up its borders to international travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has been able to maintain its popularity as a top travel destination amongst Singaporeans and its neighbours in Southeast Asia. And with many of us visiting Japan in the recent months of 2023, one might take notice of the wide array of Japanese snacks that are usually bought back as souvenirs. There are several reasons why people are buying and enjoying Japanese snacks, even after they have long returned from their trip to Japan. Here are a few reasons why snacks from Japan are appealing and popular:
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Japan is renowned for its wide variety of snacks. From traditional snacks with a long history to modern and innovative creations, there is something to suit every taste. Japanese snack manufacturers continuously introduce new flavours, textures, and combinations, keeping the snack options exciting and ever-evolving.
2. Unique flavours
KUNIWA’s Coriander Jelly featured in JAPAN RAIL CLUB's June 2023 Omiyage Box: Refreshing Summer
Often, Japanese snacks feature unique and distinctive flavours that are not commonly found in other countries or cultures. From savoury snacks like shoyu senbei (soy sauce rice crackers) or nori (seaweed) chips to sweet treats like the traditional dango and even modern favourites like the banana custard-filled TOKYO BANANA, Japanese snacks offer a wide range of flavours that can be both familiar and intriguingly different. Besides, where else can you find KitKat in wasabi chocolate flavour if not in Japan?
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Some Japanese snacks are not readily available outside of Japan or are difficult to find. Therefore, having the opportunity to try these snacks outside of Japan can be a special experience, allowing you to taste flavours that are otherwise inaccessible.
4. High-quality Ingredients
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Japanese snacks are known for their focus on high-quality ingredients. From using fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables to incorporating premium teas and traditional flavours, Japanese snacks often prioritise taste and quality. This emphasis on using quality ingredients contributes to the overall enjoyment of the snacks.
5. Attention to Detail
Hunter Confectionery’s Bellerose Bonheur (Strawberry Marble Flavour) featured in JAPAN RAIL CLUB February 2023 Omiyage Box: Rosy Valentine
Japanese culture values attention to detail, and this is evident in their snacks as well. Japanese snacks are often meticulously crafted with precision and care. Whether it's the intricate design of a traditional wagashi sweet or the stylish packaging of a snack, the attention to detail enhances the overall experience.
6. Cultural Discovery
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Trying Japanese snacks allows you to explore the unique culinary culture of Japan. Snacks often reflect regional specialties or seasonal & traditional flavours, providing a glimpse into different parts of the country. For instance, you can find more variety of takoyaki-flavoured snacks in Osaka than in Tokyo, because that’s where takoyaki originates from. It's a way to experience a taste of Japan's culinary heritage and cultural diversity.
7. Portability and Convenience
Itoken Corporation's Ohineri featured in JAPAN RAIL CLUB's May 2023 Omiyage Box: Golden Spring
Japanese snacks are often designed to be portable and convenient, making them ideal for on-the-go consumption. If you're looking for a quick bite during a busy day or a snack to enjoy during travel, Japanese snacks often come in individual portions and convenient packaging that make them easy to carry and enjoy wherever you are.
8. Social Experience
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Snacking is often a social activity, and enjoying Japanese snacks with friends or family can create shared experiences and moments of bonding. Each snack carries with them its own unique backstory, and it's a fun way to share about the highlights of your trip to Japan with your loved ones. Whether it's trying out a variety of snacks together or exchanging different flavours, it can be a fun and engaging way to explore Japanese cuisine and culture with others.
Photo by JAPAN RAIL CLUB
Overall, buying and eating Japanese snacks can be a delightful experience due to the many reasons above. While travelling to Japan and experiencing Japan firsthand is undoubtedly an immersive experience that is hard to be replicated, buying Japanese snacks outside of Japan can still offer a glimpse into the country's culture and culinary delights. It allows you to reminisce about your previous travels, even if you can't travel to Japan at the moment. So why not stock up on some Japanese snacks from the comforts of your home before your next visit? Sit back, relax, and subscribe to JAPAN RAIL CLUB for a monthly supply of snacks from all across Japan, shipped to your doorstep.