If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Japanese chocolate is a great choice for satisfying your cravings. Chocolate companies in Japan focus on the rich texture and flavors of their products. Plus, you can find region-specific and seasonal flavors if you want to try something new!
If you're unfamiliar with the world of Japanese chocolate, we're here to help. There are a ton of products and brands, like Royce', Pocky, Meiji, and even Kit-Kats exclusive to Japan, it can be overwhelming to know what to look for. We’ve done the research and worked with our Japanese team to select the 10 best Japanese chocolates available online. Our favorite was Meiji's Milk Chocolate Bar. Check out our best 10 picks, and don’t forget to read our buying guide for tips on how to choose the best Japanese chocolate for your tastes.
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Table of Contents
Japanese chocolates come in many shapes, flavors, and types. To find the best options for you, keep reading!
Chocolate in Japan is mainly categorized by the type of chocolate: milk, dark, and white. This is one of the most important considerations!
Both milk and dark chocolate use the solid part of the cocoa bean. Milk chocolate contains a higher percentage of milk than dark chocolate. This mellows the bitter flavor of the cocoa bean and makes the chocolate sweeter. It’s also creamier in texture, like white chocolate.
Milk chocolate has a bolder, more “chocolatey” flavor. It's a great choice if you want a classic chocolate flavor, and it's used most often for chocolate snacks or cookies.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate. It contains less milk fat and more cocoa bean than any of the other types.
Depending on the percentage of cocoa, dark chocolate can be semi-sweet or bitter. In Japan, it’s often called bitaa choco, or “bitter chocolate.” It isn’t as rich as milk or white chocolate, but it tastes the closest to the original cocoa plant. It's a great choice if you prefer rich, dark, and mature flavors.
White chocolate is created from cocoa butter, not cocoa. While both cocoa and cocoa butter come from the same plant, cocoa butter is the collected fat from the cocoa bean.
Cocoa butter is packed with nutrients such as oleic acid. It also provides white chocolate with a rich, buttery texture and milder flavor than other types.
White chocolate is used as the base for most flavored chocolates. If you like strawberry chocolate or other flavored varieties, white is the best chocolate base for you.
There are a few major types of chocolate that are very popular in Japan. While Americans are most familiar with chocolate snacks like Kit-Kats and Hershey Kisses, Japanese consumers prefer more French-inspired chocolates such as ganache and truffles.
Japanese chocolate bars go back to the basics, allowing you to enjoy the flavor of the chocolate. Try buying a few different chocolate bars from big makers like Meiji and Royce to compare their subtle differences!
Chocolate bars can also offer a unique twist on flavors and added ingredients. Strawberry and matcha flavored chocolate bars are especially popular in Japan. You can also enjoy a variety of textures, such as nuts or wafers.
Nama chocolate is Japan’s delicious take on French ganache. Makers imbue rich milk chocolate with a burst of fresh, heavy cream (and sometimes alcohol) to create velvety chocolate that literally melts in your mouth.
The brand Royce’ is especially popular in Japan for its high-quality, cocoa powdered nama chocolates. A more affordable option is Meiji’s Melty Kiss, which also comes in flavors like strawberry or matcha.
If you're specifically looking for nama chocolate, check out the link below for a detailed buying guide and our 10 best picks!
Bonbon chocolates are hard, molded chocolates that usually have fillings or nuts. Usually, these come in a box with several different flavors to explore.
You may need to read the labels carefully if you have any nut allergies. Still, bonbon chocolates are a great way to taste an array of Japanese chocolates. They're also fun if you enjoy the variety!
Japanese chocolate companies are also famous worldwide for their chocolate snacks. Many brands also offer cookies, chocolate-covered buiscuts known as Pocky, and other sweet snacks.
If you want some extra crunch, most chocolate snacks come in a cookie or cracker form. Meiji’s Takenoko chocolates are a great example. These bamboo shoot-shaped snacks have a cookie base and a milk chocolate top. Japanese chocolate snacks are a fun addition to any pantry!
Many Japanese chocolates, especially chocolate bars, will show the percentage of cocoa beans used. This is especially true when it comes to dark chocolate in Japan. Milk chocolate may also include a ratio of milk to cocoa.
This information makes it easy to test different percentages of cocoa and find which is the best for you. The higher the percentage, the bitterer and stronger the chocolate taste.
Japanese brands may also include information on the chocolate's country of origin, and the flavor is subtly affected by the country's climate. For example, humidity and temperature give cocoa beans different flavor notes.
Most Japanese companies blend several countries' beans to create a balanced and consistent chocolate flavor. Still, companies like Meiji release country-specific chocolate bars for chocolate connoisseurs to try.
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Meiji's classic milk chocolate bar now comes separated into 28 pieces for a mess-free chocolate experience. The cocoa beans used to make this bar are roasted by Meiji, then combined with full-fat milk to create a rich, smooth, sweet flavor.
Overall, reviewers were thrilled with the rich, creamy chocolate flavor. Many said that the chocolate tastes fresh and melts in your mouth, making it an addicting treat. Reviewers also appreciated the quality, saying they taste as good as more expensive options.
The Black Thunder Bar consists of shortbread cookie bits and rice crisps coated in dark milk chocolate. This gives the bar a rather pebbly look on top. The rich flavor and satisfying crunch make this chocolate snack immensely popular in Japan.
Reviewers reported that the darker milk chocolate flavor has just the right amount of sweetness, with many appreciating that they aren't as sweet as American candy bars. They also liked the crispness of the cookie texture and rice pieces.
These sweet, crunchy sticks are covered three-quarters of the way with sweet milky chocolate. They provide just enough chocolate flavor, combined with a satisfying crunch. Pocky is easy to pack and eat, making it an excellent snack for kids' lunches or your work bag!
Some reviewers warned that the chocolate melts quickly. Still, Pocky is incredibly popular for its rich chocolate and crisp biscuit base. Reviewers especially liked the balanced flavor, saying it's not overly sweet. Many parents say the serving size is just right for snack time.
Shiroi Koibito cookies are a famous Hokkaido souvenir. This box contains 18 bars of Hokkaido's rich, sweet white chocolate sandwiched with delicate shortbread butter cookies. This snack is famous for its fresh crunch and buttery white chocolate flavor.
The vast majority of reviewers liked that the cookies are buttery and wafer-like, giving great contrast to the rich white chocolate. They added that the sweet, creamy chocolate tastes very rich. Reviewers also said these cookies are a hit when given as a gift!
Meiji's Macadamia Chocolates feature 12 milk chocolate pieces with macadamia chunks embedded inside. Expect a sweet, chocolatey outside with the soft, subtle crunch of a rich macadamia core.
A few reviewers noted that the chocolates can melt together in the box. However, many raved about the creamy chocolate texture. They also enjoyed the decadent flavor of the chocolate in combination with the macadamia nuts.
These boxes come filled with tiny, mountain-shaped strawberry chocolates. The tips are strawberry-flavored white chocolate, while the bases are Meiji's rich milk chocolate. These boxes are a perfect pocket-sized snack for work or a casual outing.
Some reviewers noted that the chocolates melt together easily. Still, many others were pleased with how well the creamy strawberry chocolate blended with the rich milk chocolate flavor. Others added that the cute packaging and chocolate design make for an excellent gift basket addition.
Coated with strawberry-infused white chocolate, these Kit Kats contain classic wafers that sandwich strawberry powder. The strawberry powder is tangy, adding a pop of tart flavor to the sweet chocolate coating.
Overall, reviewers said the tanginess makes these Kit Kats taste more like actual strawberries. They enjoyed how well the white chocolate and strawberry flavors were balanced. Some added that the cute packaging makes these Kit Kats great for gifting.
Meiji's Takenoko no Sato snack consists of bamboo shoot-shaped cookies covered in rich milk chocolate. Expect a delicate chocolate flavor and a heavy shortbread crunch with these cute chocolate snacks.
Some customers noted that these chocolates melt together easily. However, they were still pleased with the rich chocolate, sweet biscuit, and cute bamboo shape. They added these chocolates were excellent gifts for people interested in Japan!
Royce' infuses their nama chocolate squares with heavy cream, giving the soft milk chocolate a melt-in-your-mouth effect. Each square is powdered with cocoa and infused with a generous dose of liquor.
Some reviewers warn that the chocolate melts quickly and must be stored in the fridge. However, overall, reviewers were incredibly happy with the silky, rich chocolate flavor. Some added that the chocolate wasn't overly sweet, giving them a chance to enjoy the cocoa bean flavor more authentically.
Meiji's Meltyblend chocolates, known as Meltykiss in Japan, are mini nama chocolate pieces with strawberry-flavored white chocolate filling. It's especially popular for its high cocoa content, which gives the pieces a slightly bitter taste that contrasts well with the strawberry filling. Each small cube is also coated with cocoa powder,
Aside from a few complaints about how easily the chocolate pieces melt, reviewers loved that they are incredibly creamy and smooth. Some added that the balance of sweetness and fruit flavor was just right. Plus, the cute packaging was a hit.
If you're still craving Japanese sweets and snacks, check out our other articles for more unique treats!
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