Life Through Seasons in Japan

Our 20 Favorite Japanese Snacks

Last Updated on 2020-11-25 by Teni

I’m now in MONTH SIX of homeschooling my Tokyo toddler! The one thing that gets us through every lesson is… SNACK TIME! Honestly, my love for Japanese foodie culture is all due to its two designated snack periods. They are juu ji no oyatsu and san ji no oyatsu, which mean “10 o’clock snack” and “3 o’clock snack,” respectively. Since my girl and I have been doing some serious snacking these past months I decided to do a roundup of our 20 favorite Japanese snacks. The list has 4 categories: Chips & senbei (rice crackers), gummies, cookies & biscuits, and DIY sets. 

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Our 20 Favorite Japanese Snacks

During my weekly shop, I make sure to pick up family favorites as well as browse the aisle for new snacks to try. I even made a snack section in the pantry so my daughter can select and prepare her snacks for the day. That’s one less thing for me to worry about, and there’s no arguing because she picked the snacks by herself!

Crisps & Senbei

1. Soft Salad (ソフトサラダ) 

If you’re new to Japanese senbei, or rice crackers, you should know that there are two types. The traditional kind, the ones you usually buy fresh off the grill at a matsuri or street stall, are coated with/dipped in soy sauce. And, they’re hard, like unbelievably hard. Soft Salad senbei, however, are the “soft” kind that break apart with ease. They’re lightly flavored with oil and salt and go well with any drink, especially barley tea! 

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

2. Hoshi Tabeyo (星たべよ) 

How could you possibly resist these adorable star-shaped senbei? Salty with a slight chicken flavor, these are the “soft” variety of senbei, and they’re free of artificial flavoring, flavor enhancers, and colorants. This variety pack includes the original salt flavor, as well as consomme, and a milder salty version.

Available on Amazon (original flavor only)| Amazon Japan

3. Yuki no Yado Rice Crackers (雪の宿)

Yuki no Yado literally translates to “snow lodge,” and these salty senbei have a generous coating of creamy frosting to give the illusion of a snow-covered lodge hidden somewhere in the mountains. Recently, I’ve discovered the brown sugar milk (雪の宿黒糖みるく) version of these senbei! It uses Okinawa brown sugar cream, Hokkaido milk cream, and cocoa powder for a delicious treat that puts a flavorful spin on a classic.

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan 

4. Jagariko Bits (じゃがりこ bits)

Jagariko Bits taste exactly like regular Jagariko, except they’re smaller in length and packaged in a bag. Also, a cup of regular Jagariko has 290 calories while Jagariko Bits has around half the amount of calories, good if you’re thinking about portion control for your kids. I think Jagariko are a bit too hard for toddlers, but they hold up incredibly well when you’re on the go!

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

5. Sapporo Potato Sticks (サッポロポテト つぶつぶベジタブル)

Ever had Funyuns, ring-shaped puffed snacks coated in an onion-flavored seasoning? Well, these Sapporo Potato Sticks are made with 7 different kinds of veggies, but they taste just like Funyuns! Every time I tried these, I thought to myself, “Gosh, these taste so familiar,” and then one day it just clicked. Try them for yourself! 

Available on Amazon Japan

Gummies & Jellies

6. Tsubu Gumi (つぶグミソーダ)

When it comes to jellybeans, I prefer Poifull, but my daughter loves these soda-flavored Tsubu Gumi. There’s cola, grape soda, energy drink, ramune, and cider flavors. I like using these for counting practice on the days we do maths. My daughter stumbles over the “teens” when counting in Japanese, so these add a bit of fun and help lighten the pressure on her.

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

7. Purun Purun Qoo (ぷるんぷるんQoo)

Purun Purun Qoo is the jelly version of Qoo, a brand of popular fruit drinks for kids that has an adorable blue mascot. The pouch is resealable so you/your kids can store them in their bag or drink (eat?) in the car or train. These are also great to have on hand when you have to deal with little upset stomachs, too. 

Available on Amazon Japan

8. Kuki Wakame (茎わかめ) 

You probably weren’t expecting “gummy”  seaweed to be on this list, but don’t knock kuki wakame until you’ve tried it! The part of wakame that we usually eat in salads and miso soup is actually the leaves, while kuki refers to the wakame stalk. My daughter is absolutely crazy about wakame and loves eating these at her grandmother’s at snack time. If you can’t find these when shopping, try looking in the tsumami section, the snacks that are located near the alcohol.

Available on Amazon Japan

9. Kogumi (コグミ) 

For some reason my daughter doesn’t particularly like these, and it’s incredibly refreshing NOT having to share a snack! I have no idea why she doesn’t like them, but I’m not complaining. These tiny fruit-shaped gummies are super cute and chewy, bursting in flavor, and made with 100% fruit juice. 

Available on Amazon Japan

10. Zoo Jellies (どうぶつえんゼリー)

There are 25 animal-themed jellies in this package and they’re made with 50% fruit juice. What I find so cute about these is that they’re useful for hiragana reading practice, because each cup of jelly has an image of a different animal! We used to give these out for a 3pm snack at my kindergarten, and my students would always beam with pride after reading the hiragana and saying the animal’s name in English.

Available on Amazon Japan

Cookies & Biscuits

11. Saku Saku Panda (さくさくぱんだ)

These are panda-shaped cookies with a white chocolate coating and milk chocolate eyes and ears to complete the panda’s face. Each panda has their own unique expression, which makes this a fun treat for snack time. This “family pack” has six mini-bags containing 5 or 6 pandas per package, but I think that’s just fine for a toddler. They melt very easily, so I keep them in the vegetable crisper drawer! 

Available on Amazon Japan

12. Country Ma’am (カントリーマアム) 

Country Ma’am cookies are probably the best store-bought cookies in Japan. They’re slightly crisp on the outside with a nice soft and chewy texture accented with rich chunks of chocolate. Country Ma’am come in a fantastic variety of flavors and some are even limited-edition regional or seasonal treats. But, Cocoa and Vanilla are tried and true flavors that will surely satisfy any sweet tooth. 

Available on Amazon Japan

13. Bisco (ビスコ) 

Bisco is so close to being the most bland, uninspiring snack ever, but there’s something about these rectangular sandwich cookies that I really, really like. They’ve actually been around for more than 85 years, and were created in the 1930s as a nutritious snack. Bisco’s cream is not too sweet and it contains lactic acid bacteria, making them very gentle on little tummies.

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

14. Petit Chewy Chocolate Cookies (プチしっとりチョコクッキー)

I’m a big fan of Bourbon’s line of petit cookies and chips, but this dark purple package of shitori, soft and chewy, cookies is my absolute favorite.  I’m not sure if these should be classified as chocolate cookies, or sandwich cookies. Still, one thing is for certain — these bite-sized cookies are so dangerously delicious, you’ll end up eating the entire sleeve before you’ve realized it. 

Available on Amazon Japan

15. Koala’s March

An adorable treat that’s almost too good to eat, Koala’s March are koala-shaped, chocolate-filled cookies featuring the brand’s mascot, March, with a variety of expressions. How many expressions, you wonder? Well, there are currently 365 designs, including 47 representing each of Japan’s prefectures. Have fun cataloging them all!

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

DIY Kits

Fridays are our craft days but sometimes, I don’t have time to prepare a sample and parts. Instead of disappointing my daughter, I’ve since added DIY snacks to our Friday lesson plans! I use these DIY kits to turn lesson time into craft time, and my daughter enjoys the responsibility and cooking experience.

16. Poppin Cookin (ポッピンクッキン)

Several months ago, at the drugstore waiting for my daughter’s prescription, we came across these sets. I used to buy these for my younger sister and thought my girl would like to try as well. So far we’ve tried the cake, doughnuts, and sushi!  

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

17. Sponge Cake Kit (1才からのレンジでケーキセット) 

I first tried this sponge cake kit from Pigeon to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday. You “bake” the cake in the microwave and decorate with a powder cream frosting that you mix with ice cold milk. The directions are pretty straightforward, but you have to be careful not to microwave the cake too much, or it will get hard. As it’s a simple sponge cake, you can get really creative by adding fruits or using cake decoration pens. 

Available on Amazon Japan

18. Almond Jelly Mix (やわらか杏仁豆腐)

Annin Tofu, or almond jelly, is a dessert with Chinese origins that is very popular in Japan. We got this all the time for dessert at kindergarten. Back when eating out was a thing, my daughter always chose this when her kids’ ramen set at our favorite Chinese restaurant. This annin dofu is easy to make, just add milk and water, but you’ll need to boil the ingredients over the stove.

Available on Amazon Japan

19. Fruche (フルーチェ) 

Fruche is another dessert that we’ve grown to love after eating it at kindergarten. It’s a very simple fruit-flavored dessert with a yogurt-like consistency. You only need to add milk to the mix and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. We like to prepare this after lunch so my daughter will have something to eat for her 3 pm snack or for dessert after dinnertime.

Available on Amazon Japan


20. Gachapon Capsule Machine

We used to go to Kurazushi weekly, and my daughter has tons of empty gachapon capsules that I use to store her gummy snacks. My daughter has started to become curious about money and likes to do chores to earn coins. I’ve been thinking of getting a capsule machine to make snack time fun by letting her use coins to buy snacks.

Available on Amazon | Amazon Japan

Need more Japanese snacks? Check out my Mini Guide To Japan’s Seasonal Drink And Snack Ingredients to find out what’s on the shelves this season!

Our 20 Favorite Japanese Snacks

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