Welcome to the wonderful world of Japanese sweets, treats and snacks. Today we’re going to show you 6 Dagashi snacks that you should try today. Of course, there are hundreds to try in total but here are just 6 of the best to whet your appetite for your next visit. Bring the children of course, after all these sweets were intended for them in the first place. Take out your change and enjoy these cheap culturally iconic snacks.
cover photo credit: dpika
We are starting off with a personal favourite of mine. Umaibou is a stick which resembles a large cheese puff in texture. These sticks of goodness come in many flavours and come in both savoury and sweet. These things are possibly one of the most popular Japanese snacks there ever was. It’s still popular today with many being sold still in convenience stores such as seven eleven. If you have a sweet tooth, then you are catered for and if you love the savour just as I do then the savoury ones will definitely hit the spot. These snacks are also now famous all around the world with many of them being sold in western countries such as USA, Canada, Great Britain and Australia.
Okay, I’ll admit, to western people this one may seem a little strange for a candy, but it seriously is sold in the candy section and the old Dagashi stores. It is a tiny pot of ramen that can be bought for very little money. It’s meant for the children that wanted a little more of a snack than just sweets and candies. This pot is so tiny that it’s likely to be finished within a matter of seconds after adding hot water. Try this one if your just a little peckish before digging into some sweets.
Okay, you may find this one a little strange. This is Sakura Daikon. If you don’t know what a Daikon is then it’s a Japanese white coloured radish. A larger radish than those found in western supermarkets that has a pure white colour and a little sweetness to it. The Sakura Daikon became a sweet after it was pickled and put into packages. These are huge in Japan. Think of this snack in a comparable way to a pickled onion or pickled cucumber in the United States of America or Great Britain and then you will have almost got it. It’s not exactly like those but very similar.
This one is very unique indeed. Kinakobo may not seem tasty but it really is and it is very popular indeed. Kinakobo is roasted soy bean flour mixed with sugar and syrup and formed into fingers or sticks. They are quite small but are very sweet and comforting. They usually come in packs of three and that usually is enough before going onto something else. If you are from the west and can’t seem to grasp the idea of a sweet with soy bean flour in it then I urge you to give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
This sweet is very special indeed. It is said to be the oldest Dagashi candy, sweet or snack in Japan. It’s said that it came in the 17th century from Portuguese visitors at the time. It’s a hard candy that is basically solid sugar in assorted colours. This amount of sugar will always be popular and in dire straights in those times would give life saving energy. Today these sweets are sold in convenience stores mainly in bags, but you may find some places still selling them in the traditional way.
Last but by no means least is Tirol Choco. These are bite sized chocolates that come in a vast variety so children who couldn’t make up their minds could try a few different chocolates at once. This is a wonderful thing and often they would make special flavours for limited periods of time. I know quite a few adults who still hunt these many flavours down. They also have been known to make special packages or wrappers with cultural icons on them such as sumo wrestlers or musicians. These truly are a remarkable thing and one that is probably the most popular in the western world.
So, there you have it, Dagashi treats for you to try when you next visit Japan. If you aren’t visiting Japan in the near future don’t forget you can always search online, there are many places online now that offer world-wide shipping for Japanese sweets and confectionary with all of these lovely things on there. Whether you have a sweet tooth or love a good savoury snack there are amazing things for you to try and don’t forget, we’ve only scratched the surface here, go out there and try more yourself.
Best Bars for Foreigners in Sendai
Introduction It’s Friday night. You’re walking through the streets of Sendai, Japan. You‘ve just finished up another long day of sightseeing (or working, if you live there… or studying if you’re a student…) You could really use a break to unwind from the day so you call up your friends for a night out. Then they ask the obvious question: “Where should we go?” Before you start to fret trying to remember the names of your boss’s favorite bars and izakayas, and importantly, wondering which have the best service towards foreigners, read this! Here is a quick list of all...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Osaka
After having spent a day touring and sightseeing around various cities in Japan, there is no better way of ending the day than laying on your back as you sip a cold beer or two. If you happen to be a foreigner who is traveling around Osaka, one of the popular cities of Japan, you would surely be visiting a lot of sightseeing attractions. From the famed Osaka castle to the Dotonbori district, the city of Osaka would surely have you tired at the end of the day. For foreigners who want to spend the rest of the evening relaxing...
Izakaya Hopping in Kichijoji Harmonica Alley
Kichijoji has long been a famous tourist destination in Tokyo. Up until recently, Kichijoji has been ranked as the #1 most desirable place to live by Japanese and foreigners alike, and has a reputation for being a lovely and enjoyable place to live as well as visit. In the heart of Kichijoji, located less then minutes away from Kichijoji station’s bustling north exit, is the Harmonica Alley. Harmonica Alley (also known as “Harmonica Yokocho”), was originally a post-war black market; it now boosts over one-hundred bars, shops, and izakayas which are packed into it’s narrow streets. It continues to be...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Fukuoka
Introduction Fukuoka – sometimes also called Hakata – is Japan’s sixth largest city, and is the gateway to the Japanese island of Kyushu. The city is a warm, friendly place and is a great spot to soak in the attractions, tourist destinations, architecture, shopping spots of the region. Fukuoka is also an amazing place to experience the local nightlife. Fukuoka has long held the mantle of one of Japan’s “coolest and trendiest”cities, and it has an energy, a pulse which not many cities can match. Whether you want to out for a drink or even more, Fukuoka has almost everything...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Sapporo
Introduction Sapporo is not as famous as Tokyo or Osaka, but is a great place to visit, and even to enjoy the nightlife, as relaxed as it may be. Susukino is where most of the action takes place in Sapporo, with many popular joints vying for your business. This amusement district in central Sapporo is has several entertainment options, including cafes, restaurants, bowling alleys, karaoke bars, girly bars and well, of course, the gaijin bars, catering to the foreigners. If its a good time in a bar that you are looking for, here are just a few of the many...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Hiroshima
Introduction Hiroshima is primarily known for its horrific past, but today the reality is that Hiroshima is a vibrant and happening city, with a lot to offer tourists. It has some wonderful seafood and unique local dishes, and its night life also gives Tokyo and Osaka some serious competition. With bars ranging from izakayas to hole-in-the-wall bars to really amazing lounges, Hiroshima sure knows how to show visitors and even the locals a great time. Here are a few of my favourite bars in Hiroshima… 1.MOLLY MALONE’S If you love Guinness and good old fish and chips, you won’t find...