Saturday, March 25, 2017

Japanese Character Themed Candy & Snacks

Japanese Character Themed Candy
Apart from the standard Japanese confectionery and snack releases here in Japan, you will also find many product packages that don famous animated characters from all over the world. In most cases the edible product will take on either the shape of the character, have a texture/flavor associated with the animation or manga, or a pun will be created with the product name through the collaboration. One of the most popular products linked to a character is the "Hotaru No Haka" candy tin (far left in above photo) which is a reproduction of the tin shown in the movie with the same name. 
Puccho Marvel Disney Felix Gum
Felix the Cat gum is available in both strawberry and grape. The flavor is nothing out of the ordinary but these have unique mini wrappers with mazes and puzzles. The Puccho soft candy chews taste similar to Hi Chew but these limited edition packs shown here have Marvel character erasers and Disney Smartphone cleaner wipes attached. There are 10 different types to collect. Every year a new series is issued so if you have interest in such things be sure to check back at napaJapan.

Thomas Train Chocolate SticksAnpanman Chocolate Bar
You will also find snacks adorning world famous characters such as Thomas & Friends. The chocolate cookie sticks are similar to Pocky however they are made by Kabaya. In this instance the boxes are what set it apart as you can collect different train pictures on the back panel of the package. Hello Kitty strawberry cookie sticks are another customer favorite. Japan's lovable Anpanman character is available in chocolate form with each piece die cut and scored with various cast members from the animated show!
This is by no means a complete list but just a small sample of collaboration candy that is available during any given year. On your next order you may want to sprinkle in a couple of these products to check them out for yourself. Perhaps they would make a unique gift for the anime or manga fan in your life. napaJapan always lists the newest and hottest confectionery products every week. You can be sure that these character goods will be released quite often so it is important to bookmark us and visit often.
The blogs will keep coming but the schedule may be a bit inconsistent depending on the season. Please leave a comment below if you have any ideas or topics you would like to get my take on, related to the Japanese candy scene. We take product listing requests too!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How Much is it to Ship Products From Japan?

We all know that anxious feeling before proceeding to checkout where we are uncertain about the EXACT final cost of our orders. Shipping products overseas can get expensive but it also can be a very reasonable fee. In Japan, it all comes down to weight! Many countries have flat rate services where you can stuff as much as you want into a certain sized box for a specified rate. Unfortunately, Japan Post only offers a weight based system. The good news is that if you construct your cart carefully you can be efficient and your shipping cost per item will be much more palatable.
Cart before proceeding to checkout
When you shop at napaJapan you will come across all sorts of Japanese snacks and sweets, including beverages. Whether it is an interesting version of FantaPepsiCanned Coffee, or Tea you are after, the simple fact is that these beverage items weigh a lot (relative to chocolate, candy, and salty snacks.) So, let’s say you were to order a dozen 500 ml bottles of soda; your parcel would weigh 7 kg (15 lbs.) Most potential customers who make such a shopping cart get quite the shock at checkout. Shipping such a heavy parcel from Japan costs napaJapan a lot of money and we must pass that cost on to the end user. Our shipping costs also cover packing material, labor, and transaction fees from the bank and e-commerce provider. 
Fanta Melon Soda
Most customers who order beverages from our shop tend to mix in candy and snacks together so that they can enjoy a wide range of goods, whilst spreading the shipping costs among all items. So in reality, the more items you order the less the shipping cost is, PER ITEM. This is because shipping costs will not increase at the same rate as the parcel weight does. The percentage difference in shipping costs between 100 and 900 grams is much higher than between 6100 and 6900 grams. In fact, the latter example has the same shipping price at both 6100 and 6900 grams! It isn’t until you reach 7000 grams where you will see the next price increase. This is how the Japanese Post pricing system is set up.
Boss Rainbow Blend Coffee
To calculate shipping weights we must consider three things: GROSS weight of product (not the net edible product), shipping box, and inner packing materials (which ensure a secure delivery.)  Some candy products only have 25 grams of product however the weight of the package can be as high as 100 grams! Also, in some instances we must use multiple boxes to ship out your order since there are dimensional size restrictions (L+W+D < 90 cm) and weight restrictions on some shipping methods (2 kg max.) When this occurs we always mark the inner flap of the box with notification such as BOX 1 of 2.
Packing Supplies
We try our best to keep our product pricing down at reasonable levels as we understand the shipping is a big part of what will affect your budget. Japanese candy usually has very long shelf lives so placing a larger order may be beneficial to maximize on your shipping savings. We do offer at least three shipping options to most countries with the cheapest method taking 2-4 weeks.  Parcel tracking is available for every country, however extra costs are involved and those are shown on our checkout page.
These days, shipping overseas is very reliable and we rarely see parcels returned to sender and it is extremely rare to see lost parcels. Delays can always occur due to Customs checks, bad weather, busy holiday seasons, or by using an economy stand-by mail service. Our customers have given us a lot of feedback and shipping is quite often noted as a very positive experience. Japan Post is a welcoming and reliable company!
So please come by our fun shop and mix and match the huge variety of Japanese sweets and snacks we offer. New products are listed WEEKLY! And don’t forget that limited edition products come and go quickly. If you see something you like, you may want to get a few. History tells us that some Japanese confectionery is a once in a lifetime eating/drinking experience! Please contact me directly if you have any questions or listing requests!
Sincerely, J-san

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why is Japanese Canned Coffee so Popular?

 coffee selection
Most people love a good cup of coffee and it is an important part of their day. In Japan, you can find coffee everywhere, in many forms. The most convenient type is canned coffee which you can buy in vending machines, convenience stores, and supermarkets. They usually are available in steel cans with a pull tab, but sometimes come in an aluminum bottle with a twist off cap. The standard can size is 185 grams which is equivalent to a small cup.
Boss CoffeeGeorgia Original Coffee
There are a half dozen major manufacturers within Japan. The most popular brands are Georgia (Coca Cola), BOSS (Suntory), and Fire (Asahi.) Each company releases colorful and uniquely shaped cans that contain different blends. The basic is BLACK which is just that... no calories as there is no sugar or milk added. Other offerings include Cafe Au Lait, Regular Blend, Strong Blend, Extra Caffeine, Low Sugar etc... The sweetness and creaminess level varies depending on the type. At napaJapan we carry many varieties!
Boss Coffee Machine
You can drink these hot or cold. To heat, place the entire sealed can in a pot of hot (not boiling) water, for a few minutes. The steel can transfers the heat to the coffee very quickly. In most Japanese stores they have a small hot cabinet where you can select hot canned coffee from. The vending machines have both hot and cold options too! I find that the taste difference between brands is hard to distinguish but they are all very tasty. The cool can designs add to the drinking experience.
Tulleys Coffee Machine
The Japanese have been drinking canned coffee for nearly a half century but only recently we have seen world brands enter the fold such as Starbucks and Tully's. It seems that the packaging is the main selling point and the colorful cans back this theory up. Many companies even attach free cheap gifts to the top of the cans or bottles. I once collected pull-back Mario Cart mini car toys from a bunch of cans many years ago.
Now that Japanese convenience stores have added self-serve brewed coffee machines to their line-up, the canned coffee market has taken a big hit. Freshly brewed coffee does taste more authentic but it isn't as portable and convenient. Let's hope this special canned coffee market continues to thrive and new releases and taste appear for years to come!
Please check out the coffee selection we offer HERE.
Wonda CoffeeFire Extreme Blend Coffee
Thank you for always considering napaJapan for your Japanese candy, snacks, and treats. We list new products weekly!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Japanese Chewing Gum - Options Galore

Japanese Chewing Gum Variety
On my first visit to Japan I was overwhelmed by the selection of products in every type of industry. From electronics stores to household shops or from supermarkets to convenience stores, it seems that there are hundreds of choices for whatever is on your shopping list. 
For candy lovers, Japan is the ultimate place to shop as the selection is even more diverse. By browsing our store you probably already have seen a great sample of this. That is because napaJapan always keeps on top of the newest, weirdest, tastiest, and most popular products. Our customers also give us listing suggestions which helps keep our inventory exciting, fun, and relevant.
If we break down the candy category even further to chewing gum, we expose even more wonderful flavors, collaborations and formats.
So let's run through a few types of chewing gums available in Japan:
Glamatic Floral GumRose Fuwarinka Chewing Gum
Beauty Gum:
This corner of the gum market has been blossoming over the past few years. Fragrance filled gums with blends of flowers and fruit are very popular with women. They are even marketed with health beneficial properties. Glamatic and Fuwarinka are two of the most well known names out there.
Xylitol Grape GumXylitol Lime Mint Gum
Xylitol Gum:
One way to sweeten gum without adding as many calories is to use Xylitol, which is a naturally occurring carbohydrate. In Japan, this sugar alcohol based substance is added to many gums and candies. The Lotte Xylitol brand is available in a handful of fruit and mint flavors every year. They are a perfect gum to give your mouth a quick freshen up.
Bubblicious Cola GumWata Gum Ramune
Bubble Gum:
Since blowing bubbles is not such a common thing in Japan and can even be considered rude, the availability of soft gum is not so vast. Bubblicious was once popular but now we find smaller alternatives such as Felix The Cat brand or Wata Cotton Candy that transforms into gum.
Fits Peach GumFits Metal Slime Gum
Long Lasting Gum:
When you are searching for both uniquely flavored and long lasting gums, look no further than Fit's. There are usually a dozen different types out at any given time. They often do collaborations with popular animation characters resulting in some cute and collectible packaging. 
Gum is very light so the shipping costs are not so expensive. You can put together large gum orders and not break the bank. We intend to add more and more selections as the manufactures release them so please check back often.
Happy chewing!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

5 Japanese Snacks You Must Try Once

Since the Japanese confectionery market is always changing, it is extremely hard to keep up with all of the latest releases. As a casual candy and snack fan, you may come across a rare or unusual flavor only to have it disappear from store shelves within weeks or days. That is how fluid the sweet scene is here in Japan. There are regional exclusives, store exclusives, seasonal editions, and even variations on package appearance and size. This can make it overwhelming for the average consumer to select the perfect Japanese snack.
Japanese Candy Assortment
At napaJapan we often get requests from our customers to put together special random packs because they have no idea where to begin. Our catalog of over 500 products is massive, however it still doesn't cover everything that is available in the marketplace. We try to offer a nice balance of recognized brands, traditional goods, and rare special edition flavors. napaJapan is truly a one-stop-shop for Japanese confectionery products. It would be nearly impossible for you to find all of the products we sell because many of these fresh items have already been discontinued. The long shelf life on Japanese candy allows you to stock up on your favorites because who knows if they will be released again.
I have come up with five Japanese snacks you must try at least once. Since there are so many confectionery categories I have chosen the top product in these five genres: Cookies/ChocolateGummy CandyDIY Candy KitsSalty Snacks, and Soda Pop. Of course we do offer other types of delicious products so be sure to browse our products by category. The products I have chosen are available year round.

Once you get past the cute packaging you are introduced to the most adorable little snacks all sealed up in the inner foil bag. The manufacturer, Bourbon, spared no detail as the bun cookies even have sesame seeds on them and are partially glazed to give them an accurate grilled appearance. The 'meat' patty is made of milk chocolate while the 'cheese' slice is made of beige/white chocolate. They have a wonderful crunchy texture and the flavor is fantastic.

This has got to be the oddest gummy candy you will ever try. Texture! It is all about the texture. Imagine an overripe grape that is just about to burst its skin. These gummy candies have the "water balloon" feeling and when you bite into them a rich fruity rush of grape flavor fills your mouth. Quite an outstanding eating experience. Available in a few flavors at any given time. Both red grape and green grape are standard flavors.

This product is a must for a rainy day. There are now over two dozen types of DIY candy kits. napaJapan carries them all HERE. The Sushi Kit is special because it is the one that ignited the Kracie Candy Kit boom. In the box you get powders, trays, and tools that allow you to make realistic, edible, mini candy sushi. All you need to do is add water for this particular kit. You can get English instructions HERE. There are a few easy techniques to create tuna, egg, and even salmon row. The main flavor is grape.

The packaging on these does not scream 'Must Try!" however if you have been lucky enough to try them you will know what the fuss is all about. There is no fake cheese flavor found here. Over 50% of the cheese flavor comes from real cheese powder. This gives these triangular crunchy crackers so much taste. They are ridiculously addictive and they pair up so well with any cold beverage. These are usually sold in Cheddar and Camembert Cheese versions. You will also find limited edition versions from time to time so keep checking back.

This is a very exclusive soda flavor, even within the borders of Japan! The full melon taste immediately comes through when sipping this bright green soda. It is so appealing both visually and gastronomically. It tastes so wonderful over ice cream too! Shipping bottles of soda from Japan can get expensive due to weight so you may want to add lighter candy products to offset the higher shipping costs.

After coming up with this list I remembered so many other products that should get honorable mentions. Since these five products only make up 0.5% of our catalog there are surely a bunch more hidden gems that are calling your name. napaJapan also carries chewing gum, mints, soft candy, hard candy, sweetened coffee & tea, potato chips, and much, much more! Please let me know your favorite Japanese sweets, snacks, or beverages. We do take product requests so feel free to drop us a line anytime!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Ezaki Glico is a giant Japanese food manufacturer that specializes in confectionery, processed foods, and dairy products. Their most internationally famous product is Pocky, a thin cookie stick that is 80% covered in chocolate. Milk chocolate and strawberry are the most common flavors and those are sold worldwide. But when you check out the Pocky line up within Japan you soon realize how many unique flavors, special editions, and formats there are. Every region of Japan has its own specific Pocky flavor! At napaJapan we always carry the latest releases and have a minimum of 12 types available at any given time. 
Pocky Rich CacaoPocky CoconutPocky midi Green TeaPocky Strawberry Tsubu TsubuPocky Crystal Salty
Along the same lines of Pocky but "sans chocolat" is Pretz, a thin seasoned cracker with a light and crispy texture. Most of the time these are meat, sauce, or herb flavored so they would be considered a salty snack. However, from time to time, Glico offers sugary versions of Pretz such as Sweet Potato. You can expect to find at least a half dozen different types at napaJapan.

   Pretz TomatoPretz Sweet Potato
Sticking to the savory snack line up, Glico also offers a few unique products that go well with any cold beverage. Cheeza is a thin, triangular cracker that uses over 50% real cheese powder for flavor. They are extremely rich and have a perfect crunch. They even make alternative versions with avocado and sesame tastes. Customers like the resealable pouches as they are handy to carry along in a bag or pocket.
But if sweetness is your real vice then Glico's cookie and biscuit line up will surely please. Collon has a very unusual name and their look is unlike others in the marketplace. A cylindrical crispy cookie shell wraps a light chocolate center. There are usually a few flavors of Collon available every year. The Caplico cones have a similar chocolate texture but they mimic a real ice cream cone. Simply eat it from the top to the bottom while holding the cookie cone. Freeze dried ice cream is how I best describe it.
This list of Glico confectionery would not be complete without mentioning the product that started it all off nearly 100 years ago. Glico Caramel with the 'running man' on the box is likely the most iconic candy symbol within Japan. If you go to the Dotonburi district in Osaka you can't miss him running in neon. Why not grab a box of the caramels from napaJapan and see what all the fuss is about? I think the heart shaped caramels are delicious but most people love the classic mini wooden toy it comes with. 
Glico Caramel Running Man
napaJapan will always keep on top of all the new candy and snack releases within japan and offer them to the world. Please check back often to see what is new in store. We list products weekly. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Popin' Cookin' and Other DIY Candy Kits

The Japanese DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Candy Kit boom went global a few years back. There is still so much interest in these cute, detailed, fun, and edible kits that we constantly are getting messages inquiring about new releases. The good news is that the candy kit manufacturers are extremely cutting edge so they introduce new products every few months. You can check out the whole product line-up here.
Let's start off with what these things are. In most kits you get a package which contains candy powders, molds, a mixing tray, and a spoon. You only need to supply water and in some instances you will require a microwave oven. The powders are mixed to create a gummy like texture and when shaped, create some fabulous, accurate looking mini food products. The most popular kit of all is the O-Sushi-Yasan where you create fruity sushi that looks like tuna, egg, salmon roe along side candy soy sauce, of course!
There are simple kits such as the NeruNeruNeruNe where you basically make a foamy and sticky candy concoction of either soda or grape flavor. In this case you only need a bit of water and you stir the powders until they get frothy. There are sprinkles which make the end result look very appetizing.
The more advanced kits such as the Tsukurou Bento type requires you to make a half dozen mini food items and arrange them in a mini lunch box. Here you must spend more time mixing, kneading, and shaping the ingredients so that they will make your Instagram photo the talk of the town.
On the pack panel of each packet or box there are picture instructions along with Japanese explanations. However, Kracie now provides English instructions on their web site for a selection of products. Also, a quick search on YouTube will give you a lot of easy tutorials no matter what language you are comfortable with.
The kits mentioned above are from Kracie Foods. They are the pioneer when it comes to detailed candy kits. However, there are other companies out there that also produce fun kits. Coris and Heart try to compete by offering smaller, less complicated kits that still have a high cuteness factor. Have a look at these two below.

If you think that these kits are only for kids, please think again! Adults will have just as much fun watching powders instantly turn into perfectly round candy fish eggs. Or perhaps trying to outdo their children by decorating mini donuts with various toppings.
These products make awesome birthday or X-mas gifts for anyone! I encourage you to check back often to this collection of DIY Candy Kits so you are never behind on the latest releases. We update our site weekly. We also take product requests. You can always reach me directly by sending me a message here.
Please let me know what your favorite DIY Candy Kit is and send us a picture or video of your own creations. We will choose some of your submissions to add to our product listings, with a link (if you want a bit of extra social media or site traffic.)
Time to stock up on these products as the holiday season is just around the corner. These kits have a long shelf life so you can save them for a rainy day!
As always, we really appreciate your continued support and love to hear your feedback.