Nestlé Japan to release sake-flavored Kit Kats this February

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Now you can enjoy a break with a Kit Kat and a shot of Japanese rice wine all rolled into one.

Japan is well-known for its huge variety of Kit Kats, with flavors ranging from wasabi to soybean and purple sweet potato to red bean sandwich. While most are developed as regional souvenirs, representing delicacies of the area, there’s one particular variety that says “Japan” like no other, and appears at the top of the must-buy souvenir list for many foreign visitors: the Green Tea Kit Kat.

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Nestlé Japan says the exclusive variety remains a popular choice with foreign tourists, with sales for 2015 up by 20 percent over the previous year. The product’s huge popularity encouraged the company to develop another Japan-exclusive flavour, this time based on the country’s well-known traditional brew, nihonshuu, or sake as it’s known internationally.

▼ Aimed at the foreign tourist market, the packaging features a beautiful pink sakura cherry blossom design, along with an image of the well-known liquor.

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The new Kit Kats contain sake powder which has been kneaded into the white chocolate-encased wafers, giving the chocolates all the flavor and aroma of a top-quality rice wine, while providing a light and refreshing aftertaste. Available from 1 February this year, the new variety will come in three-pack boxes for 150 yen (US$1.24) at convenience stores, while the specially designed nine-piece box will be available for 700 yen from souvenir stores around the country.

▼ The nine-piece packs feature a beautiful package in the shape of an Isshobin, 1.8-litre bottle.

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If you’re in Japan and would like to try a sample, Nestlé Japan will be featuring the sake Kit Kats at a booth at the upcoming event, which will  be held from February 5-14 at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

Young Japanese artist crafts exquisite animal-shaped candy at his shop in Asakusa (Tokyo)

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RocketNews 24:

Japan sure knows how to elevate its food to an unparalleled level of art, and today we’d like to introduce you to the works of another master Japanese craftsman of sweets. His life’s passion is creating exquisitely detailed animal-shaped candy, which are so astoundingly intricate that it probably won’t be long before a museum asks to put them on display!

Shinri Tezuka is the artist behind these incredible edible creations. Born in 1989 in Chiba Prefecture, Tezuka states that he loved to sculpt anything he could get his hands on from a very young age. That childhood passion translated into a full-time career for him, and he now spends his days traveling across Japan to participate in all sorts of events and parties, and also offers hands-on workshops to teach people of all ages about his craft. As a result of these expeditions, he’s been featured on numerous Japanese television shows to date. And get this–despite being only 25, he’s already taken on three apprentices who are eager to carry on his tradition!

▼ Shinri Tezuka, the man behind the craft

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Since 2013, Tezuka has also overseen his own shop called Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin (amezaiku refers to the art of making candy into human and animal-shaped forms). The shop is fittingly located in Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa district, only a short walk away from the popular tourist destination of Senso-ji Temple.

▼ Exterior and interior views of the shop

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While browsing through some of his breathtaking creations, it’s easy to forget that they are indeed candy and are meant to be eaten. In fact, some people find the distinction between the art and food so fine that one of the questions in the Q&A section of Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin’s official site asks, “Can I really eat this candy?”

The answer is a resounding “yes,” by the way. In addition, Tezuka uses only naturally occurring dyes to color his creations, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re not eating any artificial pigments.

Let’s take a look at some of his animal-shaped candy creations now:

▼ The caption says that these goldfish are the two most popular designs among shop customers.

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▼ These gorgeous cranes were crafted using real gold leaf on their wings.

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▼ Here are some candy creations crafted in Tezuka’s Asakusa studio…

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▼ …and here are some he created at various public demonstrations.

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Tezuka does take orders for customized candy creations at his shop, but he is unable to accept requests for popular characters due to copyright laws. Guess we’ll just have to wait and hope for a deal to come through with Nintendo so that we can see Tezuka’s version of Pikachu in candy form!

Shop information
Ameshin / アメシン
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Imado 1-4-3, 1st floor
東京都台東区今戸1-4-3 1F
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Thursdays
Website

The top 10 sweet souvenirs in Tokyo

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RocketNews 24:

 

If you’re lucky enough to take a trip over to Tokyo, it’s best to bring a little slice of Japan’s capital back home for those who missed out on your trip. But with all the delectable sweets and beautifully packaged treats, it can be a little overwhelming to choose the right one. So before you leave, be sure to take a look at this list of the top 10 omiyage you can only buy at Tokyo Station.

 

#10 : Brown Sugar Baumkuchen – Kuroichiya

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Although this sweet baumkuchen pastry is made with Okinawan brown sugar, you can only get this specific one at Tokyo Station, dressed to impress with limited edition Tokyo Station wrapping for 1,080 yen (US$10.57).

 

#9 : Tokyo Nicorin – Nicorin

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The symbolic silver bells of Tokyo Station are recreated with butter and sugar in these delightfully fluffy pastries. Get eight for 1,080 yen ($10.57)!

 

#8 : Imperial Hotel cookie assortment – Lohaco

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The most sophisticated souvenir on our list! You can only find this cookie set at Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. Enjoy the sweets in a limited edition package for 1,080 yen ($10.57).

 

#7 : Edo Musubisen Assortment – Tokyo Fumiyu

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These traditional crispy crackers come in three different flavors: soy sauce, salt, and miso and we’re sure you’ll enjoy all three! Purchase 18 for 1,080 yen ($10.57).

 

#6 : “In the midst of the station”- Gransta Dining

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A crispy casing made of domestic rise resembles Tokyo Station and also hides a filling of red bean and butter cream. Buy five Tokyo Stations for just 1,300 yen ($12.73).

 

#5 : Tokyo Renga bread- ECU Tokyo

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Modeled after the red bricks of Tokyo Station, these Renga Pan are a great way to commemorate your trip to the capital city. The sweet bean paste and custard whipped cream in the middle doesn’t hurt either! Get one for 257 yen ($2.51).

 

#4 : Tokyo Waffle Cake – R.L. Waffle

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It doesn’t get any better than waffle cake filled with seasonal fruits and cream! Get 10 for 1,134 yen ($11.10) and have enough to share with friends, or eat them all yourself.

 

#3 : Marshmallow Elegance – Ginnobudo Chocolate Sandwich (Almond)

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The cutest cookie on our list, this heart-infused wafer cookie is as adorable as it is delicious and comes with chocolate or vanilla cream. Get a heartful box for 1,080 yen ($10.57)!

 

#2 : Maple Butter Cookie – The Maple Mania 

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A seemingly simple crispy cookie loaded with sweet flavor, these Maple Butter Cookies are sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth. The dough is made with maple sugar and high quality butter and baked to a golden crisp. Get nine of them for 810 yen ($7.93)!

 

#1 : Tokyo Honey Sugar – Yokumoku 

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There’s a reason these sweet treats have come out on top. Infused with honey syrup and made using a longstanding recipe, the Tokyo Honey Sugar are part cookie, part waffle, and all delicious. Be sure to pick up a box of six for only 594 yen ($5.81)!

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Celebrate the Tanabata star festival with beautiful Milky Way red bean gelatin

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Recently we talked about a shop in Kanagawa Prefecture that sells styish kamaboko fish cakes decorated to look like the beautiful hydrangeas that bloom during Japan’s rainy season. But what if your palate runs more towards the sweet than the fishy, or your ideal of natural beauty isn’t the flowers growing from the soil, but the stars above?

In that case, one Kyoto confectioner has just the thing: sweet bean gelatin modeled after the Milky Way.

Yokan is a traditional dessert made from red bean paste and agar, and while it tastes great, it’s not much to look at, ordinarily.

 

▼ Visually, it’s the tofu of sweets.

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We say ordinarily because Shichijo Kanshundo, a maker of Japanese sweets that opened in Kyoto in 1865, also has yokan that looks like this.

 

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Sold only during June and July, the special Ama no Gawa (Milky Way) yokan celebrates Tanabata, the annual festival based on the legend of two lovers, represented by stars on opposite sides of the Milky Way, who can only be together for one night a year.

Most parts of Japan hold their Tanabata festivities on July 7. Unfortunately, this special celestial yokan, a pack of which costs 864 yen (US $8.50) and can be ordered here, is so popular that Shichijo Kanshundo won’t be able to ship the next batch of orders until after June 20.

Still, in some regions Tanabata festivals don’t take place until early August, by which time stargazers with a sweet tooth should have the Ama no Gawa yokan in their hands. Shichijo Kanshundo’s recommends serving the treat chilled, and while the company’s website doesn’t mention it specifically, we assume it’s implied that they taste best eaten outdoors, at night, under the summer sky.

 

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Check out this link:

 Celebrate the Tanabata star festival with beautiful Milky Way red bean gelatin

 

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15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Japanese summers are hard to bear. With high humidity levels, the energy-sapping heat has such an overwhelming effect on the body there’s even a word for summer lethargy in the Japanese lexicon: natsubate.

Luckily for us, Japan has developed a number of unique ways to fight the summer heat. One of the best ways to cool down is in the sensory pleasure of traditional Japanese sweets featuring watery wonderlands, night skies and gorgeous hues of blue. We’ve found 15 of the best summer sweets that are so amazing they’re more like edible works of art.

 

Natsu Temari

This sweet resembles a traditional hand-woven handball called a temari, which children play with in summer. Natsu temari means summer handball.

 

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Lace Kan

Made from Kanten, or agar-agar, a healthy vegetable gelatin, this sweet is full of lemon and honey flavors. The kanten texture is as delicate as lace.

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Goldfish Sweet 

Fish are a popular summer motif and this one has got to be one of the most adorable we’ve seen! Available from the famous, centuries-old sweet shop Toraya, you can change the scenery of the sweet by using different colored serving plates, thanks to the crystal clear kanten jelly.

 

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Mini Aquarium Jellies 

These homemade jellies by Miki Nagata have a hint of blue added to the kanten mixture.

 

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Koi Carp Jelly 

Now you can gaze into a koi carp pond and devour it at the same time! This homemade creation includes agar, sweet red peas, sweet dainagon beans, black sesame seeds, matcha powder and white bean paste.

 

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Goldfish Bowl

Available from the traditional sweet shop Kourakuya, the attention to detail includes fish bodies gently poking through the surface of the water.

 

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Milky Way

Night skies are another popular motif to help keep cool in summer. Red bean paste and layers of blue-green hues mixed with gold flakes create a starry skyscape to transport you to the cold regions of space.

 

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Starry Evening

This sweet captures the stars and moon and encloses them in a glistening casing.

 

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Clear Stream

There are also a number of sweets that replicate water. This one uses aquamarine hues to create a running stream frozen in time.

 

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Water’s Lodge

Another one from Toraya, this sweet serves up the crest of a wave.

 

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Ice Candies

These candies are created to look just like shards of frozen ice.

 

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Shingen Mochi

This is the amazing water cake from Yamanashi Prefecture that’s such a delicate casing of pure water it disappears within 30 minutes of being served.

 

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Present from the Seashore

This sweet is presented in closed clam shells which reveal an amber jelly when opened. In the middle there’s a salty nib of dried natto, a fermented soy bean.

 

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Yoimatsuri

Literally meaning evening festival, this yoimatsuri sweet captures the lanterns, an early evening sky and all the frivolity of a Japanese summer festival.

 

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Kumo no Mine

From Toraya, this one translates to Peak of a Cloud and is such a perfect representation of a summer cloud it’s almost like a photograph.

 

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Next time you’re feeling hot this summer, you might want to look into a Japanese confectionery purchase.

 

Check out this link:

15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer