KitKat now has their own flagship store in Tokyo. The KitKat “Chocolatory” as it is called, is the first and only store of its kind. It is located in the Seibu department store in Ikebukuro. Ikebukuru may not be as recognizable or as well known to people outside of Japan, but it is host to the second busiest train station in the entire world. So it would seem like a good place to sell anything. The store sells three exclusive KitKat flavors; Sublime Bitter, Special Sakura Green Tea and Special Chilli.
I got a box that contained different flavored KitKats as a gift. It has a map that shows the geographic origins of each unique KitKat flavor. (The picture at the top is a photo of the open box.) It makes for a very cool gift. Mike Fahey of Kotaku does a great review of the different flavors so I won’t go into them here. I am more fascinated in the idea of this as a promotional tool for Japanese culture.
I wonder if it is only a matter of time before we see a KitKat bus tour of Japan. I imagine a big red tour bus picking up passengers at Ikebukuro. On the bus everyone is given a map similar to the one from the gift set above.
After we hit the road everyone is given the regular chocolate KitKat to eat on the way to the Shizuoka, to see the clear water running over Japan’s famous wasabi roots. Then you can sample the wasabi kitkat to compare. Then it’s on to the Kyoto tea houses, Where you can see the real powdered green tea that makes the macha flavored KitKat. Or the perhaps the bus goes north to Nagano to sample the delicious mountain apples in the Shinshu Apple KitKat.
The idea of promoting a local flavor through a national brand has so much potential for tourism. I have been all over Japan and most of the gift shops I have been to carry the KitKat flavor for their region. It got to the point where I was looking for them, and was disappointed when an area did not have one.
I think the best thing about this is that there is no fish or electronics associated with them. So you are able to promote part of the local Japanese culture that has really been under appreciated.
All images are courtesy Nestle