Candy is a universal language. The sweet tooth is a global gene. Candy is loved by all and takes on so many different forms around the world. Japan is no exception! The story of Japanese sweets starts in around 630, with mochi – a sticky, sweet rice cake. Sweet treats brought to Japan by Portuguese missionaries also impacted the evolution of Japanese candy. Since then, the universe of Japanese candy has exploded, yielding a wide variety of interesting and unique types of candy. For example, Dagashi is an inexpensive and fun family of candies. There is also Wagashi, a family of confections traditionally eaten as part of a tea ceremony and commonly consumed alongside green tea. A particularly special type is Amezaiku, an ancient form of candy art featuring hyper-realistic and minutely detailed (edible!) figurines. Here, we will introduce you to another exciting group of Japanese sweets – milk candies!
Milk was first promoted in the Japanese diet in the late 19th century during the Meiji era when it arrived from abroad. It was quickly adopted into the country’s food culture in many ways, including candies. Presently, you will even find that some of the world’s finest dairy is in Japan, specifically the Hokkaido prefecture, the northernmost island of Japan. Japanese candy stores are lined from floor to ceiling with awesome and colorful candy options, including a diverse range of milk- and dairy-based products. So, here is a list of Japanese milk candies that will have your mouth watering.
Fujiya Milky is a total classic as it has been around since the 1950s, and its mascot, Peko-chan, is a staple childhood character in Japan. The small, spherical candy comes individually packaged in decorative floral wrapping. The candy itself starts out hard, but when it begins to melt in your mouth, it softens and reveals a chewy center. This brand is so popular that there is even a cough drop (yes, you read that correctly!) version of this candy aimed at tackling a sore throat by the addition of menthol.
The Mikakuto Tonuko Milk candy is made from fresh cream straight from Hokkaido and really packs in the flavor. It is not overly sweet and is complete with a refreshing aftertaste.
The Kanro Kin no Milk is a newer milk candy that had a meteoric rise to fame; despite only hitting the market in 2012, the candy is already one of Japan’s top-selling! It is extra rich due to its 14.6% milk fat. While the original is the plain flavor, there is also an equally delicious version flavored with matcha.
If you love boba tea, pay close attention to this one. The Nobel Tapioca Milk Tea candies feature a creamy, hard outside inspired by the drink’s milky tea with a surprise in the middle; a tapioca pearl!
Another sure crowd pleaser is the Lotte Cafca. These bite-sized, rectangular pieces of milky candy have an incomparable texture; they mix the airiness of a marshmallow with the chewiness of a gummy candy, all while maintaining a buttery and smooth flavor.
The Sakuma Ichigo Milk Candies, also known as Sakura Drops, take a fruity spin on the milk candy concept. This pink candy is made up of a hard, strawberry-flavored exterior with a milky, creamy core.
If you simply cannot wait until you can get your hands on these classic favorites, we have a few milky smooth sweets and treats that can get you started. Firstly, we have the Gudetama Custard Chocolate. For some context, Gudetama is a popular Japanese character created by Sanrio, who is a cartoon egg. This chocolate’s wrapping features a variety of characteristic Gudetama facial expressions. The bite-sized chocolate consists of a crisp milk chocolate shell filled with custard. Secondly, there is the Cafe Latte Japanese Kit Kat, which is a remix of the popular drink. The Kit Kat features a velvety milk chocolate base with a hint of coffee flavoring to round out the experience. These two snacks introduce you to the delightful world of milk-based candies.
The Japanese candy possibilities are endless. As you have learned from this list, candy no longer has to just be thought of as a nostalgic childhood memory; there are still so many great sweets to try. Before we send you off on your milk candy journey, we ask that you please refrain from sending us your dentist bills; we take no responsibility for the imminent return of your sweet tooth!