Dagashi: Guide to Traditional Japanese Snacks and Candy

Dagashi, written 駄菓子 in kanji and だがし in hiragana in Japanese, is directly translated as “negligible snacks.” More specifically, it’s traditional Japanese snacks and candy that originally started being produced after World War II. There are too many of them to count with your fingers, so we put together a list of some dagashi Japanese snacks and candy for you and descriptions for each one. Believe it or not, the prices for Japanese snacks and candy haven’t changed in years and still only cost from 10 to 200 yen each at supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores and dagashi Japanese snack/candy stores like Okashi no Machioka (おかしのまちおか in Japanese), so if any of them spark your interest, go give them a try!

20 Popular traditional dagashi Japanese snacks and candy

Salty Japanese snacks

Japanese snacks have a variety of salty tastes. They can range from having a seafood-based flavor to sour-based flavor. It may take someone adventurous to try any of the salty Japanese snacks, but there’s really nothing to lose if it only costs a few coins in your pocket. If you end up enjoying them, why not purchase them as souvenirs. Some salty snacks have healthy content in them like shrimp or other seafood with low calories, so they may also be purchased as healthy snacks for kids. Of course, they’re not as healthy as your ordinary vegetable, but some Japanese snacks are better than a chocolate bar or potato chips. Below, we’ve listed some dagashi Japanese salty snacks for you to try.

1. うまい棒 (Umaibou)

2. ベビースターラーメン (Baby Star Ramen)

3. キャベツ太郎 (Cabbage Tarou)

4. おにぎりせんべい (Onigiri Senbei)

5. えびせんべい (Ebi Senbei)

Sweet Japanese snacks and candy

Sweet Japanese snacks and candy include chocolate-coated candy or snacks, gummies and bubble gum. In contrast to the salty Japanese snacks that were mentioned above, sweet Japanese candy isn’t known to be as healthy. However, each sweet Japanese candy that we’ve listed below has its unique characteristics. Notice the packaging and small bite-sized portions; they each may leave a memorable impression after you indulge them. Once you get to know the sweet popular Japanese snacks and candy we listed below, let us know what you think about them.

6. フルーツ餅 (Fruit Anmo)

7. マルカワマーブルフーセンガム (Marukawa Marble Fusen Gum)

8. ツインクルチョコ (Twinkle Choco)

9. ハイチュウ (Hi-Chew)

10. きびだんご (Kibidango)

Sour Japanese candy

The sour Japanese candy can be a real adventure. Sour-flavored dagashi usually has a fun twist. One of the candies that we listed below, for example, is a fun gum game. When you purchase すっぱいガムにご用心 (Suppai Gum ni Goyoujin), the first thing you’ll notice is the eye-catching packaging with three gumballs where one of them has a sour look on its face. The game you can play with the gum is to try and figure out which one of the three gumballs is super sour. The other two gumballs are ordinarily sweet. In addition to the すっぱいガムにご用心, you can have fun with the other Japanese snacks candy that we listed throughout this blog. They can be great Japanese snacks for kids as well as souvenirs.

11. すっぱいガムにご用心 (Suppai Gum ni Goyoujin)

12. パチパチパニック (Pachipachi Panic)

13. シャーベットペロ (Sherbert Pero)

14. 森永大粒ラムネ (Morinaga Otsubu Ramune)

15. フエラムネ (Fueramune)

Sweet and salty Japanese snacks

Aside from the other flavors we’ve mentioned above, there is also a combination of sweet and salty dagashi Japanese snacks. Some of the snacks we listed below may be saltier than sweet or the other way around, but they’re also fun to give them a taste. The salty and sweet Japanese snacks below have a deep history behind them. They’ve been around a long time that they’re considered to be popular Japanese snacks as well as perfect souvenirs. As we’ve encouraged you previously, go give them a try and let us know what you think.

16. 黒棒 (Kurobou)

17. ソフト菓子 (Soft Kashi)

18. ビッグカツ (Big Katsu)

19. ビスコ (Bisco)

20. よっちゃん (Yotchyan)

Where to find Dagashi Japanese snacks and candy in Japan

おかしのまちおか (Okashi no Machioka) – This dagashi Japanese snack and candy chain company has shops located all over Japan. There are many locations, especially in Tokyo.

船はし屋 (Funa Hashiya) – Long-lived dagashi Japanese snack and candy shop in Kyoto, Japan.

上川口屋 (Kamikawaguchiya)  – The oldest dagashi Japanese snack and candy shop in Japan located close to the Kishimojin Temple in Tokyo.

Dagashi is everywhere. Japan’s rich snacking history has produced many types of popular Japanese snacks and candy over the years. Even though dagashi is known to be snacks made for kids, adults enjoy them as well, as they bring Japanese people back to their childhood. If you’ve always been curious about Japanese snacks and candy, we encourage you to try them out. If you’ve had dagashi before, please feel free to share with us your favorites. Smiles would love to hear about your experiences with Japanese snacks and candy!

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