Green tea and Japanese culture has been related so closely throughout history. It is not an exaggeration to say that we can’t explain any Japanese culture without green tea. For example, tea ceremonies (茶道) have been a Japanese tradition to make tea and welcome guests, and the ceremony itself can be an inclusive art with tea instruments, wall pictures, atmosphere, and so on. In present times, it was found that green tea matched with many sweets from abroad somehow (I have no idea who found it first), and it’s been used in many kinds of sweets with a “matcha” (抹茶, green tea) taste. There are many kinds of matcha sweets and it’s difficult to introduce them all here, so I’ll only introduce some matcha sweets to you below.
Nestle brand KitKat chocolates are popular and available throughout the whole world. Japan’s also has a wide variety of KitKat flavors, such as sakura (cherry blossoms), strawberry, (Japanese local brand), and of course, matcha. Furthermore, there are many kinds of KitKat series in each region according to their local specialty product. So it might be fun to look for the special KitKat series in local supermarkets and souvenir shops if you like chocolate and sweets.
KitKat matcha is one of the classic tastes in the KitKat lineup. You can feel thick chocolate taste without too much sweetness, but can still taste matcha at the same time. It can be a delicious treat, even for people who don’t know Japan so well, I think. It’s also recommendable as a souvenir. Oh, if you buy the “ordinary” matcha KitKat, I recommend you buy it in the supermarket, grocery store, or drugstore and not in the airport. It’s much cheaper ☺
Matcha Ice Cream by Suzukien (壽々喜園)
Matcha ice cream is well-known among many people around the world. We can find many kinds of matcha ice cream in convenience stores and supermarkets. The prices depend on the quality, and range widely from very affordable to premium. In the streets of sightseeing spots, we can often buy matcha soft serve ice cream (known as “matcha soft cream” in Japan) which are almost as popular as vanilla and chocolate now.
A matcha specialty ice cream store was opened in Asakusa and they provide “the thickest matcha ice cream in the world”.
This is the address; http://nanaya-matcha.com/?tid=2&mode=f2#asakusa
They have matcha taste lineups from No.1 to 7. According to them, No.7 is the thickest tasting matcha ice cream in the world and they add the maximum matcha powder to their ice cream flavor. If you have the opportunity to go to Asakusa, it would be exiting to taste their matcha ice cream.