We’re pretty sure the last time someone went out of their way to eat hard candies when perfectly good ice cream and chocolate bars were available nearby was the 1930s or those tin candy scenes from that heartbreaking anime, Grave of the Fireflies.

But in Japan, candy comes in so many crazy flavors, colors and varieties, you’d be remiss not to at least try the convenience store greatest hits. Unfortunately, doing so would probably give you adult onset diabetes, so we’ve gone ahead and tried all the candy on offer because we’re already gross and diseased anyway. Here are our top 10 picks for the greatest hard candies on offer at Japanese convenience stores.

  • 1. Fruit and Okinawan sugar candies:


Avaialble at 7/11 locations in Japan, these cheap candies are made with Okinawan sugar, which is considered superior and more natural to other sugars produced in Japan. Flavors consist of yuzu, Japanese plum, matcha and brown sugar.

These candies are just shy of unbearably sweet, but taken one at a time and enjoyed at a leisurely pace, they are definitely a valuable addition to your sweets drawer at work (what, you don’t have one?).


  • 2. Milk and mint candies:


This sugarless candy is an (almost) guilt free indulgence and features that weird semi-soft milk center that is difficult to find outside of Japan. In fact, sandwiching the milk center between two mint hard candy halves seems so laborious and downright gourmet that we felt the need to put the thing on a plate and eat it with a knife and fork. It didn’t go so well, so we recommend you just eat it like a regular candy. These are actually ‘nodo ame’ or throat sweets, so if you get caught sucking on one at work or school just explain that your throat’s feeling a bit dry. <cough cough>


  • 3. Salt and Japanese plum:


Replenishing your body’s electrolytes lost through sweat is important for staying cool and healthy in the summer months. That’s why so many Japanese summertime sweets are infused with salt. Sometimes, this results in baffling combinations, but the almost overwhelming sweet and sourness of the Japanese plum benefits greatly from the balancing effect of added saltiness in this unique summertime candy.


  • 4. Brown sugar candy with brown sugar center:


Oddly not the result of some manufacturing error, this brown sugar candy’s center is filled with straight brown sugar. Biting into the already sweet exterior floods your mouth with powdery brown sugar, resulting in eye-opening double sweetness.


  • 5. Mitsuya Cider and salt:


Mitsuya Cider is a Japanese soda that tastes a bit like Sprite. This candy is infused with both Mitsuya Cider and salt, creating an oddly addictive salty-sweet flavor accompanied by a carbonation kick. Genuinely delicious.


  • 6. Salt and milk:


By now, you must be getting sick of all this salt, but trust is, this one is worth the high blood pressure. Salt and milk sounds like a weird combination, but the salt helps to smooth out the richness of the condensed milk flavoring and the milk helps calm the bite from the salt. Harmony is used all too frequently to describe Japan and things from Japan, but it’s a fitting word here.


  • 7. Yogurt Frozen candy:


Slightly dyslexic packaging proofreading aside, this frozen yogurt candy infused with fruit flavors is sweet and smooth with its creamy center that tastes even better after being thrown in the freezer for a few hours.


  • 8. Milky:


Milky is a Japanese candy classic. Like the name suggests, it’s another condensed milk-flavored candy, but with a softer texture that is perfect for mulling around and letting slowly dissolve over a period of 15 minutes or so, while you sit at your desk with your best “busy face,” pretending to work. The cartoon mascot, Peko-chan, is a little cutie, too.


  • 9. Salt and chocolate:


More salt?! Come on, this is getting ridiculous!

Ridiculously delicious! Chocolate and salt is a combo that’s not unique to Japan, and there’s a good reason. This sweet chocolate candy really benefits from the added, subtle saltiness, which gives the candy a complex, almost refreshing taste. See the expression little guy in the bottom corner of the packaging is wearing? That is known in the sweet industry as the face of “omfgthisisdeliciousssssz”.


  • 10. Salt and Yuzu:


It’s salt and yuzu. They go together surprisingly well. We’re going to stop writing now because all this salt is honestly making us hallucinate and the sugar’s giving us the shakes, but we promise it’s good. Just, not all at the same time. Okay we’re going to go now and clean the drains and maybe wash the car and maybe make some new curtains for the lounge. Can anyone else hear buzzing?


Photos: RocketNews24