Addictively chewy, intoxicatingly juicy, and bursting with intense fruit flavors, Hi-Chews have become a global soft candy phenomenon.
Since its release in 1975 by Morinaga & Co., the Hi-Chew hype has come a long way and spread across the world, making Hi-Chew one of the most popular Japanese candies with a loyal fan base at home and abroad.
One of the main reasons that set Hi-Chews apart from the rest of the soft candies is the sheer variety of flavors Hi-Chews come in.
It has been released in more than 170 flavors until now, with some of the flavors being limited to certain locations and seasons.
Although Hi-Chews are sold outside Japan as well, most of the Hi-Chew flavors are limited to Japan, for example, in the US you can only find 14 original Hi-Chew flavors, which are also more standard fruit flavors compared to the many experimental and exciting fruit flavors that can be found in Japan.
That is why, if you want to have the true Hi-Chew high, the best way to do so is to buy Hi-Chew flavors from Japan.
In this article, we have selected the must-try Japan-exclusive Hi-Chew flavors and have organized them into categories so that you can easily choose the flavors that suit your taste and flavor preferences.
Japan Exclusive Standard Fruit Flavors
Found almost all year round and in most regions of Japan, these top picks from the standard fruit flavor can be seen as the gateway flavors before you reach the more experimental ones.
Even though it is categorized as "standard", some of the flavors are quite rare compared to candies in general.
For instance, you might have heard of candies in grape, apple, orange, cherry, banana, and strawberry flavors; of course, Hi-Chew has these flavors as well. But Durian? Only in Hi-Chew.
Japanese peaches are famous for being succulent, fleshy, and intensely flavorful, and sweet. The Hi-Chew peach flavor does justice to Japanese peach by being deliciously juicy and sweet.
Not only is Peach popular in Japan as a fruit, but it appears in Japanese art and folklore quite often, symbolizing fertility, good luck, and long life, which makes this flavor a great flavor to bring from Japan as a souvenir.
2. Yuzu Flavor (ゆず)
When you think of citrus fruit in Japan, you think of Yuzu.
It has a very unique citrus fragrance that cannot be found in lemons or limes.
If you love a refreshing and pleasantly sour taste, do not miss out on this one.
3. Plum (Ume) Flavor (梅)
Japanese Ume plums are everywhere in Japanese cuisine – in candies, in wines, and pickles, and the reason is that they are just so GOOD!
The Plum flavor Hi-Chew hits the spot with the perfect balance between sweet and sour.
4. Tsubu Tsubu (Studded) Orange Flavor (つぶつぶオレンジ)
There are several different orange-flavored Hi-Chews in Japan, such as “Green Orange”, “Ripe Orange”, “Hassaku Orange”, “Blood Orange”, and so on. Our favorite is the “Tsubu Tsubu Orange”.
“Tsubu Tsubu” means studded, and refers to the small intensely orangey bits that are ingrained into the soft chewy part of the candy.
It creates a very satisfying texture to chew on and the small bits burst like a flavor bomb inside your mouth when you bite on them.
5. Passion Fruit Flavor (パッションフルーツ)
In these times, Hi-Chew Passion fruit flavor might be the closest you would get to a tropical holiday.
And it is not an exaggeration.
This Hi-Chew is exceptionally juicy, successfully combining the tartness and sweetness we so love in passion fruit.
6. Durian (ドリアン)
Durian. Yes, the spiky, odorous, intimidating exotic fruit we would probably only dare to try in the form of a Hi-Chew flavor.
This Hi-Chew is all white, with no colored center, and has a slight vanilla flavor and of course, the flavor of Durian, which is probably best left for you to personally experience.
Who knows -- it could become an "acquired taste" over time!
Japan Exclusive Regional Flavors
The Region-Limited Flavors of Hi-Chew are one of the highlights when it comes to Hi-Chew flavors as they give you an insight into the agriculture of different regions of Japan.
They also make great “Omiyage” (souvenirs) to bring from a specific region you might have visited in Japan. In this section, we are going to introduce you to the top selections from each region.
Hokkaido is the northernmost region of Japan known for its abundance of nature and agricultural produce, volcanoes, natural hot springs, and ski resorts.
Yubari King or Yubari Melon is a cultivar of cantaloupe that is exclusively farmed in Yubari, Hokkaido.
They are known for their orange-colored flesh, exceptional sweetness, and rich honey-like flavor.
You would be surprised to know how highly regarded this fruit is in Japan – at a 2008 Japanese auction, two Yubari King Melons were sold for 2.5 million JPY.
Does this Hi-Chew taste like a million? Well, that is for you to find out!
The Yubari melon Hi-Chew does taste distinguishably different from the usual melon-flavored Hi-Chew and has a flavor much closer to honey-dew.
"Tohoku" refers to the northeastern region of Japan and consists of six prefectures rich in mountains, nature, hot springs, and beautiful bays.
This region is considered to be fruit heaven in Japan.
The Yamagata prefecture of this region is known to produce the best cherries in Japan.
The cherries from this region have a subtle sweetness and refreshing acidity, as evidenced by this Hi-Chew made using cherries produced in Yamagata.
Shinshu/ Shinano Province
Rich in history, this central region of Japan is more commonly known as Nagano.
This region has many mountainous areas covered in apple orchards that are known to produce Japan’s best apples. If you love Japanese candies, you might be already familiar with Shinshu Apple flavored Kit Kats as well.
Apples from this region are known for being highly fragrant and having the perfect balance between tart and sweet, which you will find to be true of the Hi-Chew flavor as well.
This is the southwesternmost region of Japan with a subtropical climate.
Amaou Strawberries are known as the “King of Strawberries” in Japan, and the name Amaou is an acronym of four Japanese words describing the features of this special variety:
- Amai (Sweet)
- Marui (Round)
- Ookii (Large)
- Umai (Delicious)
Right from the first bite, you will be able to taste and smell the indulgingly sweet strawberry flavor of the Amaou strawberry from this Hi-Chew.
This prefecture consists of more than 150 islands with beaches and coral reefs, and is known as the tropical paradise in Japan.
As you can imagine, some of the most delicious tropical fruit flavors come from this region.
This Hi-Chew is made using Mangoes locally grown in Okinawa and is one of the juiciest Hi-Chew flavors you can find in Japan.
Shikuwasa is a very special small citrus fruit native to Okinawa and is also called “Green Jewel” due to its deliciousness and health benefits.
This Hi-Chew flavor made with Shikuwasa citrus fruits grown locally in Okinawa has a refreshingly sour taste and many have described it as addictively good.
Japan Exclusive Hi-Chew Premium Flavors
The Hi-Chew premium series come in pouch-like packets with a sealable opening, instead of the standard stick-shaped packaging.
The body of the Hi-Chew is extra stretchy and chewy, or "mochi mochi” in Japanese. Imagine the Japanese chewy rice cake “Mochi”, and you'll see what we mean.
They are available in White Peach, Red Grape, and Lemon flavors. Our favorite is Red Grape!
The standard grape flavor is one of the most popular Hi-Chew flavors but this red grape premium flavor takes it to the next level.
98% of the grape extract used to make this Hi-Chew is the Italian Cabernet grape variety.
Need we say more?
Submitting Your Original Hi-Chew Flavor Idea
Hi-Chew flavors are ever-evolving, and in the future, we can expect to find more exciting flavors being added to the Hi-Chew series.
If you are a true Hi-Chew aficionado and have invented some genius flavor ideas, you can suggest it to the Hi-Chew team through here:
There you have it! Some of the best Japanese exclusive flavors that you just have to try!
There are many Japanese snacks out there in the world, and it's hard to keep track of them all.
We want you to be able to try every flavor that Japan has to offer! That is why we have created a subscription box service for our favorite treats from Japan.
Every month, your ZenPop Sweets Pack will bring you an assortment of everything from popular treats like KitKat, Pocky, and gummies - to new trends such as Dorayaki pancakes or Matcha flavored candies.
Every month we handpick an amazing variety of sweet snacks that are hard to find outside Japan so that every month is a surprise!