Hi-chew - the soft fruit-flavored chewy candy is one of the most popular Japanese sweet treats.
The main reason behind this is its intensely satisfying chewiness and the various flavors (more than 170 types!) it comes in.
That being said, is Hi-Chew the only option to meet the cravings of a candy aficionado? Not at all!
You might be excited to know that Japan offers plenty of other candies that are similar to Hi-Chew. If you love Hi-Chew, then you should waste no time trying out these candies.
Many people love them as much as they love Hi-Chew, you might even like them more!
Before we dive into the wonderland of Japanese candies similar to Hi-chew, let us give you a quick description of what these candies have in common, just in case you have not tried Hi-Chews yet.
These candies are known commonly as soft candies in Japan, and they are chewy and soft, like chewing gum, but the difference is that they melt inside your mouth after a while so you do not have to take it out like you would have to with chewing gum.
Their texture is also a bit different from jelly and gummy candies.
Also marketed under the name “Puchao” outside Japan, Puccho is a soft candy made by the Japanese candy maker UHA.
“Puccho Vs. Hi-Chew” is the topic of many heated debates all over the internet and it’s up to you to decide which side of the candy war you belong to, by sampling both of the candies yourself!
There are several types of candies in UHA’s Puccho line of products such as Puccho gummies, Puccho balls, etc. but if you are looking for the signature chewiness similar to Hi-Chew, then it’s the Puccho soft candies in stick form you should go for.
The packaging is quite similar to Hi-Chew, with several individually wrapped soft candies inside a stick-like packaging.
These come in many different flavors:
They also have regional exclusive flavors such as Tokyo Banana, Yubari Melon, Amaou Strawberry, and Okinawa Pineapple.
So now we know Puccho is intensely flavorful, addictively chewy, and offers lots of exciting flavors.
However, Puccho’s pièce de résistance is the gummy bits ingrained within the chewy soft candy. Let us explain.
The main body of each Puccho is flavored soft candy and it has little bits of flavored gummy embedded in it. This creates a unique texture, with the juicy gummies bursting like flavor bombs when you chew through the candy.
It gets even better for the Puccho flavors featuring fizzy drinks such as cola, plain soda, orange soda, Genki drink, etc. which have additional bits containing xylitol.
These bits create a fizzy bubbliness inside your mouth. Ever wondered if you could chew on your favorite carbonated drinks? Well with these Pucchos that’s exactly what it feels like.
Fun fact: In 2015, Puccho made newspaper headlines when it released a grilled salmon flavor Puccho soft candies in collaboration with Sanrio. The candies have a fishy aroma and actual salted salmon flakes inside. Wild, right?
Click here to find more Puccho!
Meigum (Meiji) Gaburichuu vs Hi-Chew
Gaburichuu is made by Meigum, a subsidiary company of Meiji that specializes in the manufacture of chewing gums and chewy candies.
Gaburichuu soft candy has been around since the 1990s, with more than 50 different flavors released since then.
It comes in a cylindrical stick shape that you can hold in your hand and enjoy like you would with a Western licorice candy stick. Each stick comes inside a packet with a special mechanism called ‘magic cut’ which allows you to open it easily without any mess.
The word ‘Gaburi’ is the Japanese onomatopoeia for taking a big bite and that’s what the makers aimed for the candy to have – not just chewiness but also a scrumptious ‘bite’.
Gaburichuu sticks come in different colors depending on the flavor, and some of the most popular flavors are yogurt, grape, lemon, and cola.
Click here to find more Gaburichuu!
The Koume series of products from the giant confectionary maker LOTTE are some of the most iconic Japanese snacks as they feature distinctly Japanesque packaging designs and Japanese plum flavors.
This soft candy is made using twice the amount of plum extract used to make the hard candy version of this series, so you can already imagine how intensely flavorful the soft candy is.
The packaging style is similar to that of Hi-chew’s with several individually wrapped rectangular soft candies in one stick-shaped packet.
Although this plum flavor is spot on with the perfect balance of refreshing tartness and sweetness and also is the most popular, you might also want to check out the other flavors such as green Japanese plums, Japanese grapes, etc.
Click here to find more Koume Soft Candy!
Although its name has the word ‘gummy’ in it, it is more of a chewy candy rather than a gummy.
‘Pureral’ is a clever combination of the words ‘Pure’ and ‘Natural’; needless to say it is perfect for someone looking for something that is a little more health-friendly than the usual soft candies.
Each square-shaped piece has a springy base body with semi-transparent juice-filled bits near the center which gives it an interesting texture as well as a beautiful appearance (a literal eye-candy!)
They come in mouth-watering flavors such as honeydew apple, ripe Japanese peach, and grape.
The fruit extract used to make the Pureral gummies are from fruits that are domestically grown in Japan, which makes it all the more appealing to Japanophiles.
It comes in compact pouches that can be resealed, so it makes a healthy and juicy soft candy for on the go.
Click here to find more Pureral!
Kabaya Doutor Soft Coffee Candy vs Hi-Chew
What happens when a renowned Japanese candy maker joins hands with a popular Japanese specialty coffee chain?
The creation of a unique soft candy that is every caffeine lover's dream-come-true.
This candy features a soft chewy body with a bittersweet coffee flavor and an espresso-based sauce filling at the center.
The candies come in a convenient re-sealable pouch, and each candy is individually wrapped as well. How about saving yourself from long coffee queues at 7 a.m. and carry a bag of these with you instead?
Calpis is a popular yogurt-based drink in Japan rich in Calcium and probiotics.
This soft candy from Calpis features the refreshing taste of the Calpis drink which combines the sweetness of milk and the acidity of yogurt.
It comes in a stick-style packaging with individually wrapped pieces.
Click here to find more Calpis Soft Candy!
Morinaga Caramels are the best-selling caramels in Japan and they have been enjoyed by children and adults alike since 1913.
A few sentences would not do justice to the history and presence of the original Morinaga caramel so here we will focus solely on the strawberry-flavored Morinaga caramels.
Although it is named caramel, it does not have a caramel flavor – only the texture.
It is chewy and soft like caramel, but in terms of flavor and taste, it is a mixture of milk and strawberry.
Amaou variety of strawberries is known as the "king of strawberries" in Japan and has a distinctly sweet flavor and taste. The juiciness of the extract from Amaou strawberry is combined with the richness of milk in this candy.
It can come as individually wrapped cubes in a bag or inside a paper box. The paper box type is especially nice as a gift as this packaging style has been used for caramels since old times in Japan and evokes a strong sense of nostalgia.
Click here to find more Morinaga caramel candy!
Coris is a Japanese candy maker that has been making chewing gums and candies with creative ideas since the 1940s.
Their Kajiriccho line of soft candies comes in individually wrapped cylindrical stick shape.
The Japanese word "Kajiri” means to chew or to bite and that’s where the name of this candy comes from.
What makes Kajiriccho special is that it comes in various soda-drink-based flavors, some of them quite experimental, and hence a great choice for adventurous candy lovers.
Some of their exciting flavors include:
- Sports drink flavor
- Lifeguard energy drink flavor
- Melon bread (a popular Japanese baked treat)
- melon soda flavor
- Japanese Ume plum soda flavor
And that's just to name a few!
Click here to find more Kajiriccho!
These were the eight Japanese candies that are similar to Hi-chew and now that you know about them, be warned! – Your loyalty to Hi-Chew might be severely tested as you go on indulging in each of the candies with their addictive chewiness and delicious flavors.
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!