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Culture

10 Artsy and Creative Chocolates in Japan

A visual taste of ten creative chocolates made by artists and chocolatiers in Japan.

By 4 min read

Some artists craft in the studio, others craft in the kitchen. Chocolatiers, visual artists and lovers with a vision have found ways to express themselves through chocolate, making designs, flavors or packaging beyond the run-of-the-mill chocolate box. Thus, some of the best chocolate is made in Japan.

Working with a medium like chocolate can be melty and tricky, but the results are mouth-wateringly delicious. If you’ve visited Tokyo’s top chocolate shops and still want more, why not have a visual taste of ten creative chocolates from Japan? You might find something special for Valentine’s Day, White Day or any day needing sweetness.

1. Chocolate Picture Book

Open a picture book featuring chocolatey illustrations by artist Lulu Kono. The “Chiyo Choco 2024 Edition” showcases thin chocolates adorned with traditional Japanese patterns and designs that capture the essence and charm of Palace Hotel Tokyo. With motifs such as autumn leaves, graceful swans and balloons, each page of chocolate tells a story.

1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo - Map

2. Japanese Poetry Chocolate

Eyecon Shop presents Japanese poetry chocolate, embodying the concept of “tasting literature.” This chocolate features letter-pressed Japanese and translated poems packaged in a simple bookish design. The chocolate resembles an engraved stone when broken. As you indulge in the chocolatey poem “Morning Relay,” experience a citrusy nuttiness that will brighten your day.

1F 4-5-9, Yakumo, Meguro City, Tokyo - Map

3. Crayon Box of Chocolate Batons

Heralbony, an organization that empowers artists with disabilities to earn from their craft, collaborated to transform Yukihito Okabe’s mesmerizing artwork “Hoo!Hey!” into a box of chocolates. The chocolates are batons passed in a relay race, symbolizing connection.

Their colors mirror a vibrant crayon box, matching the lively outer cover. “Hoo!Hey!” was created using crayons and chiseled techniques, resulting in a dynamic pattern swirling in multiple directions. Indulge in a baton for a satisfying crunch of domyoji, a chunky flour made of sweet rice.

1-10-1 Parc Avenue Kawatoku, Morioka City, Iwate - Map

4. Japanese Art Chocolate Boxes

Have a taste of Edo art history with artisan chocolates inspired by traditional Japanese paintings at the Okada Museum of Art in Hakone. The “Waves and Fuji” chocolate box portrays ukiyo-e artist Hokusai’s landscape prints from “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” in flavors like coconut and maple. “Wind and Time” features Fujin (the god of wind) and Raijin (the god of thunder) with special flavors like cheese, plum and wasabi.

493-1 Kowakudani, Hakone, Kanagawa - Map

5. Jazz Piano Chocolate

Notes of rum, nuttiness and matcha are found in these chocolatey “Jazz Piano” yokan, a Japanese dessert with a jelly-like texture. Crafted by Jazz and Yokan in Oita Prefecture, these bite-sized pianos harmonize Japanese and Western flavors. Jazz and Yokan hope to share the joy of music, art and culture with their tasty creations, helping curate exhibits, performances and other pop-up events. The Valentine and White Day collections are now available for the pianist in your life.

3015-4 Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu, Oita - Map

6. 7-inch Record Chocolate

Let your favorite record play while enjoying a chocolatey vinyl crafted by Rit. Craft Chocolate and Coffee from Hiroshima. In collaboration with artists, Rit. produces 7-inch chocolate records with whimsical record jackets showcasing artwork, photographs, and promotional details of each artist. Custom designs can be made for album release parties and special events. Rit. also creates piano keys and cassette tapes that can only play imaginary chocolate songs.

3-5 Ebaokimachi, Naka City, Hiroshima - Map

7. Carved Chocolate Bear

This lovable chocolate bear resembles a hand-carved kibori kuma, a Japanese woodcraft depicting a wild bear holding a fish in its mouth. While these carvings are more common in Hokkaido, Patisserie SmileLabo in Roppongi carves a tasty kibori kuma chocolate. Although you may feel hesitant, crack open this little bear to reveal a cacao-powdered almond chocolate surprise.

1F 4-8-7, Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo - Map

8. Chocolate Matcha Bonsai Tree

Along with elegant truffles and bonbons, Treee’s Kyoto crafts a realistic chocolatey bonsai tree with a solid chocolate plate. The moss ball has an oozing chocolate mousse using organic uji matcha, the highest quality ground powder form of green tea in Japan. Dark sesame chocolate and a cocoa crumble create a delicious texture resembling stones and gravel. Dig into this tasty tree with a small shovel-shaped spoon.

9. Venezuelan Chocolate and Soba

Combining Hokkaido soba (buckwheat) with high-quality cacao beans from Patanemo Village in Venezuela, “Soba Patanemo” from Cacao Zoku packs a satisfying crunch and citrusy fragrance. Cacao Zoku’s chocolatier, Alfredo Jorge, was awarded the 2023 International Chocolate Awards in Asia Pacific.

2-48-15 Denenchofu, Ota City, Tokyo - Map

10. Chocolate Showpieces

Representing Japan at the World Chocolate Masters since 2013, Akihiro Kakimoto’s chocolate showpieces demonstrate mastery of turning chocolate into art. His award-winning sculpture “Futropolis” portrays the chocolate of the future, with a majestic being eating a large cacao pod from a flourishing garden. While you may not take home a sculpture, his shop Assemblages Kakimoto in Kyoto offers pastries and chocolates with rich flavors like myoga (Japanese ginger) and rosemary.

587-5 Matsumotocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto - Map
This is just a small taste of creative chocolates from Japan. Which chocolate would you love to try? Unwrap and share a piece down below!

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