Have you ever wanted to indulge in your own personalized Kit Kat bar, flash frozen in liquid nitrogen right in front of your eyes? Then the new Chocolatory in Namba is for you. Wes Lang takes a look inside.
Custom-made Kit Kat bars available in numerous flavor combinations - image © Wes Lang
Kit Kat Chocolatory Overview
Kit Kat is a household name in Japan, and the Chocolatory is Nestle’s latest attempt to rebrand the Kit Kat bar into a high-end delicacy. The shop name itself comes from a fusion of the words ‘chocolatier’ and ‘chocolate factory’ and sells creative Kit Kat bars crafted by the renowned patisserie chef Yasumasa Takagi .
Osaka’s newest Chocolatory opened in October 2018 and is conveniently located directly across from the Nankai railway ticket gates, offering both takeaway souvenirs and custom-order Kit Kat bars to enjoy at the small eat-in space. The Namba shop is the only one in Japan offering this unique made-to-order Kit Kat experience, a must-do for anyone with a sweet tooth and a sense of adventure.
Prices start from ¥702 for a single chocolate bar with 3 toppings all the way up to ¥2214 for a ‘Luxury Deluxe’, a Rolls Royce of a chocolate bar that includes every available topping spread across three different chocolate bars. The takeout bars start at ¥300 for a single high-end Sublime chocolate bar to ¥1450 for a limited-edition Osaka gift box containing 12 individually wrapped Kit Kats.
The finishing touches on your made-to-order Kit Kat bar - image © Wes Lang
Inside the Chocolatory
Upon entering the well-lit glass storefront, you’ll be greeted by Pepper, a humanoid robot developed by Softbank Robotics to help give multi-lingual guidance. Skip this tech gimmick and head straight to the back counter, where two options await. To your right, you’ll find a display case full of takeaway souvenirs. On your left, you’ll see the made-to-order counter, flanked by a pair of flat-panel touch screens. If the shop is crowded, place your order using the touch screens and browse the other merchandise while waiting for your Kit Kat to be made.
Staff are on-hand to answer questions and to help place your order, which is easily done by following these easy steps:
Select the language to English and then choose between a chef recommendation or a completely custom-made chocolate bar, referred to on-screen as ‘make your own selection’. I recommend going with the latter, as the price is exactly the same and you have the freedom to choose your preferred toppings. If you want the 9-topping Luxury Deluxe, however, proceed to the chef recommendations instead.
Next, choose a base for your Kit Kat bar from 5 different Sublime-series chocolate bases (bitter, milk, white, ruby, or matcha). The ruby base costs extra and uses a ‘ruby’ type of cacao bean, resulting in a naturally fruity, yet slightly sour flavor.
Then, select 3 toppings from an impressive array (cranberry, mango, pineapple, cashew, almond, macadamia, green raisin, coconut, and marshmallow). The staff recommend to choose two fruit and one nut but feel free to make an all-nut topping if you prefer.
Finally, press confirm and take your printed receipt to the register and pay for your purchase.
Touch-panel screens make ordering a breeze - image © Wes Lang
After completing your order, the staff spring into action, so take a front row stance to view the proceedings. The toppings are lined up in two rows, at the far end of a stainless-steel workspace. With careful attention, your ingredients are delicately placed on a tray next to the chocolate bar in waiting. A chocolate sauce is lathered on top while your toppings are meticulously adorned atop the bar. Like a scientist in a secret laboratory, the technician lifts a large canister of liquid nitrogen and proceeds to flash freeze your chocolate bar right in front of your eyes before handing over the finished product. The process helps fuse the toppings and chocolate sauce to the bar and creates a unique look and texture - this is no ordinary Kit Kat bar.
The staff carefully assemble your Kit Kat bar right in front of you - image © Wes Lang
Is it worth it?
While some people may balk at paying ¥700 for a single chocolate bar, remember that you’d hardly bat an eye at forking over that price for a good quality beer nowadays, and the unique experience of having a Kit Kat bar crafted before your very eyes is worth the price alone, especially for those looking to liven up their Instagram feed.
Additionally, the takeout selection is superb, and is sure to put a smile on the face of anyone that receives your gift. New to the line-up this year is an Umeshu (plum wine) Kit Kat bar, in addition to some limited-edition flavors (butter anyone?) available only at the Namba shop. With convenient access to the airport, it makes sense to drop before your flight home to pick up some last-minute souvenirs or to partake in a pre-flight snack. Even long-term residents will enjoy swinging by after a long day of shopping.
A wealth of takeaway options await for those looking for a sweet gift - image © Wes Lang
Things to Remember Before You Go
Go in the morning. Weekend crowds can mean long wait times, so aim to either go on a weekday morning or before noon on weekends to avoid the rush. The chocolate bars made a great pre-lunch snack and you’ll feel less rushed while making your topping selections if there are less people lining up behind you.
Don’t forget your cameras. The flash freeze process is a camera-ready moment, so don’t forget to take plenty of pictures and enjoy the spectacle. The staff are used to customers snapping photos for their Instagram account, so feel free to capture the moment without hesitation.
The modern storefront flanking the entrance to the Chocolatory - image © Wes Lang
How to Get There
The Nankai branch of the Kit Kat Chocolatory is located on the 3rd floor of Nankai Namba Station, directly opposite the North ticket gates and directly beside the train ticket counter. The easiest way to get there is to simply take the escalators just inside the station concourse next to Takashimaya Department Store.
Nanka Namba Station 3rd floor, 5-1-60 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka 〒542-0076
Daily: 9:00am - 8:00pm
Subway: 2-minute walk from Namba Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line. Take the exit near the front of the train if coming from Umeda and follow the signs to Nankai Railway. Additionally, the shop is located at the north exit of Nankai Namba Station.
About Wes Lang
Wes Lang is a freelance writer based in Osaka whose work has appeared in the Japan Times, Kansai Scene, and Outdoor Japan. He runs the website Hiking in Japan, which provides comprehensive English-language hiking information for Japan's mountains. He is currently writing a guidebook to the Japan Alps scheduled for release in March 2019 in Cicerone Press.
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