The Coolest, Cutest And Strangest Reiwa Products You Can Buy In Japan Now
From giant burgers to toilet paper, here's how Japan's retail market is celebrating the new era
May 2019 saw Japan welcome a new Emperor, a new era, and a whole bunch of new products you didn't know you needed — until now.
It’s a new month, new era for Japan and a whole new retail craze the nation (and us, too!) just can’t get enough of. Since the beginning of this month, we’ve embraced the Reiwa Era wholeheartedly, hoping that it will be as peaceful, beautiful and harmonious as its name suggests — the first kanji character, “rei” (令), has meanings of “good” and “beautiful,” as well as “order,” while the second, “wa” 和, has definitions that include “harmony,” “peace” and “Japanese style.”
Following the announcement of the new era name in April, savvy retailers from across the country started challenging their creativity in coming up with Reiwa-inspired products and the results we’ve seen so far are certainly impressive. From Godzilla-sized burgers to boardgames and cupcakes, here are some of the more interesting products you can get your hands on to celebrate Japan’s new beginning.
Grand Hyatt’s Golden Giant Burger
Over at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, the culinary team at The Oak Door steakhouse have been working overtime to craft a monstrosity of a burger to commemorate the new era. The “Golden Giant Burger” lives up to its name — it is giant (3kg to be exact) and is dusted in gold. Between its pizza tray-sized golden buns the burger contains a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, wagyu beef slices, foie gras, and freshly shaved black truffles. And what’s the financial damage for such a meal you’re wondering? Oh, just a cool ¥100,000.
If it’s a little too lavish for your taste, there’s a regular-sized version, too, known as Golden “R” Burger (R, of course, stands for Reiwa!).
Available from The Oak Door Steakhouse until the end of June, this more humble burger will still set you back a royally high fee of ¥20,000, but look, celebrate how you want, we’re not going to judge! Note that if you really want to taste the Golden Burger, you should make a reservation at least three days in advance.
Heisei-Reiwa special edition gold coins
One of the nation’s biggest department stores, Takashimaya, isn’t letting a marketing opportunity go to waste. With the announcement of the era, the company released its own announcement stating that it would be for a limited time only selling solid-gold medals featuring engravings of the Heisei and Reiwa kanji. If you want to get technical, the medals are actually “koban coin” replicas which was a type of currency used during the Edo Period (1603-1868).
Available from the Gold Shop on the 7th floor of Takashimaya’s Nihombashi branch, a set of Heisei and Reiwa comes with a price of ¥1,296,000, however, if you’re watching your budget, you could always pick up a single 100g gold bar engraved with either “Heisei” or “Reiwa” for ¥864,000 a pop. Note that the actual delivery of the goodies will take place within two months of the purchase — it’s a special one worth waiting for though!
Reiwa hard candy
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Plenty of confectioners across the country have been crafting their own commemorative “Kintaro ame” candies in celebration of the era name change. Kintaro ame is a traditional hard candy which classically had an image of Japanese character Kintaro in the middle crafted from differently colored pieces of the same candy. It’s not a treat unique to Japan by any means, but once the Reiwa announcement went out, Reiwa commemorative candies were practically already on the shelf.
Papabubble, a Spanish-born, but Japanese-loved hard candy store started making Reiwa candies on April 1st, and initially planned to end the run after a few days. The demand for the candies has been so high, however, that the Reiwa edition is now offered in a variety of different packages fit for various purposes. Available online or at all Papabubble stores in Japan.
Reiwa edition board games where social media clout is king
It’s probably not a wild claim to make that Monopoly has to be the most iconic board game there is, but the epic journey of a board game “The Game of Life” has to be a close second, so it’s no surprise that Japan has its version of the game, known as Jinsei Game. If you don’t know the game, it’s essentially a board game that simulates a player’s life, going from childhood through university to work and retirement. And now, there is a special Reiwa edition, to be released on the market by the toy manufacturer Tomy Co. from June 1.
In the classic version, players are ranked by the amount of money they have, the more capital, the higher the rank. With the new Reiwa version though, Jinsei Game is getting an update to match the times. No longer is cash the king, but players are competing for social media clout: the winner will be determined by whoever has the most “followers” on their social media networks. Signs of the times, we guess!
Lightly salted Reiwa potato chips
Everyone’s favorite snack producers Calbee Inc. decided that in celebration of the new era they would release “the first potato chips of the new era, lightly salted.” In terms of taste, beyond the saltiness there isn’t a lot to divulge, but, the packages are adorned with a large “Reiwa” kanji on the front and well, somewhat stand out from the rest of the chips on the shelves. The chips are available at Lawson stores across Japan.
Reiwa kawaii cupcakes
Promising to be as delicious as they are cute, there’s always the option of picking up a celebratory cupcake from popular bakery Fairycake Fair. Named “Baked Reiwa” (ベイクド令和) this special souvenir features pink and white icing and is adorned with gold leaf flakes. The cake comes in a box set of 10, the nine other designs feature a mix of eight of Fairycake’s regular designs and a limited edition Japanese flag-designed cake too. If you want to get your hands on a box, head on over to their stand in Tokyo Station, but be quick though as the release is limited to just 31 boxes per day. Available until May 7 at Tokyo Station Gransta shop for ¥3,000 per box.
Reiwa toilet paper
We live in a country that has its own Poop Museum after all, so this souvenir shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Released by the Japanese toilet and tissue paper manufacturer Hayashi Paper, this Reiwa-inspired product for your daily comfortable use comes in a package of 100 for the price of um, around ¥6,000. It might be a bit over your monthly toilet paper budget, but oh well, the event only comes once in … a lifetime for some! Available directly from Hayashi Paper or via Amazon.
KitKat special new era celebratory edition
And of course, Nestle Japan will never miss the opportunity to catch the trendy wave, so here we are with a new KitKat special edition release: the red and white celebratory “shukuga” edition. It doesn’t have the Reiwa name per se, but its clearly festive look makes up for a great gift. Contains 12 mini KitKats, six milk chocolate and six white chocolate flavors. Available at most supermarkets and drugstores across Japan since April 22.
Do you have an idea of your own Reiwa-inspired new product that you’re absolutely sure will sell well? Let us know!