Japanese Pumpkin FlavourIt’s almost Halloween! Over the last few years, it’s been interesting to notice how Halloween has become more of a thing in Japan. When I was here in 2005-2006, my students didn’t know what Halloween was. There were hardly any pumpkin decorations, nobody went trick-or-treating, and there were not a lot of costumes t buy. But now, Halloween seems to be quite popular, though it might just be a marketing move by the chocolate and food companies. Of course, there are a lot of things that are marketed as Japanese pumpkin flavour, but don’t set your hopes too high if you are expecting pumpkin spice.

Japanese pumpkin flavour at Halloween

From the beginning of October, stores start to display little pumpkin and jack-o-lantern decorations. And almost every cafe and snack shop takes advantage of the opportunity to sell something Halloween themed. Mr Donut has holiday donuts, bakeries have special pumpkin and cat bread, and almost every single snack company puts pumpkins on their packaging this time of year.

Should You Try Japanese Pumpkin Flavour At Halloween?
Apparently, there are “herbs for Halloween”

You have to be careful about taste if you are expecting something like pumpkin spice, though. I’ve never had the popular pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, but I have plenty of pumpkin pie around this time of year. So I do know how delicious pumpkin spice is. If only I could have my aunt’s pumpkin pie…

But I don’t trust Japanese pumpkin flavour

The first time I saw something pumpkin flavoured around Halloween, I was excited to try something that I thought would taste like pumpkin pie. But when I had it, it was just pumpkin. No spice, literally just pumpkin. It was disappointing because the spice is really what makes pumpkin so special, right? Pumpkin by itself isn’t a great dessert. It needs the sugar and spices!

I don’t get excited when I see pumpkin flavoured things in Japan anymore. I mean, I like pumpkin stuff, but when you want something that tastes like pumpkin pie, it’s best to steer clear of Japanese pumpkin flavour. To be fair, they aren’t marketed as pumpkin spice, just pumpkin. So it’s not like I was tricked. Starbucks is popular in Japan though, and they always have a limited edition frappuccino and latte. They’ve probably had every flavour except pumpkin spice. Not sure when they’re going to get on that bandwagon, but I would like to try it some day.

Anyway, I’ll stick to things like apple and chestnut, and of course chocolate. Though I do wish Japanese pumpkin flavour included some spices.

Do you like pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice flavoured things? Do you think it would taste as good without the pumpkin spice?

>> Checkout my very first blog post about the  holiday season in Japan!

Should You Try Japanese Pumpkin Flavour At Halloween?

*This is Japan is regular blog series where I write something about Japan. It could be something about Japanese culture, a story about living in Japan, or something random and funny/weird. If you like to read This is Japan, please subscribe below to join my email community. And leave a comment below below and let me know your thoughts on this post!


  1. I too have never eaten pumpkin pie, I guess it’s not an Australian thing! But Halloween here as well is becoming quite a popular festivity year by year. I don’t recall Halloween celebrations when I was young, but that was many, many years ago!! 😉

  2. Pumpkin crackers with cheese? Intriguing. I have neither tried not heard of that before. Is it and Indian snack? Or did you discover it in the UK, or the United States? Make sure you have pumpkin pie with whipped cream or ice cream. I prefer whipped cream.

  3. Well you know the funny thing is that it is a popular thing in the metros in India too. At least in bars and discotheques 😛 Well, pumpkin latte I fear would be all too sweet. Maybe one of these days I should make myself try it, but I cannot push it somehow :-/

    • Yes, you should! Let me know how yummy it is. Have you tried pumpkin pie before? You are coming to American Thanksgiving next month, so I recommend you try pumpkin pie.

      • I know! I better give into pumpkin pie. Such an American fav. I have tried some pumpkin crackers which are delicious with cheese. That sweet and savoury thing hits the spot. I shall bite into a pie gingerly…cuz I cannot abide by anything too sweet. But all in the spirit of it, Jen.

  4. I was in Kochi on Shikoku for Halloween last year. Don’t remember seeing a lot of Halloween stuff for sale, but the local teens dressed up and hung out at the big shopping arcade. Gruesome seemed to “in”, a lot of the girls wore reddened bandages. I was told it started being popular five years ago.

    • It seems like there is a little bit more Halloween each year. It’s kind of interesting to watch it develop. Sometimes it’s fun to hang around the train station on Halloween night and see people in their costumes.

  5. I remember trying pumpkin flavored Kit Kats when I was living in Japan and they were really bland, haha. I couldn’t get over all the chestnut pastries though–so good!

    • That’s a pretty accurate description. Pumpkin is just not the same without the spices. You’re right about the chestnut stuff though. I never realized how yummy chestnut desserts can be until I came to Japan!

    • I guess the spice part is not an Asian thing. It’s cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and all spice, I believe. It’s delicious in desserts.

Leave a reply!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.