Ame: 5 Classic Japanese Hard Candies to Try

Ame (飴) is the Japanese word for hard candy, often used as a suffix, and in fact, many candy products sold in Japan include the word Ame in the name. 

Here, you can see the suffix typically used in the names of classic Japanese hard candies we are familiar with.

5 Classic Japanese Ame Candies to Try

Not only can such good old Ame treats be bought at supermarkets and convenience stores. But I sometimes see those available online outside Japan nowadays.

So today, for people who want to try Ame candies that have been favorites through generations in Japan, I will introduce five representative, must-try classic Ame treats.

1. Shio Ame (塩飴)

Shio Ame

First, Shio Ame is a classic Japanese treat preferred during hot summer months because the hard candy uses salt as its main ingredient, as the word Shio (塩) means salt in Japanese.

For replenishing salts lost by sweating, we Japanese like sucking on the candy in the summertime. Shio Ame contains some salt but is not salty. It is a sweet candy making the most of the umami of salt.

2. Kuro Ame (黒飴)

Kuro Ame Candy

Kuro Ame is a classic Japanese candy with a blackish color, as the word Kuro (黒) means black in Japanese. The hue comes from the main ingredient, brown raw sugar or Kokuto (黒糖).

Kuro Ame features its gentle sweetness from Kokuto, which makes many of us Japanese bring back memories of childhood.

3. Shoyu Ame (醤油飴)

Shoyu Ame

Shoyu (醤油) is the Japanese name for soy sauce, so Shoyu Ame uses soy sauce as its main ingredient. You might imagine the Japanese treat takes on some saltiness. But it is not salty at all.

On the contrary, with a gentle sweetness, Shoyu Ame features a distinctive umami flavor of soy sauce, making the candy a delight.

4. Nikki Ame (ニッキ飴)

Nikki Ame

We sometimes call cinnamon Nikki (ニッキ), which, more precisely, refers to the cinnamon produced in Japan. Yes, Nikki Ame is a classic Japanese cinnamon-flavored treat.

With a moderate sweetness, the cinnamon candy features a slightly sharp taste of Nikki, but that doesn’t cause a heat sensation.

5. Hakka Ame (ハッカ飴)

Hakka AmeImage: Wikipedia 

In the name, Hakka stands for Japanese peppermint, which differentiates Hakka Ame from Western peppermint candies.

Once popped into your mouth, the Japanese peppermint candy gives a cool sensation, followed by a pleasant sweetness accentuating the refreshing taste.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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