Ame: 5 Classic Japanese Hard Candies to Try

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

Especially, the suffix is typically used in the names of classic Japanese hard candies that we are familiar with.

5 Classic Japanese Ame Candies to Try

Not only can such good and old Ame treats be bought at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan, but in recent years, I sometimes see those being sold online outside of Japan.

So today, for people who want to try Ame candies that have been loved through generations in Japan someday, here, I will introduce 5 must-try classic Japanese Ame treats.

1. Shio Ame (塩飴)

Shio Ame

First off, Shio Ame is a classic Japanese candy that tends to be preferred during hot summer months. This is because the hard candy uses salt as the main ingredient, as the word “Shio (塩)” means salt in Japanese.

In fact, many Japanese people like sucking on the salt candy in the summer for replenishing salts lost by sweating. Shio Ame contains some salt but is not salty. Rather, it is a sweet candy that makes the most of the umami of salt.

2. Kuro Ame (黒飴)

Kuro Ame Candy

Kuro Ame is a classic Japanese hard candy with a blackish color as the word “Kuro (黒)” means black in Japanese. Its black hue actually comes from the main ingredient, brown raw sugar called “Kokuto (黒糖)”.

Kuro Ame is characterized by its gentle, refined sweetness from Kokuto, which makes many of us bring back memories of our childhood.

3. Shoyu Ame (醤油飴)

Shoyu Ame

“Shoyu (醤油)” is the Japanese word for soy sauce, so Shoyu Ame is made with soy sauce. You might imagine that the Japanese treat has some saltiness to it, but it is not salty at all.

Rather, with a gentle sweetness, Shoyu Ame features a distinctive umami flavor of soy sauce, which makes the candy a delight.

4. Nikki Ame (ニッキ飴)

Nikki Ame

In Japan, cinnamon is sometimes called “Nikki (ニッキ)”, which, more precisely, refers to the cinnamon produced in Japan. Yes, Nikki Ame is a classic Japanese cinnamon-flavored candy.

With a moderate sweetness, the cinnamon candy features a slightly sharp taste of Nikki 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 makes Hakka Ame different in taste from Western peppermint candies.

The Japanese peppermint candy, Hakka Ame gives your mouth a cool sensation, followed by the sweetness that accentuates 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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