The inspiration for this article comes from a comment I received on My Japan Slice Facebook Page. As you know, because I write it so often I even bore myself sometimes, I am a fan of traditional and undiscovered Japan. I encourage my readers to go off the beaten tracks and look for what is exquisitely local. I like to share hidden places and tell you about my trips in not so touristy places.
So why am I telling you to go to McDonalds? Too much sushi made me crazy? No, it’s the abstinence from sushi that might make me crazy but it is not the case, there is always enough sushi for my daily dose around. So why? Well the thing is that even chain restaurants like McDonalds and others are not the same in Japan, there are local specialties you can only find in Japanese stores.
Here is a small list of my favorites:
I know, I am partial here, but forgive me, matcha latte can only be first place. Moreover it is not the only specialty proposed by Starbucks Japan to its customers, another favorite is melon frappuccino or the famous sakura (cherry blossom) latte available only during spring.
There are two specialties which can be found only in Japanese McDonalds, they are the delicious teriaky burger and the ebi (shrimp) burger. Letting out a number of special limited edition burger that come out more and more often.
3. Burger King
How to forget the black burger at Burger King, and it is not the only special burger, there is also the pizza burger and the Rodeo Burger filled with hamburger and onion rings. Get into a burger king and try the season special, it is probably something unforgettable!
4. Kentucky Fried Chicken
Even the famous fried chicken chain has something special you can try only in Japan: hamburgers! Yes, if you’d like to walk into a KFC and order a hamburger in Japan you actually can do that. A special thing to try in Japan only is also the Christmas special. Somebody at KFC was a marketing genius back in 1974 when they made a campaign to let people have KFC chicken on Christmas Day. Since then, even if Christmas is not really a holiday in Japan, the tradition persists and there are always long queues at KFC shops to get the Christmas box.
5. Mister Donut
On the sweet side let’s not forget about Mister Donut. Season specials are a must, if you happen to be in Japan around spring, Halloween or Christmas go into a store and have a special breakfast with a season special, donuts are never disappointing! Also I used to live in Minoo (Osaka) where the first Japanese store of this chain was open in 1971.
All pictures are taken from the advertising campaigns of the respective companies.