KitKat candy bars are well-known in Japan and come in flavors such as edamame soybean, purple sweet potato and even pizza. Now, Japanese customers have a new way to enjoy KitKat candy bars.
Starting this month, anyone traveling on the Sanriku Railway Network can use the new payment method, which will last until May 2015. An ordinary railway ticket sells for about $1.87 (190 yen), but these special KitKat bars cost just $1.06 (108 yen).
The KitKat candy bar wrappers that double as train tickets are part of a public relations campaign to revive tourism in a region still struggling after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that occurred there three years ago.
In 2011, a tsunami damaged both lines of the Sanriku Railway, washing out six kilometers of track and destroying bridges and stations.
It's common in Japan to give KitKats to another person as a message of good luck, as the name is similar to the Japanese phrase “Kitto-Katsu,” which means “you will surely win.”
“Nestle discovered that the reconstruction team working on the railway had received KitKat products as a form of encouragement,” the company said in a press release. It began helping with the effort through donations. The candy company also painted cherry blossoms on two trains and stations, as a symbol of hope.
The move comes amid a slew of other post-tsunami tourism efforts in Japan, as the country continues to rebuild from the disaster.