Since they first appeared on the market in 1979, Tirol chocolate squares have become ubiquitous in Japan. The inexpensive little chocolates are found everywhere from supermarkets and grocery stores to convenience stores and station kiosks. Although they come in a variety of flavors, it's the incredile variety of their wrappers which make them special. There's even a service called Deco Choco which allows you to make a custom wrapper printed with the design of your choice.

Koinobori Tirol chocolates

From March 23rd, Tirol is selling a special package of their chocolates to celebrate Children's Day, the traditional Japanese holiday which falls on May 5th.

Why fish?

As we reported earlier this year, one of the customs practiced by many Japanese people in the days and weeks leading up to Children's Day is flying colorful streamers, known as koinobori 鯉のぼり. Fluttering in the wind above the roofs of houses and other places where children gather, the streamers' distinctive carp shape belies the festival's origin as a celebration for boys (which was converted to a children's festival after 1948), since the fish's liveliness and courage as it swims upstream were seen as positive character traits which families wanted their sons to have.

The "Koinobori Tirol" chocolate package has five bars of chocolate banana biscuit Tirol, composed of connected squares which can easily be broken off and shared with friends or family members. Each one is packaged in a wrapper made to ressemble a koinobori carp streamer.

They come in blue...

... or red

Product Information

  • Name (JP): こいのぼりチロル
  • Transliteration: koinobori chiroru
  • Meaning: Koinobori carp streamer Tirol chocolates
  • Flavoring: milk chocolate, biscuit, banana (real banana juice used)
  • Serving: 5 pieces (bars)
  • Price: JPY 200 (excl. tax) (MSRP)
  • Sold from: March 23rd

These chocolates are a colorful, cute, festive (not to mention inexpensive) way of celebrating Children's Day and they also make great gifts representing a fun aspect of Japanese culture.

By - Ben K.