As we haven’t been able to travel the world in the past months, I’ve been trying to bring the world a bit more into my home. So when I received an email with the request of doing a Sakuraco Box review, I couldn’t be more than happy!
I LOVE receiving packages and I am a huge Japan fan. What better than combining all these passions together in a premium subscription box filled with authentic Japanese treats?
When I lived in London, it was easy to find traditional Japanese snacks at the Japan Center, but having moved to The Netherlands, I’ve not really found a place yet where to get my Japanese food (and especially Japanese sweets) fix, apart from the sushi in the grocery stores and some small Asian supermarket sections.
Sakuraco is perhaps the answer: they ship authentic snacks from Japan to anywhere in the world, in a beautifully designed box to share a tasty little bit of Japan’s culinary culture. So let’s dive right in and give Sakura our 5-senses review!
Disclaimer: I got this October 2021 Box gifted to write this Sakuraco Box review. All photos and opinions are 100% my own. I am also an affiliate of Sakuraco (traditional Japanese snacks), Tokyo Treat (popular Japanese snacks), Yume Twins (Kawaii culture items) and NMNL (Japanese & Korean Beauty Box), which earns me a small commission if you click through and make a purchase, of course at no extra cost to you.
SAKURACO JAPANESE SNACKS BOX
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?
If you haven’t heard about this Japan snack box, “Sakuraco” is a sister company of “Tokyo Treat“, a well-known Japanese box subscription company sending out trending Japanese sweets and snacks. With the Sakuraco brand, they showcase more of the traditional side of snacks from Japan.
Sakuraco is a complete Japanese Tea Ceremony – in the comfort of your own home. If that doesn’t sound good, I don’t know what will!
Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or simply want to treat yourself, these Japanese subscription boxes curate the best of Japanse food culture and send it right to your doorstep, no matter where in the world you live.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
SAKURACO SHIPPING BOX
After only a few days, I receive a well-wrapped package from Japan Post. Wow! Mail from Japan, I am already happy at this point, but I guess I’m easy to please, haha!
The blushy pink box features the iconic Sakura flower (cherry blossom) with the company’s name and logo printed in shimmering gold foil. Fancy! It sets a great mood right when you receive the package.
When I open the box, I’m greeted with both a beautiful traditional postcard with greetings from the company’s founder and with the text “Nice To Meet You. Let’s Have Tea.” printed on the lid of the box. Don’t you agree that all conversations should start like this?
I received the October 2021 Japanese treats box, which centered around the “Flavors of Mt. Fuji”. It celebrated the prefectures of Shizuoka and Yamanashi, over which the icon mountain towers. Each of the boxes has a different theme each month.
One of the main things I liked about the box (apart from the actual food) was that you receive a 24-page professionally translated booklet with more information about the region and local producers of the products. You read the booklet from right to left, just like they do in Japan!
The booklet is also the place to find allergy information (common allergens), for a full list of specific ingredients of each product you can scan a QR code to find out more. And if your Japanese is good, then of course you can also translate the back of the wrappers of each individual item :)
It is a beautifully designed glossy brochure that provides great insight in all the different sweets, snacks and other items in the box that you can try out. Not only could you actually find out what it is you’re eating (not always easy with Japanese snacks), but I found that it also helped me appreciate the moment more than usual.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
No it is time for the most important part of the Sakuraco Experience: the TASTING!
I cannot wait and have to control myself to not eat everything right away. I take out all the items and photograph them one-by-one, putting the double items to the side, so Nick can also taste them when he gets home from work. The sharing packs I’ll have to save for the weekend so we can both enjoy them together!
One million photos later (everything is wrapped so beautifully and with a great eye for detail), I finally get around tasting my first snack…
JAPANESE TEA BOX
Oh no, wait! Of course I first have to make some Japanese tea to go along with the snacks. Not a problem, in the box I find two packets of Sencha with Matcha Tea. Love it!
Finally, I get to use the Japanese tea set that we once received as a gift from a friend. It’s perfect with little cups to drink from to experience all the flavour coming from the matcha. If you’re familiar with Japanese flavours, this will taste like coming home, but if it’s your first time, you might need to get used to it a little bit. But trying new things is exactly what this box from Japan is perfect for.
Japan and tea are almost synonyms since their tradition dating back to the 8th century. Tea drinking isn’t just any other activity – it’s an experience. The tradition of “Oyatsu” (おやつ – the afternoon snack) can be compared to the Afternoon Tea in the United Kingdom and sees people enjoy mainly sweets as between-meals refreshments.
Of course this isn’t necessarily a Japanese tea subscription box, I would have liked if they had added a bit more matcha or other seasonal tea into this package. With so many snacks, I would have liked to pair them all with the right flavour tea! Not to say that I didn’t re-use the first tea bag about 5 times before finally letting it go, but still… more tea is always a good idea.
JAPANESE HOME GOODS
Every Sakuraco Japanese monthly box features a locally sourced home goods product such as a cup, bowl, plate, cutlery, chopsticks or other Japanese tableware. In my package, I received a plastic Mount Fiji-shaped item, that can be used as a bowl or turned around as an decor item.
Since the Fuji region is the highlight of my month’s box, I think it is a nice touch to have a link to it, but to be real honest, I was a bit disappointed that it was made from plastic. If this would have been a ceramic item, I would have definitely appreciated it more and put it out for display. In plastic, it looks a bit cheap and seems more suited in a children’s play set, than in a luxury Japanse Afternoon Tea set.
Reading other Sakuraco reviews, I have read the same sentiment and realize that each month it can be a hit-or-miss item, since they do also feature ceramic sometimes. The bowl made for a fun prop during my photo session, but in the future, I’ll probably stick to my own Fuji-themed bowls that I bought in Japan at a 100 Yen shop, so under 1 dollar/euro – which are actually real ceramics. Can you spot them in one of the photos further down in this article?
JAPANESE PUDDING BREAD
From my travels to Japan, the bread is definitely something I still remember. So fluffy, soft, and so sweet!
In the box, I found a big package of “Kabocha Pudding Bread“, which is made of sweet Japanese pumpkin and brown rice yeast. They folded rich pumpkin puree and pudding into the dough as well… need I say more? So yummy!
TRADITIONAL JAPANESE MOCHI
I don’t know if sweets come more Japanese than mochi (餅). This velvet-feeling Japanese cake is made of mochigome, a short-grain glutinous rice flour, dusted by skilled craftspeople with roasted soybean flour mixed with sugar.
With a subtle nutty flavour, it pairs well with tea, but it is an acquired taste that might not be for everyone. I’m trying to get used to it, but I enjoyed this version for sure!
JAPANESE DESSERT CAKES
Some of my favourite products from the snacks from Japan box included the two cakes / rolls. It was the Uji Matcha Tiramisu Baumkuchen, which didn’t sound very Japanese to me, but was made in Tokyo by slowly adding layer after layer of batter on a rotating spit, adding Uji matcha, which is considered the highest quality of green tea and is grown in the mountains outside of Kyoto.
The other cake was the Castella Roll Cake filled with butter cream, which again didn’t sound Japanese, but according to the booklet was introduced to Japan by the Portugese in the 16th century and soon became a beloved dessert.
I loved the little mark on this cake stating that it was homemade by K.K. Sanseisya from Osaka.
UNIQUE JAPANESE TEA SNACKS
In the box, there were some products that I had never encountered before and was curious to try out.
The Awase Fruits Jelly for example was made with the regional specialty of sweet Yamanashi cherries, along with mikan orange and apple. A refreshing treat!
I especially loved the White Peach Milk Manju. Manju (饅頭, まんじゅう) is a traditional Japanese flour-based pastry, instead of rice-based like mochi. Manju comes in many varieties and this particular one is made from steamed milk filled with a sweet white peach puree, a specialty from the Yamanashi Prefecture. So soft and good!
The purple-labeled Ototo Soy Sauce Chips, which you can see pictured a bit further down below, were a bit interesting since they are made from okara, a soybean pulp that is a by-product of the tofu-making process, flavored with iwashi sardine shavings. Not my typical savoury snack, but I definitely enjoyed them on a long train journey on a recent writing assignment!
SENBEI – JAPANESE RICE CRACKERS
Here in The Netherlands, the “Japanese Rice Cracker” (called senbei, 煎餅) is a popular snack, but usually they are a bit dry and flavorless when you buy them. Well, not the ones from the Sakuraco box! Because the boxes are made to order, everything you receive is super fresh and tastes great.
From the green Edamame Senbei and crunchy Ajishirabe Senbei (lightly toasted and salted) to the cute Kokeshi Doll Senbei (traditional Japanese folkcraft, I own a few of them – you can see one in the background on some of the photos in this post) and the fragrant Almond Mochi Four Seasons Senbei, they were all super tasty and a great addition to my little tea party.
The bag of Miso Arare (crispy rice snacks baked to a rich golden colour) is still left to be enjoyed since I’ve been so busy Nick and I haven’t found a moment to sit down and enjoy them quietly!
Filling my Japanese tea pot for about the fourth time, I secretly tried some of the Green Tea Leaf Cookies from Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture. I absolutely LOVE the taste of matcha, but Nick, who I let them try a bit later, wasn’t a huge fan. All a matter of taste (and good for me, now I can eat them all without feeling guilty).
The Green Tea Dacquoise (a sweet matcha cream sandwiched between two green tea infused meringues) was gone before Nick even found out we had them in the first place. Don’t let him know! Hee Hee! ^_^
Finally, the Kyoho Grape Chocolate Crunch was a real nice surprise for both of us. It’s made with smooth white chocolate infused with fragrant grapes and coated all around with toasted corn flakes. Really enjoyed it! Also thought the Red Fuji Cookies, made with chocolate, almond and sweet strawberry icing in the shape of the mountain were so cute (and tasty).
Are you more a savoury or sweet person? Which one of these treats would you like to try?
By the way, what do you think of my little blue koi tea box below? Isn’t it adorable?! I collect tea boxes from Japan and this one is definitely one of my favourites.
WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?
When it comes to experiences that let you use all your senses, the Sakuraco box of course scores very high!
From the sweet smells of the pumpkin puree, buttercream and pudding, all the way to fragrant rice crackers, seasonal fruits and the umami smell of the miso seasoning, soy sauce and matcha infused green tea.
Each item of food is separately sealed with a small freshness packet and the box is made to order for ultimate taste on arrival (lasting up to 3 months!). All the flavours and lovely smells are as fresh as you can get it! No rush to finish the box, take your time and savor the moment.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE?
If you ask me, Sakuraco is on of the best Japanese snack boxes if you’re looking for a package with keen eye for detail that gives you the feeling of a slow, mindful travel experience in the comfort of your own home.
With the booklet that you get in the box, it’s almost as if you’ve got your own local guide with you, explaining you all about the local makers, the different regions and ingredients of the sweets you taste along the way.
I have written about omotenashi before, the Japanese art of hospitality, and this box feels like the physical representation of this concept. Before I tasted anything, I always made sure to read up on the story behind the product, which gave the whole experience something extra. A true feeling of quiet mindfulness in an otherwise fast-paced, busy day.
THE TRAVEL TESTER REPORT
Is Sakuraco worth it? I would definitely say so! I got so much joy from opening the package and learning more about each of the items in the box as I ate my way through it. Paired with the tea, I truly savored each and every piece of food and really took my time to enjoy it with all my senses. What a great way to slow down and appreciate the good things in life!
You might be held a bit by the price of the box, but because of the great care that this box has been put together and the overall experience that I got from using the box, I would say this is worth it. If you spend the same money on an activity or tour when you’re travelling, you wouldn’t think twice to pay the same amount, and in this case you can stretch the experience out over several days, if not weeks!
With Sakuraco, you will receive high quality artisanal products that are made by small businesses from different parts of Japan. It’s products that you don’t usually find so easily in overseas shops and when they arrive, they are as fresh as they can be. In a time where travel is a bit more difficult than it used to, the Sakuraco traditional Japanese sweets box is a fantastic way to feed your travel bug a bit. Quite literally!
I hope you enjoyed this Sakuraco Box review and got inspired to try it out for yourself. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE >>
FIND ALL RESOURCES HERE!
Sakuraco brings you a monthly traditional Japanese food subscription box filled with local sweet and savory treats. The brand was founded by Ayumi Chikamoto, who wanted to share the Japanese afternoon tea culture with the world.
WHAT WILL YOU RECEIVE?
Each Sakuraco Japan candy box contains 20 items in the category: Japanese tea (Matcha, hojicha or seasonal), Japanese Cakes (for example castella or taiyaki), Japanese Sweets (traditional Mochi, Manju or Yokan), Seasonal Items (like sakura or momiji), Sakuraco Exclusives (items made by local artisans) and Japanese Home Goods (bowls, cups, cutlery, chopsticks, etc.).
HOW MUCH IS THE SAKURACO BOX?
You have the choice between a 1, 3, 6 or 12 months subscription. The longer the subscription is, the cheaper the monthly cost is. At the time of publishing this article (October 2021), the cost of the box is:
- $32.50 /mo (12 Month subscription)
- $33.50 /mo (6 Month subscription)
- $35.50 /mo (3 Month subscription)
- $37.50 /mo (1 Month subscription)
Please note: This monthly amount is WITHOUT shipping costs and you pay upfront for the entirety of your plan. So for the 12 month plan, you will pay $390 upfront, the 6 month plan $201 and the 3 month plan $106.50.
HOW MUCH IS SHIPPING?
As mentioned earlier, Sakuraco ships worldwide. Different shipping costs are calculated for different countries. When you enter your address and select your country, the shipping fee will be automatically calculated and included. After the order is placed, your box is immediately prepared and packed (within 3 business days) to be handed over to delivery courier.
Due to the recent restrictions, they have only trackable shipping options available at the moment, which is why there is currently no free international shipping option available. For countries that don’t support Express Shipping, they will be shipping your boxes with Japan Post Priority Shipping + Tracking. Check this country list to see how much shipping to your location is.
For most countries, shipping will be around $12.50 per box.
Note: If your country charges a customs fee and/or tax, you’d have to pay this extra yourself!
If you order the Sakuraco gift box, shipping is included in the price!
HOW LONG DOES SHIPPING TAKE?
Depending on your location, shipping can take around 2-5 business days (e.g. some Asian countries, Oceania/Australia, US/Canada, United Kingdom, some European countries, including Belgium), 14-28 days (some Asian and European countries, including The Netherlands and Germany) or even 60-90 days (e.g. many African countries, Russia)
Check the country list (see previous question) to see the shipping time for your specific location.
DO SUBSCRIPTIONS AUTOMATICALLY RENEW?
Yes they do, for the same period you first signed up to. You will not receive a reminder to cancel, so make sure you pay attention to this!
If you buy the Gift option, your subscription won’t be renewed automatically for the next term.
WHICH JAPAN SUBSCRIPTION BOXES ARE THERE?
The popularity of Japanese snack subscription boxes is growing and these days you have plenty of choice. Have a look at the following:
- TokyoTreat – Japanese Snacks & Candy Box
- YumeTwins – Japanese Kawaii Culture Box
- NMNL – Korean and Japanese Cosmetics + Skincare Box
- Sakuraco – Authentic Japanese Snacks
SAKURACO OR TOKYO TREAT BOX?
White both TokyoTreat as Sakuraco are Japanese boxes that send you Japanese snacks, the difference is that Sakuraco really focuses on authentic, Japanese flavours with products from local makers. TokyoTreat, which exists since 2015, will send you the more popular Japanese candy from brands such as Pocky and Kit Kat.
With Sakuraco, you will receive snacks sourced from local makers you won’t find outside Japan. The flavours of the snacks are refined and well balanced to match the season. Great for a relaxing moment or sharing with friends over tea!
TokyoTreat is all about the newest + coolest snacks you won’t find outside Japan! This is the box for you if you’re looking for limited edition, Japan exclusive flavours you never knew existed. Great for watching anime or sharing while having fun with friends!
PERHAPS YOU ALSO LIKE THIS
Enjoy your Japanese Afternoon Tea to the fullest with these items:
JAPAN TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES
- Lonely Planet Japan – The most complete travel guide
- Skyscanner – Find the best flights to Japan
- Booking.com – Find the best hotels in Japan
- Sakura Hostel Tokyo – My favourite hostel in Tokyo
- World Nomads – Worldwide travel insurance
- Get Your Guide – The most popular tours & activities in Tokyo
- Get Your Guide – The most popular tours & activities in Japan
- ViaHero – Plan your Japan trip with the help of a local
- Magical Trip – Discover Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto at night with a local
- G Adventures – Group trips to Japan
JAPAN READING TIPS
BOOKMARK ON PINTEREST: