I’ve visited Japan three times now and one of the things I miss the most when I leave are konbini, the corner shops where you can buy snacks, drinks, bento boxes and much more. I love browsing all the kawaii packaging and odd seasonal flavours and there never seem to be enough days to try everything. So you can imagine my excitement when Japanese Freedom Market offered to send me one of their snack boxes to review. For $25 you get 10-12 packs of crisps, sweets, chocolate, gummies, DIY kits and more with different things every month.
I received a pretty hefty box and was impressed by how well packed it was – there’s another layer underneath this so they really do cram a lot in for your money. Everything was in perfect condition and has been ordered specifically for the boxes so it’s all fresh and includes seasonal flavours and limited editions. As a family business, they also fold a piece of origami for everyone and there’s an info sheet with details on all the items, so you don’t have to guess what they are.
Here’s what I found inside (clockwise from top left): Karamucho crisps, Kaki no mi rice crackers, PukuPuku Tai chocolate taiyaki fish, plastic mug of ramune candy, Maze Maze Drink gummies, Hora Dekita DIY candy apple kit, Umaibo puffed corn snacks, Rilakkuma pretzels, Pokemon Karipori in melon and grape, and 2 mini KitKats.
Even having visited Japan, and with Japanese snacks becoming easier to buy in shops and online, most of these I hadn’t tried before. My only disappointment was the dark chocolate KitKats as you can buy those in any UK supermarket now – I wish it had been a more exciting flavour.
I especially liked the cute packaging of these Rilakkuma pretzel sticks. They’re a bit like Pocky without the chocolate, and these ones have a honey flavouring that wasn’t too strong so it was pretty easy to scoff the lot.
The Umaibo snacks were my favourite discovery. I had never heard of them before, but they’re cylindrical corn snacks about the length of my hand. It’s basically like eating a giant Wotsit/Cheeto! Both the pizza and onion salad flavours were great – quite strong and very moreish. I definitely want to try more flavours and would never have thought to buy them.
Same with the hot chili crisps, which I would have avoided, expecting them to be extremely hot. They actually they had more of a sweet chilli flavour and were just pleasantly spicy. Probably not worth importing since chili flavours are available in the UK, but I’m glad to know they’re worth buying if I see them in Japan.
Here’s a look at one of the previous boxes – this one looks really good too! Freedom Japanese Market hand-pick all the items they send and often include limited edition Japan-only snacks and never any made for foreign markets. I don’t know about you, but I always find that the Pocky from Thailand just doesn’t taste the same.
For $25 a month and free shipping worldwide direct from Japan, the snack box is a real bargain. I like snacks but I’ve still not tried everything yet. If you club together with a friend or two, you’ll all get a few things each, plus you can share the fun of making the DIY kits. I’m keeping the kits for another review post soon.
If this all sounds good to you, go place an order for your own box, and make sure to mention Super Cute Kawaii to get an extra snack included in your first order. You can also head over to their Facebook page and enter to win a box!
What do you think? Would you like to try any of these snacks?
(Snack Box was provided for review by Freedom Japanese Market but this is my honest review and the photos are my own, except for the previous box image)
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.