I was sent the January 2023 Premium Crate which had a Happy New Year theme. As well as all the snacks, there was a full colour 6 page booklet with detailed descriptions of all the contents, how to use the candy kit and some other fun bits. It doesn’t include any information on allergens or whether items are vegetarian/vegan and I hope they’ll add that in future. I actually checked the ingredients (using the Google Translate app) and all the main items were vegetarian!
Inside the box were lots of snacks and candy, plus a drink and DIY candy kit. Everything is from Japan with lots of big name brands and almost everything was full size with only a few little multi-pack items. Since there were so many veggie-friendly items, Nicolette was able to try them too for a second opinion. Let’s find out what we thought!
Sumikko Gurashi Purunchuchu
Despite our long history of sub-par attempts at candy kits, we were excited to try another one and make an edible Sumikko Gurashi jelly friend (we got Penguin?). The kit contents were a little disappointing compared to the size of the packaging but miniature things are cuter, right? This has to be one of the easiest kits I’ve seen – just mix the powder with water, pour into a plastic mould and wait 30 minutes. What could go wrong?
Uhhhh…. ? Honestly, this was quite successful (despite a missing foot!) but just impossible to photograph, being both tiny and reflective. I do love that they give you a display area! We did eat it and it was fine though without any real flavour. The mould can be re-used so maybe I will try it again.
Vinegar Chips & Salty Caramel Puffs
I always look forward to trying new crisps and these were both new to me. Judging by that character’s expression, the vinegar chips are supposed to be terrifyingly sour but we grew up on salt & vinegar crisps so we didn’t find them strong at all. Instead, they have a sweeter taste than some UK brands and it’s even easier to eat the whole bag. I would buy these again.
Salted caramel is a much weirder flavour but works really well on these crunchy Cheetos-style snacks as the saltiness stops it being too sickly. I’m not sure that we became addicted (as the packaging suggested) but Nicolette ate so many I gave her the rest of the bag to take home. If you like Caramel Corn or popcorn, give these a try.
Chocolates & Cookies
There was a nice mix of seasonal chocolates and cookies – these are KitKat Coffee Break, original Koala’s March, Chocolate Chestnut and Maple Butter Chocolate. We’ve had the Koala’s March many times so didn’t open those but the rest were new to us.
You can’t go wrong with a KitKat and there was a whole bag included in the box. These are covered in coffee-infused dark chocolate and did indeed pair well with a cup of coffee. The taste is quite subtle so even if you’re not usually a coffee fan, they’re worth trying. I’m certainly happy to have a whole bag to work through – and share, I guess.
Chestnut isn’t a flavour you really see in the UK, though I have had it in Japan before. These little chocolates looked really fancy in their gold wrappers and each had a letter on top, though we weren’t able to make any words with our pack! The chocolate was nice and the creamy chestnut filling had quite a complex flavour, similar to coffee but more nutty.
The biscuits were good too – basically cookies & cream but with a maple syrup aftertaste. I don’t know if I would buy either of these again but I have eaten the rest.
Chocolate Ice Cream Marshmallow
With such a high hit rate so far, we were bound to have a disappointment eventually. While very cute to look at, this was not good at all. The marshmallow fluff was acceptable but the chocolate was horrible and the wafer barely edible. Avoid!
Candy & Gum
As always there was a selection of dagashi, or pocket money candy, including fortune chocolates, whistle gum, ramune candy, mints, chews and bubblegum. I would have liked to try the strawberry mints but they are packaged in an adorable little delivery van and I refuse to open it! I did try the chews and they were both very chewy with strong cola and ramune/lemonade flavours. I wasn’t able to try the energy drink yet as I think it has caffeine but it’s the fridge for next time I need a boost. I’ll update on Instagram if it’s especially nice.
Overall, I thought this was a really good value box with lots of high quality snacks to try. Despite all our Japan trips and SCK reviews, most were new to us and were things that we’d either buy again or enjoyed enough to finish. Most items being vegetarian was an unexpected surprise and I know Nicolette enjoyed getting to try so many things. I’d definitely recommend this box to anyone who likes to try new Japanese snacks.
Pricing & Shipping
This box is sold out but February is the start of a relaunch and the next Japan Crate has a Box of Love theme with a new full-colour box design and some extra bonus items and prizes so it’s a good time to start your subscription! Every box includes 18-20 items with a mix of Japanese candy, snacks, drinks and DIY kits + a collectible lucky cat, postcard and booklet.
You can subscribe now for $49.95 (£41) with free shipping worldwide (from Japan or USA) and there are further discounts if you subscribe for a block of 3, 6 or 12 months. SCK readers also get 15% off any subscription with the code SUPERCUTEKAWAII
If you don’t fancy snacks, Japan Crate also offer other fun subscription boxes: Doki Doki Crate (kawaii & lifestyle), Umai Crate (noodles), Inku Crate (stationery) and Gacha Gacha Crate (capsule toys). The discount code above works for all the boxes. You can also shop at their Sugoi Mart online store for seasonal and hard-to-find Japanese snacks, characters goods and lots more.
(Box was provided by Japan Crate for review but all words and photographs are my own.)
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and the author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She lives by the seaside in Scotland in a flat full of kawaii, creating cute character goods as Asking For Trouble, working on endless craft projects and playing Nintendo.