Time for another review and this time we’re having a look inside Sakuraco from the same company as TokyoTreat. Sakuraco is a monthly subscription box filled with traditional, authentic, and artisan Japanese snacks. Each month focuses on a different part of Japan and this month’s features the Wonders of Saitama, near Tokyo.
We’ve reviewed TokyoTreat a few times before and Sakuraco looks very familiar. One difference is that the box is shipped wrapped in bubble wrap to protect the more delicate snacks inside. Inside the elegant box, you’ll find 20 Japanese snacks, including tea, plus a postcard, bookmark and a special tableware item. This is the current box which can still be ordered until November 15th so only read on if you’re okay with seeing everything inside.
There’s a full colour booklet included too, with details of all the snacks (including allergens), Maker Highlights profiles of some of the snack makers, and articles on some of the special reasons to visit Saitama, including pears, calligraphy and bonsai. It’s definitely something you’ll want to read through before digging in to help add more context to the snacks and flavours.
Here’s everything I found inside the box! I’ve been to Japan 5 times and tried a lot of snacks but most of this was new to me. Out of all these items, only the pear gummies and curry senbei aren’t vegetarian so it would certainly be worth considering if you usually have to miss out on subscription boxes. As many of the snacks are small batch, they’re best eaten within a month or 2 so make sure to check the dates (in Y/M/D format).
The Japanese tableware gift this month is a set of Wasaka Crane laquered chopsticks that are made locally. They’re really high quality and the crane is a sign of good fortune so I’ll definitely be using them. Let’s have a closer look at the snacks!
I was surprised to see a full size fresh pastry and it turned out to be a Sweet Potato Danish. Despite its long journey, it looked like I’d picked it up from my local bakery, especially after I warmed it up in the oven. Sweet potato is often used in desserts in Japan but it still feels a little odd to me. With a scoop of ice cream on top, I had no trouble eating the whole thing and would easily have believed it was some kind of fruit.
As I tipped out the package of Milk Castella Cakes into a dish (the gift with last month’s Sakuraco box!), I got an instant wave of nostalgia for Japan. It’s such a simple sponge cake and yet you find it everywhere in all kinds of shapes and flavours. The little balls were the perfect size and nicely airy and sweet with a slightly crunchy sugary coating. The perfect snack to eat with the Chapon Sayama green tea.
I’ve never been a fan of mochi or red beans so the Daifuku was never going to be my favourite. I did have a nibble though and I could have been converted with a different filling as the mochi was so soft compared to others I’ve tried.
I got on much better with the walnut mochi at the top here, which was just as soft with a sweet nutty flavour. I was looking forward to the Saitama pear gummies and was happily surprised that they had a gooey centre with a strong pear flavour. Every Sakuraco box includes a pack of white chocolate-infused fruits and this time there’s pieces of apple. The white chocolate kind of overpowers the apple flavour but great for any white chocolate fans looking for a slightly healthier option!
These Black Karinto are a traditional snack of fried dough, which is covered in black molasses. This gives them a really unexpected flavour that’s both savoury and sweet. Great for snacking on and an interesting change from crisps or biscuits.
I love rice crackers and wish there were more options available in the UK so I was very happy to see 3 different kinds in this box. The small curry senbei were spicy and crunchy, while the big sesame senbei was more crisp and savoury. I’d buy both of these again. The square pieces are Thunder Okoshi in matcha and seaweed flavours and are like a savoury version of rice krispie cakes!
There were a few other things too that weren’t quite to my taste – a soft sweet strawberry cookie, wafers filled chestnut paste and wagashi confectionary.
I really enjoyed trying all the different snacks, especially so many things I’d never seen before. It’s almost like wandering the local shops in a neighbourhood. The flavours might be a little more challenging to western tastes but but if you like trying new things, and enjoy both savoury and sweet snacks, I’d definitely recommend a subscription. I also really liked learning about the snack makers and that you get a good quality homeware item to use once all the snacks are eaten.
Sakuraco are kindly sending us 3 different boxes to try so here’s a look at last month’s, themed around Kyoto’s Crimson Leaves. It included a beautiful ceramic Brocade Flower Dish and all these snacks. It was all so pretty and my favourites were the pear jelly (bottom right), momiji cookie (bottom centre) , yuzu-filled pancake (middle right) and all the different rice crackers (top centre).
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You can still get this Wonders of Saitama box if you subscribe to Sakuraco before November 15th, or TokyoTreat has a Mt Fuji Snack-Venture theme – we’ll share a look inside this on our Instagram soon. Both boxes cost $37.50 (£31) per month, with free tracked shipping worldwide from Japan, and there are further discounts if you subscribe for a block of 3, 6 or 12 months.
(Boxes were provided by Sakuraco 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.