Sakuraco Snack Box: Take your taste buds on a trip around Japan!

Sakuraco Snack Box: Take your taste buds on a trip around Japan!

by Sarah B. Hodge
Stripes Japan

I first started ordering subscription boxes starting with Try the World around 2013 or so, so when I saw the Sakuraco Authentic Japanese Snack Subscription Box popping up on friends’ social media recently, I was intrigued. I previously reviewed Kokoro Care Packages for Stars and Stripes, and was enamored with the thought of a curated box of Japanese sweets paired with seasonal teas.

Founded by Ayumi Chikamoto in 2015 and based in Tokyo, Sakuraco is the premier traditional Japanese snack subscription box. Sakuraco and its sister company TokyoTreat work hard to spread the unique and refined food culture of Japan and to highlight local Japanese snack makers and share their stories and passions with Sakuraco subscribers. Each curated box features 20 authentic Japanese snacks, including Japanese tea (matcha, hojicha & seasonal), Japanese cakes, mochi, manju & yokan, traditional Japanese sweets and seasonal treats (sakura, momiji, yuzu, melon, etc.), senbei, Sakuraco exclusives, and Japanese home goods. Each Sakuraco snack box will whisk you away on an exciting journey full of discovery.

For this review, Sakuraco kindly provided their July box themed “Hokkaido summer.” While Hokkaido is perhaps most well known for its breathtaking winter scenery, there's still plenty to discover and enjoy in Japan's northernmost region this summer. Hokkaido is famous for its corn, beans, and dairy products as well as the Yubari melon, grown in a small former mining town near Sapporo. Hokkaido’s unique volcanic soil and mild summer climate result in an exceptionally sweet, juicy fruit. In 2019, a pair of Yubari Kings was auctioned for 5 million yen or $45,000, making it the world’s most expensive melon! The sweetest melons grow on vines that bear only one fruit, making this a very labor-intensive fruit with a low yield.

In Japan, Yubari melons are closely linked with summer, and you’ll find seasonal and limited-edition melon-flavored items galore in cafes and stores. To share this delicious summer treat with family and friends in the States, why not surprise them with a Sakuraco box? These items are not available outside of Japan, and there’s a great range of variety of sweet and savory snacks to fit any craving.

In the Hokkaido Summer box, you’ll find melon white chocolate-filled mochi, melon soft sandwich cookies, Yubari melon cream sandwich cookies, Yubari melon jelly, Hokkaido milk cheesecake, okina dorayaki, kibi dango and milk mochi from Tengudou Takarabune, peach matcha tea, rum raisin shortbread cookies, Hokkaido grilled corn senbei, butter mochi senbei, age mochi, and a beautiful hangetsu (half-moon) tray from Fukui. Despite being stationed in Japan for over five years, I never made it to Hokkaido, so experiencing the “Hokkaido Summer” box was the next best thing!

Although I’m not normally a huge fan of mochi, the white chocolate melon mochi are the perfect one-bite snack, with the creamy chocolate contrasting nicely with the chewy mochi. The Yubari melon jelly perfectly captured the juicy flavor of a ripe melon without being cloying. The melon-flavored sandwich cookies were a wonderful surprise, with the crisp cookie and smooth melon fillings. The Hokkaido milk cheesecake is a cross between a light pound cake and a cheesecake. The peach matcha tea is great hot or iced (I tried it iced) and pairs very well with both the sweet items as well as the saltier senbei, and the half-moon tray is the perfect resting place for your tea bowl and snacks.

The beautifully produced full-color booklet gives a background on each item, supplier, local attractions and culture, and a handy list of common allergens and whether items are vegetarian-friendly, which I greatly appreciated. You can even win prizes and a free subscription by uploading a selfie of you with your Sakuraco box!

Verdict: Sakuraco is the perfect way to explore seasonal Japanese treats and teas and makes a wonderful gift for family and friends. The classy packaging, detail-packed booklet, and generous assortment of quality treats from small suppliers will provide many hours of enjoyment.

To sign up or gift a Sakuraco box (available monthly and in 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions), head over to sakura.co/subscribe (worldwide shipping available including Japan, but not FPO / APO addresses) and join the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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