This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from. We received a Sakuraco box to provide this review. However, all views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too.
Looking for a way to experience Japan without the time and expense of travel? A Japanese snacks box is one of the best ways to taste Japan from the comfort of home.
After tasting many snacks from around the world, we could not wait to try the Sakuraco box, dedicated to authentic Japanese snacks.
In this Sakuraco review, we share our experience receiving and tasting the snacks.
We outline the pros and cons and answer the ultimate question, should you get this Japanese snacks box?
Read more to find out what it’s like to dive into the tastes of Sakuraco Japanese snacks.
What Is Sakuraco?
Sakuraco is a Japanese snack subscription box service that sends monthly boxes filled with authentic artisan Japanese treats all across the world.
Each Sakuraco box contains 20 new, seasonal snack treats sourced from local, family-owned businesses and hand-selected by Tokyo-based Japanese snack experts.
The boxes have Japanese treats from different prefectures (or regions) and also include authentic Japanese kitchenware or homeware.
Founded in 2015 by Ayumi Chikamotoa, this box differs from her sister company TokyoTreat.
With Sakuraco, she works with her Tokyo-based team to showcase local Japanese snack makers, including Japanese tableware.
Each box includes items curated on a monthly theme featuring 20 authentic Japanese snacks, such as:
- Japanese Tea
- Japanese Cakes
- Mochi, Manju & Yokan
- Seasonal Japanese Treats
- Japanese Home Goods
Every box also features Sakuraco exclusives by Japanese local makers.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Sakuraco offers free gifts and regular discounts and coupon codes for their subscription boxes. Click to get the latest discounts for authentic Japanese snacks from Sakuraco.
What To Expect With Your Sakuraco Box
Once you subscribe to a Sakuraco box, Sakuraco is expected to arrive anywhere from 3 to 10 days, depending on your address.
The Sakuraco box ships directly from Japan. Our package arrived via DHL and took about five days.
This Japanese snack box includes 20 authentic Japanese snacks. Find exclusive Japanese sweets, Japanese tea, Japanese cakes, and savory snacks from local makers across Japan.
In addition, you’ll also get a Culture and Snack Guide booklet with complete descriptions of each regional specialty item along with information about the local makers.
And, it provides tips to help you get the most out of your box and cultural points about the Japanese prefecture.
What is The Cost Of A Sakuraco Box
The Sakuraco Box is available on a subscription basis at a monthly cost of $32.50.
However, you get a one-time subscription for $37.50. As you might expect, the longer your subscription purchase, the lower the average monthly cost.
A three-month subscription is $35.50 per month.
A six-month subscription is $33.50 per month.
A twelve-month subscription is $32.50 per month.
How Do You Buy Sakuraco Box
Subscriptions are available directly from the Sakuraco website.
Choose your subscription length and the shipping costs are calculated at checkout.
Sakuraco Box Review – January 2023 Snack Box
The Sakuraco snack box we received was the January 2023 monthly box.
This January 2023 box included Japanese sweets and savory snacks available only in the prefecture of Niigata.
Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, which are geographic regions with their own local governments.
Niigata is located on the central west sea coast of Japan and is a culinary hotspot known for rice and sake production.
There was also an additional focus on the Lunar New Year celebrating the Year of the Rabbit.
What Do You Get in The Sakuraco Box
The January Sakuraco Box included a variety of snacks, one classic sake cup, and even one of Ayumi, the founder’s favorite snacks of 2022.
The 20+ snacks were a mix of crispy rice snacks, cakes, and sweet delights curated to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.
Here’s what we received in our Sakuraco box.
Japanese Tea Box
Tea is an important part of Japanese culture and you’ll find seasonal Japanese tea in each Sakuraco Japanese snack box.
This month included two tea bags of Genmai Black Bean Houjicha.
This is a green tea with flavors of roasted rice and black beans. It has earthy flavors and was an easy-drinking seasonal tea and a nice accompaniment to the afternoon snacks.
Authentic Japanese Snacks
Snacks are a great way to start off your Sakuraco experience. There were plenty of Niigata specialties to discover.
On the sweeter side, here are some of the highlights.
Echigohime Strawberry Crepe – this was a top favorite amongst the Japanese sweets. Exactly as it sounds, it’s a delicate crepe filled with “echigohime,” a creme made with local Niigata strawberries. Delightful!
Konjac Yokan – this is a unique snack made from konjac flour and azuki beans. It’s a soft paste similar in texture to flan but with a unique, plum-like flavor.
Hyoroku Mochi – a chewy candy with the texture of mochi, which is the main ingredient. While the taste is delicious, getting the sticky candy out of the wrapper is a big challenge!
Matcha Anko Dorayaki – this is a soft sweet cake filled with a matcha bean paste. The taste is mild with a hint of sweetness and it is a perfect accompaniment to Japanese afternoon tea.
Brown Sugar Karinto– a wheat and sesame-based snack coated in rich brown sugar. Those with a sweet tooth will love this crunchy and sugary snack,
Savory Sakuraco Snacks
The savory snacks from local makers in Niigata were surprisingly delightful. See some of the highlights below.
Niigata Nanban Shrimp Cracker – this local cracker is made using shrimp caught off the coast of Sado Island, Niigata. The shrimp are made into a paste and baked into a delightful crisp cracker.
Hatsune Okaki – a definite favorite in this box, these sweet and spicy rice crackers were the first to disappear. They were seasoned with bonito and kelp and topped with a sweet soy-based sauce and coarse soybean flakes.
Bakauke Sesame Rice Crackers – these Japanese rice crackers came in a close second for the favorite snack. They are fried rice snacks with black sesame seeds and honey soy sauce.
Negi Miso Senbei – this unusual rice cracker is fluffy and baked using green onions throughout, including on the glaze that coats them. They are great to have with afternoon tea.
Ajigonomi – are popular rice crackers made with a blend of beans and anchovies. If you don’t like crispy fish in your snacks, these may not be for you. The taste nonetheless is enjoyable.
Specialty Snacks for The Lunar New Year
With January ushering in the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit was celebrated with a few specialty Japanese snacks. Our Sakuraco box contained the following.
Snow Rabbit Soft Chew – this was a fun and adorable chewy sweet in the form of a rabbit.
Rabbit Hozui – another confectionery in the shape of a rabbit. This Hozui rabbit was made with Japanese-style marshmallows filled with a white bean paste.
True Heart Chocolate – these tasted similar to M&Ms, though in smaller shape with a more delicate flavor. Each package contained words of gratitude to start the new year.
Fortune Cookie – these mildly sweet cookies had a fun omijuki, or fortune inside.
Romansketch Biscuit – this bonus snack was one of Ayumi’s favorite snacks of 2022. These Yokohama-inspired biscuits were filled with vanilla cream and they depict one of 19 famous Yokohama landmarks in Yokohama city, south of Korea.
Japanese Home Goods
This month’s Japanese snack box included a Sakuraco Sake Cup. This fits with Niigata’s long culinary history in sake production.
The sake cup is made in a classic design with two blue circles representing jenome, or a snake’s eye, on the bottom of the cup. These circles are used for checking the quality of sake.
Sakuraco Snack Guide – Culture Booklet
Each Sakuraco subscription box includes an informative culture booklet. In true Japanese style, the booklet opens from the left and is read from right to left.
It includes detailed information about each snack, including any known allergens and whether or not the snack is vegetarian-friendly.
The January 2023 booklet focused on the monthly theme of Niigata prefecture as well as stories of some of the Japanese local makers.
This beautiful booklet is an integral part of the Sakuraco experience.
- Great variety and number of authentic snacks
- Provides an immersive experience with the snack and cultural booklet
- Wonderful addition of an authentic Japanese home good which sets Sakuraco apart
- Excellent descriptors of ingredients including allergens for those with food sensitivities
- Beautiful box and luxurious presentation
- Delivery time – Most Sakuraco boxes ship between 3 to 10 days. Depending on your country’s shipping method it could take up to 90 days.
- Liked the Japanese home goods though it would be nice to have paired items. Two sake cups instead of one in the January box.
- If you’re not an adventurous eater, you may not love all the snacks
Should You Get Sakuraco Box? – Our Sakuraco Box Review
After having sampled many international snack boxes, we really enjoy Sakuraco’s unique and authentic Japanese snack box.
The snacks are tied closely to the culture of Japan, making it a cultural experience, not just a culinary one.
We enjoyed learning about the Niigata prefecture and the celebration of the Year of the Rabbit.
The addition of the Japanese home goods, and in our case, sake cup, was a nice touch.
Those interested in the food and culture of Japan will love the Sakuraco box experience.
- It offers a cultural and culinary experience
- Features a variety of Japanese sweet and savory snacks
- Includes a home item to accent your style
- Shares stories about the Japanese local makers making you feel personally involved with the snacks
Are you ready to experience traditional Japanese snacks? Check out Sakuraco and get started on your first box. Then be sure to let us know what you think.
What People Say About Sakuraco Signature?
We’re not the only ones that liked the Sakuraco Japanese snack box. Here are some reviews from Trustpilot and around the web:
Some of the positive feedback includes:
- “The Japanese box, New Year in Niigata, has a wonderful variety both sweet and savory. To mention just a few, the fortune cookies are delicious. The instagrammable bunny treats are adorable. The shrimp crackers are full of tangy shrimp flavors. As always the beautiful booklet is full of useful information. Thank you.”
- “Always a delicious box of Japanese treats shipped to my house from Tokyo. Sakuraco is a quality product hard to pass up. The 20+ treats are always unique and the box is beautifully and compactly packed.”
- “Delicious and beautiful Japanese treats miles beyond Hello Kitty and Kit Kat candy. I’ve watched mochi pounded at the Kyoto market and it’s great to enjoy them when we can’t be in person. The fig, sakura, and soybean are all delicious. Lovely words and pictures too!
The few negative comments we found seemed to be related to the delivery time and damages with the packaging:
- “ takes between 4-6 weeks to arrive. It’s mid December and my November box isn’t even in the US yet.”
- “So far it takes really long for my box to be packed and shipped, this is a huge down side. “
- “I was looking forward to many of the snacks I purchased but ended up with dented box, broken cracker because some of these snacks are fragile”.
Sakuraco Snack Box FAQs
You’ll find more information on the Sakuraco website, but we’ve answered some of your most burning questions here!
What types of subscriptions are available?
Sakuraco offers one, three, six, and twelve-month subscriptions. And discounts are offered based on the number of subscription months you choose.
How To Cancel My Sakuraco Subscription
Sakuraco makes it easy to cancel your subscription at any time. Simply log into your Account on the website and navigate to the subscription you want to cancel. From there, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “cancel subscription.” Please be aware that if you don’t cancel your subscription it renews automatically.
Sakuraco Shipping Fee
The shipping costs vary with the fees ranging between $10.50 to $12.50 per shipment.
Sakuraco Shipping Time
The shipping time of the Sakuraco boxes varies by shipping method. For Express Shipping, boxes can be expected to be delivered 2 to 14 days after shipment. For Japan Post Priority Shipping, the time is 7 to 28 days after shipping. For Surface Mail, the shipping time is 60 to 90 days.
Can I Give Sakuraco as a Gift ?
Sakuraco makes a great gift for anyone who loves Japanese food and culture or wants to experience it. Gifts are offered as 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions.
Does Sakuraco Accommodate Food Allergies?
In each shipment, Sakuraco includes an information booklet detailing all of the known allergens for each snack. Also included is a note as to whether or not the item is vegetarian.
Is Sakuraco a Japanese Company?
The small team behind Sakuraco is based in Tokyo where they curate and prepare each Japanese subscription box in-house .
Alternatives to Sakuraco
There are many Japanese subscription boxes out there so if Sakuraco doesn’t fit the bill, you may enjoy one of the following.
The team behind Sakuraco also offers Tokyo Treat, a box filled with “the coolest and craziest Japanese snacks” each month. Look for trendy ramen noodles, soda, exciting candies, and popular brands like Kit Kat, Pocky, Hi-Chew, and more. What you get is a taste of modern life in Japan.
Bokksu and Sakuraco are fairly comparable Japanese subscription boxes. Though, Sakuraco offers Japanese treats that are more subtle and refined in flavor. A one-month box with Bokksu starts at $49.99, compared to $37.50 for a Sakuraco box.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest