Jlist is one of the go-to sites for Japanese snacks, anime/manga merchandise, video games, and more for folks living outside of Japan. It makes sense, then, that as Japanese snack subscription services have been popping up left and right over the past couple of years, Jlist would also jump on said bandwagon. Since I’m already a fan of the site, I knew I had to try out their snack subscription box for myself and see how it compares with the likes of OyatsuBox, Japanese Treats, and Candy Japan. Of course, I had to share my impressions!
When it comes to Japan-related subscription services, there is no shortage of options in the candy/snack department, but if you want to venture into the realm of collectables and other knickknacks, there are considerably fewer services available. Luckily, the folks at Betoyo Bento seek to fill that void by offering monthly boxes of toys, candies, and any other “Japanese pop culture items” they come across!
Are you sick of Japanese snack subscription services yet? I know I’m not! It’s really exciting to see so many different subscription services pop up that are all about providing Japanese candies and snacks to people around the world. If Japanese treats are your game, you’ll be spoiled for choice: there’s OyatsuBox, Candy Japan, and now the aptly-named rookie Japanese Treats is joining the ranks!
If you’d like to see me ooh and aah over everything in their very first subscription box, check out my unboxing video above. Japanese Treats is $22/month, and since that price includes shipping anywhere in the world, it’s very competitive (Candy Japan and OyatsuBox are both $25/month). All up, this month there were 11 different items, which I think is very generous!
Like OyatsuBox, Japanese Treats provides a sheet which each order that says the name and a short description of each item. These “cheat sheets” are very helpful for those who can’t read Japanese and aren’t familiar with the different snacks, so I’m really glad they include them!
Now let’s take a closer look at each of the different items included in the box!
I just love character goods (if you haven’t noticed by now), so I was especially excited to see these Disney Pakuncho chocolate cookies. Not only is the box covered in Mickies (and a lone Donald!), but the cookies themselves have Disney characters printed on them!
These character rock-paper-scissor cutouts on the back of the box are super cute, too. As for the cookies themselves, I don’t expect them to taste much different from Koala’s March or Hello Panda, but I’m fine with that.
Now, I’m familiar with the delicious chocolate-covered biscuits shaped like bamboo shoots known as Take no Ko no Sato, but I’ve never seen them in this kind of packaging before! I love the design, and I know they taste good, too! One thing to note is that the sheet Japanese Treats provided calls them Kino no Ko no Yama, as it’s possible to either get these or the same type of cookie in a mushroom shape, which are called Kino no Ko no Yama.
I can tell these Japanese snack subscription providers really want to please the folks who are into the internet-famous Japanese candy kits, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise to see this Nigi Nigi Osushiya-san sushi gummy kit in my box. The peach and lemon-flavored gummies are meant to look like pieces of fish, and you combine them with the banana-flavored “rice” gummies to make little sushi! I actually bought myself one of these already, so I think I’ll include this one in an upcoming giveaway.
These may look like regular plain animal crackers, but I just love the package! Honestly, if the people behind these services just picked snacks with fun packages, I’d probably be happy regardless of what was inside! Maybe I should start a subscription service like that…
I just love a good pun, don’t you? Well, these calcium-fortified grape-flavored candies are called Ju-C! Hah! As you can see from the package, Ju-C has been around since 1955. They don’t show up very well in the photo, but I like the little animals circling the left end of the container. I can’t wait to try them!
Kyabetsu (cabbage) Taro here are flavored corn puffs covered in nori, which, funnily enough, do not actually have anything to do with cabbage. The frog mascot Taro looks pretty sharp in his policeman outfit, don’t you think? I’m told these are quite popular in Japan, but I’ve never actually noticed them!
I think this has to be the highlight of the box for me! At first I thought these were just soda-flavored hard candies, which is nothing particularly new or exciting, but they’re actually candies that you mix with water to make soda! As you can see from the package, there are five different flavors, and it encourages you to mix them to come up with even more. I think these are going to be a lot of fun to try, so I’ll definitely be doing an Apricotsushi Samples video for them!
These Chocobi chocolate puffs are actually Crayon Shin-chan themed, so that actually makes two character goods in this month’s box! They also come with one of 20 different stickers, which is always fun. I must admit I see these quite often locally and I’m not a massive Crayon Shin-chan fan, but I’m still intrigued to see how they taste.
Finally, we have Dondon Yaki, which I received in a previous OyatsuBox (they’re really good!), some pudding-flavored bakeable Kit Kats, and ramune fortune telling candies. The fortune candies actually look a lot like pills, but each one is labeled with something different (“sports,” “love” etc.). When you pop them out it tells you a your fortune. Japanese Treats has a blog post with translations of all the different possibilities so you can see how you fare!
I’m sure a lot of people would be really excited to receive the bakeable pudding Kit Kats, and believe me, I was too! My enthusiasm was only slightly dampened by the fact that 1. I bought 2 large bags a couple of weeks ago from Jlist and 2. my oven is currently not working. I like that they give you two so you can try baking one and have the other fresh if you desire. I’m so bummed that my oven is broken… I really want to try them!
There you have it! I’m really impressed with Japanese Treats, as they are not only very reasonably priced, but they ship their boxes quickly and offer a great selection. If they continue to offer 10 or more items for $22/month, this may make them the best deal out of all the Japanese snack subscriptions I’ve reviewed so far. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they develop over the next few months!
|Mister Donut now has cronuts! Why are Japanese sweets always so amazing?|
The first item in their 2nd March shipment was an Anpanman chocolate lollipop. It’s too adorable! So adorable, in fact, that we need to see it from another angle…
Ok, the back of the packet isn’t all that interesting, but it does provide instructions on how to make this takoyaki candy snack. I can’t wait to try it out! I’ll be filming an Apricotsushi Samples video for this one, so keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, you can watch Candy Japan’s how-to video if you’re curious to see what it looks like. I think it’s great that they included a video in their newsletter showing how to make this kit for those who can’t read the instructions.
But I have to say, I just love these little chocolates! When you bite into them, they have a small amount of mochi in the center. Yum! The sakura flavor was definitely there, making them really unique, but it wasn’t strong enough to turn me off. I even had my husband try one, and he gives them a thumbs up, too!
I really enjoyed how fun and varied the items in this Candy Japan shipment were. I suppose if you’re not a huge chocolate fan, you might not be as happy with two out of three candies being chocolate-based, but I’m sure Candy Japan has put that into consideration and will follow up with more non-chocolate items in a future envelope.
|via Candy Japan|
Before I close out this review, I wanted to mention that I found this great 2013 Year in Review post on Candy Japan’s website when I was poking around for some information on the company. It’s an interesting read for anyone who wants to know more about the inner workings of any kind of subscription service, and I love how transparent the founder Bemmu is with his progress and thought processes. This coupled with his newsletters help give the feeling of a friend sending you some cool Japanese snacks, rather than an impersonal company, which I really appreciate.
If you like the idea of getting two small packages instead of one large one to space out the fun throughout the month, Candy Japan is the perfect Japanese candy subscription service. Their selection of items seems to be really top-notch, though they may be choosing quality over quantity, as some other comparable services may yield a few more candies each month for the same price. They also seem to focus more on candy rather than savory snacks, so if you don’t want only sweet items, I might suggest OyatsuBox instead. While you can’t go wrong with either service, Candy Japan stands out for their really unique selection of candies and friendly, personalized interactions.
I’m a huge fan of Japanese snacks, but the sad fact is that it’s extremely difficult to find anything outside of the occasional box of Pocky here in Australia. Luckily, the internet has made it easier than ever to get my hands on all of my favorite Japanese treats, and a number of subscription services have even sprung up for Japanese snack enthusiasts around the globe. OyatsuBox is the first of such that I’ve tried, and I have to say, I might be hooked!
The folks at Oyatsu Cafe, a great website that sells all sorts of Japanese food, recently launched the OyatsuBox service, sends out a package of random Japanese snacks to subscribers on the first of every month. They were kind enough to send me March’s box, which arrived on March 14th, exactly 2 weeks after it was shipped. I decided to use this opportunity to film my first unboxing video – give it a watch to see my first impressions as I open the box!
A subscription costs $25 a month, which includes shipping anywhere in the world, and their official site guarantees 7 to 15 different snacks each month. If March’s box is any indication, they provide quite a varied and interesting selection. Though the shipping may be a little on the slow side, by not using the fastest option around they are able to pack even more snacks into the box while keeping it affordable, so I’m definitely not complaining!
I won’t be discussing the actual taste of the individual snacks in this review, but look forward to an upcoming episode of Apricotsushi Samples where I try everything in the March OyatsuBox! For now, let’s take a closer look at all the goodies in this month’s box:
Now this container isn’t shy about advertising what flavor snack it contains: it says “kimchi” in huge red letters right on the front! If you’re not familiar, kimchi is spicy pickled cabbage originating in Korea, but it is also very popular in Japan. It has even made its way into Japanese ramen – hence these kimchi ramen bits, which are meant to be eaten raw. I’ve recently become quite a fan of kimchi, so I’m very excited to try these!
Next up are two different types of ramune (Japanese soda)-flavored candies. On the left are Coris whistle candies, which are a very classic Japanese candy that I’ve had the pleasure of trying before when I was in Japan. If you put your lips around the outside of the Lifesaver-shaped candy and blow through the hole, they whistle! The little box contains a random toy, too.
On the right are Morinaga pineapple ramune candies. I love how the package is shaped like a traditional ramune bottle! I don’t think I’ve ever had pineapple ramune before, so I’m very interested to see what these taste like.
Now this interesting, tongue-like snack had me a little perplexed at first until I realized it was meant to look like grilled eel! According to the OyatsuBox pamphlet, it’s made out of dried code and and has a grilled eel flavor. It’s also a common snack found all over Japan, so I’m rather surprised I’ve never tried it! I’m not a huge grilled eel fan, so that might be why…
This candy, on the other hand, is one I immediately wanted to try! I’m a huge mochi (sweet rice cake) fan, so it’s been really tough keeping myself from eating this Yaokin chocolate-covered mochi pie all up before filming the Apricotsushi Samples video! I just love the cute illustration of a pink rabbit pounding mochi on the wrapper. The rabbit pounding mochi is an iconic symbol in Japan (and Korea, I’ve recently learned), as instead of seeing a man in the moon like us westerners, the Japanese see a rabbit pounding mochi!
These Umaibo snacks are a colorful, iconic Japanese treat that I’m embarassed to say I’ve never tried, so I’m definitely happy to finally have to chance! OyatsuBox introduced subscribers to Umaibo last month, and is including two new flavors this month – tonkatsu (blue) and takoyaki (red). I love how they keep track of what they’ve sent and send thoughtful “follow-ups” in subsequent months.
Next is another item I was excited to try from the moment I saw it. For those of you familiar with the fruit, it’s clear from the packaging that this candy is lychee flavored, but more specifically, it’s salted lychee-flavored gum! How intriguing! I imagine the idea of pairing salt and fruit might scare away some, but I’m already a fan of salted watermelon, so I’m definitely excited at the prospect of salted lychee. Unfortunately I don’t really eat a lot of gum, but I’m still interested to try this one out.
Here’s another popular Japanese candy – the good old Crunky bar. It’s basically just a chocolate bar with malt crunch bits inside, much like a Crunch bar. In this case, however, this Crunky bar is matcha, or green tea, flavored, which should make it a refreshing treat!
Now this traditional snack is called Dondon-yaki, named after the regional cuisine that is popular in the Tohoku region. Regular dondon-yaki is okonomiyaki that is wrapped around a stick, and this snack supposedly replicates the experience. I believe the images on the package are referencing the New Year’s fire festival of a similar sounding-name to the snack, Dondo Yaki, but if anyone else has a better idea, please let me know! It could very well just be a generic festival scene since dondon-yaki is a popular festival food, but I like the fact that it may be a play on the festival’s name, as well. I’ve never had real dondon-yaki, so I won’t be able to speak to how authentic this snack is, but I’ll give it a shot none the less.
Here’s yet another snack based on a traditional Japanese food! This one’s called Guruguru Monja, which is a snack version of monja-yaki, or simply monja. Monja is another food I’ve not had the pleasure to try, but Google tells me it is very similar to okonomiyaki, but with a runnier batter and finer-chopped ingredients. This snack appears to be instant monja, as you add water much like you would to instant ramen noodles. I love the little kid on the package!
This Wata Pachi melon soda candy had the craziest packaging out of the whole bunch, so I just had to save it for last! I just love the crazy frog thing and all the little guys running around on the package. For those familiar with Pop Rocks, this Wata Pachi is very similar, except it mixes the popping rock candy with cotton candy for what I can only imagine is a very interesting combination.
I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a close-up of the funny characters on the package. Are they supposed to be anthropomorphic glasses of melon soda? Whatever they are, they’re adorable!
If this isn’t an impressive array of snacks and candy, I don’t know what is! The OyatsuBox subscription service is a great deal for so many goodies at only $25, and they even offer the ability to cancel your subscription at any time. I had a peek at Yummy Unchi’s review of February’s OyatsuBox, and I do have to note that it’s a shame they didn’t include any character snacks or “limited edition” goodies like they did last month. I know Family Mart is currently doing a Hatsune Miku campaign that includes some specially-packaged items such as Look chocolate, so it would be nice to see them include at least one item like that every month. This is a small quibble, however, as overall I am absolutely thrilled with the selection of snacks I received! If you’re a Japanese snack fan, I definitely suggest giving OyatsuBox a try!
Note: OyatsuBox sent me a sample box for the purpose of this review. I am also an Oyatsu Cafe affiliate, but that did not influence my impression of their service or this review in any way. If you’d like to support more articles like this on Chic Pixel, please consider purchasing your Japanese snacks using my affiliate links!