If you’ve been on the Internet and into anime or Japan for a while, you’ve probably heard of Japan Crate. They call themselves the original Japanese candy subscription box. From the same people as Sugoi Mart, they’re probably one of the most well-known subscription boxes overall.
Every month, they send out a box with 18-20 Japanese snacks, including Japanese Kit-Kats, a Japanese-only drink, and a booklet to explain it all. It’s an interesting way to get a little experience of Japan. The items sent out are set so everyone gets the same each month, but the contents of the next box will be completely different.
Some crates are themed, such as their past Persona or Hatsune Miku crates, while some are just about it being Japanese snacks. There are even other crates that don’t focus on snacks but are filled with other goodies. Either way, they’re filled with interesting stuff.
Japan Crate kindly sent us their December 2022 Christmas crate to check out. I’ve been tasting my way through it for the past week, and I’m here to share my thoughts on it.
Watch The Unboxing
🎅Had a @JapanCrate delivery from Santa today
🇯🇵The Xmas #JapanCrate was packed full of tasty-looking snacks from Japan that I'm looking forward to trying!
📹Stay tuned for a website post with all the details soon, but here's a quick <2 min video to check it out in the meantime pic.twitter.com/n1QefQczOl
— NookGaming.com | JRPGs, Visual Novels and More💕 (@NookSite) January 19, 2023
Crisps or Potato Chips
Two of the most noticeable items in the box were the ‘Japan Pride Potato’ and ‘Karamucho Spicy Sticks’. They’re also the things that got eaten the quickest, both being extremely moreish.
The Japan Pride Potato are Olive Salt flavored potato chips (or crisps as we call them in the UK) and were a huge surprise to me. They were absolutely bursting with flavor. Especially so compared to the crisps I find here. It sounds odd for potato chips, but the word that came to mind was ‘juicy’. The flavor itself was great too.
The Karamucho Spicy Sticks are spicy stick snacks made with seaweed, but they certainly didn’t taste like seaweed to me. They were quite spicy, enough to make my mouth feel hot, but had a very different flavor to similar snacks I’d had before.
Both of these were great inclusions to the Japan Crate December 2022, but the Japan Pride Potato especially. I went searching to see if I could find anything similar locally right away, but sadly couldn’t.
Much of the contents of the Japan Crate December 2022 fall into the ‘candy’ category. As a general statement, it varied from candies that were fairly unusual to me to those similar to local ones, but often with a slightly more subtle taste.
The Diamond Ring Candy was probably the most similar to local candy. Coming in a cola flavor, it was quite similar to a ring pop. It still tasted nice though.
The Strawberry Gum was certainly tasty. It’s a very pink hard candy with a gum center. The candy part has a mild flavor, that gets stronger as it wears away and the gum is revealed. Crunch it when the candy is thin enough and there’s a burst of flavor. What I particularly liked here is it wasn’t overly sweet like some local alternatives.
One of my favorites of the smaller candies was the Petit Strawberry Candy. The milk Strawberry Milk flavor was pleasant and it breaks apart easily when crunching. Again, it’s that slightly different flavor that I’ve not come across here.
A single Milk Pot Candy was included too. It’s a hard candy with milk flavor which is a rarity; I generally only come across gummy or soft ones.
These were all smaller, but I enjoyed having a taste of different types through these.
While some of those 18-20 items are smaller individual candies, it included packs too.
A Candy Cane Stick was one of them. After some struggling to open it, I found it had plenty of tiny little candy-coated chocolates inside. Nothing too surprising with this one, other than the tiny size of each chocolate bit in looks, but it did taste a little different. It certainly fits the Christmas theme though.
You may have seen fruit rollups before. The Green Apple Candy was essentially one of those, but very slightly sour.
The Plenty of Fruit Gummies were pleasant. It contains a mix of apple and grape flavors and smells really nice. It’s not sweet either.
A pack of Dark Cherry Gummies was included. The soft gummies were a nice cherry flavor, that again wasn’t too sweet. This seems to be a theme here.
The Pachi Pachi Cola is a cola-flavored popping candy. It’s a little unusual in that it had small solid white candies with a chalky texture mixed in with the large brown cola-flavored popping candy crystals. It didn’t have a strong taste, but there was certainly a strong popping.
The best thing about the Japanese Snack Crate might be trying new things. Even better when they’re more than a little unique.
One of those interesting ones included in the Japan Crate December 2022 was the Champagne Cider Gummy. It had a particularly interesting way to present it, as included a few quite hard soda-flavored gummies with a toothpick to eat it with. There was only a small amount of candy, but it was quite a novelty and it tasted nice.
Something closer to traditional is the Hyoroku Mochi. This was a box with little cubes of green tea-flavored mochi included. It had a slightly sweet flavor and chewy texture. It’s one of the more obvious Japanese treats and something most wouldn’t get to try outside of a visit to Japan.
The Puku Puku Tai Lemon looks outwardly similar to the traditional taiyaki that you may have seen in anime or visual novels such as Kanon, only with lemon instead of red bean paste. That said, the texture certainly is different than the freshly-baked pastry. It’s more similar to a wafer biscuit. It had a nice lemony taste, which is lemon tea based.
My personal favorite was the Smoked Cheese Pretz. For those not familiar, they’re long thin biscuits with seasoning that you may recognize from anime, such as Please Twins/Onegai Twins.
I’ve had Pretz before, but this was very different than the flavors I’ve found elsewhere. It had a sharp cheese taste with a lingering smokey aftertaste. They’re very moreish. I easily finished off the entire box without noticing how quickly they were going. I wish I could order more of these, but they don’t seem to sell them in the UK, even in the import shops. That does emphasize the benefit of the Japan Crate though.
As mentioned, Japan Crate always comes with some Japanese Kit-Kats. These come in a wide variety of flavors not found in most countries. The ones in the December 2022 Japan Crate were no different and certainly fit the season – it was a bag of quite sweet white chocolate Kit-Kats with chestnut powder. While it may not be quite chestnuts roasting over an open fire, they were certainly a nice treat, and the ten of them were easily shared out. Oddly enough, one of my cats was far too interested in attempting to try one for himself, but only the humans got a taste.
While the taste isn’t too unique here, the packaging is; The next item is Tokyo Revengers Coffee. It was a small can of cafe au lait with one of the characters on. This is appropriate for the season in another way, with Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown having recently started airing. If you enjoy the anime, it’d be a nice collection item.
Perhaps the most unique of all was the Experimental Slime Jelly DIY. It’s a pack where you mix some powders with 30 ml of water to make a thick slime candy. It came out neon blue after cycling colors, which was interesting to see happen with various white powders. It’s a novelty and tasted nice too. Fortunately, the instructions were translated in the helpful booklet explaining all the items.
Should You Order?
The Japan Crate comes at $49.95 per month, with discounts if you prepay. At the time of writing, there appears to be a 25% discount for first-timers too. Despite it saying it needs to calculate delivery, that’s also noted as free and came up as such when I tried, which is good considering that international delivery is certainly pricey.
The items inside were all ones that would be difficult, if not impossible to get in my home country. The few I found that I could potentially order, were only possible to get in bulk. With that, I think it’s done a good job of providing a unique experience and there were certainly some standout items in there.
Many thanks go to Japan Crate/Sugoi Mart for sending out a sample for this feature.
You may also be interested in checking out our look at the Sugoi Mart Anime Set.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.