Packed with some of the latest Japanese snacks, sweets and drinks, the Tokyo Treat box is curated and despatched directly from Japan. Not only do you get the fun of opening and trying the various unique treats but it is also a glimpse into modern Japanese culture.
While I don’t often eat packaged and convenience food in my everyday life, when I’m in Japan the Konbini (convenience store) culture gets its hooks into me. The TokyoTreat box brings back that anticipation I feel when I settle into my seat on the Shinkansen and empty out the crinkly bag of carefully selected drinks, sweets and snacks from the nearest 7-Eleven, Lawsons or FamilyMart.
I usually can’t wait to see what it is I have actually chosen. Using Google Translate in the store would be cheating and I pick out something new each time rather than sticking to old favourites so I keep that element of surprise.
The arrival of this box direct from Japan has not only delivered some fun flavours to enjoy while we finalise the plans for our next visit but also memories of our previous adventures. A big thanks to the TokyoTreats team for reaching out and sending this box out to us.
Delivery of the Tokyo Treat box
The last time we received a Tokyo Treat box delivery I lived in a capital city. It came by DHL and took 2 working days to get to me. The shipping label was printed in Tokyo, one of my favourite cities on Friday afternoon and by Tuesday lunchtime it was at my door.
Now that I live in a regional coastal area, a 5-hour drive from the nearest city, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our mail is incredibly slow here so when it arrived from Tokyo to me in 3 business days was particularly impressive. Experience will of course vary but the order process and shipping are something they seem to have well and truly sorted.
What is the Tokyo Treat box?
The Tokyo Treat box can be ordered as a subscription box for a period of time or a single box can be ordered for yourself or as a gift. Inside the box the treats are all edible, they include both sweet and savoury and there is a drink too.
Check ‘Today’s Promo’ on the linked page for a discount or bonus gift
In designing the service Ayumi, the Tokyo Treat creator, noted that Japanese snacks sold internationally were quite different from those you buy in Japan. In the West, they use the same popular flavours like chocolate, strawberry and pumpkin spice over and over again. In Japan, the snack-consuming public is constantly looking for something new and different. If the products and packaging aren’t changed up regularly then sales taper off dramatically.
I have sometimes been disappointed while travelling in Japan that I can’t find a snack or drink that I’d loved on a previous visit only to discover it had inevitably been discontinued. The constant search for new flavours does sometimes result in some unusual combinations and not all appeal to my tastebuds but most of the time I just soak up the uniqueness of it all and give everything a go, finding some tasty snacks along the way.
I learned long ago in Japan not to go by the description and never to say I don’t like something until I try it. I mean cabbage pancake doesn’t have any appeal at all but I do love Okonomiyaki and who would have thought battered octopus balls would become my favourite festival food, I mean who doesn’t love Takoyaki?
Each monthly box has a theme, it might be a season, a Prefecture or a celebration. The current box as I write this celebrates the Tsukimi, or the Autumn Moon Festival which takes place in late summer as attention turns to Fall flavours and activities. The included booklet is full of information about Tsukimi including stories, traditions and why some foods are especially enjoyed at this time of year.
Who would enjoy a Tokyo Treat box?
The box would be ideal for anyone like us who regularly spends time in Japan and is missing it. They would also be fun for anyone in the process of planning their first trip or perhaps someone who would love to go but hasn’t yet had the opportunity.
I think this would also be a great treat or reward for a student studying Japanese. What a great study aid as they get ready for the end-of-year exam to work through deciphering the kanji on the packaging. KitKats of some unusual flavour are usually included in the pack and these have a special meaning for students in Japan. The name KitKat sounds a lot like “kitto katsu” which translates to something like, You will surely win, so they are often gifted to and between students around exam time.
Read more: The massive popularity of KitKats in Japan
For those who don’t read Japanese, there are apps for your phone such as Google Translate where you can select the camera option and get a rough English equivalent of the words and phrases you select. We use this app quite a bit in Japan on signboards when hiking or even just on menus and packaging.
The type of snacks in the box is similar to what you might pick up in a Japanese convenience store or at the train station before bordering the Shinkansen. They are current release, mainstream packaged products, fun and oh so reminiscent of days spent in Japan. However, if you avoid all colourings, sugar and artificial flavourings or exclusively buy your snacks from mom-and-pop specialty stores that’s not what this box is.
If you are more into traditional-style snacks like mochi and senbei there is another box created by Ayumi Chikamoto that might be more what you are looking for, we have also reviewed the SakuraCo box if you want to take a look at that one.
Take a look inside the Tokyo Treat Box
The snacks are packaged in a sealed flip-top cardboard box. Inside the treats are efficiently placed to sit neatly, exactly filling the box while not getting crushed. There is no external packaging or internal padding used. I’m guessing the packaging team excels at Tetris in their time off as you couldn’t have fitted one extra item in the box and yet nothing got crushed.
Sitting on the top as you open it is the monthly leaflet which is written in English but printed in Japanese style read from right to left, so you start at what would be the back in Australia.
The booklet gives a bit of information about the theme of the month’s box and full details on each item that is included, it tells you what it is, why they were chosen for that themed box and dietary information including common allergens, what it contains and whether it is suitable for vegetarians.
The Tsukimi box with a focus on fall flavours, family celebrations and moon viewing parties will bring back memories for many Japanese visitors and inspire future visits for others. For me, any mention of chestnuts reminds me of buying them freshly roasted and still steaming in their shells to eat as hiking snacks. Special memories of eating them alongside a small stream on the way to Minoo Falls in Osaka or part way up Mt Misen (Hiroshima) and Mt Takao (Tokyo) are brought to mind with the Tsukimi box.
The TokyoTreat box typically includes 15-20 items. There is a drink, a KitKat multi-pack and a variety of individually packaged items. I like that the box is balanced, this time with 7 sweet snacks, 7 savoury (umami) snack choices and a drink
It’s quite a decision on where to start, some items stand out for their uniqueness but several trigger memories of fun travel adventures across Japan.
The instant noodle bowl in this box is a style from Mito City that is made with thin udon noodles, served in a light dashi broth with strips of fried tofu, spring onions, bonito flakes and wakame seaweed. Moon-viewing udon has been served in Japan since the late 1800s during the Meiji Period usually with a raw egg yolk floated on the top representing the moon.
I couldn’t begin to count the bowls of noodles we have eaten in Japan. Each Prefecture, even each city, seems to have its own special style, broth or fresh ingredients so you really do have to give them all a try.
Some of the other savoury options in the box are these senbei (rice crackers) in the shape of the full moon with a soy sauce flavour and the extra crunchy soy and sesame senbei. I am particularly interested in trying the little orange package, it says it is made from dried fish with a jerky-like texture and spicy wasabi flavour.
Some of the brands in the Tokyo Treat boxes will be recognised by most people. The KitKat item we received this time is the mini 10-pack of individually wrapped double mini sticks. This is the format you often see in Japan and we’ll usually pick them up to try when we spot something new that we haven’t bought before or one that particularly appeals.
In my latest box, they are chestnut KitKat minis coasted in white chocolate. Woohoo, this is the current Autumn limited release so I was really hoping to get hold of it to try.
Other sweet options this month were some grape ramune candy, tiny blue chocolate moon rocks and custard-flavoured choco balls a bit reminiscent of Maltesers. In a more traditional style, there was a sweet kibi dango and a brown sugar and kinako (roasted soy powder) mochi stick.
While they are one of the more familiar items a good fruit jube is always a favourite and there are so many unusual flavours to choose from in the Japanese convenience store that I can usually find at least one new one to try. Last time I was there I saw green grape jubes quite frequently but these heart-shaped gummies are in black grape flavour.
I also really enjoyed the drink in this month’s Tokyo Treats box from Gold Pak, a Tokyo-based manufacturer of fruit and vegetable juices. It’s a single-serve tin of Mikan juice, a satsuma mandarin and yes, it is full of sweet flavour and delicious.
Final thoughts – Is the Tokyo Treat box worth it?
This question will always be subjective but for me yes I enjoy the boxes as an occasional treat, especially when I am really missing or getting ready for my next trip to Japan.
As a gift for someone with an interest in Japan, a reward for a student of the Japanese language, or for yourself they are a fun way to relive memories and learn a little more about the Japanese culture through your taste buds.
This isn’t a discount box of snacks, you would definitely be able to purchase similar items at a cheaper price at a Japanese 7-Eleven or Lawson but you aren’t going to find these items in your Asian Grocer in an Australian city.
I’m not in Japan right now and the Tokyo Treat boxes are shipped to me at home, perfectly packaged in the Japanese way. It is a curated collection that for me brings back priceless memories of our travels. For others, each box will offer an insight into an aspect of Japan, whether that is a season, a festival, a holiday or a region.