This Japanese Snack Box Subscription Recreates the Joy of Travel
The assortment of regional Japanese goodies brings excitement to otherwise unremarkable days.
I don't know the next time I'll step onto a plane, and that breaks my heart. Before the pandemic, I was lucky enough to travel internationally several times a year, usually reporting stories. That profound sense of wonder from, say, getting lost in a snowy Norwegian village, or exploring a Japanese 7-Eleven for the first time, is impossible to recreate at home, even as we're Zooming into the Uffizi Gallery and taking virtual tours of Buckingham Palace.
When I received a subscription Japanese snack box called Bokksu, I got closer to that thrill of travel than I have since the world shut down in March. The surprise assortment of 20 to 25 artisanal snacks, prized in cities and regions throughout Japan, shows up at your door once a month, or as often as you'd like.
Though the company has been around since 2016—perhaps the peak of the subscription-box craze—I recently tried a Bokksu box for the first time, hoping it would wrestle me from my afternoon Cheez-Its rut (absolutely no disrespect to Cheez-Its).
The process of opening my box was nothing less than thrilling. Shipped straight from Japan, every single goodie was something I'd never before tasted or seen, even on my snack-fueled trip to the country in 2018. It was exciting to sort through, even before eating. Many of the snacks are sourced from family businesses, some centuries-old.
My box included rich Hokkaido red bean doughnuts, crunchy black sesame taiko from Kumamoto, edamame cracker-like senbei, handmade yuzu sake candy, and enough sweet and savory treats to help me forget, if for a moment, that I hate this year so, so much.
The super-savory, slightly funky uni rice crackers are one of my favorite things in a while. The organic genmaicha tea—a combination of green tea and roasted brown rice—was the hot, nutty, comforting beverage my soul desperately needed.
Boxes include a deeply detailed pamphlet describing each snack, which is useful considering that some of the snacks don't have any English on them. (I discovered the savory rice crackers I so enjoyed were flavored with sea urchin after I finished the bag.) The pamphlet also offers a map of Japan, indicating the regions that each item comes from. If you miss travel as much as I do, and could stand to liven up your pandemic snacking routine, Bokksu lets you pretend you're somewhere else.