Autumn in Kyushu – Sakuraco November Box Review 

Today we’re looking at Sakuraco’s Japanese snack subscription box! Does it miss the mark? Or offer an unparalleled glimpse into seasonal fall treats from Japan?

Note: I received this box in exchange for an honest review. 

When I think of Japan in autumn, images of vibrant fall foliage fill my mind.  

Commuter trains filled with tourist from across the island nation sightseeing in the chilly weather, indulging on the ubiquitous seasonal flavors of apple, sweet potatoe, chestnut, and kabocha to name a few. 

The snacks featured in this month’s subscription box complexly captured that feeling within me. The longing of wanderlust mingled nostalgia experienced each spring and fall to be on the other side of the world, seeing the ins and outs of daily Japanese life.  

I’ve always wanted to visit Kumamoto prefecture, as well. The island of Kyushu is not on many traveler’s list, but it happens to be the site where my favorite anime, Natsume Yuujinchou, takes place.  

Trying this snack box allowed me to daydream a bit today, indulging on treats from lands far off as I make seichi junrei, or anime pilgramages in my head. 

(That sounds silly, doesn’t it? ☺) 

Before we formally begin the review, first let me tell you a bit about Sakuraco boxes, and what they offer. 

Opening the November Sakuraco snack box for the first time
Opening the November Sakuraco snack box for the first time

So, what is Sakuraco? 

Sakuraco is a monthly subscription box filled with 20 different traditional Japanese sweets, snacks, and teas sent out to their subscribers worldwide every month.   

Each month has a different theme, and features 100% authentic and artisanal snacks from local makers in Japan. As you can ascertain from the title of this post, this month’s theme was autumn snacks from the isle of Kyushu. 

Now that we know more about their services, let’s dig into their snacks! 

The Sakuraco box was delivered to my home in a nice protective bubble wrapping.  

I was going to take a picture of it for the review, but as we’ve had rain here lately the bubble wrap had pine needles all over it from my own home’s steps. 

Upon picking it up to bring inside the house, I definitely noticed some weight on the contents inside.   

I was really impressed when opening the box – it’s stacked with snacks and has an aesthetically pleasing color palette.  

Stacked with new treats to try
Stacked with new treats to try

The booklet inside the box is read in Japanese style (from right to left) similar to manga.   

While flipping through the book, I noticed it had various spotlights for makers, prefectures in Japan, and even an ‘explore Japan’ section with a write-up on Kumamoto Castle and its adjoining history.    

A spotlight on one of many local makers in Japan who provide the tasty treats!
A spotlight on one of many local makers in Japan who provide the tasty treats!

The presentation of snack photos within the booklet is nice as well, but what I enjoy the most are the clearly labeled allergens for each item, along with whether or not the item in question is Vegetarian friendly.  On one of the pages I was flipping through, it even had a QR code on the upper right corner to “scan for the full ingredients list”. 

Clear ingredient labels and allergen information available for each snack
Clear ingredient labels and allergen information available for each snack

Most Japanese grocery stores or conbini I’ve personally been to in The States usually don’t have a list of ingredients translated in English on the back of the packaging.  

So I greatly appreciated the transparency of knowing what is in the items on the box, and that the ingredients for both the current and following month’s offerings are on Sakuraco’s website. 

There also seems to be an emphasis on forming a strong global, dedicated community of Japanese snack lovers worldwide by this company.  

The booklet features a lot of incentives for subscribers to share their experiences (such as photo contest to win prizes like (the current) porcelain teapot to taking a selfie with their box to be possibly featured in the next month’s booklet), and express which items they liked. 

If you were wondering, there are a variety of ways you can interact with this subscription box. 

Sakuraco box has a Monthly Plan and several Prepaid Plans which go as followed:  

Monthly: $37.5 per box, and the subscribed would be charged every month 

3 Month Prepaid Plan: $35.5 per box, charged every 3 months   

6 Month Prepaid Plan: $33.5 per box, charged every 6 months   

12 Month Prepaid Plan: $32.5 per box, charged per every 12 months 

It seems easier to subscribe to a prepaid plan, rather than monthly plans where you would have to keep track of sign-ups.   

As with most subscription box services, you also need to subscribe the month prior to receive the next month’s offerings.  

For example: to get May’s box, you need to subscribe before April ends (in Japan Standard Time). If you subscribe in May, you will get Sakuraco’s June box with a different theme, and so on. 

Sakuraco currently has an early Black Friday campaign going on where if you use code “Early2021” at checkout by November 14th, 2021 – you can receive authentic Japanese kitchenware and even possibly win Traditional Artwork.  

You can also view next month’s December box theme and contents online via their website. 

On to Our Favorite Snacks 

The "Chestnut" portion of this month's offerings, along with a daimaru senbei thrown in for good measure
The “Chestnut” portion of this month’s offerings, along with a daimaru senbei thrown in for good measure

All of the snacks had unique, robust fall flavors but here are the ones that stood out to us the most: 

Honey Castella 

Very soft. I delicately opened the bag as to not smush it. Smells like a fresh cake upon opening the packaging.  

Trying the Honey Castella sweet cake with the provided green tea
Trying the Honey Castella sweet cake with the provided green tea

Having it with the green tea adds a distinct layer to the flavor profile.  

The castella cake is sweet, but not too sweet. Subtle hints of honey and sugar mingle about. It reminds of a similar taste I experienced while eating a certain biscuit long ago. 

Fukamushi Green Tea 

Fresh leaves in a nice triangular baggie. Smells “green” if you understand my meaning.  

The indulgent Fukamushi Green Tea in my blue dragon teapot
The indulgent Fukamushi Green Tea in my blue dragon teapot

Muted taste despite rich green appearance. On the second sip I received more of a traditional green tea flavor. This could also be due to steeping it a minute or two longer than recommended in the booklet. 

(I mainly drank the green tea before and after snacks as a palette cleanser and enjoyed the flavor more as I went on. I don’t know if it was more pronounced because it had ‘settled’, or if it was just an ‘acquired taste’ sort of thing.) 

Brown Sugar Bolo 

I tried this one alongside the tea.  

The crumbly texture left crumbs all over the plate - but the cake was so soft it was worth it!
The crumbly texture left crumbs all over the plate – but the cake was so soft it was worth it!

When opening the wrapper, it smelled exactly like a cookie. Crumbly texture.  

Brown sugar with a delicate crunch when biting into it. It tastes like a strong wheat cracker, with a sweet aftertaste.  

My favorite snack from the box I’ve tried so far! 

This was my favorite treat so far! I didn't take pictures of the cross-section, but it had an almost doughy texture inside.
(also, I know the lighting is really varying in these images. I started taking photos as the sun had set, so that's why they get progressively darker as we go on)
This was my favorite treat so far! I didn’t take pictures of the cross-section, but it had an almost doughy texture inside.
(Also, I know the lighting is really varying in these images. I started taking photos as the sun had set, so that’s why they get progressively darker as we go on)

Strong milk flavor that blends perfectly with subtle hints of white chocolate.  

Soft texture, as even gently pressing on the cookie leaves an indentation on its surface. 

Absolutely delicious. ☆☆☆ 

Brown Sugar Donuts 

The packaging has Kumamon – the official Yuru-chara, or character mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture on it! 

Kumamoto prefecture mascot Kumamon is here to say hello!
Kumamoto prefecture mascot Kumamon is here to say hello!

When opening the box I was greeted with three individually wrapped log shaped donuts. (Japan has a huge snack-sharing culture, so this is why so many snacks from there can be found in individual packaging.) 

The booklet says that these items were lightly fried, and from within the packaging the donuts don’t appear to be overtly greasy.  

They have a firm texture on the outside, and a strong brown sugar taste with crunchy sugar granules within.  

Very nice cross-section on these fried donuts
Very nice cross-section on these fried donuts

I can taste the oil from it being frying, but it’s not too overpowering.  

On the second and third bites, I taste the wheat ingredients.  

The Brown Sugar Donuts go very well with the green tea. Paired together, it evokes a strong, rich brown sugar flavor. 

Purple Imo Bread 

It’s not a Japanese fall without sweet potato! 

Delicate, fluffy (almost smushed) purple sweet potato bread with a thick layer of filling.  

The Purple Imo Bread paired with green tea
The Purple Imo Bread paired with green tea

I like the light brown marks on the top as if it were freshly grilled.  

Immediately taste the apple and sweet potato mingling together, along with cloud-like outer breading that gives off a neutral taste.  

Packed with sweet potato flavor!
Packed with sweet potato flavor!

Not too sweet, I could definitely see people enjoying this often throughout the fall season. 

(Also taste great with a sip of green tea!) 

Sweet Potato Karinto 

So, this is deep fried Japanese sweet potatoes coated with sugar. 

It tastes like… deep fried Japanese sweet potatoes coated in sugar. Haha ☺ 

A straightforward seasonal sweet potato snack
A straightforward seasonal sweet potato snack

A little too hard for my liking, but the slightly salty taste of the fried sweet potato with the sweetness of the sugar is an interesting mix, to say the least. 

Black Bean Senbei 

I really enjoy black beans (and senbei) in general, so I was excited to try this.  

Senbei Japanese crackers with nuggets of black bean stuck within
Senbei Japanese crackers with nuggets of black bean stuck within

A nice salty senbei with pieces of black bean stuck in it.  A pretty straight forward and healthy tasting snack. 

Kumamoto Castle Ginkgo Pie 

I actually had to tap this one with my finger due to its appearance before trying.  

The Kumamoto Castle Ginkgo Pie in its packaging
The Kumamoto Castle Ginkgo Pie in its packaging

Despite how it looks, it’s surprisingly hollow and not hard at all. It has dried sugar on top, smells appetizingly sweet and beaks apart easily enough.  

Tastes very similar to a sugar cookie with a crunchy texture. I didn’t taste the ginkgo leaf powder on the first bite.  

The ginkgo pie up close and personal
The ginkgo pie up close and personal ☺

When trying it again moments later, I think it manifested in the pies after taste.   

An enjoyable enough snack. 

Amanatsu Citrus Jelly 

(The booklet advises that the jelly pairs well with a light green tea.  I tried this with the tea provided in the box.) 

The container the jelly came in
The container the jelly came in

Wow! It was so jiggly in the container, and just completely expanded across the small plate moments after taking this picture.  

Huge chunks of citrus orange amanatsu along with almost shredded pieces of the fruit.  

The jelly and it's liquid slowly expanding across my tiny plate
The jelly and it’s liquid slowly expanding across my tiny plate

This was my first time trying a fruit jelly of this nature, and it wasn’t a bad experience at all. Despite the amount of fruit in the cup, the orange flavor was light and not overbearing. 

The Verdict? 

Overall, I was generally surprised by my first experience with a Sakuraco Japanese snack box.  

Another layout of the snacks all together, while some are still in the deep box
Another layout of the snacks all together, while some are still in the deep box

It’s not that I thought the snack selection would be poor, I just didn’t anticipate a variety that perfectly encapsulated select fall flavors from Japan.  

(Or, for the wanderlust wave to hit so hard ☺) 

I really enjoyed learning more about Japanese history and culture from the booklet included with the box, and seeing all of the active social media promotions the company has for its subscribers.  

Sakuraco seems to be doing its best at cultivating an online community of snack lovers across the globe – and it seems to be working. 

You can check them out on Twitter and Instagram

If you’d like to join in on the fun by becoming a subscriber, you can do so here

Thank you again to Sakuraco for sending the November snack box out – it made me nostalgic for travels to Japan. I’d imagine it would make those yearing to discover the country through food feel the same way. 

Have you tried any snacks from Japan lately?

Let us know in the comment section below. Also be sure to follow us for more Japanese snack reviews!  

☆ In Asian Spaces   

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

2 thoughts on “Autumn in Kyushu – Sakuraco November Box Review ”

  1. This sounds really nice, I particularly like the sound of the brown sugar donuts! I love individually wrapped snacks as it means you can save some for later (rather than share with others XD).

    Liked by 1 person

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