Subscription box services are a luxury. When you're tight on cash, they're one of the first expenses to go. But when you have some disposable income? They can be pretty freakin' awesome, as long as you find the ones that add significant value to your life.
For anyone who wants to experience Japan but can't, TokyoTreat promises to be the ideal subscription box for you. Each box, delivered monthly, gives you a taste of Japan's finest snacks and candies—as well as a few weird ones thrown in for fun.
I've never been to Japan, so when TokyoTreat offered me a chance to review a box, I jumped at the opportunity.
Thinking about subscribing to TokyoTreat? Here's what I found and what you need to know before commiting to a subscription.
My review unit was provided for free, but my opinions are my own and haven't been influenced in any way.
What's in a TokyoTreat Box?
TokyoTreat offers two types of boxes, so the contents differ depending on which one you get. For this review, they were kind enough to send me the Premium box; there's also a Classic box that costs less but contains fewer items.
TokyoTreat's Premium box contains 17 items, including a bottled drink, a DIY Japanese candy kit, a party pack, an anime-related snack, several general single-serving Japanese snacks, as well as a few dagashi, which are like the Japanese version of American penny candies. (Think Skittles, Atomic Fireballs, M&Ms, Smarties, etc.)
TokyoTreat's Classic box is a pared down version of the Premium box. It excludes the bottled drink, the party pack, and the anime-related snack; it also contains one fewer dagashi and one fewer general single-serving Japanese snack. Otherwise, the remaining contents are the same as in the Premium box.
For specifics, check out this nifty page where you can see exactly what snacks were included in all previous TokyoTreat boxes:
TokyoTreat shipped me the January 2021 edition of the Premium box. Most of the snacks don't have much English text, so I was pretty lost as far as what each snack actually was—until I realized that TokyoTreat includes a handy "snack menu" with photos of each snack, the snack's English name, and a short description of it:
Here are the five Premium items in my box:
- Fanta Premium Peach
- KitKat Hot Spring Dumpling
- Pudding Mochi
- Takada Crackers
- Pocky Winter Chocolate Ganache
Here are the twelve Classic items in my box:
- Koala's March x Pokemon Cheesecake Flavor
- New Year's Lucky Bubbly Taiyaki
- Koikeya Pride Potato x Doraemon Seaweed Salt Chips
- Salty Turtle Crackers
- Aji Cheese
- Mochi Taro
- Mini Monster Fruity Soft Candy
- Sour Cola Gummy
- Porickey Brown Sugar
- Hamburger Gummy
All in all, I'd say that's a pretty decent haul!
Seeing it in person, it's actually more than I expected. Sure, some of these goodies are quite small—to say that they're "bited-sized" would be an understatement—but this kind of subscription box is all about variety. It's about tasting the many different tidbits of Japan, and TokyoTreat definitely delivered on that front!
Which raises the question... how do they taste?
Are TokyoTreat Snacks Any Good?
I only had one expectation going into this TokyoTreat box: even if I hate every single item, I'm doing this to experience something foreign first-hand; I'm not judging it based on how well I like it—but if I end up liking a bunch of this stuff, that's certainly a bonus!
That said, here are my thoughts on some of the more notable treats:
I keep swinging back and forth on the Salty Turtle Crackers. They're crispy, toasted, slightly sweet, and definitely salted (but not more salty than, say, original Pringles).
On first bite, they're forgettable... and then when the sweetness fades, the aftertaste is smoky and a little burnt. I don't like it, yet I feel compelled to eat another... and another... and another. I can't think of another snack quite like this.
The Takada Crackers are another crispy, sweet, and salty treat. But these have a more savory flavor than the Salty Turtle Crackers. I'd compare them to a hybrid between Funyuns and Chex, which sounds pretty strange on paper but is actually not bad.
If there was a bowl of this next to me while watching a movie or playing board games, it'd be gone in half an hour. It's one of those kinds of snacks!
For some reason, the packaging made me think this Pandaro treat would have chocolate in it. But it doesn't. (Sad!)
It's actually a butter cookie, reminiscent of those blue-tinned Royal Dansk cookies that everyone has had at one time or another—except this is a bit lighter and sweeter, almost like a madeleine. I even get a very faint taste of coconut underneath it all.
Overall it's pretty tasty, although I probably couldn't eat too many before feeling sick.
Right off the bat, I'll say that the Sour Cola Gummy only vaguely tastes like Coca-Cola. It has a decent punch of citrus that puts it pretty close to Coke Lime, but it also has a strong undercurrent of spice (anise?) that gives it an exotic feel.
The snack menu describes it as "refreshing"—I'd beg to differ! Overall, I like sour gummies so I'd probably try it again (if I had another to try), but it's definitely not a crowd-pleaser snack.
Heck yes! As a lover of sour gummies, I have to say that Mini Monster Fruity Soft Candy knocks it out of the park. There's an incredible brightness to its flavor that's missing in pretty much all Western sour gummies—think leveled-up Super Sour Gushers!
It strikes that perfectly addictive balance between sweet-and-sour; I could eat a million of these. (It also has an unnecessary pull-and-peel gimmick that I thought I should mention.)
OK, the Pudding Mochi blew me away. I've had mochi many times in my life: in bubble tea, as a topping on ice cream and frozen yogurt, as a standalone treat.
But I've never had mochi this good before. It melts in your mouth with a subtle sweetness, and after the pudding mixes with everything, it tastes like fluffy creamy ice cream.
I'd buy this again in a heartbeat... if only I knew what it was called and where to get some.
The Fanta Premium Peach is fantastic! I like peach-flavored drinks so I've tasted my fair share, and even so, I'd say this is one of my favorite peach-flavored drinks ever.
According to the snack menu, it contains 13% real peach juice plus white peach puree—no wonder it tastes so good! It's not overly sweet like Snapple; I'd compare it to a leveled-up, carbonated version of Honest Tea. If this was widely available in America, it'd be my go-to drink, and I'm not even exaggerating.
TokyoTreat Shipping and Delivery
TokyoTreat ships out of Tokyo, Japan—big surprise!—and is delivered in 2-5 days via DHL Express. Yeah, you heard that right: 2-5 days internationally.
I'm in the Northeast region of the US, so basically the opposite side of the world. My shipment was picked up in Tokyo on Thursday, December 10. It arrived at my doorstep in the afternoon on Monday, December 14:
While the package itself is nothing to run home about, it's pretty nice overall. The material is thick and robust, the seal is tight and secure, and the branding is aesthetically pleasing without edging into obnoxious territory.
There's no internal padding for the snacks, but they arrived all in one piece so no complaints from me:
How Much Does TokyoTreat Cost?
Let's explore what this box of goodies actually costs. As mentioned above, TokyoTreat is available in two editions: the fully-loaded Premium box and the slimmer Classic box.
Premium and Classic subscribers have access to TokyoTreat's Streaks reward program. Every box contains a unique activation code that extends your streak, and your streak earns you points that can be redeemed for discounts and exclusive items.
Your rewards grow with your streak, but if you miss even one box, it resets to zero!
Is TokyoTreat Worth It?
For anyone who's dying to experience a bit of Japanese culture but can't travel, then I think it's a worthwhile subscription—if you get the Premium box.
Here's the thing: I'm Asian and I grew up with access to many different Asian markets, yet even I've never seen some of the snacks in the box I got.
That's what makes me believe that TokyoTreat's snack selection is truly local to Japan, and that's what you're paying for with these boxes. You can't just hit up an Asian mart and replicate it.
And that's why I don't think the Classic box is worth it. The snacks in the Classic box aren't special enough, or large enough, to justify the box price; they're mostly penny candies and small pouches. But the Premium box? That's where the cool snacks are, and they're the ones that had me the most excited.
Like I said before: subscription boxes are a luxury. If you're going to treat yourself to TokyoTreat, you might as well treat yourself right—and the Premium box is an awesome treat. But if you can only afford the Classic box, skip it and save your money.
TokyoTreat Subscription BoxTokyoTreat Subscription Box
- Excellent variety of snack types for different tastes
- Includes unique snacks you've never tried before
- Helpful snack menu that describes what each snack is
- Streaks reward program is a nice bonus on top of the monthly boxes
- Fast shipping and delivery via DHL Express
- Some snacks are tiny, leaving you wanting more (big snacks are only in the Premium box)