Bokksu, a popular Japanese snack box subscription, has been marketed by tons of top YouTubers and content creators, leaving me with the question, “Is Bokksu worth it?” I’m getting to the bottom of this question with a full Bokksu review.
Bokksu entices customers with the opportunity to experience the flavors of Japan without setting foot in the country. Each month, a curated selection of the best snacks Japan has to offer will be sent straight to your door, taking all the guesswork out of snack shopping for you. Sounds great, right?
The box I’m trying is the Sakura Smiles box from the Bokksu Hello Kitty and Friends Snack Box Subscription. I’m a huge cherry blossom person and love the Hello Kitty franchise, so this box couldn’t be a better fit for my taste.
Disclaimer: Bokksu sent me this box for PR purposes, with no strings attached to post or share. I’m writing this Bokksu review voluntarily, without their knowledge. All thoughts and opinions are fully my own.
New to Bokksu? Get $15 off your first order of $40 or more with this Bokksu promo code.
What is Bokksu?
Bokksu is a Japanese snack box subscription company founded by Danny Taing. After living in Japan, Taing was frustrated that the local Japanese snacks he brought back to share with his friends and family weren’t available in the United States.
Bokksu aims to bridge cultures through authentic Asian food in their snack boxes, Japanese snack boutique, and Bokksu Market, an online Asian grocery market.
The company collaborates with small, family-owned businesses in Japan to source the treats for their snack boxes and boutique, when possible.
Each box is built around a specific theme, such as a Japanese holiday, festival, or prefecture. Some of the snacks and tea featured in boxes are exclusively made for Bokksu.
How Does Bokksu Work?
Each Bokksu subscription begins with the Seasons of Japan box unless you’re subscribing to a special Bokksu box like the Hello Kitty and Friends subscription.
The Seasons of Japan box features curated snacks highlighting Japan’s flavors year-round. Some of the included authentic Japanese snacks are handmade yuzu sake candy, white strawberry (founder Danny Taing’s favorite Bokksu snack to date), and one-bite sesame mochi with an anko red bean filling, coated in white and black sesame seeds.
After receiving the Seasons of Japan box, your monthly box will be seasonally themed to Japanese culture and flavors, such as the Matsuri Nights and Manatsu Fruits boxes.
You can choose to subscribe to Bokksu in a few different ways. Bokksu offers billing options for one month, three months, or six months for their flagship box. Their Hello Kitty and Friends box only ships bi-monthly, and offers options for a full year or bi-monthly subscription.
If you don’t want to subscribe at all (or just want more of something you loved), you can buy many of the premium Japanese snacks featured in Bokksu’s boxes in the Bokksu Boutique.
In addition to individual snacks, the Bokksu Boutique also offers specially curated gift boxes, like the Premium Cat Lover’s Box and Premium Tea Box which Bokksu doesn’t offer through their subscription box.
Get $15 off a $40 purchase with this Bokksu coupon.
Bokksu’s subscription box pricing varies based on your billing frequency. Like many subscription services, you will save more by choosing to pay more upfront.
Boxes billed monthly are $49.99 per month, quarterly billing is $45.99 per month, and semi-annual billing is $43.99 per month.
The Hello Kitty and Friends subscription box is a premium price point to Bokksu’s signature snack box subscription. Those boxes are $69.99 a box when billed bi-monthly, and $59.99 per box when billed annually.
Bokksu offers the option to pause your subscription and skip a month if you’re not interested in receiving a box.
Before receiving my first box, Bokksu’s price point was honestly the biggest reason I was reluctant towards the company. After all, I grew up eating Asian snacks all the time, and could easily buy them at the Asian market. After I received my first box, my opinion started to change.
If you subscribe to Bokksu, your subscription will earn you loyalty points that you can redeem for different rewards. Based on how much you spend with Bokksu, you’ll be placed into a different reward tier.
Being placed in a higher Bokksu Reward tier means you’ll earn more points for every dollar you spend, and will also receive higher birthday bonus points, better discounts for Bokksu Boutique, and exclusive opportunities like early access to sales.
For example, Silver members only early one point per dollar and receive five percent off at Bokksu Boutique, while Diamond members earn four points per dollar and receive 15 percent off at Bokksu Boutique in addition to an exclusive offer.
Points aren’t just earned from making purchases, either. You can earn points by engaging with the Bokksu community, following the brand on social media, or writing a review.
With each box shipment, you’ll earn loyalty points. Bokksu loyalty points can be redeemed for a discount on future orders. 100 points equals $1.
Bokksu ships its boxes directly from Japan. Shipping is free for subscription boxes, which means that you won’t need to pay hefty international shipping fees on top of the price of your box!
Shipping for my box took a little over a week. Not short, but not bad either. Of course, I live in New York where we have an international sorting center (ISC), so packages, both domestic and international, usually arrive relatively quickly.
Officially, Bokksu boxes take one to three weeks to ship from Japan, according to customer service. The company doesn’t guarantee arrival dates do to customs and other uncontrollable variables involved in international shipping and different delivery services.
What’s Included in a Bokksu Box?
Each Bokksu box includes 20 to 22 Japanese snacks and candies, along with a tea pairing. You’re not going to receive all these snacks without context, boxes include a 24-page Culture Guide Magazine detailing where each snack came from, its flavors, and allergens.
Boxes include free shipping straight from Japan, and the option to write a personalized message if you’re purchasing a subscription as a gift.
Bokksu subscribers also receive 15% off at the Bokksu Boutique to purchase snacks they missed, or snacks they loved.
The Hello Kitty and Friends subscription box includes the above, plus a Bokksu-exclusive Hello Kitty and Friends collectible in each box.
Bokksu Unboxing: What’s Inside?
Unboxing my Sakura Smiles box felt a little like Christmas morning. Receiving a box that was a total mystery was actually a lot of fun.
After opening my box, I was greeted with a paper Hello Kitty coaster, a postcard with information about the collectible for the month (a Hello Kitty snack plate and teacup), a card with a message from Danny Taing welcoming me to the subscription, and the Sakura Smiles Friends Guide detailing the inspiration for the box and each of the items in it.
Snacks are divided up by character inside the guide. It’s a fun touch that helps push the theme and inspiration for the box even further. The guide also provides tips for visiting Japan’s cherry blossom festivals, like shopping for kimonos and hosting a Hanami party.
The actual size of the box was smaller than I was expecting, but it was only because the box was so carefully and compactly packed (no empty space here). I appreciate that Bokksu truly only uses as much packaging as they need, cutting down on waste.
As a Vietnamese-American, I was definitely expecting to see some snacks in the box that were familiar to me or that I’d already tried. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t tried anything in the box before. There were a few snacks similar to others I’ve had previously, but those snacks were made more unique with hard-to-find flavors.
Among the snacks in the box I was most excited to try were the Umeshiso Uma Sen Rice Crackers, Satsumarché Sakura Green Tea, and Strawberry Choco Mochi.
Some of the Bokksu-exclusive snacks in my box included handmade sakura candy and Sakura Mochi Azuki Crunch. Several snacks were seasonally limited, leaning into the timeliness of the Sakura Smiles box.
It was obvious that Bokksu put a lot of thought and care into each of the snacks in the box. For example, the Hello Kitty Tokai Area Limited Printed Cookie is only produced and Tokai, so the Hello Kitty printed on the cookie was printed in front of the map of the region and Ise Jingu, a large shrine in the Mie Prefecture.
I felt like I was actually getting a taste of Japan’s sakura season thanks to the inclusion of snacks like the Sakura Donut Stick Cake which is only produced during cherry blossom season, and the Sakura Chinsuko, a shortbread-like cookie from Okinawa frequently given as omiyage, a souvenir gift.
I’m really surprised by how much I loved experiencing Bokksu. While there are still a few things the brand could work on, overall, it’s a really well-considered product and the care and consideration Taing’s team puts into each box shines through.
Here are my Bokksu pros:
- Boxes are culturally conscious and well-researched
- Asian American-owned business
- Much more unique than traditional basket or box companies
- Lots of snacks in each box
- Good variety of snacks—not just crackers or chips, but a balance of sweet and savory, and a mix of different textures
- Exclusive snacks made just for Bokksu
- Inclusion of a tea pairing (I love tea)
- Inclusion of Japanese versions of already popular snacks (Kit Kats and Pocky have been known to make appearances)
- Supporting materials give good insight into Japanese culture, and make the box even stronger
- None of my snacks arrived damaged or crushed, the box was well-packaged for safe delivery
- Easy-to-use website
This wouldn’t be an honest Bokksu review without some critical feedback. While Bokksu’s actual product feels outstanding within the subscription box world, there are a few things that would give me pause from subscribing.
Below are a few Bokksu cons:
- The price point is a little high for those that just want to order for themselves, not as a gift
- Pricing feels like a premium on the snacks rather than giving users a good deal
- Many of the snacks in the box are not vegetarian or vegan-friendly despite seeming as though they would be at first glance
- Box customizations are not available for dietary restrictions like being vegan, gluten-free, or halal
- Some reviews mention boxes have similar items to others
Bokksu previously offered a vegetarian subscription box option for its flagship box, however, has since rolled it back. I wish they still offered it. Based on my research into Japanese snack boxes, it definitely would give them a leg up!
The Bottom Line: Is Bokksu Worth It?
Although I’m still a little hesitant about Bokksu’s price point, I actually think that the box is 100% worth it—with a few caveats.
Bokksu’s highly considered, premium approach to a subscription box makes it a really strong box for gifting. When comparing Bokksu’s price point to other basket and gifting companies like Edible Arrangements or Harry and David, it’s really pretty reasonable, especially considering the fact that Bokksu’s snacks are truly difficult to find in your local Asian market.
Honestly, gifting someone a Bokksu box feels much more unique and impressive than another generic mixed nut and pretzel situation.
However, if you’re purchasing Bokksu for yourself, $49.99 a box may be difficult to justify over the lower prices of Bokksu’s competitors. If you’ve been paying attention to this Bokksu review though, the brand’s balance of traditional treats with modern snacks gives it a unique edge over the competition.
That being said, if you’re unfamiliar with Japanese culture or the idea of going to an Asian market feels overwhelming to you (totally valid!) Bokksu is an easy way to dip your toe in the water.
Save $15 on your first Bokksu subscription with this Bokksu discount.
Other Japanese Snack Box Subscriptions
In case you can’t tell already from this Bokksu review, this company is paving its own road in the subscription box world. While there isn’t a box that does exactly the same thing as Bokksu, there are a few doing similar.
If you like the idea of Bokksu but feel like the box may not be perfect for you, check out the following Japanese snack subscription boxes.
Sakuraco is a carefully curated Japanese snack box featuring authentic wagashi (Japanese confections commonly served with green tea), an afternoon tea pairing, Japanese home goods, and a snack and culture guide to talk you through the box.
Like Bokksu, Sakuraco partners with family-owned businesses in local communities to bring their boxes to life. The company is able to offer exclusive snacks to its subscribers through these partnerships.
Boxes are themed to what’s happening in Japan seasonally, like the Festivals of Okinawa box.
Sakuraco and Bokksu feel like similar boxes in that both cater to a gourmet audience and emphasize supporting small businesses in Japan. Sakuraco’s emphasis on Japanese tea culture helps differentiate it from Bokksu, in addition to its inclusion of Japanese home goods like chopsticks and furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths).
Sakuraco pricing starts at $37.50 for monthly billing, lowering to $35.50 a box for quarterly billing, $33.50 a month for semi-annual billing, and $32.50 a box for annual billing—decent savings compared to Bokksu, however, Sakuraco doesn’t ship free like Bokksu does.
TokyoTreat aims to share the “coolest and craziest” Japanese snacks each month to give subscribers a taste of modern Japan.
Each box includes 15-20 full-sized snacks and could include drinks, instant ramen, rare Japanese KitKat flavors, chips or other salty snacks, Japanese candy, or baked goods like cookies, cakes, and bread.
In October, UmaiBoxes releases a mega box. By subscribing, you could win this box, but it isn’t included in the core subscription.
Like Bokksu, boxes feature a culture guide to explain the treats included in the box. Unlike Bokksu, snacks seem to be less gourmet and full-sized, which makes TokyoTreat a better option for families with kids (much easier to share).
TokyoTreat is less expensive than Bokksu, costing $37.50 when billed monthly, $35.50 when billed quarterly, $33.50 billed bi-annually, and $32.50 per box annually.
Japan Crate offers tons of different Japanese-themed crates from kawaii style, to stationary, to toys, and even noodles (I could totally get behind a noodle subscription box).
It’s the company’s flagship, eponymous crate, Japan Crate, that is the most similar to Bokksu. Japan Crate includes 17-20 Japanese snacks and a drink, the opportunity to win prizes each month, and a collectible item.
The brand has been known to collaborate with popular Japanese brands like tokidoki on their crates (a tokidoki crate?! I’m so in).
In addition to Japan Crate, the company offers Doki Doki Crate for kawaii items, Umai Crate for instant noodles, Gacha Gacha Crate for gachapon (Japanese capsule toys), and Inku Crate for Japanese stationery. Personally, I’d love to give the brand’s other crates a try! I could totally see myself loving the Doki Doki Crate, Inku Crate, or Umai Crate.
Japan Crate is priced at $49.95 per box, billed monthly. The brand offers other standard options for billing also. Box prices drop to $47.95 for quarterly billing, $46.95 for bi-annual billing, and $45.79 for annual billing.
Pricing is very similar to Bokksu. Even though Japan Box offers fewer snacks per month than Bokksu, it makes up the difference with the inclusion of a drink and a collectible item.
Japan Candy Box
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Japan Candy Box might be a better fit for you than Bokksu. The box is designed specifically to highlight Japanese candy.
Each box includes ten Japanese snacks. Half the treats of Bokksu, but this could be ideal if you’re not someone who snacks much, or you live alone.
Boxes could include hard-to-find, Japanese-exclusive flavors of popular treats like Hi-Chews, Oreos, Kit Kats, Pretz, and Pocky, or could include snacks that are more traditional, themed around Japanese characters or are DIY kits.
Billing is available on a monthly, bi-annual, or annual basis. Boxes are $29.90 when billed monthly, $27.90 billed bi-annually, and $24.90 billed annually. A lot less expensive than Bokksu, but you’re also not receiving quite as many treats.
UmaiBox is a box from NihonBox. While NihonBox focuses on Japanese objects and apparel, UmaiBox is closer to Bokksu, featuring treats and snacks from Japan.
In each surprise box are 14 products carefully selected by the company’s tasters in Japan. Each box will include a Japanese drink, a DIY candy kit or ramen cup, a snack based on anime or manga, a local product, and the UmaiBox magazine describing the snacks of the month.
UmaiBox’s inclusion of novelty snacks and snacks including popular anime and manga characters make it a great pick for those into Japanese entertainment. Bokksu hasn’t crossed into this territory yet, aside from the separate Hello Kitty & Friends subscription box.
UmaiBox pricing begins at $32.49 a month for monthly billing, lowering to $28.99 a box for quarterly billing, and $28.49 per box for bi-annual billing.
Bokksu Review: FAQ
Bokksu ships its boxes directly from Japan. Boxes feature snacks local to Japan, some made by small, family-owned businesses. While the company has operations in the United States, it also has facilities in Japan.
Bokksu is based in New York City and Tokyo.
Every Bokksu box includes 20 to 22 carefully selected Japanese snacks.
Danny Taing is the founder of Bokksu. Taing founded Bokksu in 2015 after living in Japan and being unable to find the same snacks in the United States.
Bokksu is a variation of the phonetic spelling of the Japanese word ボックス, which translates into “box.” Technically, the romaji spelling is bokkusu. The first “u” typically isn’t pronounced, hence the brand’s exclusion of it in their name.
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