Unlike many other subscription boxes that try to embody a culture, Kokoro Care Packages works directly with hyper-local purveyors to create selections that are full of delicious, surprising (even after months-long retention) and inherently true to Japanese cuisine snacks and ingredients. Oftentimes the items included are limited in quantity or difficult to find. Subscribers have the option of signing up for the Nourish Essentials package (delivered monthly) or the Seasonal Delights package (delivered four times a year), with each containing between five and seven different Japanese goods.
“For anyone who has been to Japan or has enjoyed authentic Japanese food, they know that the quality of food that can be found in Japan versus that which is available abroad can be quite different,” co-founder Lillian Hanako Rowlatt says.
In this summer’s Seasonal Delights box, the offerings ranged from Chanpurū Seasoning (チャンプルの素) and Spicy Tuna Miso Oil (鮪の生らー油) to Goya Chips (ゴーヤチップス) and Shell Ginger Tea (月桃茶). Its theme, Okinawa: Tropical Tastes and Centenarian Secrets, explores the island prefecture’s unique cuisine and does so by employing the producers that live and work there. For instance, Makoto Iramina (“a musician and entrepreneur who’s as passionate about music as he is about producing true island flavors from Okinawa”) heads up the Goya Company—the maker of Raw Ponzu Umami Dashi and the Okinawan Pepper.
“We want to bring the specialty products straight from Japan to people’s homes, providing them with the opportunity to taste high-quality versions of foods they may have heard of and also unique products they may not have experienced before,” Rowlatt tells us. “There are a few other Japan-centric boxes that offer candy, snacks or quick meals, but we focus on offering premium-quality, chemical-free products while also providing all the instructions, ingredients and suggested uses in English to make it easy to enjoy them.”
Hero image by Evan Malachosky, images courtesy of Kokoro Care Packages