A Kokoro Care Package open to show its contents on a patterned white and red background.
Courtesy Kokoro Care Packages

This Subscription Box Service Brings Hard-to-Find Japanese Food to Your Door

Parcels from Kokoro Care Packages are filled with edible items made by regional Japanese farmers and producers.
By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
December 19, 2020
2 minute read

If journeying to Japan feels out of reach—or even impossible, in the midst of a pandemic—fret not. The subscription box service Kokoro Care Packages brings the best of the country to you via monthly, quarterly, or one-off parcels, delivered year-round. Noodles, soups, seasonings, and sauces are among the eclectic edible items inside, along with English translations of ingredients and straightforward recipes that make it easy to turn each carton into a meal. “Everything is made by local Japanese farmers and producers, many of whom use techniques that are centuries old,” says Lillian Hanako Rowlatt, who co-founded the company with her partner, Aki Sugiyama, two years ago. “And several of the small-batch products are hard to find, even in Japan!”

In its “Creative Beginnings” box, for example, there’s dashi powder produced in a remote fishing village on Shikoku Island using local frigate tuna, and an umami-imparting soy sauce made by hand using a 200-year-old brewing system. Looking for a quick fix? Reach for the “Japanese Snacks and Sweets” box, which includes a firm jelly dessert filled with an unusual black soybean that supplies a rich natural sweetness, and a rare species of Japanese plums that have been fermented with sugar to create an addictive sweet-and-sour sensation. “People are cooking at home, looking for ways to enjoy healthy foods, and wanting to try new flavors,” Hanako Rowlatt says. “These care packages take you on a food journey to places you likely haven’t visited before”—no flight required.