Can you open a Japanese puzzle box?

15 Feb 2019 in Contest

Your chance to win your own box and learn the secret moves!


For you chance to win, enter our contest now!

Update: contest is now closed, results available below.

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Want to know more about the prize?

Want to protect a prized possession? Then keep it in a Japanese puzzle box. Known as himitsubako, these handcrafted boxes may look like you can simply pull off the lid – but, in actual fact, you need to perform an intricate sequence of sliding and lifting movements to get them open.


Hidden on the faces of the box, you’ll discover moveable strips. The sequence usually begins by sliding one of these.

But which one? And which way?


Depending on the level of complexity, puzzle boxes can require between 2 and as many as 100 movements to unlock them! They were originally used by samurai and travellers to protect their possessions.

With its abundance of local wood varieties, the mountainous region of Hakone is famed for its himitsubako sculpted using traditional parquetry techniques. And for this month’s contest, we’re giving away a 10-move box provided by Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone.



Don’t worry: it comes with instructions on how to open the box!



The contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the contest is Pierre Scott (from USA). Congratulations!

If you are not the lucky winner this time, please keep reading our webzine to discover two new articles every week about Japanese lifestyle experiences. And follow us on social media to take part in our next contest!

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