Falling a lot more deeply in love with Japanese Puzzle Boxes, this Christmas I couldn’t withstand and acquired to order a few ones to add to my quickly growing – albeit still small – puzzle-box collection. I love all types of puzzle trick and boxes, ever since I started my puzzle collection, but the Japanese ones have a certain “je ne sais quoi” about them that truly fascinate me.
At first, while I began to see the beauty of Japanese Puzzle Boxes, they all seemed very similar to each other without particular variations, beyond the size and number of steps. There are a wide variety of kinds of Japanese Puzzle Boxes I wouldn’t know where to begin to be able to describe all of them, so I’ll just adhere to the ones I actually got. These three hand-crafted boxes are so not the same as the original Yosegi puzzle boxes that they defy the definition of what really makes a genuine Japanese Puzzle Box. Could it be the system?
The people that make sure they are? Because each of these three boxes don’t possess all requirements at the same time. Let’s start with the 4-Sun 12 Steps Kikkou puzzle package. This is a gorgeous design, made out of a not so common pattern, called Kikkou. The name means tortoise-shell in Japanese, because the hexagon-like design is reminiscent of a tortoise shell. The look you see is actually a derivation of the original Kikkou pattern, known as Bishamon Kikkou, because it’s seen on Bishamonten’s armor, a Buddhist deity. And last, however, not least important, the 4-Sun 4 Steps Kumiki puzzle package.
- Notice that the 4 in 474 is smaller than the 5 in 195
- The device may appear costly to some people
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This is just one more very different puzzle container from the ones we usually see on puzzle stores. At first sight, it appears like any other common Yosegi puzzle container, however when you solve it you’re set for a shock, as the mechanism is a little different from the most common sliding side panels. It’s the same size as the Kikkou container, however the steps required to open up the lid are just four, although they’re just a little different from the original mechanism. Kumiki is Japan word for “signing up for real wood together”, and there’s a whole kind of interlocking puzzles focused on this craft.
What it means for this uncommon Japanese Puzzle Box is just how it’s resolved, since every aspect of the package can be studied apart into eight items and put back together again. I was very amazed, in a positive way, by how these puzzle boxes were so not the same as the greater traditional ones. Each one has its own special features and I’m so happy I choose these, because they’re truly unique and incredibly rare to find somewhere else. I love that my collection, despite being small, is very eclectic and has a great deal of variety with many types of puzzle containers featuring different sizes, materials, shapes, and colors.
Availability: At the time of writing, only the Kikkou package is available to obtain Japan Craft UK. The other two are no more available, but it generally does not mean they won’t be again. Just check the site often and you might be lucky. It was the very first time I ordered out of this site, but I had been very impressed with the grade of service, the competitive prices and the wide selection of puzzle boxes and other related Japanese goodies. And if you’re in Europe, that means no customs taxes, which is quite a huge incentive.
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