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JourneeBox “The Kyoto Box” Subscription Review

Christen Russo
ByChristen RussoAug 29, 2021 | 26 comments

All contents from Journee Box Kyoto

JourneeBox
4.2 overall rating
34 Ratings | 29 Reviews

JourneeBox delivers a quarterly lifestyle experience that features designer-produced, sustainably-made fashionhomebody, and culinary goods. The JourneeBox direct-to-consumer business model — meaning they design and produce all of their goods — keeps costs and environmental impact down. This model guarantees subscribers quality, vetted products made from sustainable materials that are ethically made.

For $59.99 per quarter, you receive 6+ sustainably-made or fair-trade items with customizable products focusing on accessories, apparel, home, and beauty goods.

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

Opening The Box

 

The box itself is so beautiful. I love the simple cover and the tie closure. As a trinket person who has more little things than I know what to do with, I always save my JourneeBox boxes for storing small, special stuff that I collect.

 

The Kyoto booklet opens with a note from Kevia, sharing her personal experience exploring Kyoto, Japan. Throughout, we're provided with some history and context about each of the items she selected.

After last quarter's digital booklet for the Zero Waste Box, I wasn't sure whether to expect a physical booklet again this time around. On one hand, the paper booklet is nice to flip through for context as I explore what's in my box. It also contributes to the box-opening experience to not have a computer involved. On the other hand, last quarter's PDF info booklet was a minor adjustment that went a long way for waste reduction. I think in the long term I'd prefer the digital route!

Here's What's Inside

Updated on 8/29/21 to correct an error about which item is for annual subscribers, add a mention of the Furoshiki workshop offered, make note of platter colorways, and add cost values.

Matcha Tea Duo — Listed Value $60

 

The first thing I pulled out of my box is this duo of matcha packets. Matcha seems to have really exploded in popularity in the US in recent years (by way of matcha tea lattes most of all, it seems), and while the color is life-giving in its natural beauty, the flavor was an acquired taste for me. It's earthy and faintly sweet, with a touch of bitterness. Even after giving it a fair shot by way of teas, lattes, and even using powder to make homemade matcha-cream Oreos, it's just not my first choice when treating myself. I'm intrigued, though, by the two different types of matcha we were sent: Ryo and Ukifume, and curious to taste test them to see if I can discern the difference or if I have a preference. Perhaps I'll put them in a smoothie this time around.

Koi Oven Mitt & Pot Holder Set — Listed Value $40

 

This item is a gift for annual subscribers only.

I'm in love with this potholder and oven mitt set! A few years ago I would've thought oven mitts would've been a one-and-done thing you buy and then you have 'em forever. Since then I've learned that not only do they get dirty from occasionally touching food when in use, but their heat protectiveness also fades over time and after being put through the washing machine. Buying new potholders was low on my to-do list, but JourneeBox hooked me up with a pair I'm pumped to have. The design is so bold and unique and I'm all about it.

Kyo Platter — Listed Value $40

 

I was enchanted by the Kyo platter when I saw it among the Kyoto Box spoilers, I just love handmade pottery and live for its uniqueness and imperfections. Now that I have this 9″ by 5″ dish in my hands, though, I don't see it fitting in with my collection of handmade mugs and things as well as I expected. While the form is really cool with its wavy oblong shape and four short legs to stand on, the blue accent color around the rim seems airbrushed. Something about that touch sort of cheapens the look for me. Perhaps when filled with things that would be less noticeable, but rather than forcing this dish to work in my home I'm going to pass it along.

I'd like to add a note that this dish may arrive in one of three possible colorways, including an ember-like orange and red dish with black edges and a deep blue dish with speckled grey edges.

Furoshiki Kit — Listed Values $25 for Cloth, $18 for Handles, and $35 for Workshop

 

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese cloth meant for wrapping presents or using as a tote bag. I've seen many images online of Furoshiki-style gift wrapping and I adore the zero-waste approach. In this quarter's JourneeBox we're sent one of three colors of printed cloth, plus two wooden handles to use as an alternative to tying the bag. Note that the directions inside the cloth's sleeve are for wrapping it without the wooden handles.

 

Here I sort of winged it by sliding each of the four corners into the handles' holes, then tying each side together. When you hug the wooden handles together in one hand it's quite natural to carry. It's also nice that the cloth then opens up as a surface to eat your lunch on, if that's what you choose to pack inside of it, so you have a built-in little picnic placemat.

But you don't have to wing it like I did! Included in the box is a link to sign up for a live Furoshiki workshop run by Musubi, one of the most famous makers of Furoshiki in Japan. The workshop would be

Daifuku Mochi — Listed Value $8

 

Mochi is a Japanese treat made from rice flour. I've seen it in ice cream form and casserole form, and now here it is looking like a candy of sorts. We were sent two: a white one and a grey-ish one, and they're simultaneously firm and squishy between my fingers. They don't have much of a scent, and they're extremely gummy (almost tacky) to bite into. I am not a very adventurous eater, nor do I like gummy candies, so these weren't for me. But for most this edible offering would probably be really fun to try!

Papaya Seaweed Scrub — Listed Value $25

 

I don't have a very specific skincare routine, so I always love being sent different types of cleansers and scrubs to try. This papaya seaweed scrub is heavenly. Its scent is indeed papaya-y, with earthy hints, and its consistency is smooth and gel-like with gentle exfoliation throughout. I loved how this scrub felt on my face, giving me the deep clean that exfoliation offers, but leaving me with a really replenished feeling and smooth skin. The scent also lingers, which is a wonderful experience.

Fan Earrings from Kevia Kyoto Collection — Listed Value $35

 

This is the choice item for this quarter. Both quarterly & annual subscribers can choose which jewelry piece they'd like to receive.

This quarter's choice item was between cherry blossom earrings and a necklace, or fan-shaped earrings and a necklace with a faux pearl accent. I usually go for bolder jewelry over delicate pieces, so I gave the fans a go. They're meant as a nod to the folding fans used throughout Japanese history.

Fan earrings on model, from Journee Box Kyoto

I'm not typically a pearl-wearer, but I thought they were tasteful on this pair. If I could change anything it would've been to make them even bigger! Otherwise, they're lovely.

Value - Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: $59.99

Value Breakdown: JourneeBox does not offer retail pricing for its items because each item is proprietary has a total retail value of $286 this quarter, which exceeds the promise of a $250+ value [updated 8/29/21]! This box costs $59.99 + free shipping, which means that each of the 7 items in the box (considering the pot holder & oven mitt as 1 set and the jewelry as 1 set) has an average cost of $8.57. Note that the pot holder & oven mitt set is for annual subscribers only, which was included in my calculation. That value is a steal for some items, but not so much for others—for example, a somewhat comparable pair of earrings sells on Kevia's site for $50, which nearly covers the cost of the box, whereas $8.57 for a couple of small candy-like mochi isn't such a great price. I think that overall the value is there for annual subscribers, but that quarterly subscribers might be left wanting more.

Key Takeaways

The Kyoto theme of this JourneeBox was delightful and something different from what I've ever experienced in a quarterly lifestyle subscription. I thought Kevia did a nice job of showcasing a variety of products inspired by Japanese culture without appropriating. That tastefulness wins big points for me! My favorite items this quarter were the oven mitt + pot holder duo, as well as the face scrub. I wasn't as taken by the mochi, matcha, or the platter, but I do think they contributed to a nice spread altogether. I always enjoy JourneeBox and look forward to seeing what's in store the next quarter!

Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

Other Things You Should Know

When is this box available? This box is seasonal, shipping out 4 times a year. The next box will be available in December.

Can I still get this box if I sign up today? Yes, but it will likely sell out soon.

 

What did you think of the Summer 2021 Kyoto JourneeBox? Click below to write a review!

 

Want to get your own JourneeBox and join the community? Subscribe here.

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Launched in 2019, JourneeBox is a sustainable luxury lifestyle subscription box that is carefully curated by founder and designer Kevia Jeffrey-West. Each box has 6+ items inspired by travel, art and nature. Getting a box is like receiving gifts from a well-traveled friend. Subscribers are guaran... read more.

Christen Russo
Christen Russo

Hi there, I'm Christen! I've been writing with MSA since 2017. I am all sorts of things: a writer, a mother, an outdoors-lover, a low-maintenance self-carer, and general hungry person.

You'll find me collecting stationery and squirreling away stickers, riding bikes and swimming with my family, creating outfits in colors and silhouettes that make me feel amazing, wearing big earrings, drinking beer and asking my husband to feed me harmonies to sing, taking my vitamins, living for live music, roping everyone into a craft, being human and vulnerable, and celebrating the phenomenon of being alive.


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26 comments

Aimee

I wish you would do a little more research before peddling subscription boxes. Kevia has been selling the same quarterly box since June. These items are not special, artisan, or curated, as implied. They are bought in bulk in CHINA and then a Kevia label is applied. This is possibly the fakest box I’ve ever seen, and I wish this website would take 2-3 min to google the label before making recommendations.
Kevia lives in a million+ dollar home outside of Portland, OR. Her business is in a barn/ garage. Her LLC received multiple palates of goods from China. I’m guessing her late orders are due to supply chain issues due to Covid.

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Shar

This was the last box of my annual subscription. I started my subscription in Feb, and got my 4th box 18 months later. I LOVED the first two boxes, liked box 3, but this box was a HUGE disappointment to me. I wish they would have given both the earrings and matching necklace instead of making us choose. I have NO use for the wrapping cloth and handles. Summer’s bag was much more usable. The Mochi was awful, even after refrigeration, and $60 value for matcha tea? That valuation is ridiculous. They put a value on a workshop that was only run once, with no way to watch it if the time wasn’t convenient. I will watch for a while and see if they can get their act toge4ther and send out better boxes on time, like they used to.

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Amy G

Everything in the box is nice, but sending out stale food (my box arrived in September and my mochi says “best by August 2021”) is not great. I know there are lots of times where “best by” dates are irrelevant, but based on the review, this is not one of those situations. If you have a box that is consistently late, it seems like an odd choice.

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Laura

Still waiting on my box. Got an email from them asking to rank the stuff in the box but I ranked it all zero since I haven’t received it.

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Sherri

I’m still waiting as well. I have tracking info, but there have been no tracking updates since August 20. I reached out to CS and supposedly they are looking into it, but it’s been almost 2 weeks and no word from them yet. And I received the survey as well, kinda made me chuckle. The only thing I could really comment on was the the workshop, which I was able attend, just without the ability to practice along with the tutorial.

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Laura

I’m still waiting on my box. Sigh.

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Sherri

Same…

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Kmunky

So I got my box after the workshop…any suggestions for those of us that didn’t receive on time to sign up?

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KatS

I haven’t received a zoom link for the furoshiki workshop yet. Did anyone else get an email? If so, who was it from and when did you get it?

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Carol

I got the zoom link today for furoshiki workshop (& contests) tomorrow 9/11/21 just after signing up my Journee box email address at https://bit.ly/37ix1k4 (info found on page 19 of booklet sent with Kyoto box that I had already received)

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Sherri

I haven’t either. Then again, I haven’t received my box yet – USPS tracking shows nothing after August 20 and just says “arriving late” (gee, ya’ think?) I reached out to CS and they said they were looking into it. Not having the box, I had completely forgotten about the workshop…

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Sam

I received my box yesterday.
I am an Annual Member.

This is my fifth box. Nothing is more striking than getting that beautiful blue box with the golden dragonfly on it. The box is magnetic and has a ribbon tie. Sometimes the flap is a little ripped from mailing but I fix it with matching tape. These boxes make the most beautiful keepsake boxes. They vary in size each quarter. So beautiful.

I got the Kyoto bowl in Slate gray. I think it is a little strange at first because it has a matte finish. I set it on my dining room table and it matches my metal candle sticks perfectly. The shape is beautiful but is lacking a little something. I think I’m going to pull out some nail polishes and a toothpick and add a few colors that match my interior. I think the dish would look lovely with some cinnamon sticks or vanilla beans wrapped with ribbon or washi tape. The dish is very delicate and seem like it could chip easily. I may give it a coat or two of matte clear coat to protect it. I wouldn’t normally do something like this but I like this unusual dish.

I chose the Furoshiki in green and it is so gorgeous. I can’t wait to learn how to use it with the handles.

I chose the flower necklace and love it’s petite sensibilities. I do wish the earring came with it instead of the pot holders.

I have silicone pot holders which are long lasting and practical.

I will be regifting the papaya scrub.it’s in a beautiful package and I am sure my recipient will be overjoyed. I don’t like the smell of papaya, not Journee Box’s fault. Yay for my friend who loves it. Kevia’s bath and body products are great.

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Kelly

I see that there’s a “Welcome Box” listed on their web site as a past box. Does anyone know whether the first box would be the Kyoto Box, or a welcome box? That info isn’t in the FAQ’s. Thank you.

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emily @ journeebox

Hi Kelly! The Welcome Box is an optional box outside of the subscription. Feel free to purchase the Welcome Box for a little taste of the JourneeBox, or skip it and go right for the big stuff by subscribing and receiving the Kyoto Box as your first box!

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Taren

Got my box yesterday. Everything arrived beautifully packaged and great quality! My favorite is the dish.

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Christen

I’m so happy you liked your dish! Did you get the same color as me?

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Vinnie

I just received the Kyoto box today. Everything was good except for the mochis. They were obviously old. Mochis should be very soft, super stretchy, and sticky. They should not at all be gummy. The ones I received were a stiff gummy firmness and the filling was very dry. I love mochis so I still braved a taste of each one. The flavors were good, but off. I didn’t finish them and sadly had to throw them out. Since they placed such a high value on these candies, I will see how their customer service handles my complaint.

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Marion

😂 I have texture issues with some foods, too. My sister suggested putting mochi in the fridge to eat cool, & it helped a lot!

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Christen

Oh that’s an interesting suggestion, I wish I’d had that intel ahead of time too! Noted for the next time I encounter mochi such as this. 🙂

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plastic_cup

Cute box, I think we’d enjoy everything in this one. Will keep my eye on future boxes.

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Snow

Two things. I can’t seem to enlarge any of the photographs (was trying to see the airbrushed rim up close.) Also, it would be great if certain items like platters were shown with a ruler or something to show size.

I do have to agree that hands down the oven mitt and holder are the winners here.

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Christen

Thanks for this feedback, I’ll keep it in mind for future reviews!

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Sherri

I’m confused… the post from a couple of weeks ago (advising that customization was open) indicated that everyone got the jewelry and that the pot holders were the annual subscriber bonus, but this post says that it’s the jewelry that is for annual subscribers only. ???

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Christen

Oh, you’re right, Sherri! That was my mistake. The pot holder set was the annual item and the jewelry was the choice item for all subscribers. Apologies for the error, the review has been udpated!

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G

Hi Sherri, I think Cristen might’ve made an accidental error here. The annual gift is the oven mitt and potholder. The curation of the box is really beautiful!

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Lorraine

You are correct. Everyone can select a jewelry piece. The gift for annual members is the pot holder and oven mit. I have 2 boxes coming soon and I can hardly wait!

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