Cozy Up For An Izakaya Experience At Home With This Ibaraki Treat Box! | CoolJapan

No trip to Japan is complete without an authentic Izakaya dining experience. It is probably what sets the intrepid traveller apart from the regular tourist. 

An Izakaya is a Japanese gastropub where locals hunker down after a long day of work, over some light bites and drinks. Tucked away in a relaxed and intimate setting, the drinks and banter keep flowing. 

This unique slice of Japanese culture originated from sake bars during the Edo period (1603-1868). Today, more than just drinks, Izakayas serve up delicious tapas-like dishes to attract the most discerning diners. 

Outside a traditional izakaya

Red Japanese lanterns can typically be seen displayed outside a traditional Izakaya. (Photo from: MIKI Yoshihito via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

While we wait impatiently to book our next trip to Japan, let us show you how to create an Izakaya experience in your own home!

Treasures From Ibaraki To Your Door

Every good Izakaya is proud to offer the tastes of their hometown, be it locally caught fish or produce harvested by local farmers. If you’re looking to try the culinary wonders of Ibaraki, the cool people at CoolJP and MoguShop have curated an exclusive treat box containing goodies from the prefecture, which is also called the land of abundance.

Buckwheat field in Ibaraki Prefecture

Picturesque buckwheat field in Omitama, Ibaraki. Buckwheat is used to make Soba, a well-loved Japanese noodle. (Photo from: AMANO Jun-ichi via WikiCommons)

Blessed with fertile flatlands, good water and a conducive climate, Ibaraki prefecture is one of the top producers of agricultural products in Japan. Since ancient times, the locals living in this food paradise have enjoyed great-tasting bounties of nature. Now, you can have a taste of it too with Japan In A Box!

This treat box is packed with a delightful selection of high-quality Ibaraki produce that came from the hands of Ibaraki farmers and crafters. Perfect for your first Izakaya home dining experience.

Unboxing Japan In A Box

Watch CoolJP's Haruka and MoguShop's Rebecca unbox the ''The Taste of Ibaraki: Izakaya at Home Box"

1. Kawatsu Shouten Dashi Soba

Kawatsu Shouten Dashi Soba styled shot

Anyone can easily make a good bowl of premium Dashi Soba in just four simple steps!

Produced by Kawatsu Shoten, a speciality store with over 80 years of history in Ibaraki, this premium Golden Dashi Soba will make the hearts of soba-lovers flutter with excitement. It contains 100% locally produced natural ingredients that are free from additives and chemicals. This means you taste the pure essence of Japan’s finest ingredients.

Savoury with umami flavours, the all-natural tasty dashi soup stock pairs perfectly with the springy Hokkaido buckwheat noodles. Toppings of konbu, bonito flakes and Japanese spice mixture make it even better. Slurp down a bowl of soba goodness to warm your tummy in preparation for a night of revelry! 

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 350g per box, 2 servings.

This box contains:

Hokkaido Buckwheat Soba - 2 x 50g

Dashi Broth Pack - 2 x 15g

Kaeshi Seasoning (A mixture of soy sauce, mirin & sugar) - 60ml

Tororo Konbu - 2 Packets

Katsuobushi - 2 Packets

Shichimi - 2 Packets

2. Tsumugino Strawberry Milk Drink Base

Tsumugino Strawberry Milk Drink Base styled shot

Add a luscious dollop of Tsumugino Strawberry Milk Base to yoghurt, desserts or even cocktail drinks.

Have you ever tried real Strawberry milk? This is the real deal, not the pastel pink sweet milk that brings back childhood memories. Produced by the renowned Nomura Brewery, Tsumugino Strawberry Milk Base is made from fresh juicy Ichigo strawberries grown in Ibaraki prefecture. 

To make the most wonderful strawberry milk, all you need to do is add 1 part of this strawberry puree with 2 parts of milk. With no added colouring or syrup, Tsumugino Ichigo Milk Base makes the best glass of strawberry milk you've ever tasted. For a more adult affair, mix it with alcohol to create delicious cocktails.

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 275ml per bottle.

3. Ibaraki Hoshi Imo (Dried Japanese Sweet Potato)

Ibaraki Hoshi Imo (Dried Japanese Sweet Potato) styled shot

Ibaraki Hoshi Imo is made using Beniharuka sweet potatoes, one of the most popular varieties revered for its elegant sweetness. 

Japanese sweet potatoes are well-loved for their sweet moist texture and Ibaraki prefecture happens to have the biggest gross agricultural output of sweet potatoes in Japan. Even more impressive is that 90% of all dried sweet potatoes in Japan come from Ibaraki. That, in itself, is a stamp of approval. 

Needless to say, Ibaraki Hoshi Imo is the ultimate bar snack for your Izakaya experience. Savour the unique sweetness of lovingly dried sweet potatoes that are fragrant with a chewy texture. Not only is it addictively tasty, but dried Japanese sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B1, potassium and dietary fibre.

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 70g per pack.

Note: The white powder/crystals that may be seen on the edges of Hoshi Imo are crystalised sugars that form naturally during the drying process. They are safe to consume.

4. Kanasago "Parintou" Snack

Kanasago "Parintou" Snack collage of flavours

Kanasago Parintou Snack comes in two spicy flavours: Curry (left) and Wasabi (right). These appetising beans can be enjoyed by themselves, with beer or as a salad topping.

Chips and nuts are a must-have in every drinking session. That salty crunch is just so satisfying. But it is time to up the game with Kanasago Parintou Snack made from natto beans.

Before you object to slimy beans as a bar snack, these are made from special Mamenoka natto beans, which have less of a sticky texture. These nutritious beans undergo a process of low-temperature vacuum frying, which removes the slime and strong smell yet preserves the original earthy taste and health benefits.

Natto is one of the prized specialities of Ibaraki and this unique Parintou snack cannot be found easily outside of Japan. Try it, you may just fall in love with crispy natto.

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 7g x 5 packs.

5. Meiri Shurui You Yakiimo Shochu (Sweet Potato Liquor)

Meiri Shurui You Yakiimo Shochu (Sweet Potato Liquor) styled shot

This golden-hued roasted sweet potato liqueur is best enjoyed with milk or ice cream.

What is a true Izakaya experience without some Japanese alcohol? Besides beer, sake and highballs, this Meiri Shurui You Yakiimo Shochu will add a touch of sweetness to the night.

Captivated by the aromatic sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes, the long-established Meiri Shurui brewery in Ibaraki developed a new liqueur made from premium “Silk Sweet” sweet potatoes and pure honey. It tastes as good as it sounds. 

Drunk on the rocks, the exquisite You Yakiimo Shochu is so smooth it glides down your throat. Drizzle it over ice cream for an extravagant dessert to end the night.

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 500ml per bottle.

Alcohol percentage: 20%

6. Meiri Shurui Premium Japanese Craft Gin

Meiri Shurui Premium Japanese Craft Gin styled shot

The unique selection of botanicals in this artisanal Japanese craft gin will please the palate of gin-lovers.

For the more serious drinkers, Meiri Shurui's Premium Japanese Craft Gin is a lovely tipple that will complete your Izakaya home experience.

This original Japanese craft gin is made by distilling botanicals in a base of sake and stored for 10 years, a method unique to Japan. Seven kinds of carefully chosen botanicals are used, including high-quality juniper berries with a woody scent of the forest, lemon peel, orange peel and cinnamon. 

The result is an exhilarating bouquet of aroma with a smooth and sophisticated taste. We can definitely kanpai (toast) to that!

Origin: Ibaraki, Japan. 700ml per bottle.

Alcohol percentage: 20%

Get Your Hands On This The Taste of Ibaraki Box

Cannot wait to invite your friends over for an intimate Izakaya home dining experience? Here is how you can enjoy these Ibaraki speciality products with Japan In A Box. Get yours before they all get snapped up!

Option 1: The Taste of Ibaraki Box (Sweet Potato Liquor)

The Taste of Ibaraki Box (Sweet Potato Liquor) opened

Box Contents:

Kawatsu Shouten Dashi Soba - 350g

Nomura Brewery Strawberry Milk Drink Base - 275ml

Ibaraki Hoshi Imo [Dried Japanese Sweet Potato] - 70g

Kanasago "Parintou" Snack, Wasabi Taste - 7gx5

Kanasago "Parintou" Snack, Curry Taste - 7gx5

Meiri Shurui You Yakiimo Shochu (Sweet Potato Liquor) - 500ml 

Special Price: SGD82. You can shop it here.

Option 2: The Taste of Ibaraki Box (Premium Craft Gin)

The Taste of Ibaraki Box (Premium Craft Gin) opened

Box Contents:

Kawatsu Shouten Dashi Soba - 350g

Nomura Brewery Strawberry Milk Drink Base - 275ml

Ibaraki Hoshi Imo [Dried Japanese Sweet Potato] - 70g

Kanasago "Parintou" Snack, Wasabi Taste - 7gx5

Kanasago "Parintou" Snack, Curry Taste - 7gx5

Meiri Shurui Premium Japanese Craft Gin - 700ml

Special Price: SGD157. You can shop it here.

In partnership with MoguShop, an online Japanese-focused grocer with a wide selection of popular and high-quality Japanese products at great prices. They seek to bring the best of Japan and beyond to the shores of food-loving Singapore! 

Having an Izakaya night at home? Tag @mogushopsg on Instagram to share your spread!

A traveller and a dreamer, Kris loves black coffee and old movies. At times, she also has the occasional passion to express her thoughts about the world through the alchemy of words.
Read more of Kris' stories here