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Japanese Puzzle Boxes

Japanese Puzzle Boxes

Japanese puzzle boxes are also called Personal Secret Boxes and in Japanese they are called "Himitsu-Bako" These boxes are handmade and were originally designed over 100 years ago in the Hakone region of Japan. There are two very distinct things about these boxes. The first unique thing is that they are remarkable puzzles that take some effort to solve. And the second is the beautiful handcrafted work that they are made with. They use a variety of mosaic and geometric patterns laid in a marquette into the surfaces of the box. The look of them is very distinct and this marquette look is also used on other handcrafted items such as trays and chests.

Difficulty level of the boxes

The puzzle boxes run a wide range of difficulty levels which is often denoted by the number of moves it takes to open it. Some of the more common are 4, 7, 10, 14, and 21. And this isn't the limit to the difficult of the boxes. They can range up to a mind boggling 100 steps or more.

Other Designs

A more traditional puzzle box will have the typical maquetry layout which is very attractive but there are plenty of puzzle boxes that take the design in different directions and it is easy to find boxes that have typical japanese scenery on them such as Mount Fuji or Japanese Fans.

Japanese Puzzle Boxes are often given a Sun number such as 2 sun or 5 sun etc. This is a designation of the size of the box. Here is a chart that explains the sun sizes of the boxes:

Length
in Inches
1 sun
1.22
1.5 sun
1.83
2 sun
2.44
2.5 sun
3.05
3 sun
3.66
4 sun
4.88
5 sun
6.10
6 sun
7.32
7 sun
8.54

 

Japanese Puzzle Boxes can be bought from Amazon.com. Here are some fine examples

 

Yosegi

Japanese Yosegi Puzzle Box 4 Sun 21 Moves

 

Yosegi

Yosegi Puzzle Box 6 sun - 14 steps

Yosegi Puzzle Box 6 sun - 14 steps - This Japanese Secret / Puzzle Box is made in the Yosegi pattern. This pattern is the original traditional design used for puzzle boxes. Every box is a little different in design depending upon how the pieces are applied. Each Japanese puzzle box is individually handcrafted using techniques passed down through the generations since the Edo Period and imported directly from the artists in Hakone Japan. Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.1 x 3.8 inches

 

Yosegi

Yosegi Puzzle Box 3 sun - 4 steps

Yosegi Puzzle Box 3 sun - 4 steps - This Japanese Secret / Puzzle Box is made in the Yosegi pattern. This pattern is the original traditional design used for puzzle boxes. Every box is a little different in design depending upon how the pieces are applied. Each Japanese puzzle box is individually handcrafted using techniques passed down through the generations since the Edo Period and imported directly from the artists in Hakone Japan. Dimensions: 3.6 x 2.8 x 2 inches

 

Here is a video of several of my Japanese Puzzle Boxes. I show you them and tell you a little bit about them but I don't reveal how they are opened - just in case you want to buy one and figure it out yourself.