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Japanese Puzzle Boxes

Updated on April 20, 2015

Origin of Japanese Puzzle Boxes

Japanese puzzle boxes originated in the Hakone region of Japan as souvenirs. For many years, the town of Hakone was a relay station on the road to Edo (present day Tokyo). Hakone-yosegi-zaiku (Japanese Puzzle Boxes) were developed as souvenirs for travelers. They were great gifts for people visiting the hot springs in the area.

The Hakone Mountains are noted for their variety of trees. The Personal Secret Box takes advantage of this great variety of natural wood textures and colors to create their complicated geometric patterns.

The geometric design is made by binding together many different shades of wood. Very thin sheets of various wood are then used as an outside finish for these boxes.

Traditional Japanese Puzzle Boxes have been imported into the U. S. since the 1920's. In Japan, they are known as Himitsu-Bako (In English: Personal Secret Box). Originally, puzzle boxes came with a good luck charm of some kind inside. They are a great gift for the loved ones in your life with jewelry or something small that they want to keep safe.

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Puzzle Boxes

A puzzle box is a box that requires an exact series of moves or manipulations in order to open it. Some of the cheaper japanese puzzle boxes only require a few manipulations while some of the more complicated boxes can require you to perform 1500+ moves. Manipulations can range from a little pressure in certain places to moving pieces of the actual wood used to construct the box.

The most fun is trying to solve the puzzle, but as you may have guessed, a japanese puzzle box comes with directions so that you are able to actually use the box if you are unable to figure it out.

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