To open this Japanese puzzle box you must slide hidden panels in order. There are 36 moves to make in the correct order and still, this box holds one more secret. One more move is required to find the second secret compartment.
The Hakone Mountains of Japan are noted for their great variety of trees. Hakone-Yosegi-Zaiku is inlaid mosaic woodwork unique to this area and takes advantage of this wide variety of natural wood colors and textures to produce their elaborate geometric patterns. Yosegi-Zaiku handicrafts were being made in the Hakone area more than 1000 years ago in the Heian period and Personal Secret Boxes (Himitsu-Bako) using the inlaid mosaic technique were developed over 100 years ago (1890’s) in the region. 5 and 6 Sun (Sun is a traditional unit of measure to denote length – 3.03cm to be exact) secret opening puzzle boxes with 36, 54 and 66 steps were some of the first made. These puzzle boxes were sought after by people in Japanese high society not only to keep important documents safe but as a beautiful work of art.
As time has gone on “easier” versions like 7, 10, 21 or 36 steps (if you can just call 36 steps easier!) have been developed as these puzzle boxes have become synonymous with the Hakone region of Japan. We have sourced these boxes directly from the maker in Hakone.
The pattern of the box is a beautiful example of traditional Koyosegi. Each face of the box incorporates multiple individual patterns and each face is different.
The number of skilled artisans trained in this traditional technique is very limited and we could not guarantee that a particular sold-out design will be restocked in future.
Size: 6 Sun Actual size outside: 185mm x 125mm x 95mm Space inside: 132mm x 105mm x 65mm Space inside extra compartment is really only for paper or coins or something like that.
Packaged cellophane-wrapped inside a pressboard gift box with a solution inside.
We found this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljh4oBJD0QI of a Japanese craftsman making the Yosegi in the traditional way. We don’t know who this actual craftsman is but this is a good example of the way these puzzle boxes are made to this day. Just amazing to watch.