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Japanese Puzzle Boxes are one of the most coveted types of puzzles by collectors and enthusiasts. Their delicate and exquisite build, combined with a touch of art for their mesmerizing patterns, makes every collector proud to own at least one in his collection. This Koyosegi Cube is my third Japanese Puzzle Box, but I'm not planning to stop here. There's just too many beautiful Puzzle Boxes out there for me to simply ignore them. It would be a crime to do so...
The name of each Japanese Puzzle Box is self-explanatory. You always know what to expect. The first part of the name refers to the actual size of the box. In this case, 2 Sun, which is 6cm (2.4"). The most common Puzzle Boxes usually go from 2 to 4 Sun, but they can go as high as 12 Sun, the largest I've seen so far. The second part of the name refers to the number of steps required to open the box. Here, the number varies greatly depending on the complexity of the box, but more steps doesn't necessarily mean a harder challenge. I have a Mame (the smallest sized boxes) 22 Steps Puzzle Box and it's much easier to solve than the one featured here, with 12 Steps. It all comes down to complexity. Finally, the last part of the name refers to inlaid work pattern you see in the box. Koyosegi is the designation of this Cube, which was crafted by Hiroyuki Oka.
Usually, Japanese Puzzle Boxes are rectangular-shaped, but there are also special shapes, and that's why I went for a different one this time. The solving process is always the same, although each box has its own unique solution. The goal is to find, hidden in the box pattern, sliding panels that should be moved in a specific sequence. The puzzle is solved once you can slide the lid completely off.
For someone looking for a challenge, Japanese Puzzle Boxes might not be the best option out there. If you think that you'd be disappointed. Sure, there are Puzzle Boxes out there that can require hundreds of steps to open, even over 1000 steps, but the vast majority of them are fairly easy to solve, and considering how expensive they can be, not everyone can justify their purchase. My latest acquisition took me about 10 minutes to solve. It consists of only 12 steps, but there were some that required a more careful observation. Nevertheless, I was still satisfied with it, despite not being too challenging, and always find these quite fun to solve.
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Wood used in the Koyosegi Cube: Katsura, Agachisu and Hakone Yosegi-Zaiku.
If you end up choosing to buy a Japanese Puzzle Box, I'm sure you're looking for something more than just a challenge. You want something different, out of the ordinary, a collectible, something to display and show off. A Japanese Puzzle Box can fill all those needs and some more. I'd have dozens of them if I could, but so far I'm quite happy with the ones I currently own.
Availability: The particular Japanese Puzzle Box you see here is currently out of stock at Brilliant Puzzles, but you can still browse their dedicated page and check out many other models.