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Posted on Apr 9, 2008 in Equipment, Organize, Review, Shopping | 56 comments

Ichiban Kan online store accepting orders

Ichiban Kan online store accepting orders

Ichiban Kan(Update: Ichiban Kan no longer has an online store; all links have been edited out.)  

Heads up that the new online store for Ichiban Kan, a Japanese-style discount store with cheap bento gear and household goods, has fixed their shopping cart and is now able to take orders. I wrote about the launch of Ichiban Kan’s online store last week, with a store review and links to their shipping policies (continental US only at the moment). Their bento selection is a bit limited for now, but evidently a shipping container of bento gear is on its way from Japan.

I went through their store and made a list highlighting some of the more interesting products for the bento maker (and a product warning). They’re still adding new products (i.e. food items are not up yet); stay up to date on new developments via Ichiban Kan’s blog. (Read on for Biggie’s product highlights…)

Some sections that you may want to check out (most products are priced between US$1 and $1.50):

Clickety Click onigiri box

  • Lunch box sets: Including triangular onigiri bento boxes like the one that holds this lunch, elastic bento belts for two-tier boxes, food picks, sauce containers, silicon baking cups, etc. Beware the low-quality V Color bento boxes, though — the lid hinges are very delicate and break too easily (I went through two after one or two uses).
  • Cooking equipment: Including $1.50 egg molds, onigiri rice ball molds, specialty plastic wraps as described in my post on microwaved thin egg sheets, etc.
  • Kitchen gadgets: Including mini-mandoline slicers like the one I used to make this speedy cucumber salad.
  • Food containers: I use the tiniest containers to store very small amounts of leftovers, good for bento lunches in the following days. They can also double as side dish containers.
  • Cleaning products: Including narrow little soft brushes for cleaning the groove under the packing strip of watertight bento box lids (described in my post on how to care for your bento gear, but you could also just use a soft-bristled toothbrush).

Disclaimer: Believe it or not, I have no commercial affiliation with Ichiban Kan.

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  1. aww, no shipping to Hawaii!!! =(((

  2. I wish we had something similar.
    I did manage to venture through a little cramped japanese food store monday (they also carry alot of miscallenous) and ask for all I needed in polite japanese and came out with all the right stuff even!!! I was gobsmacked afterwards. I needed a card for a couple that is getting married and it was blank – damn, what’s the name of the stupid card… – eventually it came to me (hooray) since the shop mistress was at a total loss. Why am I telling you this? Oh Japanese and shopping at japanese style stores… I am not saying I am sane as to my how my thinking goes ;)

  3. @1 from joo: Too bad about no Hawaii shipping — maybe they’ll add that as an option. Bug them!

  4. @2 from Jessika: Woo hoo on getting what you were looking for from the little Japanese store! I’m surprised that they had those cards. BTW for people near a Daiso — Daiso stocks those cards/envelopes, funeral cards, New Year’s money envelopes, etc. for cheap.

  5. I just have one thing to say.

    Woo-hoo!!!

    I’m glad it’s a pay week. ;)

  6. I thought it was just me that broke the v-color boxes ;) I love them (perfect size for snacks) but the darn lids keep breaking……….

  7. Oh you so totally made my day. I’ve been so waiting for this moment!

  8. Man, I bought 6 of those v-color boxes :(

  9. @5 from Sile: Happy shopping!

  10. @6 from Jan: It’s not you, it’s those darned boxes. The hinges are terrible and break after very light use — save your money for something else. This is one reason why I started seeking out good-quality boxes (like the Asvel ones) when I want one with a watertight seal & flap/wing lids. May cost more initially but at least I won’t be replacing it any time soon.

  11. @7 from leeandalu: Enjoy your browsing at low prices!

  12. @8 from ash: If you can’t change your order, then at least you’ll have a bunch of extras for when the lids start to break on you…

  13. I was so excited to see that Ichibankan was accepting online orders this morning. Thanks for the update!! I was able to stock up on many things but was so disappointed that the egg molds appeared to not be available!! :( It’s okay though…it will give me an excuse to visit the website daily to check on it’s availability!

  14. I tried to order this morning but I think they ran out of some things while I was ordering. I ordered two bento boxes and they showed that they had been added to my cart, but wouldn’t show up in my cart on checkout. When I went back to the catalog page, they were gone. Then two items in my cart disappeared while I was inputting my CC info. When I went back to the listing page, the items were gone. I don’t think items should be removed from your cart while you are in the checkout process. :O I wound up canceling my order until they get more items in. Still, I’m very happy to have the store. I haven’t ordered anything on eBay since I found out about it.

  15. I placed an order for a few things today and I’m way too excited along with my ten year old daughter. That bunny onigiri bento
    is definitely squee-worthy! Now I just need to read over your onigiri tutorial so I know how to make them…

    I’m hoping the rest of the store gets filled soon (food and books, please!). I tried to order a thermal bag for bento and it wouldn’t let me choose the color or just order it without the color selection. I know I’ll be ordering more from them if this order goes well so I’m hopeful it will still be there.

  16. Thanks a lot for the review. I found it very helpful in looking for things to order. I love that fridge side box! Is it magnetic?

  17. @13 from Taina: Wow, those egg molds sure went fast!!! You might also want to follow their blog to see when they get that big container of bento stuff in — I’d assume that there’d be egg molds in there.

  18. @14 from vampyra1: Absolutely — let ‘em know the Hawaiians want in too!

  19. @15 from KatieG: Gosh, that sounds frustrating to have things disappear from your cart during checkout. Did you send them a note letting them know about your problem?

  20. And they seem to be shipping super fast. I ordered last night (or perhaps it was even some ungodly hour of this morning) and got a notification this afternoon that it shipped. Very nice turn around time! I think I’m really going to love this store :)

  21. @16 from Kristen: Too bad about not being able to order the thermal bag — let them know you had a problem! I use those big thermal bags for carrying multiple bentos, like dinner bentos for all three of us. Nice and roomy, with wide bottoms to carry the bentos flat.

  22. @17 from Monica: Yup, the box on the side of the fridge is magnetic — super convenient! When it gets yucky I throw it in the dishwasher, and it gets all nice again.

  23. @21 from Aimee: Wow, that IS fast! I’m really interested in people’s experiences with their customer service, shipping, etc. It looks all kinds of good online, but how’s their follow through? Keep us posted!

  24. I placed an order yesterday around noon and some of the things I wanted were gone and the fish/car egg mold too :( but I did get a bunch of things I am excited for.
    I got an email last night saying that the bear/bunny mold I ordered is gone and did I want the fish/car? I told them I wanted that one anyway but it wasn’t available (maybe it was an error)
    I realize this is brand new and they are going to have to fix some kinks so it’s alright.
    Well the good thing about the bento items selling out so fast is that it will hopefully show them that the bento items will sell so they should get more variety. (well my fingers are crossed)

  25. My order was shipped last night too, I hope it comes soon. I was lucky enough to get an egg mold, but ordered one of the v-color boxes before I read your review. Oh well.
    So many things are sold out right now, I just hope we don’t see them all up for sale on e-bay at inflated prices next week.

  26. I was at that store in Nov, on my vaca to SF….way cool, too bad they don’t ship to US, Japan only….thought that was strange but I’m from the east coast, NJ, so I don’t get the whole Japan is on the other side of the ocean there thing :)

  27. @25 from Kailani: That’s exactly my hope — that they’ll realize the degree of pent-up demand for reasonably priced bento items and offer more variety. They’re in a terrific position to be able to do this, with shipping containers coming from Japan on a regular basis for their retail stores, plus the Japan contacts and know-how. I hope they do well with their venture and are able to keep their prices low.

  28. @26 from sandi: I suppose it would be naive of me not to anticipate people buying up cheap bento stuff from Ichiban Kan in order to resell it for inflated prices on eBay; here’s hoping Ichiban Kan is able to restock in quantity quickly to provide a reasonably priced alternative for those in the know!

  29. @27 from Tom: I think I’m confused. Ichiban Kan is based in San Francisco, and does ship to the U.S. (but not Japan or internationally).

  30. SUCCESS!!-at least I hope so!! I couldn’t resist and checked the online Ichibankan store again today (after my little shopping spree yesterday) for the egg molds and I was able to order them!! Now I just have to hope that they really have it in stock when they ship my order!!

  31. I had some trouble with things mysteriously dropping out of my shopping cart too. I managed to keep putting them back in until they seemed to stay. Or so I thought. After I sent in my order I looked it over a few hours later and my little sauce bottles had dropped out. I see they are on the site and not sold out so maybe it was just a bug happening with the shopping card for a while. I’d imagine with the site new and all of us jumping on it at the same time there might be bugs. They processed my order fast and say it is already in the mail. If this works out well I’ll certainly keep buying from them.

    I also hope people don’t start buying just to scalp stuff on ebay. If enough stores in the States start offering things online at their proper price and hopefully the ebay market will bottom out. I am fine with ebay listing high quality or hard to find things, but finding out stuff at dollar stores are being sold for 10 times their real price…that is a bit much. If the market gets flooded with things at the proper price hopefully bento will become more popular and affordable for the general public.

  32. Just an update on my earlier comment about things disappearing from my cart as I was checking out. I received a reply within a few hours from Ichiban Kan as follows:

    “We apologize for the inconvenience you encountered on our web site.

    Please understand that it is a common inventory system practice that the database cannot fully reserve items in a cart until the order is submitted.

    Thank you for letting us know your problem.
    We appreciate your interest in our store.”
    So a word to the wise especially in these early exciting days, don’t take too much time to check out!
    (And yes, I too wondered if things were being snapped up by the eBayers.)

  33. Yikes, I was going to order a bunch of things including the egg molds, but, like the rest of you, I see that they are sold out!

    I guess I’ll hold off ordering until they get some more egg molds in. :( (pout)

  34. Biggie, since you’ve seen most of these items in the physical, I was wondering if you could answer a question for me, since the physical dimensions aren’t listed on the site.

    The animal and heart shaped silicone cups… will they fit in the lower tier of your average lube sheep box? I’m really hoping that they will, because the wilton cups I have are a little too tall for it and don’t fit nicely. I don’t want to spend money on more cups that won’t do what they want, since I already have a TON of wilton cups (in every shape they make) that work great in the upper tier. :)

  35. @31 from Taina: Wow, that’s a pleasant surprise!!! I wonder what happened? Anyway, that must have made your day. :-)

  36. I just checked today, and they don’t even have the egg molds on their on-line store anymore. :( :( :(

    I’m still hoping…maybe next week!

  37. @32 from Hil: Sounds like speed is of the essence when checking out at the moment, then. I hope things don’t wind up scalped on eBay as well — time will tell.

  38. @33 from KatieG: Thanks so much for sharing the Ichiban Kan response and your feedback, Katie! Always nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

  39. @34 from Alison: Here’s to hoping they restock quickly with a mountain of egg molds! :-)

  40. @35 from Sile: Sorry, I’ve never seen those silicone cups in the Ichiban Kan store — they must have gotten them just for the online store (or I’m blind and overlooked them, it’s always a possibility). I know the mini silicone cups from Daiso will fit in the bottom tier, but unfortunately that doesn’t help you much…

  41. I found out about them opening online from your blog and I bought up practically everything they had in the store! When I lived in San Francisco I used to love to go shopping in Japantown and I miss it so much. This was like being there again.

  42. @42 from Nikki: I stopped by there yesterday during Japantown’s Cherry Blossom Festival and have never seen it so crowded — just wall to wall people. Shopping online at least frees you of the crowds!

  43. I went on Sunday during Cherry Blossom festival, the store looks really different from before. Aisles have been rearranged but there is still plenty of good (and some wacky) stuff.

  44. @44 from Amy: Yes, they’ve added a number of new products now that they’ve got the new shelving up to display it properly. Always good to pop by to check out.

  45. My order arrived last night! So it ended up taking one week by UPS Ground Shipping. It came well packed with lots of foam peanuts, everything was in great shape. I can’t wait to mold some bunny-shaped eggs today and use my onigiri mold.

  46. They still don’t have any egg molds…:(

  47. I just received my order today! Items were well packed (let’s just say Ichiban Kan is very generous with their packing peanuts), delivery time was about a week (typical UPS ground time for CA to NY), and you sure can’t beat the price-I even thought shipping was pretty reasonable.

    Looks like they’re preparing the site for the arrival of new bento items. Can’t wait!

  48. @46 from sandi: Thanks for the feedback on the store’s follow-through, sandi. Very valuable.

  49. @47 from Alison: That’s a bit puzzling to me; I was in the store last weekend and they had a bunch of egg molds out. I wonder if they set aside a certain number for in-store and don’t sell those online…

  50. @48 from Denise: Thank you for the detailed feedback about Ichiban Kan’s follow-up customer service when there’s an issue. Good information. Did you give them a heads-up that their customer service contact info is hard to find on the website?

  51. @49 from Aimee: Hey, bag those peanuts up and save them for sending year-end presents to other people! I used to throw them away until I got more storage space to keep them. Very handy. Thanks for the feedback on Ichiban Kan and the heads up that they’re getting ready to stock new bento items. Woo hoo!

  52. Saying that they’re generous with packing peanuts is an understatement. :)

    If anyone is interested, those little heart and animal silicone cups DO fit nicely in the smaller tier of your basic two tier lube sheep boxes, as well as the bottom box of the clickety click onigiri boxes. I was EXTREMELY pleased! :D The hearts are really small. I think they’ll hold maybe two tablespoons of whatever, so if you have something you just want a taste of, or to make a little jello, it would be perfect. The animal cups are a little bigger, but they’re floppier than what I’m used to with the wilton, meaning they’ll squeeze into any shape they need to, which is nice.

    I’m planning on putting full product reviews, along with pictures of the products shown next to something recognizable (like a soup can) to illustrate size, on my site… I wanted to take pictures yesterday, but I forgot my camera at home! :(

    Ichiban Kan rules!

  53. @54 from Sile: Ha ha, well I guess better to have more peanuts than broken merchandise. Thanks for the feedback on the silicone cups — they weren’t in the Japantown store last time I checked, so I’m useless on that point. Will check your site for reviews!

  54. So far I’m excited – they seem to have tons of stuff (though it’s sold out right now!)
    I bought a few things but unfortunately they emailed me to say my ZIP code wasn’t correct.. but it is!
    We’ll see how this turns out. They were very friendly though :D

  55. Bummer…the online store closed at 5:00 pm today 7/7/2009. I tried to order as much as I could, but by the time I got there, some of the items were out of stock. Dang!!!

    I found them through this blog and I have been loving it. My candy has been ripped from my fingers and I want to cry.

  56. Awwwwww! Sooooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!!!