Thursday 17 December 2015

Packed In Tokyo

Made by the Toyo Glass Company of Japan, Packed In Tokyo was designed by the late famous puzzle designer Nob Yoshigahara. Nob had designed well over 200 mechanical puzzles during his life time, including many from the glass puzzle series. For more information on Nob's life, click here and here.

My copy of Packed In Tokyo was released around 1992. As the name suggests, its a packing puzzle but with a very unique and interesting theme; imagine its rush hour in Tokyo and people are squeezing themselves into a subway car...The goal here is to pack the 8 white figurines into a rocking glass. The figurines are made of heavy duty plastic and very solid. They are a mixture of men, women and kids of both genders, different ages, shapes and sizes. The glass container has coloured words like "bang" and train doors printed around it to illustrate how tightly squeezed everyone in the train car is/will be.

While the puzzle is not an easy puzzle by any means, its not frustratingly difficult either. I would rate it as more than moderately difficult. Although 8 figurines seem like too many to pack into the glass, the clue is actually in the shapes of the figurines. The figurines have been molded so as to fit the inside curve of the glass and/or against each other...just nicely. We puzzlers are generally used to geometric or similar shaped packing puzzles where the pack is usually very obvious if gotten correct but not so here...there are arms, legs, bodies, bags all over the place in different contortions. Look at the photos and you will know what I mean.

I experimented with different ways of packing and several times, everything fitted into the glass but always, someone's head will be just poking a tad above the top edge. At other times, I forced the last figurine a bit and felt the fit was way too tight and again "everyone" didn't look quite comfortable inside. Eventually after some time of trial and error, I finally managed to get all 8 figurines packed inside the glass just below the top level with all the 8 persons just a wee bit loose against each other (so no force needed at all). Now I knew I had done it correctly and the assembled puzzle looks correct! And I will assume also a unique solution here.

Overall Packed In Tokyo is a great design and high quality glass puzzle with more than sufficient challenge; not to mention the vintage of it makes it a rare collectible.


  1. Nice, thanks Jerry. I was never attracted to the food-themed glass packers, but i really like this one. May have to rethink.

  2. Mike, yes this one is a really nice one! Unusual!

  3. Hi. What’re can I find one please? I’m desperate to get one for my step father !!!