I'll cut to the chase. This tea is good, but it failed to elicit the same excitement and passion for houjicha that Den's Houji Kukicha awoke in me earlier this year.
Nice and toasty, a sweet finish, no astringency to speak of, but somehow lacks the pizazz of Den's. The prices are comparable, but you can only buy Hibiki's in 200 grams, meaning if you choose to try it, you better have plans to drink it for a while. Also, Hibiki's is less flexible. With Den's, I couldn't make a bad cup, but this one has turned on me once or twice.
Still, as I said, this is a good tea, but I'd rather have Den's. It would be interesting to try the two side by side and see if I'm full of shit.
Edit: I realised later that I wrote this assuming who ever reads it knows what kukicha and karigane are, which are essentially the same thing, Japanese twig tea. Kuki (twig) cha (tea). Karigane translates to wild goose or something. From what I have heard, karigane generally refers to kukicha from Uji. If you didn't know this, you might have been wondering why I was comparing kukicha to karigane.
Please read the comments for further disscusion on the true nature of karigane vs kukicha.