It’s the season for new beginnings, and what better place to start than in your home? To find beautifully crafted made-in-Japan goods, our go-to place is Omotenashi Selection, a project that brings together fine goods from around Japan and shares them with international audiences.
Each item in the selection is chosen by a panel of judges, ensuring the products on offer all possess the high quality for which Japanese goods are renowned. They also all convey the unique beauty of Japan in their own way. Here, we showcase a curated collection of the items found in Omotenashi Selection – because everyone should have a touch of Japanese craftsmanship in their lives…
For Your Pantry
From a box of black carrot tea to a bento meal that comes in a reusable ceramic bowl, here are some of our favorite foodie items – all ideal for gifts, souvenirs, or simply to enjoy at home.
Ed’s Choice: Coffee SAKURA Hand-drip Coffee
Love your afternoon coffee but tired of resorting to a quick fix from the supermarket or convenience store? Coffee SAKURA offers ground coffee in beautifully designed hand drip bags, giving you an on-the-go option that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor or quality. What’s more, they source only fresh “green” beans, and do the roasting themselves in Japan – this means they can control the process, and they also only roast small quantities at a time (enough for each day) so as to prevent the coffee from going stale. The beans are sourced from countries such as Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Brazil, and Coffee SAKURA strongly supports fair trade.
Coffee SAKURA hand drip coffee, ¥2,500, www.sakurasan.com/eng
For Your Wardrobe
Pair a denim kimono with a pair of Thinglass sunglasses and you’re all set for a stylish spring. For those who prefer to lounge around at home, dare to wear SHAREFUN’s modern take on the traditional fundoshi underwear, and definitely get a pair of comfy room shoes.
Ed’s Choice: Sakura Camera Sling
Even though cameras are becoming more compact, it’s still often a hassle to carry one around with you – and those traditional bulky, uncomfortable camera straps don’t help matters. Enter the Sakura Camera Sling, a new style of strap that’s made with a soft scarf-like fabric that’s cut wide so as to evenly distribute the camera’s weight. Inspired by the design of baby carriers, the strap significantly reduces the load on your neck and shoulders, and it also features two pockets – one with a zip to keep things like camera lenses safe. The fabric comes in all sorts of pretty patterns, so you can pick the style that suits your wardrobe best. Done snapping? The sling doubles up as a cover, so you can wrap your camera up and protect it from getting scratches or dents.
Sakura Camera Sling, ¥15,984, sakurasling.com
For Your Kitchen and Living Space
From the prettiest plates we’ve ever seen to the sharpest knives you’ve ever used, here are our top homeware choices for cooking, eating, cleaning, storing, and sitting.
Ed’s Choice: Artforme Brush
Who says housework needn’t be glamorous? Certainly not the folks at Artforme. Based in Akita, the company envisioned a new kind of broom, one that could be considered an artistic masterpiece but that would also make sweeping and cleaning an easier affair. Their vision was brought to life through a collaboration between two craftsmen: one who specializes in nambu houki (traditional Japanese brooms), and the other an experienced woodworker.
Each brush is made by hand from Japanese broomcorn, which features a unique curved tip that makes it both soft and resilient. And the handle, which plays an important role in controlling the strength of the brushing, is made of wood that has been carefully shaved to fit comfortably in your hand. Best of all, the brushes are so beautiful that they could easily double up as a work of art on display in your home.
Artforme brush with handle made from Japanese onoorekanba birch, ¥30,000 (natural color handle, excl. tax), ¥50,000 (black handle, excl. tax), store.artform.jp
Ed’s Choice: One Bespoke Chair
Inspired by custom order shoe insole technology, this made-to-order chair called One was brought to life as the one-and-only chair in the world created individually to fit one’s body. In the belief that correct posture is essential in maintaining beauty and health, the user’s seat form is measured using a special sponge material, which is then rendered in 3D using advanced technology in order to analyze the way each person sits and their physical characteristics. The chair helps maintain an ideal posture and good balance by counteracting any imbalances in the way that the user sits.
One made-to-order chair by Yuragi-sya, from ¥98,000 (excl. tax), chair-one.com
For Your Beauty Kit
If there’s one Japanese beauty ingredient you have to try, it’s tsubaki oil. Also, don’t miss out on owning possibly the sexiest chrome comb you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Ed’s Choice: Come Savon Soap by Moko
After experiencing skin problems during pregnancy, the founder of Moko decided to come up with her own recipe for “a soap that can be used safely both for yourself and your baby in your tummy.” Her husband works as an organic rice farmer, so she was naturally drawn to rice as an active ingredient; she began using rice bran oil as a cleanser and noticed the positive effects it was having on her skin.
In creating Come Savon soap bar, she decided to use akamai, a red rice that contains plenty of minerals and vitamins, along with other natural ingredients such as avocado oil and honey. The result is a highly moisturizing soap that’s free from preservatives and chemical perfumes or dyes, and is environmentally friendly. Wondering if it foams? Watch the video on Moko’s website and prepare to be amazed.
Come Savon soap by Moko, ¥1,296, moko-sekken.com
Ed’s Choice: Tokowakasui Range
The word tokowaka refers to the concept of maintaining a sense of youthfulness, while the word sui symbolizes purity. Put them together and you have the name of this extraordinary range by Sorayui Inc. The two main ingredients that make these products so powerful are Tokowaka Seisen, the pure spring water from Ise; and silk fibroin, a moisturizing protein amino acid produced by the Japanese silk moth, or tensan. Add to that a variety of botanical ingredients and you get a range of products that cleanses, moisturizes, protects, and helps to create luminous, soft skin – without any harmful effects.
Tokowakasui Moisture Foam facial wash (120g) ¥3,800, Essence Lotion (150ml) ¥4,800, Milk Cream (40g) ¥5,800, Mini Gift Set ¥2,800 (all prices excl. tax), sorayui.jimdo.com
Ed’s Choice: Shinshin Aroma Oil and Aroma Spray Series
Evoking a sense of the deep forest surrounding the sacred Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, Shinshin aroma oils and sprays help you instantly unwind from the stresses of modern life. The three types of Japanese fragrances in the range are based on hinoki (Japanese cypress), and are blended according to the daily rhythms of life: Morning Glow (includes orange, yuzu, and Yoshino hinoki); Sunny Afternoon (includes rosemary and kabosu); and Moon Light (includes Yoshino hinoki and lavender). Retreat from the bustling city and indulge in the Ise Shrine forest atmosphere throughout the day with these three relaxing aromas.
Shinshin Aroma Oil Series, ¥2,500 each or ¥6,750 for a set of three (excl. tax), Shinshin Aroma Spray Series, ¥2,800 each or ¥7,560 for a set of three (excl. tax), sorayui.jimdo.com
For more information or to purchase these products online, visit omotenashinippon.jp/selection/en. A small selection of these products are also available via the new Tokyo Weekender shop. Prices quoted exclude tax.