Looking for something quintessentially Japanese for that perfect gift or souvenir? Beginning this month, our new shopping series features a roundup of some of our favorite artisanal items made by local craftsmen and designers.
Toolist by Aiba Sangyo
The Toolist drink mixers are an essential addition to any home bar set, made from the same materials as tools produced in Sanjyo, Niigata Prefecture, a city renowned for metalworking. Guests will be impressed by the fine craftsmanship, from the glass beading on the cusp to the non-slip grip.
¥1,400 per item, ¥8,200 per set, runwell.jp
Geroko Monogatari Nagomi Sheet by Okuda-Mataemon-ko Honpo
Gero Hot Springs in Gifu Prefecture is known as the birthplace of medicinal compress sheets. Nagomi Sheets are a modern version of these delicately fragrant sheets and promise to have a calming effect. Using essential oils from local trees, carefully selected fragrances such as lavender, chamomile, rose, and yuzu citrus are blended to create a gentle aroma.
¥270 (four sheets), www.geroko.co.jp/index.html
Kimono Tumbler by Asakusa Tatsumiya
If you’re living in (or returning from) Japan wearing an ornate kimono, it’s only fair that your beverages are too. Made from the finest Nishijin-ori fabrics, these Kimono Tumblers combine the modern convenience of a tumbler with the traditional aesthetic of pure silk Nishijin. Made by a long-established kimono shop in the Asakusa area of Tokyo.
Skincare Brush Series by ALTY
You’ll never put a washcloth to your face again after experiencing the gentle cleansing of ALTY’s brush series. The brushes range in size and shape to give a comprehensive cleaning, massaging away dirt and impurities. What’s special about the Skincare Brush Series is their one-of-a-kind refined fibers. Each brush also has unique, tapered tips creating a fine, uneven surface that leave your skin supple and glowing.
Shiawase No Hitachino Waffle by Kanasago Foods
How to make natto more palatable? Eat it as a waffle! The innovative Kanasago Foods brings you the sweet and crunchy Shiawase No Hitachino Waffle – it’s got all the superfood goodness of natto without the pungent smell or sticky texture. Win-win.
From ¥200 (single) to ¥2,500 (set of 10), www.sitogi.jp/eng
Kanazawa Postcards by Creators
From Kanazawa, with love: these postcards let you send a letter and a souvenir all in one. They are made from Ishikawa’s prefectural tree, Noto hiba, which contains hinokitiol, a substance with a strong aroma that’s effective in relieving stress and also has superb antibacterial, insect deterrent, and odor elimination benefits – making the postcard perfect for hanging on the wall as a functional piece of interior decoration.
¥450 per postcard, ¥2,000 for a set of five, creators.me/wood/
Wayoufuku Houki Broom by Takakurakougei
Iwate Prefecture’s Wayoufuku Houki stands out from other brooms because of its curly fibers of home-grown, pesticide-free sorghum, molded by the seasonal winds of the Tohoku region. By using generous amounts of this fiber, the broom has an unparalleled ability to clean without damaging your clothes.
Organic Japanese Tea Powder by Nodoka
While most of the vitamins contained in used tea leaves are thrown away, Nodoka tea is made into a powder so that the leaves can be consumed in their entirety. This gives you double the health benefits than a regular cup of green tea. If tea isn’t your thing, mix the powder with milk to make lattes or smoothies, or blend with salt to make traditional seasonings. ¥1,200-¥3,000, www.nodokatea.com
Tokyo Sashisuseso by Food Relation
Enhance the sweetness and umami of your meals with this assortment of high-quality Japanese seasonings, which includes Tamazato sugar, Hoshishio sun-dried salt, Kinsho mild rice vinegar, Gorobe soy sauce, and Chuo Line sauce. All made without any preservatives or chemicals.
All featured products are part of Omotenashi Selection, a project that brings together fine handcrafted items from around Japan and shares them with international audiences.
For more info, go to omotenashinippon.jp/selection/en