Looking for something quintessentially Japanese for that perfect gift or souvenir? Each month, we round up some of our favorite artisanal items made by local craftsmen and designers.
UNBREAKABLE MUSUBI TABLEWARE BY TONAMI SHOTEN CO., LTD.
Characterized by its triangle shape that looks like an omusubi rice ball, Musubi tableware may seem like it is made of pottery, but is actually crafted from glazed Toyama aluminum. Great for families with kids who enjoy cooking together as you don’t have to worry about anything breaking!
MOLLY’S HOKKAIDO RAW BACON SET BY INCUBOSS. LLC
Molly’s Hokkaido Raw Bacon Set, created after years of perfecting the art of smoking bacon, includes only high quality pork, salt and herbs that are stringently selected, dry-aged and then smoked with the heat from binchotan charcoal under strict temperature control to lock in the bacon’s distinctive smoky flavor.
One set ¥3,000, www.mollyssmoked.jp
MAMORIO by MAMORIO,Inc.
Gone are the days of lost wallets and keys. Insert or attach the stamp-sized tag to your item of choice, connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and MAMORIO will automatically alert you if your item moves out of range and loses connection.
FOODBOWL ZEN BY CROSS CLOVER JAPAN CO., LTD.
Crafted from only the highest quality material, these food and water bowls will make your cat feel the spirit of zen. The bowl’s internal area has an inclined shape, which allows the food to naturally gather in the middle, enabling older cats or those struggling with illness to eat easily without stress. In addition, the opposite edge of the bowl acts as a barrier so that the food doesn’t spill. Bon Appurrtit!
IWAYADO KURASHINA BY IWAYADO TANSU CHEST ASSOCIATION
This series of elaborate furniture pieces, imbued with the taste of modern Japan, is created by utilizing traditional Japanese production techniques including woodworking, urushi (lacquer) coating and metal fittings. In addition to large furniture such as the traditional chest, the collection includes over 100 product types such as pot mats, photo stands and desktop goods.
TATAMIBERI BY MATSUI ORIMONO CO., LTD.
While tatami mats have always been a vital part of the Japanese lifestyle, tatamiberi (the edging that protects the corners of tatami) gets little attention. To change this, Matsui Orimono is breathing new life into the ancient craft and taking advantage of the tatamiberi’s dirt-resistant characteristics and numerous beautiful patterns by offering it for use in modern-day items such as device cases, denim pants and guitar straps.
¥4,000 per 40m, www.herikoubou.co.jp
WAKAYAMA CHOCOLAT BY SPECIFIED NONPROFIT CORPORATIONJOY.COM
Blended abundantly with local ingredients such as budo shansho (Japanese pepper), kishu nanko ume (plum) and yuasa shoyu (soy sauce), Wakayama Chocolat boasts distinct flavors only found in Wakayama Prefecture. But not only does this sweet let you savor the flavor of local Japan, it is manufactured in a facility that provides job assistance to people with disabilities.
¥100-300, Wakayama Chocolat on Facebook.
SOUVENIR MAGNETS BY SHIOZAWA SEISAKUJO CO., LTD
Featuring designs of legendary ukiyo-e artist Hokusai Katsushika, these magnets are engraved using Japan’s traditional tagane chasing tools, making them the ideal souvenir for friends and loved ones.
SCRATCH ZEN BY CROSS CLOVER JAPAN CO., LTD.
Employing sturdy oak as well as Nanbu red pine, and crafted using the kumiko method, a Japanese woodcrafting technique that doesn’t use nails, Scratch Zen cat claw sharpener is meant to last a lifetime. The wood’s grain changes over the years and gives off a warm feeling that matches with all types of interiors.
¥38,000, refill ¥8,000, cross-clover.co.jp/
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