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.
UNILLOY ENAMEL-COATED CAST IRON CASSEROLE BY SANJO SPECIAL CAST CO., LTD.
Astonished by the extremely thin cast iron craftwork of a pot made in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Sanjo Special Cast finally completed the Unilloy enamel-coated cast iron casserole after more than 200 prototypes. It boasts great functionality and brilliant thermal conductivity but is also super light.
PAVILIO BY FORWATEC JAPAN CORP.
Need to jazz up your gift wrapping? The Pavilio series boasts more than 100 variations of sticker designs, from lace to geometric patterns. The secret to their intricacy? The company’s unique technology that lets them cut lines thinner than 2mm and ensures evenly distributed tension.
FIRST LADY MODEL TATAMI TOTE BY TATAMI SHOP AOYAGI
This tote bag is made by a long-standing tatami store in Chiba Prefecture. Using scraps of tatami material and stained leather that would otherwise have gone to waste, they’ve come up with an environmentally friendly product that’s so beautifully crafted it was even fit to be presented to the British Royal Family.
SHICHIFUKU-MISO BY NIJYUUSHISEKKI KAGRA
Shichifuku-miso was created to inspire people to incorporate miso into more daily dishes. Apple, onion, ginger, garlic, sesame, goji berry and walnut are mixed into this Shinshu miso to achieve a deep, rich taste without the use of artificial flavorings or preservatives.
¥2,593 for a set of four, 24sekki-kagra.com
DENIM KIMONO BY TAMAKIYA
Created thanks to a demand for a casual, everyday version of the traditional kimono, denim kimono are reasonably priced, easily washed, and can be worn in your own unique style. This new generation of kimono offers an opportunity to rediscover the garment’s charm.
AINOYATEI UNAGI KABAYAKI BY AJX CO., LTD.
Located near Kamata Station in Tokyo, Ainoyatei has been offering unagi kabayaki (eel grilled after being dipped into a sweet soy sauce based-glaze) for nearly 35 years. Their vacuum packed and frozen unagi kabayaki allows you to easily enjoy the authentic taste of eel grilled carefully by the hands of a master chef.
¥3,686 + shipping fee, ainoyatei.com
GYUTOUGATA JAPANESE KNIFE BY SAKODAHAMONO
Manufactured by Sakoda Hamono, a workshop specializing in knives with a 400-year-old traditional technique, the Gyutougata Japanese Knife is a handcrafted all-purpose kitchen knife. Its lightweight body and superb sharpness makes every slice smooth and swift.
SHIROMUKU YUI BY ECOMACO.CO
The Shiromuku Yui pouch series was brought to life in hopes of conveying the traditional values of shiromuku kimono through recycling. The company purchases vintage kimonos that are then unstitched, dyed and embroidered manually by craftsmen in Kyoto. Not only are they recycled, the fabrics are infused with sophisticated designs and functionality protecting the delicate embroidery from damage.
IZUMO-USAGI FULL MOON ALGAE SALT BY MEDISOL INC.
Made using seawater and seaweed collected during the full moon from the waters near the sacred Izumo Grand Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, this premium salt is made with uncompromising standards and care. It boasts a rounded flavor and unique hint of seaweed.
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