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.
KACHOFUGETSU BY MATABAY, INC.
Dedicated to making Uji tea for more than 120 years, Matabay brings you this deluxe gift item that combines two types of the high quality tea: Uji gyokuro, which boasts a fresh scent and delicious taste, and Uji sencha, which has an elegant taste with less bitterness.
THE BOX FOR APPRECIATING ROOTS [NE] BY SU RUE DESIGN
Neagari (exposed-root) bonsai is an ancient way of contemplating plants in Japan, which considers the root as part of the view. Roots [Ne] reinterprets this concept and adds a modern touch. Perfect for desk plants or can even be used as a mini aquarium.
OKU-AIZU KANEYAMA SPARKLING MINERAL WATER BY HARVES CO., LTD.
This naturally carbonated water is sourced from a mountain village located in the outback of Oku-Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture, one of the few locations where sparkling soft water occurs in nature. It boasts an elegant, mild taste and subtle bubbles.
SAMURAI BOTTLE CAP BY TADAYASU CO., LTD.
Made with gold metal, gold leaf and braiding, and using the same traditional techniques employed to make samurai armor in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, this samurai bottle cap brings a decorative twist to sake and wine bottle stoppers.
YAMANDORI GIFT SET BY HYAKUSHOYA CO., LTD.
While Japan is well-known for its wagyu, its high quality chicken is often overlooked. The Yamandori Gift Set introduces you to Saga’s superb brand-name chicken, Honebuto Ariakedori, produced without any additives and flavored only with salt and a light seasoning.
MAFUGU PICKLED IN DAIGINJO-SAKEKASU BY HUJIFOODS CO., LTD.
Enjoy the soft texture of mafugu pufferfish combined with the sweet taste of sake. This unique combo is prepared in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture by pickling the fish in Gokyo daiginjo sake lees and additive-free rice-miso sourced from local brewery Akama Jozo.
POTTERY BOOK BY SIONE
In the Japanese tea ceremony tradition, tableware is not only used to present food, but also forms a part of the atmosphere. The Pottery Book series was created to inspire new ways of enjoying tableware: inside the book-shaped box is an illustrated plate, a story that matches the illustration, and a QR code that lets you enjoy music that brings it all together.
BOTTLE ARMOR BY ZIPANG CO., LTD.
Inspired by childhood memories of receiving a warrior doll dressed in samurai armor, the founders of this company decided to create an authentic, miniature version of traditional Japanese armor but combined it with a sake bottle rather than a doll. A beautifully crafted conversation starter for dinner parties.
KYUTARO’S JEWEL BOX OF PICKLES BY NAKAZONO KYUTARO SHOUTEN CO., LTD.
Enjoy one of Japan’s traditional fermented foods but with flavors and presentation that suit more modern tastes. Choose from a variety of pickles such as Sakurajima daikon pickled in sake lees, and domestic burdock root pickled in soy sauce, all sliced into an easy-to-eat size.
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