Looking for something quintessentially Japanese for that perfect gift or souvenir? Or something different to add to your living room as the season changes? Each month, we round up some of our favorite artisanal items made by local craftsmen and designers. This month, we’re delivering a few of Japan’s best products to add a tiny change into your daily life — and interior.
1. Tofu Soap by COGIT co., ltd.
Made using traditional techniques by soap craftsmen, this soap has the appearance of real tofu – and all the benefits of the ingredient. Tofu Soap is a limited-edition item produced at Oketani Soap, known for making additive-free products. ¥800. Buy here.
2. Yokudama by BATHLIER CO., LTD.
With Yokudama bath bomb, you’ll feel like you’re taking a dip in a hot spring at home. Each Yokudama is wrapped in yukata fabric and consists of bath salts made from edible materials and plants, rock salt and beet sugar, giving you a relaxing bathing experience just as an onsen would. ¥1,200-¥2,200. Buy here.
3. Hinoki LAB Potpourri Set by Hinoki LAB Co., ltd.
This pretty potpourri series features glass bottles containing hinoki shavings and tied with traditional mizuhiki cord. There are three scents to choose from, each created based on the company’s original hinoki essential oil. ¥10,200-¥22,700. Buy here.
4. Ceramic Mimic Fabric by BUNZAN LTD.
Developed by an Arita-ware manufacturer in Saga Prefecture, this ceramic mimic fabric tableware series captures the gentle touch and feel of fabric and is surprisingly lightweight. The texture of fabric is achieved using tebineri, a Japanese style of making ceramics that uses only the artist’s fingers. ¥2,600-¥10,000. Buy here.
5. Neck Cooler Neo by THANKO, inc.
A product to help you survive the heat of the Japanese summer — even while staying at home. Neck Cooler Neo is designed with a registered utility model structure that cools when conducting electricity. Unlike miniature fans, the Neck Cooler works to chill the body surface through a metal plate – very useful while traveling during Japan’s hot and humid summer. ¥5,437. Buy here.
6. CD: Japanese Traditional Instruments by Heart Tree Co., Ltd.
In this series of albums by AUN J Classic Orchestra, songs of various genres are played using Japanese traditional instruments such as the wadaiko, shamisen, koto, shinobue, shakuhachi and narimono – all of which are not typically played in an ensemble. ¥2,000-¥2,500. Buy here.
7. Kirishima natural mineral water Nomu Silica by Qvou CO., LTD.
This natural water is sourced from Mount Kirishima, an active volcano in Miyazaki Prefecture. What sets it apart from ordinary water? Its rich in the important nutrient silica as well as a variety of rare minerals that offer protective health benefits. ¥3,334-¥5,325 (plus shipping). Buy here.
8. MIZU Luxury Soap by ASAGI Co., Ltd.
This luxury soap is made of rare floss silk hailing from the Northern Alps of Nagano Prefecture. With no chemicals added, it’s kind on both the skin and the environment. The unique, customizable packaging was inspired by traditional mizuhiki (lucky knots). ¥1,000-¥3,800. Buy here.
9. Sliding Keys “cloche” by VINTAGE REVIVAL PRODUCTIONS
Slide down the zipper and out come the keys – and a “smiling” keyring. Handmade in Japan through careful craftsmanship, this cute cloche holds around four keys and the flat ring on the back can be used to attach a large key for optimum convenience. ¥9,000. Buy here.
10. Matryoshka stool by SAITOH SEISAKUSHO CO., LTD
The Matryoshka stool series was inspired by Russia’s iconic dolls and was designed for convenient use in any location. It is available in 10 different heights so you can easily find your perfect fit based on preference and decor. ¥16,900-¥21,390. Buy here.
11. Montmorillonite, silver and water toothpaste by KURUMU Co., Ltd.
Montmorillonite is a kind of clay that is not harmful to the body and has a long history in beauty care as a natural cleaning agent. Used as the main ingredient for this toothpaste, it helps keep teeth and gums healthy while eliminating bad breath by turning into a thin, protective veil. ¥1,800. Buy here.
12. Imabari Kinsei Monori Towel By Stylem Co., LTD.
This series of jacquard-woven towels hails from Imabari city in Ehime Prefecture and is made by skilled craftspeople. The design represents the crashing waves of nearby Kurushima Strait, a turbulent channel with whirlpools and rapids. ¥1,000-¥10,000. Buy here.
13. SHELLISTA Eco Sanitizer by Newlogic Co., LTD.
Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to your chemical-based sanitizers? Shellista is made by repurposing scallop shells caught in Hokkaido (which would otherwise be discarded as industrial waste) and contains only natural ingredients yet its sanitizing and deodorizing effects are stronger than similar products. ¥530-¥1,350. Buy here.
14. RH comfort & care product series by TOKYO-SUZURAN CO., LTD.
Created using the special textile Prousion®, RH is a series of accessories, such as neck and waist warmers, that can make you feel healthier. How? The textile fibers are coated with ultra-fine particles of various minerals, which act as a catalyst for biological reactions including the widening of blood vessels, thereby removing waste from the body. As a result, you can experience better quality sleep, quick recovery from fatigue, stress relief and more. ¥2,900-¥16,000. Buy here.
15. Madness Japan Made Carbon By Futaba Model Productions INC.
After molding carbon fibers into complex shapes, Futaba Model Production had the idea to create two good-luck figures that have long been beloved in Japan: the daruma and maneki-neko lucky cat. The carbon daruma doll is coated in Japanese urushi lacquer, creating shine and a transparency effect with time. ¥15,000 -¥300,000. Buy here.
16. SURIPPA by Houstable. JAPAN by HONSHU CO., LTD.
Made in Tokushima Prefecture in collaboration with skilled craftspeople who use time-tested sophisticated techniques, these slippers boast a unique structure, offering extra space at the toes for optimum comfort. The insoles are also super durable and have excellent cushioning. ¥3,500. Buy here.
17. Kutaniyaki Wireless charger by Milantee Japan CO., LTD.
Kutani porcelain is highly regarded for its bold colors, artistic expression, and over-glazing techniques. Now, in response to modern needs, Milantee brings you these beautiful and handy wireless chargers made in the style of Kutani pottery. ¥6,000-¥7,500. Buy here.
18. Amacusa camellia oil premium by Ring-a-Bell
Camellia oil has long been an essential resource for people living in Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture. This item was made using camellia oil collected there. It contains 85 percent oleic acid – an ingredient that offers a smooth blending texture, is moisture rich, and is resistant to oxidizing. ¥4,000. Buy here.
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.