It's Really From Japan! 8 Things We Love to Buy from Japanese Makers

We all associate Japanese designs with quality. Some of us would give anything for snacks available exclusively in Japan. Others would give it up for washi tape and handmade paper goods, while yet some others would prefer tenugui or artisan pottery.

Hundreds of independent designers and makers in Japan sell their designs on Pinkoi, making it easy for you to buy products that are truly “Made in Japan”. Japanese culture is also imbued with gift-giving practices, making these 8 types of crafts truly special.


1. Washi: Japanese paper

Washi Earrings From Saihoku Zakka

Saihoku wants you to touch and feel the warmth of Japanese paper! Paper goods made in Japan are worth buying  because aside from quality stationery and washi tapes, you can also find unexpected applications of Japanese paper, such as these Japanese paper earrings.

Highway Washi Tape from Mina Pattern


2. Cotton pearl jewelry

Poinsettia Cotton Pearl Earrings from 8hakka

Cotton pearl jewelry is worth buying from Japan because this type of “pearl” made from cotton was invented in Japan, and can be found in many jewelry styles ranging from cute and youthful to simple and elegant. The wrinkled surface on cotton pearls also reminds us of the spotlight that’s typically placed on textures in Japanese handicrafts.

Flow Ling Ring Necklace from Pisceans


3. Tenugui and furoshiki

Mountain Blossom Furoshiki from Link Collective

The wisdom of tenugui and furoshiki is in the fabric weaves that make them functional (absorbent, quick-drying) and versatile. Therefore buying ones made in Japan ensures that you are not getting just any regular rectangular cotton fabric. Also, Japanese makers are now rekindling cultural roots and appreciation for nature, creating modern designs such as ones from the online, international collaborative, the Link Collective.

The Cat and the Frog Tenugui from Kappado


4. Bags and purses

Purse from Saori Mochizuki

Fabric goods made with kimono fabric and wafu (traditional Japanese style) patterns are not only full of Japanese elegance, but also practical and easy to gift. Look out for “musubis” or knots full of meaning in gift-giving contexts. For example, “giku” (daisies) resemble the sun and are seen as good omens in Japanese culture. The brand WATALIS also offers a line of genuine kimono fabric goods and business card holders.

Fuguro Drawstring Pouch from WATALIS


5. Dining ware

Balloon Dish from 716 Zakka

Tableware is worth buying from Japan because of the rich dining culture that savors every little detail. This is something worth bringing into our own lives.

Whether a dish is designed for Japanese or western food, inspired by joyful spring cherry blossoms or a nostalgic snow-capped Mt. Fuji, a piece of tableware urges you to fully enjoy the moment (of eating).

Chopsticks Rest from Hiyoko Gama


6. Cherry blossom designs

Cherry Blossom Mobile from Asami Teranuma

The cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan and Japanese artists are proud of it. You might have already seen tons of cherry blossom accessories on Pinkoi, but the flower is also ingrained in everyday Japanese life. Not just in jewelry, but also in household objects such as baby mobiles, pet collars and notepads.

“Happiness” Notepad from WATALIS


7. Artisanal crafts

Pottery Cat Jar from Kumagera

The “shokunin” artisan spirit is unquestionable in Japanese handicrafts. They detail the origins of clay and wood, or the lineage of a specific technique. While Japanese artists take their crafts seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s easy to find humor in Japanese artisanal crafts, like how this pottery cat can be turned into a warrior or flower-bearing admirer, depending on what you put in it!

Izu Clay White Glaze Bowl from Furushomiki


8. Baby clothing

Indigo Dye Jinbei Romper from Uzu Japan

The wisdom of fabrics is also apparent in baby clothing! Traditionally, in the summer, boys wear loose, breathable “jinbei” which is gaining popularity all over the world. Also, the fine details of organic fabric and references to the seasons also make Japanese baby clothing unique, like hats and bibs from the popular Rumah Organics.

Grow Up! Leaf Hat from Rumah Organics


We’re fans of the colors, culture and the craft of Japanese designs, yet there are always new things that surprise us when we look closely at Japanese handicrafts. Whether you’re thinking of gifting or owning, remember that the Japanese designer will likely be happy to be part of a memorable experience!


Dig deeper

► ► How to Use Beautiful Japanese Tenugui in Everyday Life
► ► The Shopping Guide to Made in Japan
► ► Sending Prayers with Origami Cranes
► ► Sushi Challenge! Can You Name this Nigiri Sushi?
► ► Top-selling Japanese Brands with Near-perfect Reviews
► ► These Jewelry Designers are Crazy about Cherry Blossoms
► ► Say “Kanpai” with Japanese Sake and Shochu
► ► Japanese New Year with our Japanese Editor Yoko
► ► What Japanese Handmade Tableware can Teach You About a Good Meal
► ► Interview with Haru and Mina Photographer: Hideaki Hamada

Text: Melissa

Category: Get Inspired

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