Kappabashi: Home of Japanese Knives

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Just a short walk away from Asakusa, Kappabashi is a great place to spend an afternoon among a joyful chaos of stores specializing in all sorts of kitchenware, and a must-visit destination for visitors looking to pick up world-class Japanese knives.

Over 100 Years of History

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Kappabashi Dogu-gai (Kappabashi Kitchenware Street) has been a center of commerce related to tools for over a century, and is one of the best places in Tokyo to find cool (not to mention useful) souvenirs. The two main streets are stocked to the brim with everything from super-realistic food samples to ramen shop signs, pots big enough to make curry for 100 people, dainty sake cups, chopsticks in every color of the rainbow… and knives.

Kamata Hakensha: Knives Galore

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Located around the middle of Kappabashi, this little shop is heaven for both amateur and professional cooks, as it stocks a huge range of Japanese and Western-style knives, each individually checked (and sharpened!) by the owner. The staff speak decent English and are really good at helping you find the right knife for your needs and ability.

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From the window you can watch Seiichi Kamata (the owner and third-generation craftsman) engraving names on the knives (a rather cool touch, especially if the blade is a gift) or restoring the razor-sharp edges of the implements used by top chefs around the city.

With almost four decades of experience, his fingers can detect the slightest imperfection in the metal, invisible to the naked eye. During a recent visit, he spoke of the intense training his son (the fourth generation) underwent under both his tutelage and that of the master knife makers in Sakai City, Osaka, in order to ensure that he too will gain this level of craftsmanship.

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As many of the knives are completely handmade, they’re priced accordingly. However, the shoo does have a nice range of light but sturdy stainless steel kitchen knives that are very reasonable, as well as other unusual choices (my favorite being a pair of scissors with a cherry blossom motif).

Be sure to check out the Japanese-style knives decorated with flowers, leaves and dreamy wave patterns, which look almost too pretty to use!

www.kap-kam.com


Read the original article on All About Japan: Kappabashi: Home of Japanese Knives

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3 Historic Fan Shops in Kyoto

Kyoto’s rich history even extends to its many shops and these shinise, or historic shops, are some of the Kyoto’s oldest. In fact, these three fan shops are among Japan’s most historic, with some dating as far back as the 17th century!

3. Aiba

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Aiba has been continuously selling traditional Japanese fans since 1689. Although they specialize in more traditional styles, the shop continues to be innovative. One of the more modern styles they’ve created is a transparent fan that gives the suggestion of delivering cool air while remaining quite stylish. These round fans were historically used within the Imperial Court during the Edo Period. They’re artfully crafted, featuring natural scenery, people or poetry, cast in block print, dye or raised cloth.

Aiba is situated in downtown Kyoto between Sanjo-dori and Shijo-dori on quiet Yanagi no Bamba Street.

www.kyoto-kankou.or.jp

2. Miyawaki Baisenan

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Established in 1823, Miyawaki Baisenan specializing in the iconic Japanese folding fan. You can shop to your heart’s content on the first floor, but don’t miss the second floor, which features an exhibit on the history of Japanese fans. Baisenan sells fans for every occasion, from the purely utilitarian fans that start at ¥743 (US$7), to the more indulgent sandalwood fans that can go for as much as ¥43,532 (US$410). Even if you’re not there to make a purchases, Miyawaki Baisenan offers a fascinating look at the history of fans, and the many varieties that exist from region to region.

Miyawaki Baisenan is situated north of Shijo-dori, on Rokkaku-dori.

www.nytimes.com

1. Sakata Bunsuke Shoten

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This shop had its start in 1808, specializing in folding fans. The fans at Sakata are strictly for decor, ceremonies, or entertainment, so you won’t be pulling one of these works of art out of your pocket when you’re roasting on a crowded train. Sakata Bunsuke Shoten exhibited at The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925, meaning these well-made fans have been held in international high-regard for nearly 100 years. Sakata keeps things interesting, releasing a new design each year in a continued effort to blend modern design with Japanese tradition.

Sakata Bunsuke Shoten is located at the corner of Gojo and Yanagi no Bamba street.

eng.trip.kyoto.jp


Read the original article on All About Japan: 3 Historic Fan Shops in Kyoto

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5 New Halloween Desserts

With the end of October coming up, department stores and sweets shops are preparing their new special Halloween treats.
Here’s Wattention’s pick from this season’s lineup.

Halloween Bunny Parfait (1,810 yen)

bunny parfait
Image Credit: PR Times
This parfait brings you all the best Autumn has to offer! Nicolas House in Harajuku is known for the best bunny themed sweets in Japan such as bunny cream puffs and cakes. The Halloween parfait is a combination of choux cream, maple jelly, kabocha(Japanese pumpkin) cream, ginger jelly, marron cream, purple pumpkin ice cream, chocolate sauce and a bunch of other ingredients. If a cute Halloween is your thing, head on over to Nicolas House!

Dates: Sept. 20, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: 10am – 8pm (last order at 7pm)
Location: Harajuku
Address: 4 Chome-26-5 Jingumae 426 building 1F-2F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0001

“Matthew the ghost” cake (2,800 yen)

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Image Credit: PR Times
The Osaka Bay Tower Hotel is bringing Halloween to their restaurant with this specially made ghost cake. The cake features plenty of fruit toppings and a white marshmallowy ghost filled with cake and strawberries. Who says Halloween can’t be sweet. You need to make a reservation 3 days beforehand, pickup available.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 28, 2016
Hours: you can decide a pickup time yourself
Location: Hotel Osaka Bay Tower lobby
Address: 552-0007 Osaka-shi, Minato-ku Benten 1-2-1

Halloween Gateau Nantes (389 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
Introducing a Halloween cake made in the traditional Fench way. The main features of a cake made in the “Nantais” way are plenty of sugar and almonds. Bretonne added plenty of pumpkin paste, pumpkin seeds and white chocolate. Now this French style cake got Halloween’d.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: 10am – 8pm (Sun – Thurs) / 10am – 9pm (Fri – Sat)
Location: Bretonne shop, Osaka Hankyu Umeda department store
Address: 30-8350, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Kita-ku, Kakuda-cho 8-7 Hankyu Umeda head office underground first floor

Purple Pancakes (1,400 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
Don’t let the purple scare you. The color comes from plenty of sweet purple potatoes combined with a delicious custard cream. Raspberry sauce and blueberries complete the overall spooky look of this dessert. Be sure to add Eggs’n Things to your Halloween must-do list.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: Depends on the location
Location: Check all Eggs’n Things locations here: http://bit.ly/1hqLxKi(Japanese only)

Shiseido Halloween Chocolate Parfait (1,620 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
The Shiseido Parlour has been offering quality food since 1905 and continue to do so. This year’s featured Halloween item is a chocolate parfait topped with candy. The parfait’s base consists of chocolate and pumpkin cream. This parfait is only available at the stores in Nihonbashi, Yokohama and Nagoya.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: Depends on the location
Location: Nihonbashi Takashimaya, Yokohama Takashimaya, Yokohama Sogo, Nagoya Central Towers 12F
Address: Check all locations here: http://bit.ly/2dnqeNr

Tokyo Shopping Spree : Animal goods

Walt Disney knew the power of animals. There is something special about their cuteness, their innocence and their playfulness, which make us smile and warm inside. Whether it’s a trip to a zoo or spending some time at an animal cafe, we all need some animal fix when we are down. But for those who don’t have time to interact with the actual animals, WAttention team found cute animal goods to cheer you up.

Great for tongue-in-cheek gifts!

Rabbit Pouch
Rabbit Cheek Pouch (3,996 yen each)


Keora Keora Bear i-Phone cover (3,672 yen each)

All available @rooms SHOP
http://www.hpfrance.com/Shop/Brand/roomsshop.html

Panda Pandemonium!

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Panda Daruma (1,944 yen)
A bear-y cute twistgiven to a traditional doll.
@Yu Nakagawa

panda donut
Panda Donut (290 yen each)
Too cute to eat the hole thing.
@siretoco factory

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Pandama (540 yen each)
This sweet panda couple comes from long-established Japanese confectionery maker, Funawa.
@Miyage Kasen


Ueno Panda Set (1,300 yen)
How about a family of panda sweets for your own folks?
@Waraku Beniya

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Panda Bento (980 yen)
The perfect pick for a bento at Ueno Zoo.
@Zenmai

All available @ecute Ueno
http://www.ecute.jp.e.yc.hp.transer.com/ueno/shop.html

No Beef with Kobe: Eat, See, Enjoy!


picture source

I took a day trip with K-san (unnamed for privacy) to Kobe during my week-long Japan vacation. We took the direct JR line (around 50 minutes) from our Osaka accommodation to Kobe’s central station, Sannomiya Station. Check out Japan Guide for a detailed travel guide between Osaka and Kobe!

Wagyu immediately comes to mind when Kobe is mentioned, and I am so excited because we planned to visit a good wagyu restaurant, and do some leisurely sightseeing. The area leading to our first stop, Mt. Maya, was covered in beautiful sakura blooms lining a river. There were also many sakura trees outside the Art Center of Kobe. Appreciative remarks about the sakura made by the hanami viewers could be heard as we enjoyed our walk through the area.

Tsubaki flower on the rail
Tsubaki flower on the rail

After many kirei desu ne (綺麗ですね, it’s so beautiful) the pair of us finally reached the bottom of Mt. Maya. Mt. Maya is one of the smaller peaks of the Mt. Rokko chain, and is highlighted for its scenic and natural beauty! There were already a few hikers heading up the mountain before us.

A word of advice: wear comfortable shoes! The bottom steps of the mountain were oddly shaped so it can be difficult to climb. The hike up to the waterfall was steep but I really enjoyed the serenity of the place. Hiking never really appealed to me, but the experience is really meditative. You either introspect, admire nature, or talk to your companion. I highly recommend this for either pairs/couples or individuals. 🙂

Can you feel the energy from the waterfall?
Can you feel the energy from the waterfall?

The waterfall we saw wasn’t that majestic or big, but still beautiful nonetheless. Visitors and hikers alike were quietly talking amongst themselves, keeping the peace of the place. Perhaps they are bathing in the negative ions of the waterfall!

We decided to climb a little higher towards the observation platform, which promised a skyline of Kobe city. The platform was also surrounded by sakura trees! Few people were in this area so we could take as many pictures as we liked at our leisure.

 

 

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A hidden shrine on the way up to the observation platform
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More beautiful sakura await at the observation deck!
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The Kobe skyline. The air was so fresh and rejuvenating! Singapore was so hazy when I left. ):

Finally, it was time for our lunch reservation at Wakkoqu, a restaurant famous for quality Tajima wagyu! You definitely have to make an early reservation either at their website or call them directly because they are very popular. They also have English speaking staff and a website in English, so reservation is fuss-free and easy. Do double-check that you have chosen the right store as they have two locations.

The A4 wagyu steak that went into our bellies. :D
The A4 wagyu steak that went into our bellies. 😀

We were ravenous for some yummy wagyu after our workout, so we ordered the Lunch Wakkoqu Course: 150g sirloin, six kinds of grilled vegetables, soup of the day (potato soup), salad, rice and Japanese pickles, dessert, and coffee. I think “heavenly” is the best adjective here.

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In midst of preparation. Can’t wait!

We could not stop gushing about how scrumptious the food was. The course started with the potato soup, which was creamy but light with small bits of potatoes. Meanwhile, the chef brought out the A4 sirloin, while we were served the salad. We were rather disappointed that the sirloin was divided between the both of us instead of being served one each.

The chef prepared the sauces and condiments-salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, and soy sauce-before grilling the garlic and the steak. If you have eaten good quality steak before, you will know that each piece of meat just melts in your mouth. The first piece was sprinkled with salt and pepper, the conventional way of eating steak. I really loved the meat juices that melded with salty flavour. The next piece was paired with pepper and garlic. The sweet garlic and fragrant pepper really complemented the steak. This must be what people call a medley of flavours dancing in your mouth. The third piece was quite unusual-soy sauce and mustard. I really loved the spiciness of the mustard but I felt that the soy sauce was a little underwhelming. Out of these three styles, I preferred the very first. Of course, you are always welcome to eat the steak in any way you like!

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Beansprouts and wagyu fat!

The chef had also cut the strip of fat and cooked it with some beansprouts. It was delicious because of the added beef flavour but I probably would have just liked it the same attached to some meat. Even so, the different textures of the wagyu can really be enjoyed to the fullest. I really want to go back.

After the starters and main course, we were served some delightful yuzu sorbet and coffee. The portions were slightly small but the food was certainly delicious. Gochisousama deshita! (Thank you for the meal!)

 

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UCC Coffee Museum Tasting: Blend coffee (left) and 100% Brazil origin coffee (right)

We headed to the UCC Coffee Museum on a whim as it was in the area. Unfortunately, coffee tasting was over so we didn’t get any. I am slightly disappointed because UCC’s drip coffee smells really good and the kokumi (こくみ, richness or depth of flavour) is just rightnot too acidic or bitter.

Different parts of the coffee seed
Different parts of the coffee seed

So now you know, coffee tasting is held at specific times! The museum’s website (in Japanese) explains that for the month of April 2016 visitors can compare blend coffee (Brazilian base) and 100% Brazilian coffee at 4 designated times.

If you miss the coffee tasting, you can always either buy some from their cafe or the museum shop. Coffee aficionados should definitely visit at least once, even if to try the coffee or out of pure interest for the  technical details of coffee plant seasons to the interactive exhibits.

 

The coffee belt of the world. The red line is the equator.
The coffee belt of the world. The red line is the equator.

There were so many interesting facts I never knew about the coffee plant, i.e. the flowers of the coffee plant are white. You can challenge the quiz they have in the museum to get a Dr. Coffee Certificate. Not to worry, they have the questions in English as well.

I think the most interesting fact I’ve learned that day is about the coffee belt. The coffee plant is grown only between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which points to warmer countries – but does not include Japan! The coffee plant is also rather sensitive to climate changes, so coffee may become scarce in the future. 🙁

 

What volume of coffee beans can be harvested from a single coffee tree? Click the photo for an answer!
What volume of coffee beans can be harvested from a single coffee tree? Click the photo for an answer!

 

Want More Kobe? 

These were some of the places we wanted to visit but couldn’t fit in our schedule. They shall be on our itinerary for our next trip to Kobe!

1. Nunobuki Herb Gardens

Nunobiki Herb Garden Glasshouse | Source
Nunobiki Herb Garden Glasshouse | Source

This place comes highly recommended by nature lovers due to the sheer volume of stunning flowers in the greenhouses. The area is really big so I reckon I can easily spend a hour or two strolling in the flower fields.

2. Handmade Nada Shop

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Chewy Crunchy Cacao | Source

Like its namesake, the pastries are all handmade! This shop serves delicious pastries and sweets which you can either get as a takeaway or indulge at their cafe area. The images on their website looks irresistible! Give me some now!

3. Rokkosan Pasture and Kobe Cheese House

The cute sheep you'll get to see at the farm | Takuya
The cute sheep you’ll get to see at the farm | Takuya

You should definitely visit this place if you love animals and nature! You can pet them at designated parts of the farm. There are also many hands-on activities where you can make ice cream, butter or engage in wool craft. You can also observe the cheese-making process at their factory.

  1. Mt. Rokko
The night view from Mt. Rokko | Charlie Brown
The night view from Mt. Rokko | Charlie Brown

I didn’t get the chance to scale Mt. Rokko but someday, I really want to see the nightscape in person at the top of this mountain! You can also build a musical box at the Rokko International Musical Box Museum, or enjoy a leisurely walk through the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden.

  1. Kobe Animal Kingdom
Rock eagle owl | No
Rock eagle owl | Noppawat Charoensinphon

This place is basically an interactive zoo suitable for animal lovers and families. Their main feature though, is the largest collection of owls! Seasonal flowers also grace the zoo making it one of the highlights for visitors.

  1. Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum
Hakutsuru Brewery Museum | Source
Hakutsuru Brewery Museum | Source

Sake is known to be a Japanese alcoholic beverage but do you really know how it’s made? In addition to observing the sake-making process, you can also acquire some special sake at their museum shop!

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

Furugiya – Second-hand clothing shops in Tokyo

If you have been to Tokyo multiple times and have gotten bored of shopping along Ginza or Harajuku, it’s time to venture onto an alternative shopping experience; it’s time to explore vintage shopping.

Furugiya (vintage or second-hand clothes) shops are fairly common throughout Japan, but Tokyo has some of the best shops, with the best selection of items. Depending on the type of store, you may find regular second hand clothes, previous season’s designer items or designer vintage pieces, at a fraction of their original prices.

During my visit, I went to the stores along Harajuku Street near Tokyu Plaza, Ura-Hara area behind Omotesando and Shibuya.

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Pigsty at Urahara. The owners actually started out in Osaka before opening their 2nd branch in Tokyo.

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This street behind Omotesando leads to a few unique Americana vintage shops and the famous Ragtag.

The stores around Harajuku have a strong flavor of American culture, where you can find items from American brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Some of the stores also carry a huge stash of southwestern printed items for all your bohemian needs.

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Rama, a store on Harajuku street filled with Americana vintage goods.

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Berberjin is another store along Harajuku street. They have an online site too.

Two must-see stores around Harajuku would be Jumble Store and Ragtag. Both stores are part of a larger chain and have online stores which you can browse before visiting. Jumble Store carries quite a range of items, from Dickies jeans to the latest designer labels such as Dior Homme and Balmain. However, going through the racks to find a designer item of your size will require time, effort and patience. If you only wish to find designer items, Ragtag would be better. Their store only carries famous labels; both mid-level priced as well as designer.

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A 2-storey standalone Jumble store in Harajuku

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For truly vintage items, I recommend Kodona and Sullen around Shibuya. Both stores are rather hard to access, but contain true gems. Carefully curated and extremely popular, both stores have to change their inventory frequently to keep up with demand. During my visit, I found beautiful vintage Christian Dior, Kenzo and Burberry pieces that were still in good condition.

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Kodona.

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Kodona’s décor blends and enhances the pieces that they have in the store.

Before becoming too excited, here are some pointers to note when visiting:

Check: Check the pieces carefully. Some stores will have labels indicating defects or issues with the products. Do not be too excited about the discount given. Also check the stitching and condition and make your own judgment.

Ask: If unsure about an item, do ask the owners. They will be able to provide valuable information, such as the age of the item, condition of the item as well as care methods. They will also be able to provide you styling advice if you are unsure about a vintage item, but absolutely cannot do without it. They should also be able to provide advice on whether alterations should be done or not.

Enjoy: The entire process feels like a treasure hunt. Even if the item is not in your size, enjoy finding beautiful and interesting clothes while digging through the racks.

Decide: Most items are unique and there is only one. Decide if alterations can be done and if you truly would like the item. If you let it go, you probably would not find it again. So, choose wisely.

 

Contributed by Dwight Tan

Read the original articles on WAttention Singapore.

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen Pencase Set

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

4963095902085
Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen Pencase Set

$46.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Green Tea Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Delicious and refreshing, green tea is a staple drink for Japanese people. Not only that, it’s numerous health benefits are well known around the world. For those who love green tea, we’ve selected a few green tea products full of Japanese flair, including a tea ceremony kit for the beginners out there. Now you can enjoy fresh green tea in the comfort of your home.

rankNo. 1 Yamasu Sugimoto Store Japanese Style Green Teabag

 

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Aren’t these the cutest tea bags ever? These tea bags come with razor-cut tags in all sorts of shapes, such as adorable cats, fighting Ninjas, Sumo wrestlers and dancing Geisha. The silhouetted tags are realistic and fun, you can even use them as decoration or wall art once you’re done with the tea. The bag contains premium green tea leaves from the Shizuoka Prefecture. The “Selection of Great Actors” tea bag set has an English explanation on the package. Why not get it for your family and friends back home?

Product Name: Yamasu Sugimoto Store, Cat Tea Bag Set (3g of tea leaves x 6 bags), Selection of Great Actors Tea Bag Set (3g of tea leaves x 6 bags)
Price: 1,080 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “There’s a plethora of green tea bags available in Japan. But these tea bags are definitely a good conversation starter.”


 

rankNo. 2 PLUG Iced Tea Jug

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When it comes to designing a water jug, you have to think of all the different ways it’s used on a regular basis; stored in a refrigerator, placed on a table and pouring beverages into a cup. With this in mind, KINTO, a modern tableware manufacturer, came up with an excellent solution. PLUG Iced Tea Jug features a simple and elegant design. An extra fine mesh at the bottom of the filter catches all the small tea leaves, leaving the tea clear and smooth. Thanks to its air-tight lid, even when you store the jug sideways, you don’t have to worry about leaking. Furthermore, the handle is ergonomically designed making it surprisingly easy to pour.

Product Name: PLUG Iced Tea Jug 1.2ℓ
Price: 2,484 yen (including tax)
Category: Tableware
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This beautifully designed jug is the pinnacle of form and function.”


 

rankNo. 3 Uji Seicha Tea Ceremony Set with 4 Items

macchasetIf you have participated in a tea ceremony and are interested in trying it at home, this is the perfect kit for you! This tea ceremony set comes with 4 essential items: Macha (green tea powder) from Marukyu-koyamaen in Kyoto Uji, a renowned green tea production area, Chawan (tea bowl), Chasen (tea whisk) and Chashaku (tea scoop). All you need is hot water, but make sure to let it cool, since the ideal water temperature is between 70℃ to 85℃.

Product Name: Uji Seicha, Tea Ceremony Set for a beginner
Price: 3,780 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Selecting the right items can be overwhelming, but this kit eases you into trying the tea ceremony at home.”


 

rankNo. 4 Kyoto Uji Maruhisa Koyama-en, Macha Shohaku

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This Macha is approved by Urasenke, one of the most prestigious tea ceremony schools. Because of its premium quality and superb taste, it is often used for official tea ceremonies in Japan. The marriage of bitterness and sweetness is supreme.

Product Name: Shohaku 20g
Price: 864 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “It’s hard to find Macha outside of Japan. So if you are a Macha enthusiast, get this excellent brand before you leave Japan!”


 

rankNo. 5 HARIO Water Brew Teapot with Handle

 

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During the hot steamy summer days, it is only natural to crave a nice refreshing cold tea. With this tea pot, you can make your own cold tea at home. Just put a good amount of tea leaves in the filter, and pour water up to the instructed amount, then keep it refrigerated. Within 3 to 6 hours, your iced tea is ready to be served. Quench your thirst with your own home-made iced tea!

Product Name: Water Brew Teapot with Handle1,000ml
Price: 1,188 yen (including tax)
Category: Tableware
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This tea pot comes with a ultra-fine filter, you don’t have to worry about small tea leaves floating in your drink.”


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Large) Metal Lines

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Large) Metal Lines

$71.00

See in store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

The Charm of Hokuto (6): Moegi no Mura

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Spend a day in Moegi no Mura, a theme park village located in the Kiyosato Highland of Yamanashi Prefecture. It was started with the establishment of the café “ROCK” in 1971. The president of Moegi no Mura, Joji Funaki, was fascinated by German architecture and musical organs during his study trip in Europe. When he came back to Japan, he had the vision to bring a glimpse of Europe to Yamanashi. Together with six architects and engineers from Canada, the first buildings of the village were built with imported material from North America. The village was established in 1977 acting as a natural resort in the style of a western village for young people to experience the charm of the nature.

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Surrounded by nature in the middle of the woods and having more than twenty different exciting attractions, you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and visit many shops, restaurants and cafés. Here are a few of its highlights:

Yatsugatake Outdoor Activities

segway
Here you can get information about nature activities such us trekking, hiking, and Segway tours. For Segway beginners, we recommend the early morning Segway tour which includes a quick training session followed by a guided tour around Moegi no Mura.

Hours: 9am – 5pm
Closing days: Thursday (except during summer season)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/y.outdoor/?fref=nf

Music Box Museum “Hall of Halls”

One of the main attractions of the village is the Music Box Museum “Hall of Halls” showing antique music boxes and automatic mechanical musical instruments which reach back in time until the 19th century. The collection features antique acquisitions from France, Germany and many other European countries.
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In the left upper corner of the collage you can spot the “Limonaire 1900” pipe organ, which was made for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.  Another highlight of the museum is the “Mozart Barrel Organ” which plays songs composed by Mozart especially for this mechanical orchestra.

Hours: 10am – 6pm (last entrance 5:30pm)
Admission: 800 yen (adults), 500 yen (students) – there is an extra charge of 500 yen during the musicians live and the organ live
URL: Music Box Museum “Hall of Halls”

Mori no Merry Go Round Cafe

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Another popular spot of the park is the Merry Go Round and its café, which is a big attraction among young and old visitors. It´s location in the woods of the village, makes this place very magical. Many Japanese pop stars used this location for their Music Video or CM production, including Ayumi Hamasaki and Bekky.

Hours: 10am – 6pm
Closing days: Thursday (except August to October)
Admission: 300 yen for the Merry Go Round
URL: Merry Go Round

Café “Carole”

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For a tea or coffee break we recommend the Café “Carole” offering healthy lunch plates and home-made cakes. The café has a warm and cozy atmosphere, a bit like sitting in your grandma’s house and waiting for her home-cooked meal. We had a taste of the original Short-Cake with peach filling and the walnut tart, as well as three different kinds of cookies.

Hours: 10am – 6pm (until 5pm during winter season)
Closing days: Wednesday (except during summer season)
Tel: 0551-48-2520
URL: Café Carole

The many crafts shops of Moegi no Mura

For all cat-lovers, the shop “Le Chat Des Bois” focuses only on selling products in shape of cute cats. The products are designed by Japanese designers, as well as imported products from overseas.
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At shop “Ellen”, you can buy handmade goods and accessories for your beloved dog. Dog leads, harnesses and eco-shopping bags are the best sellers among the products. The shop “Sugar Plum” with its old blue Citroën sleeping in the front garden, offers country crafts, fabrics and original eco-shopping bags. The flower garden leads the way to the next shop, the “Fair Heaven”. Here you can purchase your favorite scent in form of body care products, essential oils, aroma bags, herb water, incense or aroma candles. Also many products feature flower prints, like tableware, table clothes, or umbrellas are available as well. Most of the shop owners import the goods from its origin country, and emphasize the image of rural life. When you enter those shops you are embraced by a calming atmosphere that can be found throughout the village.

Information

Moegi no Mura
Access: 12min walk from Kiyosato Station (JR Koumi Line)
Address: Takane-cho Kiyosato 3545, Hokuto-shi, 407-0301 Yamanashi
Tel: 0551-48-3522
URL: Moegi no Mura

Read the rest of the series:
The Charm of Hokuto (1) : Oasis of the Highlands
The Charm of Hokuto (2) : Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum
The Charm of Hokuto (3) : Suntory Hakushu Distillery
The Charm of Hokuto (4) : Inn Blue in Green
The Charm of Hokuto (5): Top 5 Photogenic Nature Spots
Restaurant Review: Soba Restaurant Sanbuichi

Ninja ID: nene16


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

$64.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Yamagata Adventure (4) – Nakano Sake Shop

Right beside the Dewazakura Sake Brewery is the Nakano Sake Shop, which sells all the popular beverages produced in the brewery.

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Dewazakura Sake Brewery was founded in 1892 and due to its long tradition, experience and excellent quality, the company received gold and bronze awards in the sake category during the “International Wine Challenge” in 2008.

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We had the chance to taste the gold prize-winning sake called Ichiro, and we immediately came to the conclusion why this one has to be the best-seller of the brewery. It has a fresh flavor of grapefruit, lime and cantaloupe and was very delicious.

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The Champion Sake comes in a 720ml bottle and costs 3,024 yen.

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Since Yamagata is famous for its fruit growing culture, the brewery also produces wines based on local fruits like cherries and pears. They also produce special beverage with the twelve zodiac signs. This year being the year of the monkey, the package has a monkey illustration. After finishing the bottle, they recommend to keep the bottle, put glass pearls into it and fill the bottle with water to create a shiny and sparkling interior decoration item.

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Besides selling their own products, there are other related products on sale.

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The highlight of the shop is the full-scale-model of a liquor store from the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The original poster that is hung on the wall adds the finishing touch.

Information

Nakano Sake Shop
Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (Closed on Monday)
Tel: 0120-59-3010
Access: A 15-min walk from Tendo Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen)
Address: Hitoichimachi 1-4-12, Tendo-shi, 994-0044 Yamagata
URL: http://www.dewazakura.co.jp/index.htm

Ninja ID: nene16


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Emergency Food Items

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

With an unknown future constantly looming over us, it’s not a bad idea to prepare for disasters and emergency scenarios. We need water, shelter and support from each other. But most of all, we need food! Nonperishable food items that could last a long time not only gives you a boost of energy and comfort in a time of need, but having it around in the house also gives you peace of mind. And just because they’re made for emergencies doesn’t mean that they lack in flavor! In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 delicious and nutritious emergency food items.

rankNo. 1: Onisi Alpha rice Series

 

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Even in an emergency, don’t deprive yourself of the comfort of delicious white rice that tastes just like it would freshly steamed. Made possible by flash freezing alpha rice, all this emergency preserved rice needs is for hot water to be poured in and left for one minute to become steaming and fluffy. 100% domestic rice is used and can be kept at room temperature for five years. Available in 12 flavors such a five-mixed ingredients rice and prawn pilaf.

Price: 302 yen~432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The many flavors look delicious enough to eat even on a regular basis!”

 


 

rankNo. 2: Nomura, Emergency Provision Millet Biscuits in a Can

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Nomura manufacturing has been making snacks for more than 90 years. Millet biscuits, one of the long-selling products by Nomura, have been approved by the Kochi prefecture as emergency food. Unlike the regular Millet biscuits, these emergency provisions are baked and can be stored for 5 years. Even though they are considered as snacks, they provide substantial 431 kcal per 100 gram. No eggs, milk or butter is used; they are great snacks for those who have dietary restrictions as well. Beloved by children and adults alike, their slightly sweet and comforting flavor brings a smile to everyone.

Price: 594 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Millet biscuits are small and thin, they are easy to eat even for small children and the elderly.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: imuraya, AZUKI-BEANS POWER EIYO-KAN

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Azuki red beans are known for their nutritional value, and these yokan – or jellied azuki red bean paste bars – are a handy way of getting an energy boost. Each bar provides 171 calories (around one bowl of rice) and is easy to chew, with a light sweet taste and requires no preparation. The packaging is also designed to be easy to open even in the dark. This traditional sweet snack also makes for a great energy bar while doing outdoor activities such as running or cycling.

Price: 432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “It’s a great idea to turn this classic Japanese sweet into an emergency food. Azuki red bean is an important part of the Japanese diet after all!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: BOURBON, Canned Hard biscuit

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Baked till fragrant, these easily digestible canned biscuits are also fortified with calcium. Sugar cubes are also included in the can which is made of metal. The drying agent included helps to keep these biscuits fresh and delicious for 5 years. The container can be recapped for later consumption.

Price: 270 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “This is a long-selling item in Japan that is often kept as a regular snack at home, not just for emergencies.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Can de Bo-Lo’Gne

 

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This canned Danish bread brings emergency food to a whole new level. Unlike the usual canned bread which is dry and tasteless, Can de Bologne is fragrant, mildly sweet and moist and chewy like regular Danish pastry. Not only does it make for a great treat during emergency use, it is also suitable for children’s camps, mountain climbing or travels. This canned bread maintains its freshness for 3 years and is resistant to shock.

Price: 432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “This delicious-looking Danish looks like it would make for a great breakfast any day!”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

5 Japanese Summer Survival items

The Japanese summer is very hot and humid, but don’t lose hope! Here are five items to ensure your victory over the heat.

 

1) Japanese sunscreen

Japanese are very keen on keeping their skin light, so their sunscreen is made to answer their needs. When you buy sunscreen in Japan you may notice that it has a more gel-like consistency than the sunscreen you’re used to. This is because they are made to be as light and effective as possible so you can apply layers again and again during the day without it being noticeable. On top of that, many of the regular sunscreens can also be used on the sensitive skin on your face. So lather on that sunscreen and protect your skin!

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Many sunscreens might have descriptions like “water gel” and “water”, but that doesn’t mean they are water-resistant. The water aspect only refers to the consistency of the product.

 

2) Air conditioning

Almost every home is equipped with one and you will soon notice this magical device is a lifesaver. Providing heat in the winter and a cool breeze in the summer, the air conditioners in Japan can’t get enough love and praise. You can decide the strength and direction of the breeze so you can relax in comfort. If you don’t have an air conditioner at home then you can make it a sport to hope from store to store until you make it home to your air conditioner-less environment and you can always buy an electric fan that will do the job just fine.

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3) Strange ice cream

Japan has its fair share of strange ice cream and it’s both surprising and refreshing at the same time. The land of the rising sun has many unusual flavors such as wasabi, napolitan pasta, fish and many more. Other very Japanese ways to cool down while indulging in sweets are with kakigori (shaved ice) or a slice of watermelon.

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4) Deodorizing sheets

All the heat and humidity will make you sweat, so luckily you have these deodorizing sheets. These amazing sheets look and feel like wet wipes but take care of your sweat, prevent you from sweating more and leave a nice scent. How amazing is that! You can buy these in different scents and brands at the convenience store or drugstore. Be sure to try these when you come to Japan.

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5) Mosquito repellent

Every summer Japan gets visited by an insane amount of mosquitoes. If you plan a day out hiking or anywhere where it’s green, be sure to carry some repellent. You can buy these in a pharmacy, drug store or convenience store. Besides the type to spray on your body, there are other products to keep mosquitoes away from your living space. Try a “mosquito pad” or a “mosquito coil”. To make things extra cute, you can put your mosquito coil inside the traditional “ceramic mosquito coil pig”. When lit, the smoke will escape from its nose.

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Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern

$276.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Mao”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Mao”

$165.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

Combini Checkout: A beginner’s guide to Onigiri

Whether it be for a outdoor picnic or a quick lunch break at your office desk, the Japanese rice ball, onigiri or omusubi is filling, convenient, and can pack a whole lot of flavor. It has been in the diet of Japanese people for so long, they say you can tell a person’s character by their choice of onigiri!

For the same reason, any decent Combini (convenience store) in Japan will have at least one dedicated rack with a variety of onigiri. Here are some of the most common types and the personalities that favor them:

1. 鮭 Shake/Sake

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Salmon that is grilled with salt then shredded, it should always be perfectly seasoned and not dry. People who favor this filling tend to take things slowly. They are also deliberate, strong-willed and steadfast in their principles.

2. ツナマヨ Tuna Mayo

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Sometimes also called シーチキン (Sea chicken), the tuna should not be overwhelmed by the mayonnaise, and the mix should be creamy and slightly tart. People who like this filling are said to be of pure heart and possess inner beauty, but also have a tendency to be hard-headed.

3. 昆布 Kombu

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Shredded Kombu (edible kelp) that is cooked in a soy sauce based mixture until tender, it should taste slightly salty and sweet. People who like this filling are said to favor simplicity. They avoid complications and prefer things (and relationships) that are straightforward.

4. 明太子 Mentaiko

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Mentaiko or spicy cod roe, is sometimes mixed with karashi (mustard), mayonnaise, egg or other ingredients. People who choose mentaiko are tuned in to new trends and are up to date. They also tend to be good at fashion, cooking, and/or socializing.

5. 梅干し Umeboshi

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Salty and sour pickled plum, it is sometimes cut up and mixed in with the rice. People who prefer umeboshi in their onigiri are said to be faithful and reliable. They also tend to be extremely detailed and prefer to do things properly.

Other types of onigiri

焼きおにぎり Yaki onigiri – Rice basted with sauce and grilled without filling.
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おかか Okaka – Dried bonito flakes seasoned with soy sauce.
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赤飯 Sekihan – sticky rice steamed with adzuki beans, tinting the rice with a reddish color.
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Also check out our other Combini Checkout articles:
Combini Checkout: A beginner’s guide to bottled tea


WAttention Ninja Writer Profile

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Melissa Wullur
I’m an amateur writer and avid reader who’s been living in Japan since 2007. I enjoy reading and writing about food, travel, and quirky trivia. I treat 100 yen shopping as therapy.

Ninja ID: ID001-M

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Summer Bedding & Sleepwear

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Many Japanese people believe that using an air conditioning while sleeping is not good for your health. Sometimes the air gets so dry and other times it just gets too cold. So, what do they do to get a good night sleep during steaming hot summer nights? Tokyu Hands has the answers!

rankNo.1: ICEMAX Extra, Pillow Pad®

 

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Made with a special patented fabric that dissipates heat and dries quickly, the pillow pad keeps your head cool and comfortable during the steamy summer nights. A mesh material is used for the back lining, which helps release moisture as well. When used with an air-conditioner, the pillow feels cool to the touch and keeps that quality throughout the night. Without a doubt, this will enhance the quality of your sleep and you’ll wake up well rested in the morning. Machine washable. Size: 50cm x 50cm. Material: Polyethylene (80%), Cupro (20%). Back lining material: Polyester (100%).

Product Name: ICEMAX Extra, Pillow Pad®
Price: 3,758 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “It looks like just an ordinary pillow cover, but the benefits are enormous. This is a quick and easy solution to combat hot summer!”

 


 

rankNo.2: Tsuhan Seikatsu, Gauze Pajamas for Women

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A long selling product for over 18 years, these pajamas just went through a makeover. The new design offers reversible tops (solid and stripes) with wide sleeves to allow more airflow. No cumbersome buttons or annoying seams. Made with a double layered gauze, these pajamas feel fresh and dry and allows air to go between the layers. Besides, did you know that the breathability of gauze is 9 times more than that of cotton? With these pajamas, you won’t wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Instead you will be dry, comfortable and refreshed till morning. Machine washable. Material: Cotton (100%). Made in Japan.

Product Name: Tsuhan Seikatsu, Gauze Pajama for Women, Medium length
Price: 8,800 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleep goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “I like the unisex and ageless design of these Gauze Pajamas. They look good and feel good.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Salaf Bed Padding, Double Size

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This three-dimensional bed padding has everything customers are looking for: highly breathable, cushioning property, cold and soft to the touch. Add this to your normal bedding, you can instantly feel the improvement and get a great night’s sleep. Not only that, it’s very easy to clean! Just put it into a laundry mesh bag and machine wash as usual.

Product Name: Salaf, Bed Padding, Double Size, SC-140
Price: 21,600 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “We sweat more than we think while sleeping, so a quick drying quality is extremely helpful and sanitary!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Suhada-sou: Smooth and Dry Pillow

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A rush grass pillow made by a traditional Tatami product manufacturer with over 130 years of history. The smell of fresh grass relaxes your body and soul, which is why this type of pillow has been favored in Japan for a long time. While most of the rush grass is usually dyed with chemicals, Suhada-sou pillows only use natural grasses. The surface of the pillow is pressed flat so that it will feel smooth and dry. The inside filling is treated with deodorant materials. The height is adjustable with the drawstrings on the side. Size: 30cm x 50cm. Materials: Rush grass, Polyethylene pipes. Made in Japan.

Product Name: Suhada-sou, Smooth and Dry Pillow, 30 x 15cm
Price: 2,138 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The rush grass pillow has a natural refreshing aroma which will put you at ease instantly.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: ICEMAX, Long Underpants for Gentlemen®

 

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These underpants are made with a high strength polyethylene fiber known as Dyneema. If the room temperature is lower than 29 degrees Celsius and there is some air movement, the fiber gives you a wonderful sensation of coldness. The material also contains cotton, so any sweat and moisture will be absorbed and keep your skin dry and smooth. Made in Japan. Material: Polyethylene (60%), Cotton (40%). Size: L or LL.

Product Name: ICEMAX Long Underpants for Gentlemen®, LL
Price: 10,584 yen (including tax)
Category: Underwear
WAttention Editor’s comment: “More often than not, long underpants are very form-fitting. But these underpants are loose-fitting to allow more airflow.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Beautiful and Elegant: the Cut Glassware Shop Hanashyo

After 170 years, a century-old glass cutting method has been revived in Nihonbashi!

Edo Kiriko Store

Edo Kiriko, one of the finest glass cutting techniques in Japan, was established in 1834 by Kagaya Kyubei, who owned a glassware store in Edo (the city now known as Tokyo). He started adding intricate designs to glass products by using just an emery grinder. His designs were so elegant and beautiful that anybody who took a look at them were instantly captivated.

Edo Kiriko InsideThrough Edo Kiriko’s technique and its popularity quickly spread throughout Edo, unfortunately the manufacturing base moved to other locations and the Kiriko stores gradually disappeared from where it started.

But now, after 170 years since its inception, Edo Kiriko has finally returned to its original roots and opened its doors to many Kiriko admirers.

A newly opened Edo Kiriko store, Hanashyo, is not a typical glassware store. Its mission is to promote not only the products but also Japanese culture. Visitors can see how the Kiriko designs are engraved into glassware at an in-house studio or join a Sake tasting seminar using a Kiriko sake cup. Hanashyo aims to become the cultural hub for both Japanese and foreign tourists, where they can see, touch and experience this century-old Japanese craftsmanship.

Edo Kiriko

 

The pinnacle of Japanese elegance and craftsmanship, the Edo Kiriko products make a great gift for your friends at home!

Information

Hanashyo SignEdo Kiriko Hanashyo
Hours: 10:30am – 6pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 11:30am – 5pm (Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays), closed on Mondays.
Access: 2-min walk from Shin-Nihombashi Station (JR Sobu LIne), a 3-min walk from Kodemmacho Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), a 6-min walk from Mitsukoshimae Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line).

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Small) Peony Tang Grass

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Small) Peony Tang Grass

$53.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

$74.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Exercise Goods for Busy People

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Are you ready for summer? For those who are not comfortable showing off your body, the WAttetion team has put together a list of easy to use and effective exercise goods for you. Try it at home and you’ll be ready for a beach in no time!

rankNo.1: Dr.Scholl, MediQttO (TM)

 

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MediQtto started in England as stockings for medical purposes. It helps you to get tighter, slimmer legs by reducing puffiness and improving blood flow through applying the same compression level as the medical stockings used in England. Within two hours, you’ll be able to see the difference by using Quick Refre. The best part of this product is you can wear this anytime and anywhere: whether you’re working in front of your desk, walking, driving or even while doing housework! Thanks to carefully selected materials and a unique weaving technique, Quick Refre is comfortable to wear and can be worn on top of your regular stockings. The special wing design also makes it easy to tell right from left, and extra ribbing enables you to put on easily. You can get slimmer legs without working too hard!

Product Name: MediQtto Quick Refre Short, Free size
Price: 1,922 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The pressure feels very comfortable and relieves swollen legs. They come in a variety of colors and lengths to fit your style.”

 


 

rankNo.2: La. VIE, My Versatile Stretch Roller

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This cute 30cm (1ft) roller is perfect for those who suffer from having tight shoulders, stiff backs, or lower back pain. Roll it over your shoulders and arms, or try it on your thighs and calves. With this small and compact roller, you can now exercise in any room of your house. Not only that, once you’re done exercising, you can wrap it with a towel and use it as a pillow.

Product Name: La. VIE, My Versatile Stretching Roller
Price: 1,008 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “With its versatile design, you can use it as an exercise roller, pillow or cushion!”

 


 

rankNo. 3: La. VIE, Foldable Yoga Mat, Matte Salmon

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You don’t need a special carrier for your yoga mat any more. This foldable yoga mat can be stored flat and compact. Tuck it in your suitcase or put it in your bag, anywhere you go the yoga mat comes with you; may it be a picnic in the park, or your next vacation spot. Now, you don’t have to compromise your exercise schedule when you’re on vacation. If you need a little bit of additional comfort under your body, fold it twice or three times to get an extra thickness.

Product Name: La. VIE, Foldable Yoga Mat, Matte Salmon
Price: 2,036 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “I always thought carrying a Yoga mat in a special tube-shaped carrier was cumbersome but now I can carry it in my bag!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: TURBO Cell Long Shaper

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Just like the compression socks, wearable exercise goods are becoming increasingly popular among health conscious people. Available only in Japan, the TURBO Cell Long Shaper helps slim down the excess fat around your hips and belly. An improvement from the previous shaper, this new version is lighter, 15% thinner, and contains more elastic fabric for comfort. Three layers of fabric help to heat up the body and encourage sweating. The Long Shaper covers 360° around your belly, so you will look good from any angle.

Product Name:
TURBO Cell Long Shaper, BLK, M
Price: 5,940 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “With the TURBO Cell Long Shaper you can get the curves you’ve always wanted.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: NAGARA Cushion Smart

 

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A cute exercise cushion developed by a fitness club. With just one cushion, you can work out using a variety of exercise routines including stretching, muscle training, and aerobic exercises without going to the gym. Furthermore, you can do it while you are watching TV or working at the computer. The Internal rubber structure slowly applies pressure, so you don’t have to worry about straining your joints or over exhaustion.

Product Name: NAGARA Cushion Smart
Price: 6,458 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Studies also show that a little bit of stretching and exercise helps people destress and relax.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”

$138.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Sushi You Cannot Get at a Restaurant

Sushi on the Go

Travelling Sushi Bag Cover
Turn your suitcase into a giant sushi with this easily attachable nylon cover. Not only will it make spotting your luggage easier, but watching it come around the baggage carousel will fill you with the same anticipation of picking up your favorite sushi off the conveyor belt! Choose from a topping of shrimp, egg, salmon, tuna, mackerel, octopus, or salmon roe.

Where to Buy:
MEETSCAL Store (shibuya PARCO)
Address: Udagawacho 15-1 Shibuya Parco Part 1 1F, Shibuya
Hours: 10am – 9pm
URL: http://www.parco.co.jp/en/about/store/

Sole food

Sushi Socks
This is sushi for the sole. These fun socks look so much like the real thing you`ll be tempted to dip your toes in soy sauce.

Where to Buy:
ecute UENO
Address: Shinbashi 4-27-2, Minato
Hours: 9am – 8pm (Mon-Fri), 9am – 5pm (Sat), Closed on Sundays and Holidays)
URL: http://www.ecute.jp/ueno/ (Japanese)

Sushi for ears

Sushi earrings
Those tiny earrings are made in imitation of sushi by Japanese traditional textile, Chirimen (crepe). So cute and delicate!

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Where to Buy:
Tokyu Plaza Ginza
Address: Ginza 5-2-1, Chuo
Hours: 11am – 9pm
URL: http://ginza.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Dragon”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Dragon”

$165.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 USB Fans

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Although it’s not officially summer in Japan, we’re experiencing the hottest year in the history of the planet. In order to stay cool and comfortable at the office, we have chosen efficient, energy saving and good looking USB fans just for you.

rankNo.1: Pieria, Slim Contact Fan

 

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The Piera Slim Compact Fan utilizes three different power sources: USB, battery and power outlet. Hidden inside the slim design is a 13 blade fan which produces a powerful airflow. You can adjust its speed between two different settings. The foldable design allows you store it flat in a drawer when not in use, freeing you from a cluttered desk space. Comes with a 1.2m USB cable. Power consumption is 2.2W (with the AC adaptor).

Product Name: Pieria, Slim Compact Fan
Price: 3,218 yen (including tax)
Category:  Fan
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Beside its simple and elegant design, you can also choose the finish from white, dark wood or natural wood to fit in with your personal decor.”

 


 

rankNo.2: Mood, Desk Stand Fan

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The Mood Desk Stand Fan is designed after an old-school desk lamp. You can adjust the angle of the head so that the breeze can blow into the direction you desire. It can be powered by via USB or a power outlet. Power consumption is 2.8W (with the AC adapter). Two speed settings are available. Comes in three different colors: blue, white, and gray.

Product Name: Mood, Desk Stand Fan
Price:  5,378 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”The long neck helps to direct the air in any direction you want and the retro design is suitable for offices, homes or even retail stores.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: RHYTHM, Silky Wind II

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Don’t be fooled by its compact size. The Rhythm Silky Wind II now oscillates so that the air doesn’t blow in just one direction. The double-fan structure is another added feature in which the back fan collects fresh air and the front fan directs the airflow. The two fans inside turn in opposite directions, canceling any excess noises. This fan has all the features that users are looking for: comes with a 1m USB cable, quiet, energy saving, and oscillation.

Product Name: RHYTHM, Silky Wind II, 9ZF005RH02
Price: 3,780 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment:  “The noise cancellation system is a great feature when using it at the office.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Elecom, Powerful USB Fan

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For those who are looking for a powerful fan, this is a perfect solution. With a stepless speed motor, you can adjust the air volume to your exact likings. This fan has more flexibility than any of the other USB fans. You can clip it on a desk or hang it on a wall, and adjust the angle right and left and up and down. Not only that, the head oscillates as well. Comes with a 1.5m USB cable.

Product Name: Elecom, High-volume USB Fan, Black, U39BK
Price: 2,678 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment:  “If you have a limited amount of desk space, the clip on the back and the wall hooks are a real space saver.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Elecom, Compact USB Fan

 

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Made of an aluminum frame, this fan is tough and durable. Slip resistant rubber adds stability to the feet of the fan, making it perfect for office use. The head moves up and down, so it’s easy to adjust the airflow. You can turn it on and off while it’s plugged into a USB port. Comes with a 1m USB cable.

Product Name: Elecom, Compact USB Fan, U35WH
Price: 1,922 yen (including tax).
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”In order to survive the endless hot summer days, durability is a must.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Kiya

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Designed by Mandai Architects

Slice of Edo Life
Kiya has been specializing in cutlery and knives since 1792 and its shop banner and logo can be spotted in historic art pieces depicting Nihonbashi in 1805. Here you can find traditional handmade knives and knives using modern materials and designs. Unlike Western kitchen knives, there are many specialized knives used for different ingredients, be it vegetable, fish, eel or meats. From steel to stainless knives, there’s sure to be one to fit the cut.

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Designed by Mandai Architects
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Kiya Haou-Kamakata 180mm: 20,000 yen

Shop Info

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Cutlery Kiya
Address: Nihombashi Muromachi 2-2-1 COREDO Muromachi 1F, Chuo
Hours: 10am – 8pm (Closed on Jan. 01)
URL: http://www.kiya-hamono.co.jp/english/

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Ninben

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Stock Up On This
Established in 1699, Ninben has been known as the leading brand in dried bonito flakes for centuries. Stock made using the fermented bonito is said to be origin of Japanese flavors. Now you can recreate these flavors at home with handy flavored-soups and seasonings here, which also make great souvenirs. See how the professionals shave bonito into flakes at live demonstrations here.

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Nihombashi Kezuriba: See bonito blocks being shaved here and enjoy the fragrance of fresh bonito flakes.

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Mazefuri (furikake) seasoning powder set of 3: 1,850 yen

Nihonbashi Dashi Bar Hanare
Experience real “UMAMI”

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Located at COREDO Muromachi 2 is a newly opened restaurant, Nihonbashi Dashi Bar Hanare, where you can get savory cuisine full of seasonal ingredients and flavor.

Shop Info

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Ninben Original Nihonbashi Store
Address: Nihonbashi Muromachi, 2-2-1 COREDO Muromachi 1 1F, Chuo
Hours: 10am -8pm (same rest days as COREDO)
URL: http://www.ninben.jp/

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Ninben Nihonbashi Dashi Bar
Address: Nihonbashi Muromachi, 2-3-1 COREDO Muromachi 2 1F, Chuo
Hours: 11am -11pm (Last order 10pm)

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Nishikawa

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Not Resting On Laurels

Bedclothes and sleeping goods maker Nishikawa has been in Nihonbashi for over 400 years since the Muromachi era. Nishikawa has history of pacesetting innovation, dating back from improving the mosquito net and futons centuries ago to modern ergonomic mattresses today. Nishikawa provides sleep consulting using the latest technology to provide sleeping goods best suited to individual needs.

For a fully customized pillow fine-tuned to your personal measurements
Get a fully customized pillow fine-tuned to your personal measurements and preferences

Nishikawa craftsmen combine tradition with technology.
Nishikawa craftsmen combine tradition with technology.
Nishikawa’s AIR mattress is one example of Nishikawa’s pioneering spirit.
Nishikawa’s AIR mattress is one example of Nishikawa’s pioneering spirit.

Shop Info

店外
Nihombashi Nishikawa
Address: Nihonbashi 1-5-3 Nihombashi Nishikawa Bld, Chuo
Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Nihonbashi Saruya

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Get Picky
This is the only handmade toothpick specialty store not only in Japan, but in the world, with a history dating back over 300 years.

The toothpicks come in a special box made of Paulownia.
The toothpicks come in a special box made of Paulownia.

These individually-carved toothpicks are made from high-quality fragrant wood and used for eating wagashi during tea ceremonies or as an auspicious gift.

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Shop Info

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Nihonbashi Saruya
Address: Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-12-5, Chuo
Hours: 10am – 6pm (closed Sun, Holidays)

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Kuroeya

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Lasting Lacquerware
This lacquerware shop harks back over 300 years to the Edo era, and preserves techniques from the Kuroe Village in what is now known as Wakayama Prefecture, famed for its lacquer production. A piece from here will last for generations to come.

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Wine Cooler, 15,000 yen
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Hand Mirror, Red
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Ornamental Plate

Shop Info

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Nihonbashi Kuroeya
Address: Nihombashi 1-2-6 Kuroeya Kokubun Bld 2F, Chuo
Hours: 9am – 6pm (closed weekends, holidays )
URL: http://kuroeya.tokyo/

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Haibara

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The Write Stuff
Now run by the 7th generation owner, this washi (Japanese paper) specialist has been along Nihombashi for over 200 years. The exquisite paper products here will make you feel like rediscovering sensory pleasures of writing.

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Chiyogami Paper Box 864 yen (tax included)

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Uchiwa Fan with Stencil-Dyed Paper 4,806 yen (tax included)

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Haibara Notebook: 1,512 yen (tax included)

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Shop Info

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Haibara
Address: Nihombashi 2-7-1 Tokyo Nihombashi Tower, Chuo
Hours: 10am – 6:30pm (5:30pm on weekends)

COREDO:Explore Japanese Culture

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Located in the center of Nihonbashi, COREDO – referring to the “core of Edo” – is a modern shopping complex with traditional and modern Japanese products and services that convey the essence of Japan.

The Best of Japan All Under One Roof

Nihonbashi was known as the starting point of any journey from Edo, where people would set off for Kyoto or other parts of Japan along the five main highways that converged here. Today, all the traditional manufacturers and brands are brought under one roof and given a modern touch at COREDO in Nihonbashi.

SUSgallery

(COREDO Muromachi3, 2F)
Cool Containers
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These one-of-a-kind tumblers made of titanium are specially designed to have top-notch insulating properties, keeping the temperature of their contents – be it freezing cold beer to steaming hot beverages – stable for long periods.
Made in Tsubame City in Niigata Prefecture, famous for its fine production of cutlery and kitchenware, the modern designs add a touch of luxury to daily life.

Simply

(COREDO Muromachi 3, 3F)
Advanced Aprons
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The simple waist-down apron used in the Edo era has evolved, 140 years on, to become a fashionable yet functional item popular with the ladies. Simply presents a selection of these stylish workwear garments. The denim collection is Japan-made and is available as a couple outfit – great for encouraging teamwork in the kitchen!

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Unique aprons starting from 4,000 yen

Hashicho

(COREDO Muromachi 3, 2F)
Perfect Pairings
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Choose from over 1,300 types of chopsticks from all over Japan, made from various types of wood and different cuttings and designs at this chopstick specialty shop. Prices range from 300 yen for a pair up to a staggering 1 million yen gift set from Fukui prefecture.
Product caption: Chopsticks and chopstick rests from all over Japan are available here.

Chopsticks and chopstick rests from all over Japan are available here.
Chopsticks and chopstick rests from all over Japan are available here.

Nihonbashi Dashi Bar

(COREDO Muromachi 1, 1F)
Try Dashi Here
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If you don’t think you’ll have time to make dashi broth at home, try some here at the Dashi Bar of bonito flake and stock specialist Ninben. One cup of bonito dashi broth costs just 100 yen, and there are also more hearty soups available for lunch, with ingredients such as root vegetables, fish or chicken going for 360 yen at this standing bar.

Tomato, cream and miso flavored soups are also available from 150 yen, depending on size. (※ prices include tax)
Tomato, cream and miso flavored soups are also available from 150 yen, depending on size. (※ prices include tax)

Kyo-tsukemono Nishiri

(COREDO Muromachi 1, 1F)
Pick Your Pickle
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Kyoto tsukemono (pickles) are famed as the best in Japan, and Nishiri is one of the most renowned brands for it. The COREDO Muromachi store is its first footprint in the Kanto region. Come sample a wide range of freshly pickled seasonal vegetables here, and savor a healthy pickled vegetable sushi boxed lunch with miso soup for a special and refreshing treat.

Pickled vegetable sushi set, 1,300 yen
Pickled vegetable sushi set, 1,300 yen

HAKUZA NIHONBASHI

(COREDO Muromachi 1, 1F)
Go for Gold
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Coming from Kanazawa City, which is famous for its tradition in gold leaf production, HAKUZA NIHONBASHI continues to glitter with gold-leaf covered cakes, rice crackers, face masks and fashion accessories, to name just a few. HAKUZA innovated the world’s first pure gold-platinum leaf. Give your loved ones a taste of gold with their edible gold-leafed souvenirs, and rest your feet at the tea corner.

Gold Leaf Mask, 4,500 yen Acrylic bangles, starting from 5,000 yen
Gold Leaf Mask, 4,500 yen
Acrylic bangles, starting from 5,000 yen
Omotenashi Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi Information Center
COREDO Muromachi 1, B1

Read more about the activities you can try at Omotenashi Nihonbashi: http://wattention.com/omotenashi-nihonbashi

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Shop Info

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COREDO Muromachi 1
Address: Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-2-1 COREDO Muromachi 1, Chuo
Hours: 10am – 9pm (shops), 11am – 11pm (restaurants)
URL: http://coredo.jp.en

Nihombashi Takashimaya

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Marking the Passage of Time: Classic Takashimaya

When you visit the Nihombashi branch of Takashimaya, you are entering more than just a store. You are stepping afoot onto an Important Cultural Property of Japan. Built in 1933, the building exudes elegance of the Showa era – a “modern-style building reflecting an oriental taste.”

Intricate design details aside, the shopping experience is also carefully curated with original shops and all the major luxury brands. Satisfy – or rather, enlighten – your palate here with classic dishes harking to the Edo era such as unagi and sushi to modern fusion gourmet. True quality is, after all, timeless.

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Watch Out For This

Takashimaya Watch Maison

_DSC0446-修正済み_R2_DSC0589-修正済みTakashimaya has embarked on a new venture last year with the launch of the two-storey, around 8,600 sq ft Takashimaya Watch Maison, just across the street from the main store, dedicated exclusively to watches. Housing over 80 brands such as Omega, Jager-leCoultre,Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Longines, Seiko, Casio and Citizen, the largest watch boutique on the streets of Japan and the world today – and perhaps for time to come.

Sushi Made By Craftsmen
Sukibayashi Jiro Nihombashi Store 7F
すきやばし次郎 盛り合せ_DSC0502-修正済み_RThis famous dining establishment is sure to satisfy any craving for an authentic sushi meal, combining the freshest seasonal catch with seasoned sushi-making skills. The interior décor may be simple but the gems served up are divine.
Japanese Craftsmanship
WAGOTO 7F

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Add a touch of Japanese chic to your daily life with a handcrafted lifestyle item made by the best craftsmen. Choose from eating utensils, tea sets or decorative items.

Tetsubin
Japanese Classic Style: Tetsubin Add iron to your water with this modern pink iron kettle. 8,000 yen

Services For Foreign Tourists

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The following services are available for foreign tourists:

  • Tax Free Counter 2F
    Apply for tax exemption for items purchased here
  • Foreign Exchange 2F
    USD, Euro, RMB and other foreign currencies available here
  • Hello Kitty Shopper’s Card (for 5% discount) 2F
    Present your passport to receive this cute limited-edition discount card
    *Excludes some goods

Shop Info

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Takashimaya Nihombashi Store
Address: Nihombashi 2-4-1, Chuo
Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm
Phone: 03-3211-4111
URL: http://www.takashimaya.co.jp/tokyo/store_information

Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store

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Mitsukoshi: Accessible & Authentic Japanese Culture

Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihombashi may be proud of a grandiose Renaissance-style façade, but Japan’s first department store dating back to the 17th century is actually very accessible, with authentic and affordable culture available to anyone who walks through their hallowed doorways.

For example, taking center stage in the main hall on the first floor is a resplendent wooden statue of the Goddess of Sincerity, which took ten years for a master craftsman to make and completed in 1960.

And at the front entrance, you will notice two grand lions which were installed in 1914, modeled on their counterparts

found at the Trafalgar Square in London.

With its Art Deco façade and historic features such as the only surviving theatre organ from the early Showa era at the 2nd floor balcony of the Central Hall, marble made from fossils used for its interior walls and floors, and a special restaurant that retains interior designs with distinctive elegance, it is not surprising that Nihombashi Mitsukoshi was recognized as an Important Cultural Property this May. And unlike some classic European department stores, Mitsukoshi is not about wealth, but culture.

This is the same ethos that makes Nihombashi tick even today. People in the mercantile

area were defined by craft, not birth. And Mitsukoshi, with its roots as a kimono fabric specialist, continues this emphasis on culture consciousness.
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Ms. Kiyoko Kondo, the okami or chief service manager, at Mitsukoshi Nihombashi makes sure all guests are well taken care of in the way of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality.

From Echigoya to Mitsukoshi

Mitsukoshi was known as Echigoya in the Edo era and was the first to introduce the concept of selling kimono fabric at labeled prices and at any length the customer desired. This “customer first” philosophy is carried on to the present day.

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Own a Piece of Japanese Culture

Add a touch of Edo class to your life with these items that combine timeless style with lasting quality.

DSC_6475_RIt’s a Wrap!
Discover the versatility of furoshiki cloth which can be folded into a cute bag or used as a wine bottle cover or carrier.

DSC_6425_RFit to a Tea @ Fukujuen (Main Building 5F)
Sample a cup of green tea at this Kyoto-based tea specialist which has a live demo counter and specialist on hand to advise you on the perfect brew.

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The depachika, or food basement 1 floor, is an eyeful of Japanese food culture, which puts as much emphasis on how the food looks, tastes and is presented and packaged.

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Hana bento 1,200 yen
Furoshiki
from 10,000 yen
Main Building 4F

Furoshiki is a multi-functional cloth that can be used to wrap items or add accent to your living space.
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Japanese silk folding fan
8,000 yen (Main Building 4F)
Keep cool while looking hot with this sakura-motif silk folding fan.
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Chiso Silk stole
18,000 yen
Main Building 4F

Steal some hearts with this delicate silk stole with floral prints made in Kyoto.
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Modern [email protected] Teshigoto Corner
(Main Building 5F)
Traditional craftsmanship is given a modern form with items curated by Tokyo Teshigoto, a project to promote local handiwork.

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Silver lacquerware sake cups made of jade
from 15,000 yen each
The reflection of the moon seems to float on your sake in these fascinating silver cups, combined with different materials such as lacquerware.
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Urushi glass paperweight
20,000 yen each
Enjoy the play of light with these reflective glass paperweights engraved with classic Edo Kiriko motifs.

Foreign Customer Service Counter (Annex 2F)
Visit this counter for a tax-free procedure on the day of purchase. Free wi-fi is also available here. Present a copy of WAttention to the counter staff to get a free gift (offer lasts until Aug. 31, 2016)!

Shop Info

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Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store
Address: Nihombashi Muromachi 1-4-1 Chuo
Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm

*All prices listed are exclusive of tax.

URL: http://www.mitsukoshi.co.jp/int
Blog URL: http://mitsukoshi.mistore.jp/store/nihombashi/wa/

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 “Kanae” Lucky items

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 “Kanae” Lucky items

$65.00

See in store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

$76.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Beer Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

After a long walk in a historical neighborhood or non-stop spending spree in a high-end shopping district, the best way to quench your thirst is to get an ice cold beer! Here’s a few wonderful products that will create a silky smooth foam for the perfect head of beer, now you can enjoy draft beer at home.

rankNo.1: BEERSMOOTHER II

 

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This product is extremely easy to use! Just attach the BEERSMOOTHER II to a regular store-bought beer can (350ml/500ml) and pour beer into a tumbler. The result is a fluffy and smooth foam just like a draft beer.

Product Name: Houkoku Kogyo Co. Ltd., BEERSMOOTHER II
Price: 756 yen (including tax)
Category:  Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This is the ultimate foolproof beer product. Easy and quick!”

 


 

rankNo.2:Standing Type Beer Server

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Equipped with a super-fast ultrasonic vibration system (40 kilohertz), this high tech beer server creates unbelievably creamy foam. All you have to do is place a can inside the device and it will do the rest. There’s a lever on top that allows you to control the amount of foam you desire. This server will instantly turn your home into a popular beer hall.

Product Name: Standing Type Beer Server; GH-BEERF-BK
Price:  9,914 yen(including tax)
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”If you are a serious beer enthusiast, this server will not disappoint you.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Beer Foamer Stick

TokyuHands-beer3

After pouring beer in a tumbler, put the Beer Foamer Stick in and turn it on. This magic wand uses ultrasonic waves to create a smooth foam. Its portability is also a plus.

Product Name: Beer Foamer Stick GH-BEERE-BK
Price: 4,298 yen (including tax)
Category: Beer Products
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Because of its size and portability, you can bring it to an outdoor party or a picnic.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Ready to drink Gekihie Tumbler

TokyuHands-beer4

First of its kind in the industry! This stainless tumbler cools down the temperature of beer to the extreme. The secret is hidden in its layered construction. The ice layer between the inner and outer layers and a vacuum thermal insulation cools beer down to icy cold in less than a minute. To create the ice layer, pour water in the tumbler, insert the inner cup with a gasket and close it tightly, then keep it in the freezer for 12 hours.

Product Name: Doshisha, Ready to drink Gekihie Tumbler, 300MT; DSGT-300MT
Price: 2,138 yen (including tax)
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”The tumbler not only cools beer but also prevents condensation.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: MENU Beer Foamer

 

TokyuHands-beer5

This elegant foam maker allows you to make the foam separately. Pour a small amount of beer into the Beer Foamer and push the button on top for 30 seconds. A small whisk turns and creates creamy aromatic foam. Gently pour the foam on top of your brew for a picturesque beer that’s ready for a taste.

Product Name: MENU Beer Foamer 4690239, 8cmφ
Price: 7,344 yen (including tax).
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”This is an unconventional way of creating a perfect beer but the foam created by the MENU Beer Foamer is soft, dense and long lasting.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”

$138.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box “Sakura”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

akashiya
Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box “Sakura”

$29.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Bestselling Pillows

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

For those who are having a hard time sleeping on vacation, we have put together a list of bestselling pillows at TOKYU HANDS. Each pillow has unique features to improve the quality of sleep. Find a perfect pillow and start sleeping like a baby.

rankNo.1: Magniflex®, Pillow Grande

 

01

Made with a special material called Eliocel Mind Foam, the pillow adjusts its shape to the contour of your head. This 70cm x 45cm size pillow supports not only your head but also your neck and shoulders, giving you a sensation of lightness. It’s no surprise why Magniflex® is favored by many high-end hotels in Europe.

Price: 18,442 yen (including tax)
Category:  Pillows
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The Magniflex pillow molds itself perfectly to the shape of your head. It’s like having a custom made pillow!”

 


 

rankNo.2:Tempur®, Double Jersey Original Neck Pillow,XS

02

The unique shape of Tempur® Neck Pillow helps people sleep in a natural position. Your head, neck and spine rest comfortably in a straight line allowing your upper body muscles to relax. A complimentary pillow case is made with a stretchy and quick-dry fabric. Available in Jr., Small, Medium and Large sizes as well.

Price:  12,960 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”Testament to the quality and satisfaction of the Tempur pillows, they have fans all over the world.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Francebed, Aerate Pillow Comfort,Hard

 

03

A pillow made by a well-established Japanese furniture maker, Francebed. The Aerate Pillow uses urethane foam which is cut into a special shape to provide maximum comfort and breathability. It disperses the weight of your head and supports it gently. Both the pillow and the cover are treated with bamboo charcoal which gets rid of any musty smells.

Price: 6,151 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Great support and deodorization are features we all want for our pillow.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: MOGU®, Powder Beads Pillow

04

Because of the powder beads filling and the detachable urethane foam sheet, you can adjust the height and hardness of the MOGU® Powder Beads PIllow in 6 different ways. The pillow comes with the MOGU® original knitted pillow cover, which is soft and silky and it’s also machine washable.

Price: 6,480 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”I’m one of those people who can be really picky about the hardness of a pillow. My ideal product is finally here.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Gentle Pillow for Hair, Milkcrown

 

05

Did you know the friction against a pillow damages your hair? Be kind to your crowning glory with the hair-friendly Milkcrown pillow. This pillow uses a special fabric that is treated with natural milk protein to reduce friction. Not only that, it also moisturizes your hair as well. Your hair might have a natural healthy glow in the morning.

Price: 4,980 yen (including tax).
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Milkcrown is known for its softness and is also recommended for those with delicate skin.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Souvenir Vending Machine

Need a last-minute Japanese souvenir but the stores are all closed? Japan has the answer! Just like there are many different vending machines in Japan such as for drinks, snacks and even vegetables there is now a Japanese Souvenir Vending Machine. Located in a side street of Shibuya, this vending machine sells products such as origami earrings and decorative kimono cloth. If you’re a late-night shopper in Shibuya and someone’s birthday is coming up, this vending machine might just be a lifesaver.4 5

 

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 2 ‘Onami’

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 2 ‘Onami’

$40.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Combini Checkout: Fit To A Tea – A beginner’s guide to bottled tea

The Japanese are great fans of tea and there is tea for the mornings, afternoons and nights, tea to go with oily foods, tea to help you loose weight – whatever it is, you are sure to find your cup of tea at the Combini (convenience stores). Here is a taste of what you can find on the shelves:

Ryokucha (Green Tea)

Ryokucha is a collective term for all green tea that is steamed.  Japanese green teas are steamed giving them a more “vegetative” or “leafy” taste. The most common types of green tea are:

  • Sencha: First round of harvest and the leaves are exposed to the sun
  • Bancha: Low grade tea from the later rounds of harvesting
  • Gyokuro: The highest grade from the first round of harvest. The leaves are shaded from the sun.

Bottled teas are not commonly made with high grade tea, but of course there are exceptions. The most well known green tea is Oi-Ocha from ITOEN. This company was the first to introduce bottled tea to the Japanese market and they currently handle more than 20% of all the tea leaves in Japan.

Hojicha

Roasted green tea which has a more sweet, caramel-like flavor. Hojicha is always made from Bancha, the earlier mentioned low grade tea. The caffeine level in this tea is lower than that of regular green tea, making it ideal to drink during the evening.

12986618_10209157043393085_875620650_o

Genmaicha

This green tea contains grains of roasted brown rice and was originally drunk by poor people and the rice was added to serve as a filler and to reduce the price of the tea. When served, the rice in the tea excretes its sugars and gives the tea a nice sweet aroma and a light brown color.

Genmaicha
Genmaicha

Oolong Cha (Oolong Tea)

This is a Chinese tea where they wither the plant under the sun as it is growing. The leaves are then curled, twisted and rolled into a ball. As a final step, the tea is roasted or baked. It’s a black tea with an earthy flavor.

Black Tea
Black Oolong

Mugicha

Also known as Barley Tea. This tea is extremely popular during the summer and has a roasted taste with a slightly bitter undertone. Drink this tea to cool down during a hot day. When you go to a Japanese restaurant during the summer, this tea is most commonly served.

Mugicha
Mugicha

Jasmine Cha (Jasmine Tea)

This tea is most popular in Okinawa but it is also drunk on mainland Japan. Jasmine flowers are added to the green tea to give everything a more flower-y aroma. If you are a fan of scented teas you should try it.

Jasmine Tea
Jasmine Tea

Kocha

Also known in general as “black tea” or “foreign tea”.

Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling Tea

Matcha

Matcha is the highest grade of green tea grinded into a fine powder. The leaves of the tea are infused with the water giving this tea a strong bitter taste. Matcha is served during tea ceremonies or temple visit and needs special preparation. Finding it in a bottled form will be very difficult. However there are plenty of Matcha-flavored snacks at the Konbini. So if you’re on a budget and can’t afford a big tea ceremony or a high class package of matcha, you can always snack on some Matcha sweets.

Others

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

$152.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Farmer’s Market @ UNU

One of the best ways to enjoy traveling abroad is to engage with the local culture; live like the locals and eat like the locals. By doing so you can experience the real, unfiltered lives of local people. What they say is unrehearsed, what they wear is everyday clothes, not high fashion or traditional costumes but outfits they feel comfortable in. The stories they tell you will be about their own lives and families. They might even share their sorrows and concerns.

When you engage with the locals, you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for that culture. The destination you visited and the souvenirs you purchased become more meaningful and important because they remind you of the people you met and experiences you gained.

While there a many fascinating tourist spots you can visit in Tokyo, there are also numerous local favorites as well. One of them is the Farmer’s Market @ UNU which is held almost every weekend. Stalls of fresh produce and regional delicacies crowd the open area in front of the United Nations University. Farmers, crafters, and food vendors from all over Japan gather here to sell their specialties.

Farmer's Market is held every weekend at UN university.
Farmer’s Market is held every weekend at UN university.

Many locals come here to get regional goods. They are fresher and perhaps cheaper (depending on what you buy) than those at the local supermarkets. You can even sample some of the food before purchasing.

A variety of tomatoes are out for anybody to try.
A variety of tomatoes are out for anybody to try.
Colorful display of fresh fruit right from the farm.
Colorful display of fresh fruit right from the farm.

Asking questions is always a nice icebreaker as most of the vendors are happy to answer any product related questions. They might not be able to answer you in perfect English, but their earnestness and sincerity always translates their good intentions.

 Adjacent to the Farmers Market is the Antique Market where you might be able to find century-old treasures and rare items. The Antique Market is held every weekend as well.
Adjacent to the Farmers Market is the Antique Market where you might be able to find century-old treasures and rare items. The Antique Market is held every weekend as well.

For those who are staying at a hotel in Tokyo, I recommend some fresh fruit or ready to eat vegetables to try out. I have nothing against restaurant-prepared food, but what better way to appreciate local delicacies than tasting fresh produce harvested that morning.

Tokyo offers many things. Temples, which give you a glimpse into a long gone history, fashion that can show you the current and emerging trends, but a local marketplace filled with regional cuisine invites you to experience the real, here and now everyday life of normal people and a few curious tourists.

Farmers Market @ UNU is open every Sat. and Sun. from 10am to 4pm.
For more information visit http://farmersmarkets.jp/

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Puzzle and Toys

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Puzzle and Toys!

rankNo. 1: nanoblock® “Tokyo Tower”

01

Take home a piece of Tokyo! Or make that 390 odd nano-sized pieces of Tokyo Tower – perfect to remember your trip by!

Price: 1,998 yen (including tax)
Category: Block
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for those with dextrous hands! The minute size of this toy belies the enormous sense of achievement after completing it.”

 


 

rankNo. 2: Fridgeezoo HOGEN

02
©創通・サンライズ

Are you one of those people who open the fridge and then forget what you were looking for? Or had no idea why you opened the fridge in the first place? These little fellas live in your fridge and start talking at you once they sense the fridge door is ajar – be it from telling you to shut the door quickly, or a warm greeting to perk you up (you can choose from different characters and Japanese dialects!), you’ll never go home to a quiet fridge again.

Price: 2,036 yen (including tax)
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s comment: “You’ll find yourself talking back to these little fridge friends and their wisecracks!”

 


 

rankNo. 3:Meta Nano “Gundam Gold”

03

Be amazed at the laser-cut precision of the pieces in this premium gold metal that click in place to form a perfectly-detailed Gundam figurine. A perfect gift for those who love Gundam and assembling their own toys. When using an exclusive LED light up stage, a fantastic scene can be produced.

Price: 3,240 yen (including tax)
Category: Figure
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Own a lightweight version of this heavyweight figure in the anime world with this great souvenir!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: fuchico

fuchico
©タナカカツキ/KITAN CLUB

With over 10 million figurines sold, fuchico is a big hit in Japan. This miniature office lady will do her best to hang on to your cup and keep you entertained with her cuteness. If you are lucky enough to get a fuchico doing an acrobatic move, you can marvel at her skills.

Price: 216 yen (including tax)
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “The phrase ‘hang in there’ when work gets tough just got a new meaning.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Wooden Art “KIGUMI”

05

“Kigumi” literally means “assembled out of wood”, and that’s exactly what this wooden 3D puzzle is. Fun to build, easy to assemble and fascinating to look at, put the wind back in your sails with this wooden sailing ship model!

Price: 4,104 yen (including tax). The other models are priced at 1,404 to 8,640 yen each.
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Makes for a great talking piece for the office or home!”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”

$156.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Green Mall in Shibuya

This building covered in greenery is Shibuya Modi, a mall that has everything. Here you can drink a coffee with your friends, go shopping for clothes and afterwards go for karaoke. There are multi-language touch screen panels inside to help you if you don’t speak Japanese.

Access: 〒150-0041 1-21-3, Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

48

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box (Red)

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box (Red)

$23.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Travel Goods

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ top 5 travel goods. Pick these up during your travels in Tokyo to ensure a convenient and comfortable trip!

No. 1: earPlanes

スクリーンショット 2016-03-03 11.41.00

These ear plugs are your perfect companion for a comfortable flight. With a special porous filter that helps to regulate the sudden changes in air pressure that happen during take-off and landing of a plane. Disposable, and perfect for one round trip use, these ear plugs are also available in children’s sizes.

Price: 1026 yen (including tax) for one pair with case
Category: Ear plugs
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for a comfortable and quiet flight, especially if you’re hoping to get some sleep.”

 


 

No. 2: Hands+ Light Suitcase Front Open Type

tokyuhands

 

These popular lightweight suitcases are equipped with front pockets for easy access, as well as wheel locks to prevent rolling when on the train.

Price: 21,492 yen (including tax) (38L model)
Category: Suitcase
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for Japan touring, where lots of walking and riding on trains is unavoidable.”

 


 

No. 3:Eagle Creek 2-in-1 Travel Pillow

This versatile bead pillow can function as a neck pillow or cushion, perfect for airplane travel and more.

Price: 2,376 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillow
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Adjusts its shape to meet your every ache and need!”

 


 

No. 4: Solo Tourist: Aqua Pouch (Clear)

スクリーンショット 2016-03-03 11.59.23

Whether for cell phones, loose change, or other small items, this clear pouch will guard your valuables from getting wet.

Price: 972 yen (including tax)
Category: Travel Pouch
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Fits passports perfectly! With this you can even bring your passport or other valuables with you into the hot spring or to the beach!”

 


 

No. 5: Caldera Neckrest (Black)

スクリーンショット 2016-03-03 12.06.20

This pillow is designed to support your head weight, allowing your neck and shoulders to relax. For computer work, watching TV or movies, reading, or travel, use it for a variety of purposes.

Price: 3,672 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillow
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “More compact than your typical travel pillow, but also practical to have around the house for daily use.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 ‘Kichijousou’

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 ‘Kichijousou’

$29.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

$152.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Convenient Kitchenware

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Convenient Kitchenware!

No. 1: Honey Spoon

スクリーンショット 2016-02-26 12.36.10

 

Deep, v-shaped, stainless steel spoon created by our unique processing technology eliminates excess mess when you scoop up honey. Simply turning around the spoon perfectly stops honey from dripping. Made in Japan.

Price: 1,296 yen (including tax)
Category: Spoon
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Not just for preparing food in the kitchen, but great when serving tea and toast to guests!”

 



No. 2: Butter Peeler Knife

スクリーンショット 2016-03-25 13.06.15

Even the hardest butter straight out of the fridge is no match for this butter peeler knife, which smoothly shaves off a thin layer with just a simple glide across its surface. Ready to spread in seconds!

Price: 950 yen (including tax)
Category: Knife
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Ensures an even spread every time!”

 



No. 3: Kiwi Cutter

スクリーンショット 2016-02-26 16.19.42

Just three simple steps to peel and cut at all at once, without even needing a separate knife: 1. Cut kiwi in half. 2. Insert Kiwi Cutter. 3. Rotate.

Price: 778 yen each (including tax)
Category: Cutter
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “For the green smoothie drinker or for serving up fruit plates for friends, this little tool will revolutionize the way you cut your kiwi!”

 



No.4: Choioki Leaf

スクリーンショット 2016-02-26 16.03.36

For ladles or cooking chopsticks that just don’t have a place on your counter while cooking, this little leaf is the ideal place to rest your kitchen utensils, firmly keeping them from falling over or dripping on your countertop.

Price: 268 yen (including tax)
Category: Utensil Holder
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “So simple, and yet so revolutionary for such a small price.”

 



No.5 Super Stone Barrier Pan

スクリーンショット 2016-03-25 12.37.19

This sturdy pan is made with ten layers of stone barrier, providing quick heat conduction and anti-stick properties.

Price: 5,940 yen (including tax)
Category: Pan
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Incredibly affordable considering its versatility and high-quality.”

 



TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”

$147.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box

$23.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

Cat Street

IMG_1534

This is “Cat Street”, called by this name for two reasons. First, it seems that cats seem to like walking this street.

IMG_1543

Many new shops by aspiring fashion designers and up-and-coming fashion lines can be found here.

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Not only new fashion but also cafe or restaurant you can enjoy in this street.

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【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Stationery Supplies

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

 

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Handy Stationery Supplies, from slim-folding scissors to fun-designed sticky memos — all worthy of taking note of!

 

No. 1: Fitcut Curve Twiggy

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The long-awaited portable on-the-go version of the Bernoulli-curved scissors’ Fitcut Curve series–the number one selling* household scissors (based on 2014 Japan stationery scissors market sales).

Price: 702 yen (including tax)
Category: Scissors
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Fits perfectly in your pen case, and is quite sturdy for its small size. You won’t find a more convenient pair of scissors!”

 



No. 2: Memo Can 

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These memos will sway back and forth on your desk when folded in half and stood up on your desk. Use the stylish can for storing small items afterwards!

Price: 648 yen (including tax)
Category: Memo
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This gift is a 2-in-1 deal (memos and can case), both practical and playful for kids to adults.”

 



No. 3: Clip Family

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Not only can you use this bear-shaped clip as a paper clip or bookmark, but dip it in water for 5 minutes and you can bend it to a variety of positions, serving as a key hook, pen stand, and more. Available in multiple colors and varieties, including clip man, clip girl, clip monkey and more.

Price: 518 yen (including tax)
Category: Clip
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Unbearably cute, with endless creative ways to use just by bending!”

 



No. 4: Celebrity’s Mutter Sticky Note

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Become a big name celebrity — even Einstein — with this collection of sticky notes designed with famous faces.

Price: 410 yen (including tax)
Category: Memo
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Your ordinary messages will become the spark of many smiles with this fun addition to your desktop.”

 



No. 5: Ninja Pins

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The secret to these wall pins are their “V” shape, leaving little evidence of being used, compared to pins with a typical circular shape.

Price: 432 yen for 5 packs, 864 yen for 15 packs (including tax)
Category: Wall Pin
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “These pins leave hardly any trace of their presence, just like a true ninja!”

 

 



TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

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Kyo Karakami Stamp ‘Four Seasons’ A・B Rakkan Set

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp ‘Four Seasons’ A・B Rakkan Set

$85.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

$170.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”

$597.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Isehan-Honten Museum of Beni

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Are you familiar with beni?
Beni is the red color pigment extracted from benibana (safflower) petals, which have only 1% of red pigment. Benibana is said to have its origin in the Nile River Valley of Egypt, but has been used traditionally in Japanese beauty products.

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Today, we went to the Isehan-Honten Museum of Beni. It was established in 2006 to preserve and pass down the history, culture and traditional craftsmanship of beni.

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We tried to paint beni on our hands. Even after washing it, the red color wouldn’t come out, showing how strong this dye is.

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Information

ADDRESS :K’s Minami Aoyama Building, 6-6-20 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
TEL & FAX: 03-5467-3735
HOURS: 10:00 – 18:00
CLOSED: Mondays, during exhibition installations, and during the New Year’s holiday period. (Except when a national holiday falls on Monday. In this case, the museum is open on the holiday and is closed the next day, Tuesday)
ADMISSION: Free (except exhibitions)
ACCESS: 12 min. walk from Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda Line, B1 Exit) or a 1 min. walk from Minami Aoyama 7-chome bus stop on the 01 or 88 Bus (Shibuya – Shimbashi)

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】The Top 5 Health Care & Beauty Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.

 

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No. 1: MISOKA Toothbrush

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This is the toothbrush that requires only water for use. Its bristles are coated with nano-mineral ions, and activated by water. MISOKA not only cleans your teeth but also leaves an ionic coat on the surface of your teeth.

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Simply dip it in water and you’re ready to brush! It is especially popular amongst Japanese and Asian customers.

Price: 1,080 yen (including tax)
Category: toothbrush
WAttention Editor’s comment: “For the outdoor and businessman who’s always on the go, you won’t find a better toothbrush than this one. And it actually works!”

 

 



No. 2: Green Bell Nail Clipper w/Magnifying Glass G-1004

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Tired of straining your eyes when trimming your nails? This nail clipper comes with a 2x magnifying glass, which can also stand up on its own and be used for reading and other needs.

Price: 1,188 yen (including tax)
Category: nail clipper
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The perfect gift for seniors in particular, but I picked up one for myself too!”

 

 



No. 3: BOTANIST Smooth Shampoo & Treatment

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This non-silicone shampoo and treatment uses low acidity soap, making for a foamy and moist lather, and an unexpected silky feel. The shampoo and treatment each have their own distinct scent, and using both at the same time makes for a wonderful mixed fragrance.

Price: 1,512 yen each (including tax)
Category: shampoo, treatment
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “What a relief to finally have a non-silicone shampoo and treatment that still leaves my hair feeling as smooth and shiny. No more worrying about the silicone weighing down and drying out my hair!”

 

 



No. 4: Propolinse

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The secret to this mouthwash is its ability to remove protein impurities that build up within your mouth area. Since you can see with your own eyes the results of each rinse, you’ll feel even more refreshed!

Price: 271 yen for 12ml pouch (6 pack), 1,058 yen for 600mL bottle (including tax)
Category: mouthwash
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Having seen for myself the disgusting things this mouthwash cleaned out of my mouth, I don’t think I can go without!”

 

 



No. 5: maNara Hot Cleansing Gel (200g)

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Even though technically a cleansing lotion, it functions similar to a beauty lotion, with a 91.4% serum content! When applied, this lotion will create a warming sensation, helpful for opening up your pores and removing dirt and oil. Utilizing no additional food coloring or mineral oils, it is especially easy on your skin.

Price: 4,104 yen (including tax)
Category: makeup remover
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “I didn’t expect it to warm my skin so quickly, and its citrus fragrance made for an even more refreshing feeling!”

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

$85.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Nishimura leather iPad cover design 3

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 3

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Coming Of Age Day

seinen3In Japan, one is considered an adult at the age of 20 and a national holiday – called Coming of Age Day (成年の日, seinen no hi) – is designated on the second Monday of January to celebrate this milestone event. This is a great opportunity to see a rainbow spectrum of traditionally-dressed men and ladies walking around town.

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Eligible residents receive an invitation card by the local government, informing them of the designated celebration venue. The actual event consists of a congratulatory speech and presentation of a  commemorative gift to the newly initiated adults .

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Ladies wear a furisode, or a type of kimono with long sleeves that drape down, while men either wear a traditional dark kimono with hakama or a suit and tie.

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In Japan, 20 is the legal age for smoking and drinking….

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…and the newly initiated adults usually celebrate this day by going out for a drinking party!

 

 

 

Ginza’s Past and Present in Photos

Ginza is one of the best places to go shopping in Tokyo, especially in January as many of the department stores here will have a bargain sale in the second half of this month.

The Kabukiza Theater also has a special program to mark the beginning of the New Year.

So why not head down to Ginza and check out these historical buildings that hark back to to the late 19th century and early 20th century?

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The Kabukiza Theater is one of the most famous Kabuki theaters in Japan. Surrounded by modern buildings, it creates an interesting contrast between Japan’s past and present.

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This is a postcard from somewhere between 1925 and 1945, and shows us what Kabukiza Theater looked like before it was bombed during the end of WWII.

The Kabukiza Theater was originally constructed in 1889.

It has been reconstructed after a fire in 1921, after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, after the WWII bombings in 1945, and recently in 2010 because it was starting to show its age.

The phoenix design on the noren (curtain) at the entrance is Kabukiza Theater’s crest. This legendary bird originally from China, stands symbolic for happiness.

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At night, the theater will be elegantly lit-up. Faced to the busy Harumi-dori street, it can get quite busy during rush hours here.

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If you walk along Harumi-dori street towards Ginza station, you will reach the famous Ginza 4-chome (yon-chome) crossing.

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On the right side of this crossing is department store Ginza Mitsukoshi, and the building with the clock on the left side is Wako, also a department store. These department stores have stood symbol of Ginza’s luxury image since the thirties.

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This photo was taken somewhere between 1932 and 1941. As you can see, both department stores were already at their current locations.

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Today, Ginza shines with stylish lights at night, thus managing to look hip while maintaining its original charm.

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This is the crossing of Harumi-dori street and Chuo-dori street.
You can see Matsuya Ginza at the end of Chuo-dori street on the right side of this photo.

Matsuya Ginza is also one of Ginza’s historical department stores, but today boasts a modern style architecture, which is beautifully illuminated with LED at night.

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The following photo taken between 1920 and 1930, you can see how trams used to pass by in Ginza.

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While you will probably be busy shopping in Ginza, sometimes, try to stand still and imagine what the area was like in the old days. Doing so will really allow you to appreciate the area for sure.
Spot Information

Kabukiza Theater

Location: Ginza 4-12-15 Chuo, Tokyo

Access: Directly connected to Exit 3 of Higashi Ginza Station (Hibiya Line, Toei Asakusa Line)

URL : http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/eng/contents/theatre/kabukiza.html
Ginza Mitsukoshi

Location: Ginza 4-6-16, Chuo, Tokyo

Access: Directly connected to Exit A7 of Ginza Station(Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line and Hibiya Line)

URL: http://goo.gl/0Wqy43
Wako

Location: Ginza 4-5-11, Chuo, Tokyo

Access: Directly connected to Exit B1 of Ginza Station (Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line and Hibiya Line)

URL : http://www.wako.co.jp/en/index.html

 

Matsuya Ginza

Location: Ginza 3-6-1 Chuo, Tokyo

Access: Directly connected to Exit A12 of Ginza Station (Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, and Hibiya Line

URL : http://www.matsuya.com/visitor/en/m_ginza/

Shopping Campaign for Tourists

Until Feb. 29, the Japan Shopping Tourism Organization is holding its first campaign geared towards foreign tourists at the Koen-dori shopping street area – Tokyo Prime Shopping 2016 in Shibuya – giving away 1,000,000 yen in prizes and gift cards.

To participate, download the smartphone application WeChat, and use the “shake” function in the Koen-dori shopping street area to enter a lottery to win prizes and gift cards. Lottery entrants will also receive discount tickets and present coupons, valid at nearly 900 participating stores.

In addition, on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 6:18pm, the “Lucky Shake Event” will take place for just 30 seconds, where an extra 1,000,000 yen in present coupons will be given away.

 

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

$76.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Nishimura leather iPad cover design 2

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 2

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Get Funassyi goods @ Harajuku!

While Funassyi heralds from Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the city’s unofficial mascot character is also no stranger in hip Harajuku.

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From Dec. 5, Funassyi LAND Select HARAJUKU, a store that sells official Funassyi goods has opened, and is showing great popularity. The items specially designed to match Harajuku fashion are a must buy!
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Funassyi LAND Select HARAJUKU

Address: Jingumae 6-1-9, Shibuya
URL: http://funassyiland.jp/harajuku.html

Limited-time cosmetics and photo shoot at Tokyu Hands

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Popular brand Yoroshi Cosmetics will feature a limited-time shop at Tokyu Hands Shibuya Store from Dec. 26 – Jan. 11, selling its products made with Japanese ingredients like sake, rice bran, and matcha green tea.

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Also, customers who spend more than 1,500 yen can take a commemorative photo wearing a traditional Japanese hakama. The whole process takes just 3 minutes–perfect for tourists on a tight schedule!

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Tokyu Hands Shibuya Store
Hours: 10am – 8:30pm
Address: Udagawacho 12-18, Shibuya

Marchais de Noel in Ebisu Garden Place

Marchais de Noel in Ebisu Garden Place in Shibuya

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Have some hotpot, hot wine and hot sandwiches!

Information
DATE:From November 7 to December 25
PLACE:Ebisu Garden Place in Ebisu, Shibuya
ACCESS:From Tokyo Metro Ebisu Station (H02) Exit 1:
5 mins via the Ebisu Skywalk (moving walkway) from JR Ebisu Station East Exit
WEBSITE: Ebisu Garden Place marche

TOKYO COFFEE FESTIVAL 2015 Winter

TOKYO COFFEE FESTIVAL 2015 Winter will be held at Aoyama’s UNU farmers’ market this weekend. Many baristas and coffee shop operators from all over Japan will show off their craft!

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SHOP LIST

December 12 (Sat)

27 COFFEE ROASTERS、AMAMERIA espresso、And Coffee Roasters (ACR)、Antidotechocolate、Bal Musette、Bird Daikanyama、bon pin gâteaux、BOOK TRUCK、cafe fua (かふぇ ふあ)、cafequark+grenier、Double tall cafe、FESTINA LENTE、Foret Coffee、GLITCH COFFEE&ROASTARS、KISSACO、Light Up Coffee、MERRY TIME、Mica Takahashi、NAGASAWA COFFEE、NOZY COFFEE、on the way、otomoni coffee、Paul Bassett、PNB COFFEE、REC COFFEE、ROUND TWO RECORDS、Slow Coffee Style / KINTO、Single Origin Roasters、SWITCH COFFEE TOKYO、TIKI COFFEE、TRUNK COFFEE、WOODBERRY COFFEE ROASTERS、Yeti Fazenda COFFEE、コルシカ珈琲、ザ・モダンコーヒー、セントベリーコーヒー、テラコーヒー、珈琲や、珈琲豆イースト

December 13 (Sun)

27 COFFEE ROASTERS、AMAMERIA espresso、And Coffee Roasters (ACR)、Antidotechocolate、Bal Musette、Bird Daikanyama、bon pin gâteaux、BOOK TRUCK、cafequark+grenier、Double tall cafe、FESTINA LENTE、FUGLEN COFFEE ROASTERS、GLITCH COFFEE&ROASTARS、HONO、KISSACO、Life size cribe、Light Up Coffee、MERRY TIME、Mica Takahashi、NAGASAWA COFFEE、NOZY COFFEE、otomoni coffee、Pas a Pas、Paul Bassett、REC COFFEE、ROUND TWO RECORDS、Slow Coffee Style / KINTO、Single Origin Roasters、SWITCH COFFEE TOKYO、TIKI COFFEE、TRUNK COFFEE、WOODBERRY COFFEE ROASTERS、Yeti Fazenda COFFEE、コルシカ珈琲、ザ・モダンコーヒー、しげくに屋55ベーカリー、セントベリーコーヒー、テラコーヒー、珈琲や、珈琲豆イースト

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/events/1643842275884125/
WEBSITE:http://farmersmarkets.jp/coffeefes2015-winter/

Check Out These New Japanese Anime Face Pack Sheets!

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Isshindo Honpo Shop will release its “Japanese Anime Face Pack Sheets” in Japan on December 11th and 22th.

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These face packs feature Japanese famous anime “Doraemon”,

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“Fist of the North Star”,

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“Yatterman” and

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“Chibi-maruko-chan” (The series depicts the simple, everyday life of Momoko in the times of her childhood.)

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These face pack sheets moisturize and rejuvenate face skin.

Information
1.“FIST OF THE NORTH STAR” and “Yatterman”
will release on December 11th.
PRICE:430 yen
SHOP:TOKYU HANDS,LOFT,HANEDA AIRPORT,ISSHINDO HONPO(Mail-order)

2.“DORAEMON” and “Chibi-Maruko-chan”
will release on December 22th.
PRICE:430 yen
SHOP:TOKYU HANDS,LOFT,HANEDA AIRPORT,ISSHINDO HONPO(Mail-order)

WEBSITE: http://www.isshin-do.co.jp/html/page16.html

Santa’s favorite place to shop in Shibuya

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Even Santa can’t resist the unlimited shopping opportunities at TOKYU HANDS!

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From high-functional livingware to fancy made-in-Japan items, beauty products and materials for DIY, TOKYO HANDS has an incredible line-up that satisfies pretty much any customer.

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On top of that, overseas customers are warmly welcomed with a 5% discount coupon if you present your passport.

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Join Santa and do this year’s Christmas shopping at TOKYU HANDS!

Information
TOKYU HANDS Shibuya Store
Address: 12-18 Udagawa-cho Shibuya
Hours: 10am-8:30pm

THE YARD @ Shibuya Modi

Shibuya’s newest shopping spot – is full of new innovative shops.

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One of these, is THE YARD, which brings a new fashion concept for kimono in the hope that Japanese traditional clothing will be worn more casually by Japan’s youth.

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If you are interested in wearing kimono as modern fashion, THE YARD is the place to be!

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Shop Information: Jinnnan 1-21-3 Shibuya-MODI 1F・2F ,Shibuya
WEBSITE: THE YARD

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

J-Speak, an application that will spread its name by word of mouth.

Getting around Japan can be daunting without speaking the language. But with Docomo’s new free application J-Speak that automatically translates speech between Japanese and 10 languages (English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese), one no longer has to play a game of charades when trying to get your meaning across. In addition, you can get free discount coupons to be used as various shops and restaurants during your Japan trip. This version was made available for android smartphones since October, and an iPhone version will be available from January 2016.

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While all WAttention foreign staff speak Japanese, we tried to have a conversation with our Japanese colleagues using J-Speak, and were able to communicate quite smoothly without the awkward pauses common when using similar applications.

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However, do keep in mind that this is automatic translation, and therefore not always completely accurate. If you want to be 100 percent sure that you are correctly translated, choose from a large amount of pre-translated sentences that can be selected per situation. These situations range from asking directions to checking in at the hotel and are always reliable.

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Representing the spirit of Japanese hospitality, this completely free application is not only a translation tool, but functions as your travel guide to Japan at the same time.

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For each region of the country, you can find information on tourist sights, shopping, food and activities in your own language and receive free discount coupons. The application can be used anywhere in the world, so you can also use it when preparing your trip to Japan!

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Click here to download J-Speak for android.

Click here to download J-Speak for iPhone (old version) *This version is only a translation tool and does not include any travel information or coupons.

Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Yatsugatake: A Japanese Wine Paradise

Savor it, experience it

Japan is not the first destination that comes to mind for wine tasting. But times have changed and Japan is no more a country of just sake. The quality of the country’s whiskey has been acknowledged globally with some of the finest liquors, and while still standing in the shadows of top-class vineyards as, say, Italy’s Tuscany or France’s Provence, Yamanashi Prefecture is gradually spreading its name throughout the world as an area of quality wine.

The best way to see, feel, and of course savor the wines of Yamanashi, is without a doubt by staying at Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Yatsugatake located in Hokuto city. This “wine resort” allows you to get familiar with the local wines in style and comfort that few, if not no other facilities can compete with.

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At Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Yatsugatake, the amount of activities available to get you familiar with the local wines are staggering. Taste 24 different local wines at the resort’s YATSUGATAKE wine house, have dinner at OTTO SETTE – the resort’s chic Italian restaurant that serves refined dishes to go with the wines – and enjoy a conversation with an experienced sommelier.

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But that is not where it ends. Hosnino Resorts RISONARE Yatsugatake offers various plans to make your stay as romantic and wine-full as possible. How about a stay at the “wine suite room”, for example? While a stay in this wine-themed suite might be a little pricey, do note that it includes 5 quality wines for you to freely drink and take home, a chic dinner and breakfast at the resort’s restaurants and more.

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Everything about this suite just screams wine!

Of course, there are plenty of other activities not related to wine available as well. The resort’s stylish Piment-dori street has seasonal activities and stores that range from local bred vegetables on sale in summer to Halloween illumination and a Christmas show.

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Il Mare, the resort’s spacey pool equipped with a cafe is ideal to relax and Yatsugatake activity center offers plenty of outdoor activities for the children while you receive a winter limited VINO Fonte treatment at the resort’s spa that uses wine grape draffs.

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If you are an outdoor person, horse-riding through Hokuto city’s picturesque forests or skiing in the winter can also be enjoyed.

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Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Yatsugatake

Location: 129-1 Kobuchizawa-cho 129-1, Hokuto, Yamanashi

Access: 5-min by pickup bus from Kobushizawa Station (Chuo Main Line, Koumi Line)

URL: http://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/risonare/yatsugatake.html

Shichiken: A Traditional Sake Brewery With Modern Ideas

A brewery that is a world of its own

Yamanashi Prefecture Hokoto City’s Hakushu area might be famous for Suntory’s Hakushu Whiskey, but did you know that it is also home to long-established sake brewery, Shichiken? WAttention went to check it out, and quickly came to the conclusion that Shichiken is much more than just a sake brewery. It is a museum, a restaurant, a cafe, and you could even call it a world of its own!

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Shichiken brewery ‘s entrance was built in 1835, and its traditional facade alone already makes it worth a visit

Shichiken as a brewery:

Shichiken is a Japanese sake brewery with over 300 years of history, and has been run by the Kitagawara family for 12 generations. Rather than secretly developing techniques without opening up to the public, the young Kitagawara brothers take a more modern approach towards their craftsmanship, welcoming anyone to come and observe the process of sake brewing, and even to see the Kojimuro (a room where the malt is dried), where traditionally not even workers at the brewery were allowed to enter unless they were involved in the process.

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Sake tasting can be enjoyed near the brewery’s entrance, and is sipped from wine glasses. While this may sound unauthentic, wine glasses have proven to be best for sake, as their round shape allow you to enjoy its fragrance more.


Shichiken as a museum:

The Shichiken brewery’s main building is almost 200 years old. In 1880, Shichiken had the honor to receive Emperor Meiji to stay at the brewery during his journey in Yamanashi, Mie and Kyoto. The Kitagawara family redesigned three complete rooms for the Emperor to function as his palace away from palace, which has been left completely intact.
Upon his arrival, Emperor Meiji passed through Shichiken’s main gate. This gate was never used again to this day, as it would be odd to have ordinary people pass the same gate the holy Emperor has passed.
Until it became a museum for visitors, not even the Kitagawara family entered the three rooms Emperor Meiji emperor stayed at, despite the fact that these rooms make up for the major part of their residence. One of the Kitagawara brothers told me that as a young child, he did not know what was in these rooms, and was scared of it. Having lost 3 rooms of their house, the Kitagawara family continued to live in the smaller rooms that were left over.

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Shichiken as a restaurant:

Next to Shichiken, is restaurant Daimin, which belongs to the brewery. The water served on your table is the same water used for Shichiken’s sake.
Daimin uses fresh meat and vegetables from the region, but what makes it special, is that these ingredients are prepared using sake. For example, the fried salmon on this picture was coated in a sauce made of malt left over from the sake. Stewed dishes use sake instead of wine, vegetables were pickled in sake lees and even the delicate dessert had a tint of sake fragrance to it. The result is not only delicious, but also environment friendly as ingredients left over from sake brewing can be used here. That’s the mottainai (a Japanese philosophy of not wasting anything) spirit!

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Shichiken as a cafe:

In the same mottainai spirit as that of DaiminKoji’z, a small cafe located inside the brewery, uses malt left over from sake brewing to create yummy “Koji smoothies”, or malt smoothies. Their natural sweetness is their greatest appeal, as no artificial sugar is added, using only the original sweetness malt contains. These are mixed with local fruits as peach and blueberry, resulting in a healthy yet yummy (alcohol-free) drink dessert.


Shichiken

Location: Tagawara 2283, Hakushucho, Hokuto, Yamanashi

Access: Approx. 2 hours by car from Tokyo. 15-min by taxi from Nagasaka Station (Chuo Main Line) or Hinoharu Station (Chuo Main Line).

URL: http://www.sake-shichiken.co.jp/eng_chn_kor.html

Strolling the Shotengai: Togoshi-ginza

The most original “unauthentic” Ginza

If you are a tourist in Tokyo for only a short time, there’s a pretty big chance you will skip on Togoshi-ginza Shotengai (shopping street). But if there is one neighborhood shopping street worth visiting, it has to be this original “unauthentic” Ginza.

Togoshi-ginza, 15 min from Shibuya, is the first of many neighborhood Ginzas to spring up around the early 1920s, borrowing the name from Tokyo’s main shopping street in the hope that some of Ginza’s glamour may rub off on them.

While none of the neighborhood Ginzas really resemble the real thing, they are charming in their own right.


Togoshi-ginza is one of Japan’s longest shopping streets, and with more than 400 nostalgic mom-and-pop stores standing side by side, it offers a nostalgic walk interrupted only by delicious finds.

To be honest, I myself had never thought of visiting Togoshi-ginza until recently, despite being a Tokyoite for almost 10 years. Walking along the streets of Togoshi-ginza Shotengai, I immediately realized how much charm I had been missing on.

Most people would agree with me that the best way to enjoy a shotengai stroll is with a snack in hand. So here is a guide to some of the best finds!

Floresta Nature Doughnuts
Editor comment: Too cute to eat, but also too yummy to not eat!

Dobutsu Doughnuts, or animal doughnuts. Price range is from 240 yen to 360 yen (depends on the animal of choice)

Henteco
Editor comment: I give up! These are just too cute, I can’t eat them!

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A chocolate tapir and hazelnut squirrel

Kumono

Editor comment: Crispy croquettes from the butcher shop. Fried in tallow instead of normal oil.

120 yen potato croquettes

Goto Kamaboko
Editor comment: Goto Kamaboko is a good old Oden (simmered vegetables, Japanese fishcakes and egg) stall where you can pick your favorite ingredient.

Price differs depending on the ingredient.

Tori & Deli
Editor comment: Kara-age, or Japanese fried chicken dipped in a Hawaiian salsa sauce!

Fried chicken leg meat (270 yen) together with Hawaiian mango salsa sauce (100 yen)


Togoshi-ginza’s milkman
Editor comment: I was glad to see that someone born to be a milkman can still be a milkman even in modern times.

Normal milk (127 yen), fruit milk (117 yen) and coffee milk (117 yen) bottles come with a lovely smile from our favorite milkman

Togoshi-ginza shopping district

Location: Togoshi, Shinagawa, Tokyo

Access: In front of Togoshi-ginza Station (Ikegami Line)

Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku

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About Nishimura Yuzen Chokoku: From kimono dyeing to iPad case design

From kimono dyeing to iPad case design
Takeshi Nishimura from Kyoto is a living legend in the world of yuzen-chokoku, which is the craft of pattern paper carving used for yuzen-zome dyeing in the process of making a kimono.
With shrinking demand in the kimono market, Nishimura decided to transfer his craft to the products used in daily life to add a touch of tradition to modern life.
This has resulted in two series: Nishimura with Collectif Prémices, which is a collaboration with a French design team, and Nishimura with iPad.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.


Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”
$597.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”
$147.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”
$156.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”
$138.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”
$138.00

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Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern
$276.00

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NISHIMURA with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen.


Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 1
$303.00

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Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 2
$303.00

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Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 3
$303.00

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Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad cover design 2
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad cover design 3
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 1
$276.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 2
$276.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 3
$276.00

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Jiyugaoka, stylish and yummy

Suburban strolling in sweet Jiyugaoka

For stylish and yummy suburban exploring, the leafy neighborhood of Jiyugaoka is the perfect pick. While only 10 minutes away from Shibuya by train, Jiyugaoka is a calm village compared to the hectic and crazy youth culture center of Tokyo that is Shibuya.
However, don’t underestimate Jiyugaoka, as it is a creative neighborhood in its own chic, stylish and sweet way.

While strolling around, one soon notices Jiyugaoka’s undeniable European influences. Leafy promenades with benches lined along the street, shops and restaurants with Mediterranean and South European facades, and even a romantic canal streaming through town that strongly hints Venice.

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Ginza might be Tokyo’s center of high-end fashion, and Shimokitazawa is second to none when it comes to vintage clothing, but Jiyugaoka is the place to be if you are looking for something stylish and classy yet unique, as there are many fashion boutiques scattered throughout the neighborhood that burst in character.

The most difficult question to ask someone in Jiyugaoka would be “What would you like for dessert?”, as nowhere in Tokyo is the dessert and confectionery density as high as here. The streets are literally filled with too beautiful to eat pies, rolled pancakes, parfaits and what not at display at cafe’s, bakeries and ice-cream parlors.

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Jiyugaoka even hosts “Sweets Forest”, a sweets theme park that celebrates its 11th anniversary this year.

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Jiyugaoka is anything but your typical Tokyo suburb, but European culture has not completely taken over quite yet. Keep walking west and you will find the ancient Joshinji temple that reminds you that this area hasn’t always been a chic area of boutiques and boulangeries. And if you have a sweet tooth that is looking for something more authentic, Kosoan, a cafe with the facade of an old Japanese residence and a Japanese garden attached to it will more than satisfy your cravings.

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Jiyugaoka

Location: Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Tokyo

Access: Get off at Jiyugaoka Station (Toyoko Line and Oimachi Line)

Editor’s Pick: Top Three “Little Edo” Streets

For a feel of what it was like to live during the Edo era, one can head to an Edo themepark, but why pay an entrance fee when you can still walk along streets almost unchanged since then? Here are three recommended Little Edo streets with kura or warehouse-style buildings for the time-travelling tourist.

1) Kawagoe Koedo, Saitama Prefecture 

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Kawagoe Koedo literally means “Little Edo” in Kawagoe town. This is one of the nearest Little Edo streets from Tokyo, just 30 minutes from Ikebukuro via an Express train. The clock tower in the center of the town called the Toki no Kane (Bell of Time) is the symbol of Kawagoe and harks back to around 40 years ago. Its melodious tone has been recognized as one of the “100 Sound Sceneries of Japan”. It rings four times daily at 6am, noon, 3pm and 6pm.

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The town prides itself on the murasaki imo (purple potato) and you can find various confectionery made of this, such as manjyu and of course, soft-serve ice cream. The Coedo craft beer、which has won several awards globally, is also a must-try.

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Be like a kid in a Show candy shop

For a taste of Showa era nostalgia while in Little Edo, there’s the Dagashi Yokocho (yokocho meaning alley, dagashi referring to sweets made for children) where you can find all sorts of small sweet treats from cigarette-shaped chewing gum, to all sorts of candy imitating “adult food” like grilled eel or pork cutlets.

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Tobacco-free cigarettes to chew on, anyone?

Access: 30 minutes from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo Line Express Train bound for Kawagoe.

 

2) Inuyama Jokamachi, Nagoya Prefecture 

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Inuyama Castle is a small, unassuming castle in Nagoya Prefecture that’s statue belies its historical importance. That aside, there is a charming Edo Street at the jokamachi, which means street leading up to the castle.

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The famous product of the area has to be the world’s longest radish, the moriguchi daikon, which can grow up to 1.9m, or taller than most of the people passing by it on the streets! This radish is sold as a pickle, and that pickled flavour also takes the form of an ice-cream (no surprise there).

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Here, you will find a Showa Yokocho, or Showa Alley, reflecting the nostalgia for that era now past.

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Access: 25 minutes from Nagoya Station on the Meitetsu Line for Inuyama Station, and a ten-minute walk from the station.

 

3) Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture 

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Kurashiki, which can roughly be translated as “warehouse town”, has a canal area dating back to the Edo era when the city served as a rice distribution center.

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Many of the beautifully-preserved, grey and white-motif warehouses have been given a new lease of life as cafes, fashion boutiques and restaurants, though some old buildings still serve their original purposes as soya sauce retailers and rice wholesalers.

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Kurashiki is popular with Japanese ladies going on joshitabi (ladies’ trip).

 

So signature is the kura-style architecture to the town that even the vending machines blend in!

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Access: 17 minutes from Okayama Station via the Sanyo Honsen bound for Kurashiki Station.

 

Shibamata Street Life

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Where Shitamachi culture is still intact 

Shibamata is the ideal destination for a leisurely trip back in time to Showa-era (mid-1920s to late 1980s) Tokyo. It is one of the few areas in the city where shitamachi (local downtown) culture and atmosphere are still present today.

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Along the sando (a street leading to a temple or shrine) that connects the subway station to the Shibata Taishakuten temple, a great number of nostalgic mom and pop stores as well as street food stalls ideal for window shopping or souvenir hunting can be enjoyed, and during the weekends the streets will be full with locals and domestic tourists alike.

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Be sure to try out the yummy Kusa dango (mugwort flavored sweet rice flour dumplings) at Toraya, which has been a staple store of the area for more than a century!  Toraya is famous for being an important location in popular movie series “Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo”, which mostly takes place in Shibamata.

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Check out the retro toy museum which displays nostalgic toys and candies to unleash the kid in you. It is not a coincidence that this museum is located in Shibamata, as the area and Katsushika Ward in general hosts a great number of toy manufacturers. According to the locals, Katsushika Ward used to have just as many toy and candy stores as there are convenience stores today.

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The Shibamata Taishakuten temple has been described in many classic Japanese literature works, and its authentic atmosphere will more than satisfy your hunger for historical architecture, but those with a more eccentric taste, won’t leave empty handed either.

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Another attraction in Shibamata is the traditional Japanese rowing boat you can take from here to cross the Edogawa river, and the fee is only 100 yen! You wouldn’t say that this boat is part of one of the world’s most modern, efficient and advanced transport systems.  Tokyoites are not just about creating a high-tech city, but value the old and nostalgic just as much, and that’s what’s keeping the city interesting.

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Give Shibamata a chance during your stay in Tokyo, and see how life goes by slowly in this picturesque suburb.

Spot Information

 Spot Name: Shibamata

Location: Shibamata, Katsushika

Access: Shibamata Station (Keisei Line)

Kichijoji, casual Tokyo

Enjoy Tokyo like a local

Voted as Tokyo’s most livable area for an impressive seven years in a row, Kichijoji is the kind of place you can be your casual self.
The streets are full of cafes, restaurants and shops just like in Shinjuku or Shibuya, but without the hustle and bustle. Instead, the pleasant Inokashira park, which is a popular destination for cherry blossom viewing during spring is on a short walking distance from the station.

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From savoring Tokyo’s most popular menchi-katsu (fried minced meat) to enjoying live performances at homey jazz-kissa (jazz cafes), Kichijoji has something for everyone.
The Sunroad shopping street boasts countless budget stores from drugstores to shoe retailers ideal for (window) shopping. The narrow alleys of Harmonica-cho are a holy ground for those that seek for cozy local restaurants and bars. Chic cafes and fancy shops can be found on the way to Inokashira Park where locals and tourists alike enjoy their day by taking a refreshing stroll.
Whatever your objective may be, Kichijoji has an answer to it.

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For a romantic date, the Inokashira Park offers the opportunity to peddle boats on its central pond. The rental fee for a normal boat is 600 yen, but for an additional 100 yen you can upgrade it to a beautiful swan boat.
A small advise to young gentlemen: don’t be stingy and impress your date by going for the swan boat!

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However, be careful as there are rumors that this date could mean the end of your relationship. Benzaiten, a god enshrined at the nearby shrine apparently gets jealous at all the happy couples once in a while and puts a curse on them! Even if this is pure superstition, is your relationship strong enough to overcome it!?

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The park also has a zoo, where Japan’s oldest and most famous elephant Hanako is comfortably spending the last years of her life after nearly 70 years at zoos in Japan ever since she was sent to Japan at the age of 2 from Thailand as a gift in 1949.

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The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is directly connected to the Inokashira Park as well, and therefore ideal to combine with a day in Kichijoji. In case you are planning to visit the Ghibli Museum, be sure to reserve tickets before as entrance without a reservation is not possible.

Spot Information

Name: Kichijoji

Access: Kichijoji Station (JR Lines, Inokashira Line) can be reached within 20 minutes by train from Shinjuku or Shibuya

Replica Weapon Warehouse For The Cosplay Warrior

The larger than life “Dragonslayer” sword from video game Berserk.

Though the endless rows of swords along the walls might make you think the owners here are preparing for the next samurai revolution, make no mistake – this fake weapon store is for real.

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Hidden on the third floor just along Akihabara’s main Chuo Street, Busou Shoten is a replica weapon and armory store, carrying everything from ninja shuriken to medieval knight helmets to chainsaws. Whether for decoration or for actual practice fighting, Japanese or Western, historical or fictional, you won’t find a wider selection of model combat tools than here. And yes, as you would expect from a shop in Akihabara, they even have a collection of armaments inspired by anime and video game series, attracting large numbers of otaku and cosplayers (“costume players”) here.

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While certainly many children grow up make believing they’re sword-wielding samurai or gun-slinging cowboys, Japan has taken cosplay to a whole different level. While this is reflected in the growing number of costume stores and regularly occurring cosplay events devoted to dressing up, what motivates so many to get into character?

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At one recent cosplay festival, nearly all the people WAttention interviewed expressed that cosplaying is all about entering the world of their favorite anime, game, or manga series. After watching every episode, reading every series, and even purchasing all the goods they could find, they still wanted to somehow get closer to their beloved fictional character’s world. Hence, they cosplay, pretending to take on the character’s identity.

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Given such a deep enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that these cosplayers would want to get their favorite character’s garb and accessories down to the very last detail. Which is why Busou Shoten is so popular, especially among aspiring ninjas, samurai, and dragon slayers from around Japan.

The “Dominator” gun from anime series Psycho-Pass.

While you will want to check if your country allows the entry of these authentic looking items before purchasing, customers are welcome to come and just admire everything here from King Arthur’s Excalibur to the Dominator gun from hit anime Psycho-Pass. But be careful. The replicas here are so real, they just might inspire the inner cosplay warrior in you! 

The street-level doorway along Chuo Street (left) and entrance on the third floor (right).
The street-level doorway along Chuo Street (left) and entrance on the third floor (right).

Busou Shoten
Hours: Weekdays 11:30am-7:30pm, Weekends & Holidays 11am-7:30pm
Closed: Tuesdays (unless a holiday)
Address: Asano Bldg. 3F, 3-15-7 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

All you love about Japan, in a capsule

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Gachapon Kaikan: the mecca of miniature toy capsules

Perhaps local students lining up outside a store filled with toy vending machines might not warrant a second glance. But when you meet a tourist who crossed an ocean to seek out this small shop, tucked away in an alley off Akihabara’s main thoroughfare, you know this isn’t your typical toy store.

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Welcome to the world of gachapon: plastic spherical cases about 10 cm in diameter, filled with mini figurines, trinkets, and more. These toy capsules get their name from the “gacha gacha” sound made from cranking the machine dials, followed by the pon!” when the capsule drops.

While you can find these machines in supermarkets and stores scattered throughout Japan, Gachapon Kaikan is the mecca of these miniature toy capsules, boasting hundreds of these gachapon machines.

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But why would anyone travel half-way around the world to walk out with a handful of these tiny trinkets?

Painstaking attention to detail. A plethora of cute characters. And of course, a good dose of creative wackiness. After all, aren’t these some of the things we just love about Japan?

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Sure, a cute cat smartphone stand or a miniature rice bowl with shrimp tempura might not be on the top of your omiyage shopping list, but without a trip here, you’d never even know such things existed!

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So for 100-500 yen, enjoy the suspense of picking up a toy that is as fun to purchase as it is to play with. When luggage space is tight (as well as your pocketbook), these brilliantly detailed toys make for a great little souvenir, and you don’t even need to worry about wrapping them!

Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan 
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am – 8pm; Fri, Sat & days before holidays 11am – 10pm; Sun & holidays 11am – 7pm
Address: 3-15-5, Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
URL: http://www.akibagacha.com/ (Japanese)

Nostalgic Pottering in Yanesen Part 1

Shitamachi roaming by bicycle

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Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of pottering. It is a so called waseieigo (和製英語), which is a Japanese word created out of one or more English terms. Calling it an English word that only exists in Japan, is another way to explain it.

Pottering (coming from “to potter”) is the same as strolling, except for the fact that it is done on bicycle. While cycling tours can be exhausting and extreme like hiking or trekking, pottering is meant to be relaxing and fun.

Just to make sure you get the idea, left is cycling and right is pottering!

The Yanesen area consists out of three neighborhoods in the Taito and Bunkyo ward, which are Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. Whilst being located within short distance from the city center, the area has a charming shitamachi (local downtown) atmosphere, with retro shopping streets, laid back residential areas and myriads of temples and shrines to explore.

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Bicycles can be rented at tokyobike gallery, located on a 6 minute walking distance from Nippori Station. It has the facade of an old Japanese-style house with wooden walls and a slanting roof, but the inside is modern and oshare (fancy). tokyobikes are made with the purpose of city cycling, and you can choose out of 3 different models.

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Location: Yanaka 4-2-39, Taito, Tokyo
Price: 1,000 yen
Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays) 11:00 – 18:00 (Weekends, Public Holidays) Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays

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Without any further ado, let the pottering begin!

Ogyochi

Starting with sweets is unheard of when one goes cycling, but then again, this is pottering, so why not?
Ogyochi serves a yummy Taiwanese jelly type sweet that you can have together with shaved ice in the summer.

Information:
Location: Uenosakuragi 2-11-8, Taito, Tokyo

Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (closed earlier when sold out)

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Ogyochi, 400 yen

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Shitamachi Museum

In the same street as Ogyochi, you will find the Shitamachi Museum, where you can find out how Tokyoites used to go about in older times.

Information:
Location: Yanaka 4-2-39, Taito, Tokyo

Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm (closed on Mondays)

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Yanaka’s Himalayan Cedar Tree

On the corner of a quiet street in Yanaka, next to an old little bakery, stands a giant Himalayan cedar tree!

Information:
Location: Yanaka 1-16-5, Taito, Tokyo

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Nennnekoya

A few blocks further, you will find Nennekoya, a cozy little store/cafe full of cat merchandise, and of course, cats! Finding this store in Yanaka is no surprise, as the neighborhood is known for its many street cats.

Information:
Location: Yanaka 2-1-4 Taito, Tokyo

Hours: 11:30 am – 6:00 pm (Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays) 11:00 am – 5 pm (Thursdays, Fridays) closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

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That’s it for today, but we will be pedaling on in “Nostalgic Pottering in Yanesen Part 2“, so stay tuned!

Yummy Yaesu Depachika Walkabout

The next time you have some time to spare before your next train or Shinkansen ride at the Tokyo Station – and have already explored most of the Tokyo Station Ichibangai – why not explore the recently-renovated Yaesu Depachika to get a taste of shops old and new?

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Incidentally, Yaesu Depachika (which is a combination of depato – or department store – and chika, meaning basement) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and one of the shops there has been in the same shop space for that long!

Liqours Hasegawa 

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Liquors Hasegawa toasts 50 years of selling liqour – specializing in whiskey, with a broad range of single malts – in this underground city. Here you can sample whiskies before you buy them, starting from 100 yen for a small shot.

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It also stocks a wide range of craft beers, including this brewed in Tokyo beer, “Tokyo Blues”, made with water from the Tama River. How’s that for a taste of Tokyo?

Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm daily
URL:  www.liquors-hasegawa.com

Stand-up Dining : Sake or Steak?

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The South Wing is where most of the restaurants are gathered, and caters to a wide range of budgets. There are even a couple of affordable stand-up joints offering a quick drink or cut of steak for hungry shoppers or salarymen on their way home.

New Kids In The Block 

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Bubby’s – Apple pie with a punch!

Bubby’s from New York is famous for its hearty slices of apple pies stuffed with 15 whole apples and cherries from Michigan. Wonder what the folks from Hasegawa might have to say about the Whiskey Apple Pie!

Opening Hours:
Morning 7:30~11:00
Lunch 11:00~16:00
Dinner 16:00~22:30(LO21:30)

Sat./Sun./Hol.
Lunch 9:00~16:00
Dinner 16:00~22:00(LO21:00)

URL: http://www.restaurant-mrs.com/wp/restaurant_bubbys/restaurant_bubbys_child_yaechika

Erick South – Finally, authentic Southern Indian Cuisine!

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If you fancy something spicy, there’s Erick South which dishes up (as far as we could tell, authentic smelling) Southern Indian curry, which is less thick than the northern Indian variety, but not any less tasty. For the summer, you can try the cold tuna curry…(a departure from authentic to the adventurous).

Opening Hours:

Weekdays:
11:00~15:00
15:00~22:00(LO21:30)
Sat./Sun./Hol.
11:00~15:00
15:00~21:30(LO21:00)

URL: http://www.erickcurry.jp/

Continuing to Bring Enchantment to the World, Noritake

From Ginza to Your Dinner Table

It’s the fine chinaware from Noritake that makes your special dinner hour even more of a delight.

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Established in 1904, Noritake’s roots can be traced back to “Morimura Gumi”, set up in New York during the turmoil at the end of the Edo Period when the brothers Ichizaemon and Toyo Morimura decided to start international trading for the sake of their country.

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Ichizaemon and company visited the World Exposition in Paris and were stunned by the intricate European porcelain they came across and eventually decided to start production in Japan. Upon overcoming numerous difficulties, it was in 1914, a decade later, that the first dinnerware set was manufactured in Japan. And since then, with its superb technology and the incomparable beauty of its designs, Noritake china has been loved by people the world over.

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From the finest quality series such as Maestro, the epitome of elegance, to the Totoro series featuring the popular animation, Noritake will always have available the perfect chinaware to match an array of budgets and purposes. Particularly recommended is the Champagne Pearls set. The elegant design and the warm white colors will enhance the fine taste of any type of cuisine. Another reason for the high acclaim that it enjoys among many women and professional chefs is its wide range of use, a fine match not only for western food but for Japanese cuisine as well. Approved by the professionals, the series is a sure winner that will enhance the fun, lovely dinner scene at your home.

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Introducing a new 20-piece home set for the popular Champagne Pearls series, with trim designs that change depending on the glittering light (scheduled for launch at the end of September). (Four 27.5-cm plates, four deep plates measuring 21.5-cm, four coffee cups and saucers) priced at 70,000 yen.

Drop by the Noritake Ginza store for a chance to see these authentic Noritake chinaware. Ginza is where Noritake’s first store had initially opened. While the location of the store may have changed, our desire to bring our customers top of the line products at a top-class venue remains unchanged. This is a place where you’re bound to find that special item you’ve always wanted.

Store information

Noritake GINZA

003

Address: Ginza 3-4-12 Bunshodo Building 2F, Chuo

Number of products on exhibit: Approximately 1,000

Hours: 11 am – 7:30 pm Open throughout the year (except for New Year’s holidays)

Tel: 03-3567-6121

Access: 1-min walk from exit A 13 of Ginza Station (Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line)

URL: http://www.noritake.co.jp/tableware/shoplist/index.html

Kyo Karakami by Maruni Interior and Accessories

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It was first used by aristocrats as a patterned paper on which to write letters or poetry.

Timeless Classic

Kyoto-based Maruni continues to observe the ancient methods of making Kyo Karakami – by hand, and with all-natural materials, from magnolia printing blocks harking back nearly 200 years, to ingredients derived from seaweed and shells to make the colouring materials. The patterns are classic designs from the Nara Period.

The crushed shells give karakami printing designs its unique iridescent shine that adds to the paper’s timeless appeal.

During the Edo era, this paper, which brings out the beauty of brush calligraphy best, also began to be used for fusuma shoji (paper screens for sliding doors).

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

$152.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

$85.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

$152.00

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Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

$74.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

$170.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

$76.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

$76.00

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Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

$64.00

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