100 Gifts from Japan Part 1

This is a collection of 100 original gifts from Japan that represent the rich cultural heritage of this wonderful country but usually also please foreigners.

#1 – Inden Deerskin Craft is a Japanese craft made of lacquered deerskin. The techniques and the patterns were originally used for the production of samurai armor but nowadays they are found on purses, bags, business card holders and many more. Learn more…

#2 – Edo Kiriko is a Japanese colored glass craft known for its unique engraved patterns. It originates from Edo, the old name of Tokyo and dates back to 1834 when an artisan invested this new technique.

#3 – Kami Fusen are Japanese paper balloons made of sturdy waxed paper.  The cute little balloons can be inflated (and reinflated) with a simple puff. Kamifusen were actually originally designed as toys for children , but nowadays also are used for decoration purposes.

#4 – Ichimatsu Dolls are traditional Japanese dolls that represent little boys and girls dressed in Kimono. Ichimatsu dolls are popular presents since the represent traditional culture and clothing of Japan.

#5 – Warosoku Candles are known in Japan since around 1650. The wax is from the hazenoki tree and the wick is made of traditional Japanese paper. They burn at lower temperature than western candles and provide a warm and peaceful light.

#6 – Maneki Neko means “beckoning cat” and it is found in almost every shop in Japan because it is said to call customers into the shop. Maneki Neko is the perfect lucky charm for everyone who owns a business or works in sales.

#7 – Daruma is a doll of papier-mâché sold with white eyes. When a goal is set the left eye is filled and the right eye will be filled after achievement of the goal. It is a great ceremony for teams who want to achieve a common goal.

#8 – Inuhariko are papier-mâché dogs dating back to the late Edo period, when they were given to children as toys.But they also have been given to pregnant women as good-luck charms because it was believed that dogs give birth easily without complications.

#9 – Hagoita is a rectangular wooden paddle decorated with ornaments of kimono and Japanese paper. The wooden piece originally was used to play a game similar to feather ball but nowadays the decorated versions are used as ornaments.

#10 – Saga Nishiki is a form of brocading often used when wearing kimono. Japanese paper coated with silver, gold or lacquer is used as warp with is fixed onto a silk thread.

#11 – Hakone Zaiku is a wood craft from the Hakone area between Tokyo and Mt. Fuji using different kinds of wood to create  objects with beautiful patterns. The mystery boxes are very popular since it requires to move parts of the box in a defined sequence to open it. Learn more…

#12 – Akabeko (red cow) is a traditional toy from the Aizu region of Japan. The toy is made from two pieces of papier-mâché-covered wood, shaped and painted to look like a red cow or ox. When the toy is moved, the head thus bobs up and down and side to side.

#13 – Tenugui is a thin Japanese cotton towel that can be used to wrap a gift, as a headband, to dry things or just for decoration in a frame. Choosing amongst the thousands of different patterns is part of the fun of selecting tenugui.

#14 – Hand Fans are an important symbol in Japan with a long history of usage by warriors, nobles and geishas. Nowadays fans made of paper, silk or fabric and are popular gifts and accessories in summer.

#15 – Kyo Uchiwa is a round fan originating from Kyoto. They represent an old Japanese handcraft and the more artistic fans often are offered as gifts and displayed for decoration on small stands.

#16 – Wagasa  Traditional Kyoto umbrellas are known for their simplicity, delicate beauty and their exceptional mechanical precision. They are made of bamboo and lacquered paper. They protect from rain or sun but also are very popular decorative elements. Learn more…

#17 – Incense Practice the Japanese “Incense Ceremony” enjoying subtle fragrances of tiny pieces of different kinds of aromatic woods. There are multiple shapes of incense with many different fragrances to bring a Japanese atmosphere to your home.

#18 – Chopsticks Japanese chopsticks are made of wood or bamboo and often remain un-lacquered with carvings to display the natural beauty and simplicity of the material they are made of.

#19 – Furin is a Japanese wind chime that tinkle when the wind blows. They are typical for Japanese summer. They make a light and peasant sound hanging in front of a window or in a terrace. Japanese wind chimes can be made of glass (edofurin), metal and ceramics and there are literally hundreds of variations. Learn more…

#20 – Noh Masks are an essential element of not theater and the more than 200 masks are a very popular gift. They can be fixed on a wall as a very exotic but beautiful decoration.

#21 – Samurai Bells

#22 – Tsuge Gushi is a traditional boxwood comb which was used since ancient times by Geishas and noble woman to comb their hair or as accessory. It not only is beautiful but it does not create any static and your hair will fall in a very natural way.

#23 – Noren is a Japanese fabric used as a divider hung in doorways, in between rooms or windows. They have mostly one or sometimes multiple slits. They are available in many colors with multiple patters and also are a nice decoration in a western home.

#24 – Koma Every Japanse child played with these spinning tops. They are made of wood, often have colorful paintings and are not only used as toys but often are collected and used for decoration. They are a nice practical gift from Japan.

#25 – Kendama is a traditional ball game which is still practiced. Kendama competitions are held all over Japan and it recently started to become popular abroad too. It is a nice decorative accessory which also allows you to practice your agility.

#26 – Kokeshi are simplistic wooden dolls with a cylindric limbless body, an enlarged head and paintings to describe a simple face and floral patterns on the body. They are handmade and marked with the signature of the artist.

#27 – Chochin Lanterns Made of bamboo ribs, metal wire and Japanese paper these colorful lanterns not only make a great decoration but also give a nice light when used as a lamp. Chochin often are custom made to reflect the purpose of their usage.

#28 – Kumamoto Zogan is a traditional Japanese handcraft with 400 years of history originating from the Kumamoto region. Craftsmen originally developed ornaments for samurai swords and armor and later used these techniques to make day to day objects.

#29 – Yukata is a light Japanese garment made of cotton which is very popular in summer – especially on firework festivals.  Yuakata are available in many colors with a multitude of designs for men and women. Non Japanese love to wear them at home.

#30 – Fukusa is a square piece of fabric with a tassel at each corner used to purify equipment during tea ceremony or wrap gifts. They often have embroidery with traditional motives and can be a nice decoration element in a western home.

#31 – Jubako a lacquered lunch boxes used for special occasions such as new years celebration. 3 to 5 layers are stuck on each other and decorated with beautiful motives. They also can be used as decoration or as a special picnic lunchbox.

#32 – Tsunodaru are special sake barrels used for celebrations. They are made of lacquered wood and make a fan static eye catching decoration. They often are offered as a gift together with lacquered sake cups.

#33 – Kaiawase are painted clam shells used for a shell matching game originally played by nobles. Each shell’s inside includes a poem or a miniature painting often referring to the Tale of Genji.

#34 – Temari Balls are made since 600 years of yarn and thread and were initially made for children to play. They now represent a highly valued and cherished gift symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty.

Next Page #35 – #66

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