A *modern* traditional family business
CHINRIU HONTEN is the company behind NIHON ICHIBAN. With a history dating back to 1871, we are a "typical" traditional family business, dealing with the same culture- and challenges as the traditional brands we represent with NIHON ICHIBAN.
CHINRIU was created by the last chief cook of the Odawara Castle in Kanagawa prefecture, and the business is now run by the fifth generation of the Komine family. With such a long history in a unique Japanese city, and being run by the same family since the very beginning, we aim to grow our business, while respecting our heritage and unique culture. We highly value long-term relationships with other local craftsmen and suppliers that we have worked with for years, continue to provide excellent quality, and to continue the CHINRIU and NIHON ICHIBAN brands for many generations to come.
While being respective of our "traditional" side, we are also anticipative of changes in the economy, society and technology and stay on top of these to remain competitive and develop our business. As a result, we are able to create a modern, positive working environment that celebrates gender equality and people from various nationalitities and backgrounds. Different from other traditional Japanese companies with a strong hierarchy decided by age and seniority, we offer equal growth opportunies to all our employees, regardless of age, gender and nationality. We are a very small team, whereby every staff member's efforts are vital and well-recognized.
"I personally guarantee the quality and authenticity of every product sold by NIHON ICHIBAN. We know the owners of our suppliers in person - often for many years - and are in regular contact with the owner's families, the artisans and employees."
Our fullfilment team has a mix of Japanese and international staff that work together to ship all order domestically and internationally. They ensure that the right products are packed, the boxes are sturdy and well-protected, that all food items are properly labeled and that gift orders are beautifully wrapped!
"Wether shipping within Japan or internationally, we take the utmost care to pack your parcel as safely and beautifully as possible - each order should be like a gift!" Tony
Admin & Customer Support Team
"We process all orders and respond to our customer's enquiries by phone, mail or social media." With a team of only two English speakers it sometimes takes some time before we can answer your inquiry, but we strive to respond within 24 hours! Questions, queries, feedback? We are here for you.
"I love communicating with people from all over the world. My priority is making sure your shopping experience is as smooth and positive as possible. Ask me anything!" Jalisha
Our pastry team is led by a pastry chef with many years of experience. For our domestic stores we create unique Western sweets like ume brownies and sakura pounds cakes, whereas for the international market we have created original products like Sakura Jam and Ume Dip sauce. We offer working holidays for international chefs so that they can work together with the Japanese team and create valuable experiences for both sides.
"My passion and experience are in pastry. At CHINRIU I get to work with authenthic Japanese ingredients like umeboshi and sakura and develop unique fusion products that are enjoyed all over the world!" Pastry Chef A.
Our production teams works with the traditional ingredients that the CHINRIU brand is based on: umeboshi plums and sakura cherry blossoms. As both items are natural and very delicate, they need to be inspected carefully for insects, stones or imperfections, and picked by hand to avoid damaging the petals or fruit. Our experienced team will handle the incoming foods from the farmers and made them ready to be used by the Pastry team or sold as-is.
"We are proud to continue working the traditional way and handle- and inspect each sakura flower or umeboshi plum by hand. This way we can deliver perfection to our customers and let them enjoy the authenthic flavors". Kashiwagi
Original "Honten" Store Team
Our Main "CHINRIU HONTEN" store is the original Odawara store since the very beginning (read more here). To respect and share our unique heritage we have created a "museum" part in our store with an original life-size umeboshi wooden vat, pserserved umeboshi from the year of our establishment, and other traditional tools and information. Browse our classic umeboshi, our pastry items, and don't skip on some umeshu wine tasting!
"We enjoy serving local umeboshi-lovers that have visited us for many years, as well as tourists that are amazed by our unique shop. My favorite is showing customer's perserved umeboshi from the year they were born! Riko
Lusca Store Team
LUSCA is a local mall in or near many stations in Kanagawa prefecture, including Odawara station. If you are passing through Odawara station (e.g. on your way to Hakone!) or like shopping, this shop is perfect for you as it is convenient and offers our best-selling items. Our shop can beautifully pack your order so it can be taken while traveling, as well as gifted as a great Odawara-style souvenir that both foreigners and Japanese will appreciate.
"Our shop is inside Odawara station, so many of our customers are traveling or shopping. We are here to make their visit even more fun! Even though I don't speak English, I enjoy helping foreign visitors to try our Japanese foods!" Takeda
Interested in Joining Our Team?