Sakura 2019: the best cherry blossom-themed items this year!

Spring has sprung in Japan, meaning it’s that time of year again: cherry blossom season! Cherry blossom, or sakura (桜), typically bloom for about one week between late March to early April, starting in the Okinawan islands and finishing in Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido. Sakura is much more than just a flower to Japanese culture. Due to their short life, the cherry blossom symbolizes the Japanese philosophy of mono no aware (ものの哀れ), the fleetingness of life. But it’s not all doom and gloomー sakura are also associated with new starts, as cherry blossom season coincides with the > Read More

Hinamatsuri: Japan’s Doll Festival 🎎

What is Hinamatsuri? The weather is warming up in Japan, which mean the spring festival is just around the corner - Hinamatsuri! Hinamatsuri (ひなまつり), also known as Dolls Festival, is one of the five seasonal ”sekku” festivals celebrated throughout the year. Celebrated on the 3rd of March every year, Hinamatsuri is also sometimes referred to as “Girls’ Day”, as it is a special day for families to pray for their daughters' future success and happiness. During the festival, families display ornate ceramic dolls dressed in robes which represent an ancient Japanese imperial court. Recently, > Read More

Hanafuda – Japan’s Answer to Playing Cards 🎴

What is Hanfuda? Before the Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh trading card games, Hanafuda was the original card game obsession in Japan! Hanafuda (花札, literally “flower cards”) are Japanese playing cards with a long history in Japanese culture. A Hanafuda card deck is made up of 48 cards in twelve suits, each suit corresponding with a month and its associated flower. There are several ways to play with Hanafuda cards, but the shared objective of each game is to score the highest amounts of points by making combinations with cards known as “yaku.” Outside of Japan, Hanafuda is also widely played in > Read More

Halloween Costume Roundup from Shibuya, Tokyo 2018

Over the past few years, Shibuya has become the hub of Halloween celebrations in Tokyo. Over one million (yes, one million!) people visit Shibuya over the Halloween weekend parading their costumes well into the night. FROM JAPAN was also part of the crowd in Shibuya this Halloween, where we witnessed hundreds of amazing costumes throughout the day. Take a look at some of our favorites from Shibuya's 2018 Halloween extravaganza! Halloween Costumes from Shibuya, Tokyo 2018 We loved this self-multilating doctor's costume as it stood out, even against the crowds in Shibuya! These > Read More

Randoseru Buying Guide: Send Your Kid to School in Style

If you’ve ever watched a school-themed anime or seen pictures of Japanese students heading to class, chances are you’ve spotted a randoseru—the boxy backpack that’s light enough for five-year-olds and durable enough to last all the way through primary school. Keep reading to find out what makes randoseru an essential back-to-school purchase (or fashionable wardrobe accessory), and which brands are popular in Japan. What to Know about Japanese Randoseru Price Randoseru are built to last and crafted from high-quality material. Because of the care taken in making each backpack, randoseru > Read More

Japanese Kyusu Teapots: Your Guide to Japan’s Iconic Teaware

What’s the secret to a perfect cup of green tea? Perhaps the answer boils down to the teapot itself. Over the centuries, Japanese craftsmen have altered the shapes, materials, sizes, and filters of teapots, refining the tea-drinking experience by creating vessels designed to draw out complex flavors and aromas of specific teas. Read on to learn about the most popular types of Japanese teapots and discover which one might be your “cup of tea!” Japanese Kyusu Teapots While not all Japanese teapots have a handle, those that do are known as kyusu—or “teapots” in Japanese. Generally crafted from > Read More

Happy Year of the Dog! Canine Cuties from Japan to start the New Year

Happy New Year! 2018 is the Year of the Dog, to the joy of puppy fans all over the world. In these early January days, dog-themed decorations both traditional and modern cover every storefront in Japan, not to mention countless thoughtful New Year's greeting cards. As we all contemplate the beginning of a new year, we're thinking of how to bring some more doggo delight into your 2018 - starting with these Year of the Dog items, as well as our fave Japanese canine cuties. Enjoy! Year of the Dog Items Osomatsu-san: Year of the Dog WCF The Matsuno brothers are dress-up masters, and the > Read More

Japanese Beer Glasses & Ultrasonic Beer Foamers for the Home Bartender

While the highball and chuhai have rightfully found their place among Japan’s most popular happy hour drinks, it is the country’s love for ice-cold draft beer that has been truly elevated to an art form. To share this unique culture with you, we’ve put together a list of Japanese beer glasses and foamers that can help bring Japan’s passion for pilsners into your home bar. Japanese Beer Glasses & Tumblers Sugahara Glassworks Mt. Fuji Beer Glass Sugahara Glassworks’ Mt. Fuji Beer Glass is an artistic achievement of understated craftsmanship. Paying homage to Japan’s iconic peak, the > Read More

Traditional Japanese Summer Items

Carefully watching and celebrating the passing of the seasons is a key part of Japanese culture, and a tradition that can be seen from the earliest Japanese art up to the present day. With the keen attention paid to the signs of the seasons, some items and patterns indelibly symbolize summer in Japan. You may have noticed these yourself, whether when visiting or just from watching your favorite Japanese shows or films. From traditional ways to beat the heat to seasonal patterns, read on to find out more about summer in Japan, and how to get that quintessentially Japanese summer look at > Read More

8 High-Quality Japanese Ingredients for Your Washoku Pantry

Japanese cuisine is deeply intertwined with a cultural tradition based on the beauty of the meal’s presentation, the skills of the chef, and the quality of the ingredients. While it can take years to master the first two, today it is possible to source high-quality Japanese ingredients direct from Japan. Keep reading to find out about 8 select washoku ingredients and what to look for when stocking your pantry. > Read More