Japan’s reputation for high quality design is well deserved. But the idea that Japanese things are expensive is not necessarily true.
We are bringing to you 15 authentic Japanese products that are all available on Amazon for less than $50, many a lot less! So if you want to add a little Japanese quality into your home, or your beauty regime, check out the recommendations below to purchase these essential items at affordable prices.
1. Matcha Tea Bowl by Yamaki Ikai
There’s nothing better on a brisk morning than a warm bowl of green matcha tea, but if you drink it out of a mug it doesn’t taste quite the same, like drinking champagne from a beaker. Fortunately an authentic Japanese ceramic bowl doesn’t have to cost the earth. With this finely glazed chawan, made in Japan by Yamaki Ikai, you can enjoy your matcha the way it was supposed to be. Try it with hot chocolate too!
2. Kokeshi Doll by Usaburo
Kokeshi Dolls have been carved for over 300 years, from a single piece of wood. Since the 1940s there has been quite a revival of the form, thanks to innovative artists such Usaburo Okamoto. Today his son of the same name carries on his legacy, with expressive works such as this. This doll would make a wonderful one-of-a-kind gift for friends or family.
3. Chef's Knife by Gougiri
If you’ve ever wondered how top chefs keep their knives so sharp, it’s because those in the know use Japanese knives. The craftspeople of Seki City have had 700 years of practice at sword making, and today use those skills to fashion blades that are rust-resistant and stay sharp for longer. Top quality Japanese knives can be very expensive, so this one at under $50 is a great deal. Once you try Japanese steel, you’ll find it hard to give it up!
4. Organic Sencha Loose Leaf Green Tea by Ocha & Co
Sencha is Japan’s most popular tea, packed with the characteristic sweetness of Japanese green tea. As opposed to powdered matcha tea, sencha is infused in hot water just the same as loose leaf teas you are used to, so you don’t need to use any special equipment! Ocha & Co produces some of the finest selections of sencha tea, and all 100% organic. Just a teaspoon can give you 3-4 cups, so this 100g (3½oz) packet will last you long enough to get hooked!
5. Face Sheet Mask by Mitomo
Japanese beauty counters are packed tight with facemasks, so only the best quality products will manage to stand out. Mitomo’s face masks are particularly well-received, with reviewers pointing to suppler skin with improved tone. This packet of 10 cotton facemasks are infused with Q10 and Lithospermum to help refresh and revitalize the skin.
6. Yuzu Salt by Saien
Yuzu is one of Japan’s inexplicably little-known treasures. This flavor of this small yellow citrus fruit is little like a sweet grapefruit, but without the bitterness. Its rind is widely used as a seasoning for both sweet and savory dishes. You don’t need to travel to Japan to try it: this yuzu salt packs all the flavor you need. Great on fish, pork, vegetables, and unexpectedly, ice cream. Strongly recommended!
7. Bamboo Charcoal Water Filter by Ippinka
As you slurp your ramen in a Tokyo restaurant you might notice that nestled in the bottom in the pitcher of iced water in front of you, there is a small black stick. This bamboo charcoal stick is there to filter the water, in particular to remove the taste of chlorine from tap water. Place one of these charcoal sticks in your water pitcher overnight, and see what a difference it makes!
8. Whistle Kettle by Quickone
The key to good design is not in over-complication, but in good quality. As long as a product does its job well, it doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. Well, in this case it does need the whistle. This made-in-Japan stainless steel kettle boils quickly, handles well and doesn’t spill. Reviewers have reported leaving water in it for weeks at a time without rusting. At under $50, it seems an ideal answer to your water boiling needs!
9. Tororo Kombu Flakes for Japanese Style Soup
Kombu is a type of dried seaweed (kelp) that is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. We recommend adding a few flakes to a miso soup, or over soba noodles to get that authentic taste. You can also use kombu to make dashi, which is the secret ingredient giving Japanese dishes their umami flavor. Just boil a couple of flakes in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes; or even easier, just soak the kombu in water for a couple of hours.
10. Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush Set
Charcoal has long been used for its absorbent properties, helping to rid the home of bad odors. As an ingredient in this unusual toothpaste, it seems to do the trick in tackling bad breath. The paste itself comes out as a dark gray color, but don’t worry, it’s not going to dye your teeth black! It actually works pretty well in keeping teeth white and breath fresh, all with a very pleasant flavour. If you buy this set, it comes with a matching black toothbrush and case.
11. Binchotan Charcoal Dishcloths by Ippinka
You can use charcoal’s anti-odor properties in your kitchen too. These quality dishcloths are infused with Japanese oak charcoal, binchotan, which helps to delay and reduce the unpleasant mildew smells that come with normal dishcloths after use. These cloths are a little stiff when new but quickly soften up. This set comes with three tasteful colors.
12. Handmade Wind Chime with Pink Blossoms
In Japan the light twinkling sound of wind chimes brings to mind a cool summer breeze. You can enjoy the same pleasant sensations in your own home with these handmade glass wind chimes. Each piece is individually blown by Shinohara, which has been producing these classic wind chimes for 65 years. The floral designs are hand-painted on the inside, so you don’t need to worry about exposing them to the elements.
13. Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ by Bioré
Japanese women go to great lengths to avoid skin-ageing sun exposure, so only the best sunscreens will do. This award-winning formulation from Bioré ships directly from Japan but you can buy it on Amazon. It is a full spectrum screen that is suitable for most skin types, providing strong protection without clogging your pores or unseemly white streaks.
14. Yuzen Washi Paper by GuCra
The Japanese art of origami can be great fun to learn or practice. The results are immeasurably better if you can use the right paper. Each of these packets includes 30 different patterns printed on traditional washi paper, which makes them ideal for origami or other craft projects. The patterns themselves are taken from the Yuzen style, more commonly seen on kimono.
15. Vacuum Flask by Zojirushi
Zojirushi have been making vacuum flasks for 70 years, which means they’ve had time to build up a solid reputation for quality, so if you want to buy some reliable Japanese things, they're a good choice. Keep your coffee hot, or your margaritas cold with this lockable lightweight flask!
JO SELECTS offers helpful suggestions, and genuine recommendations for high-quality, authentic Japanese art & design. We know how difficult it is to search for Japanese artisans and designers on the vast internet, so we came up with this lifestyle guide to highlight great Japanese artworks and designs for your everyday needs.
All product suggestions are independently selected. We try our best to update information, but all prices and availability are subject to change. Japan Objects is a member of the Amazon affiliates program and if you buy something through our links, Japan Objects may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.