Fish-Shaped Welcome Soap on a Rope

Tamanohada is a 125-year old soap company that has occupied a factory space in Tokyo since their founding in 1892. They’ve survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II so it seems only right that they make items that are associated with good luck, like these fish-shaped welcome soaps.

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Whimsical Transparent Brooches Let You Play With Your Logo

Japanese graphic designer Mikiji Nagai came up with these whimsical, transparent brooches that you can place over the logo of your shirt, hat, bag or pretty much any fashion item.

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Papa’s Mazes 1 & 2


It’s been exactly 2 year since we released Papa’s Maze 2.0. To commemorate, we’re offering both the original (1.0) and the newer version (2.0) for a special price this week only!

In 1983 Mr. Nomura, better known as Papa, completed a mindbogglingly intricate maze that he had worked on for 7 years. 32 years later he picked up his pen once again to return to his passionate hobby, creating an equally complex and beautiful maze for his daughter, who had discovered the original artwork in the family’s attic.

The set of 2 prints are available here through March 27, 2016.

The Eccentric Artwork of Kawanabe Kyosai

“Famous Mirror: the spirit of Japan” (1874) | all images courtesy Isreal Goldman Collection, London

From cute cats and landscapes to the occult and the erotic, nothing was off bounds for this eccentric 19th century Japanese artist. But it was his extraordinary wit and humor that set him apart from other artists of his time.

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Japan tourism for the design-loving non-tourist (sponsor)

Miho Museum (Shiga Prefecture)

Readers of this site are likely to see Japan as source of inspiration for art, design, and architecture, but taking the next step of visiting and making actual travel plans requires a fair bit of research and coordination. Many of the country’s most interesting and offbeat locations can be both difficult to discover and to access if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

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LEGOLAND Japan Will Feature Miniature Replicas Made From Over 10 Million LEGOs

all photos courtesy Sankei News

On April 1, LEGOLAND Japan will open in Nagoya. The new theme park will feature over 40 different attractions from playgrounds and roller coasters to a lego factory and building stations. One such attractions is MINILAND, which will feature famous Japanese buildings and landmarks carefully replicated in miniature form using over 10 million legos.

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JR East Unveils Luxury Sleeper Train Designed by Ferrari Designer Ken Okuyama

all photos courtesy Nikkei

It’s been almost 3 years since the announcement that JR East was investing 5 billion yen to create a luxury sleeper train. Yesterday, that train was unveiled at a ceremony in Tokyo. Dubbed the Train Suite Shikishima, it was designed by Ken Okuyama, a Japanese industrial designer and the only non-Italian to have designed a Ferrari.

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A Japanese Steel Company’s Beautiful Briefcase

Konstella is a new brand of stylish carrying cases made by Japanese steel company Toyo Steel. The Osaka-based manufacturer specializes in utilitarian lightweight steel products like tool boxes and casters. So in some ways it’s surprising that something so stylish would come out of a company whose bread and butter is humble workday objects. But Toyo Steel actually has a history of utilizing their seamless engineering to merge the worlds of style and utility.

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A coffee brewer for admirers of refined craft and slow coffee

Drawing on their kissaten coffee shop culture, Japan has risen to become one of the coffee capitals of the world. And it’s in these hole-in-the-wall shops where slow coffee culture evolved. Coffee brewing was always ceremonious – coffee grounds were weighed and ground while cups were warmed – and never something to be rushed.

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Vegeo Vegeco: bringing back Japan’s traditional yaoya grocer

Shopping streets all over Japan used to have their own yaoya: dedicated grocers that had special relationships with farmers and knew everything there was to know about the fruits and vegetables they stocked. They were fiercely utilitarian with an emphasis only on the quality of the products.

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