Around this time of year, a coveted prize is awarded within a niche industry in Japan: the Laundromat-of-the-Year-Award. It’s presented at an industry fair in Tokyo known as the International Coin-Operated Laundry EXPO where excellence in laundromats are recognized within various categories. In our humble opinion, this year’s winners are not as aesthetically pleasing as last year’s, but where they lack in style they make up in concept.
Top Prize: Jabba Ring (Sapporo)
The prestigious top prize was awarded to Jabba Ring, whose easy-to-use flexible options scored well with the judges. Jabba Ring offers both DIY and drop-off options at the same price, as well as dry-cleaning for special garments and fabrics. Where they differentiate themselves from others is with their well-trained staff who are always on site to offer guidance and consultation.
Honorable Mention: Cainz Blue Sky Laundry (Nagoya)
Blue Sky Laundry’s new Nagoya location received an honorable mention for their community-minded laundromat. During a 2019 typhoon that triggered mass blackouts, many locals visited the laundromat not only to do laundry but to charge cell phones. Learning from this experience, the new location can transform into a community safe-spot during emergencies by generating heat and energy using the LP gas normally intended for their driers.
Design Award: WASH Facility KIMAMA (Chiba)
Wash Facility Kimama, located near Narita Airport, is certainly the most stylish but they also won points for their concept of combining a laundromat with a car wash. With multiple stations and an easy-to-use app that lets you know when your wash is done, Kimama intends to be a one-stop shop for all your cleaning needs.