2023 felt like a turning point for Japan. After several years of covid-induced seclusion, tourism rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. And although just anecdotal, so many people we spoke to who previously had no connection to Japan, were planning trips and honeymoons that it truly felt like Japan was *the* place to be this year. With that in mind, we put together this year’s gift guide for everyone who took an interest in Japan, whether vicariously or through travel. With an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality, we’ve curated a list of items that are both functional but also serve as an extension of learning about Japan and its culture.

We hope you find something special for your loved ones.

Tools for the Table

We eat three meals per day. And whether we’re alone or with family and friends, each moment offers us the opportunity to detach from our busy, connected days to enjoy a family recipe, a new dish or just something simple. Here are a few ideas for tools that can help to heighten and enhance the experience through the stories they tell:

clockwise: contemporary bizen-yaki water carafe (from $180); delicate brass utensils from WATO (from $20); whale butter dish ($190); elegant hand-turned wooden bowls ($55)

Seasonal Delights

“In winter the early mornings. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up the fires and bringing charcoal.”

This is a famous verse from Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book, a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century written by a lady of the court. In this particular chapter (haru wa akebono), she writes about her favorite times of day during each season: attendants or no attendants, “In winter the early mornings.”

clockwise: yuki crinkle candle ($55); snowy word 360-degree book (from $35); yuki tsubaki tea towel ($25); yuki colored pencils ($15)

For Hims & Hers

Do you have a special someone in your life who’s always hard to shop for? Well, they have everything so it’s hard to blame you. But take a look through our cabinet of curiosities and you just might find something.

clockwise: wooden wristwatch stand ($40); paper leaf incense with artisanal ceramic tray ($150); brass apple paperweight ($200); glass jewelry made by your favorite coffee tool maker (from $62)


Looking for gifts other than video games or apps? Here are some unique ideas for little ones around the house. It’s never too early to introduce them to Kengo Kuma 😉

clockwise: tumi-isi wooden stacking rocks ($130); discover japanese fairy tales through big books ($30); tsumiki wood blocks designed by Kengo Kuma (from $80); STIIK chopsticks for kids ($15)

Stocking Stuffers

You’ve made it this far and you still haven’t found something? Here are some light-hearted, affordable, yet fantastically whimsical ideas that are sure to impress, surprise and maybe even inspire.

clockwise: handmade candle and stand set ($42); awaglass filled with bubbles ($44); an amazing maze ($43); contemporary ukiyo-e artbook ($45)