There are 9 days till Christmas and if there is anyone in search of a gift for their friend overly obsessed with Japanese design, you’ve come to the right place! This year I’ve decided to separate my guide into 2 parts; under 10,000 yen and over 10,000 yen. The guide includes, what I believe, are some of the coolest Japanese designs that debuted in 2008.

You can also check out my gift guide from last year, when I covered children’s gifts from around the world, including Germany, Japan, Italy & everywhere else!


d-torso cows 1,500 yen
In case you didn’t know, next year is the year of the cow. What better way to acknowledge our favorite farm fauna than to give this hands-on assembly-required cow. Guaranteed to keep you busy on those cold snowy days.

I’m also quite a fan of the Moomin series as well.

talking salt/pepper/soy sauce 1,575 yen
Designed by nendo, these oddly addictive mouths are actually phonetic representations of Yu, Shi and Ko (soy sauce, salt and pepper, repectivley). Thanks to anna, a commenter, we found out that Target has begun carrying them!

interior faux-grass KUSA 1,700 yen
For your friends who can’t manage to keep a plant alive in their apartment for more than 1 week. KUSA was originally designed by Hiromi Taki and Tomonori Oohata from Switch Design and released under the +d brand. They can be purchased HERE.

Toy Elephant 2,310 yen
This adorable toy elephant was hand made by a wood artisan who goes by the name of ta-chi-tsu-te-toy.

Isabrella 3,150 yen
Ok, so I cheated on this one. It’s not from Japan. It was designed by OFESS, a design firm founded in 2007 and based out of Hong Kong. This umbrella, which is still their only product, is perhaps one of the most stylish I’ve ever seen.

story coaster 3,150 yen
Because every set of coasters should tell a story. They’re not available online but you can pick them up at any about a girl shop in Tokyo.

Designing Design by Hara Kenya $33
Hara Kenya’s highly acclaimed book is finally available in English and ever-so conveniently on Amazon. The creative force behind MUJI discusses his previous work and aesthetic.

GOM ashtray 3,800 yen
Enshrined in Moma’s permanent collection, Masayuki Kurokawa’s GOM ashtray elavates rubber to a whole new level of design. This is the perfect gift for any smoker not expected to kick the habit in the next 12-24 months.

GOM HL ashtray

GOM PR ashtray

love dove card case 6,930 yen
Imagine pulling one of these out at your next business meeting! The love dove leather card case, fully equiped with a pop-out dove, was designed by Shoichi Ishizawa and Makiko Miyata of Ultra Tama. You can pick one up online or at La Porte Orange (GMAP) in Tokyo.