Japan is famed for its gadgets, but there’s more to the country’s manufacturing prowess than you’d imagine. Our nominees include some of the most original, best-value Japanese products available right now – from the everyday to the extravagant.
Meri indoor shoes
A brand of knitted zori (Japanese-style sandals) for wearing indoors, Meri has taken this traditional style of footwear and turned it into a unique combination of softness, the comfort of knitted materials and adorable Nordic designs.
Where to get it: Merikoti store, Ryogoku (070 6986 0708, meri-koti.tokyo)
Syouryu Suzugami tin plate
The Shimatani Syouryu workshop’s handcrafted, supremely durable tin plates are available in four sizes and can be bent, adjusted and styled almost like origami paper. Perfect for any occasion.
Where to get it: Order online at shokunin.com/jp/syouryu
Kikuhime miniature sake barrel
These 300ml mini-barrels look exactly like the full-sized versions often seen at celebratory events, and are filled with the Ishikawa-based Kikuhime brewery’s signature ‘Kiku’ sake. Your Friday-night nihonshu sip just got a lot classier.
Where to get it: At liquor stores carrying the Kikuhime line, or via Rakuten Ichiba (rakuten.co.jp/shop).
Kokuyo Harinacs stapleless stapler
It works just like a regular stapler – bar the staples – is available in four colours, and couldn’t be easier to use. Say goodbye to staple refills and painful staple removal!
Where to get it: Most well-stocked stationery stores in Japan, or via Amazon Japan. kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/sl-stapler.
Knocking out simple, attractive bicycles since 2002, Tokyobike adheres to a simple concept: comfort above speed, ideally put together for the local life. The minimalist brand has been such a success in its home city, in fact, that they now have outlets as far afield as New York, London and Melbourne.
Where to get it: Start at the Tokyobike Gallery in Yanaka (03 5809 0980, tokyobike.com/store.html)