When it comes to goods that epitomize beauty in functionality, we look to Japanese design. Fortunately, a slew of Japanese-made goods are readily available online, for the enthusiast on your wish list.
Cast Iron Candle Stand Above: A sculptural cast-iron Hakuhoudo Candle Stand, made in the Iwate prefecture, looks stately on its own or with a candle perched on it; it’s $40 from Monolier. Hinoki Soaps Above: “Gen” Soap, handmade in Kobe, comes in three options, all with the scent of the Hinoki tree: clairière, or clear, for relaxation; on-sen, with Hinoki sawdust for gentle exfoliation; and sous-bois, with coal for antibacterial properties. rom Makie. Each is $24 from New York-based shop Makié and so pretty it hardly needs wrapping.
(For a look inside shopkeeper Makié’s own serene flat, see
Shop Owner Makié Yahagi’s Charm-Filled Loft in SoHo, New York.) Glass Coffee Jug Above: Last year I received a set of Japanese-made Kinto drinking glasses for Christmas, and every time I use them they bring me joy. The Glass Coffee Jug by Kinto is just as beautiful and similarly low-priced: it’s $20 from The Primary Essentials. Patterned Zabuton Cushion Above: A collaboration between a Japanese textile artist and a nearly 100-year-old Japanese futon maker, the SouSou Zabuton Cushions are a new take on the traditional cushions found in tatami rooms. They come in six vibrant colors and patterns; each is $46 from Rikumo. Earthenware Mortar and Pestle Above: A new/old take on the mortar and pestle: the Spouted Earthenware Mortar with Wood Pestle Set (in Japanese, suribachi (mortar) with surikogi (pestle)) has been made by a pottery in Gifu prefecture since 1910. We like the black version, and the fact that the mortar can double as a serving bowl, spout included. It comes in three sizes: $30 for the small, $36 for the medium, and $46 for the large from Toiro Kitchen & Supply. Stoneware Sugar Pot Above: From London-based shop Native and Co. is a collection of stoneware ceramic goods, made in Aichi prefecture and tinged rust-colored in places during the firing process. The Stoneware Sugar Pot and Lid would make a lovely gift; £24 from Native and Co.