Omotenashi Selection: 5 Award-Winning Made-In-Japan Products You Need To Know About | CoolJapan

If you’ve ever visited Japan or even dined in a Japanese restaurant, you would have experienced omotenashi. Omotenashi is the art of Japanese hospitality and refers to the dedication and meticulousness one pours into their craft, as well as the ability to anticipate and fulfil people’s needs in advance.

Such showmanship is best displayed in the OMOTENASHI Selection, a prestigious award that aims to showcase the creativity and ingenuity of Japanese-made products and services. According to the organisers, the OMOTENASHI Selection Award is given to products and services that are recognised to be “overflowing with the unique charms of Japan that should be shared with the world”.

Award winning Japanese products

First started in 2015, the Omotenashi Selection is held twice a year for the last few years. This year, the first round of winners were announced in an award ceremony on 1 June, with 85 products in total recognised for their outstanding creativity. Here are some highlights from the stellar line-up.

From Iwate: Nambu Ironware Kettle Reiwa Arare With Pot Stand

Kettle Made In Japan

Exquisite Nambu Ironware Kettle Reiwa Arare created by OITOMI in Iwate Prefecture.

Nambu cast iron crafts has a long history that dates back over 900 years. They are prized for their unique sand processing technology and elegant designs that are beloved in Japan and internationally. This award-winning design was created to herald the beginning of the new Japanese era, Reiwa, and was inspired by a poem in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest collection of poetry.

As the poem was a love letter to the beauty of plum blossoms, this exquisite ironware kettle features the distinctive flower designed on the pot stand and lid while the body is embellished with the iconic Arare dot pattern of Nambu ironware. Of course, this pot doesn’t just look good, it works great as well. Nambu ironware is made with a high-quality enamel coating on the inside, which ensures high heat retention and ease of maintenance due to rust resistance.

From Kagoshima : Zaiho Premium Pudding

Pudding Made In Japan

Deliciously creamy puddings from ZAIHO in Kagoshima prefecture.

You’ve probably heard of how Kobe beef producers play classical music while feeding their cattle, but have you heard of Kagoshima poultry farmers that raise their chickens on natural alkaline hot spring water and special feed containing lactic acid bacteria? Well, Zaiho is one such company. This is why the eggs produced by their chickens have rich, firm orange yolks. The eggs, when combined with the luscious jersey cow milk from Aso City, result in a pudding that is unbelievably smooth and creamy. Zaiho Premium Puddings are available in six flavours — Special (plain), matcha, chocolate, cheese, sweet potato and kinako (roasted soybean).

From Tokyo: Paper Accessories AIGRA

Earrings Made In Japan

Chic and sustainable Paper Accessories AIGRA by UNIFORM-NET in Tokyo.

In today’s climate where sustainability is on everybody’s lips, this innovative company has hit on a winning product — earrings made with eco-friendly paper. The design is a nod to Aizu-kata, which are dyed stencils used for kimono patterns. It was handed down in the Aizu region (Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture). With a modern interpretation of the traditional design, this environmentally conscious accessory pairs well with both Western and Japanese clothing and definitely makes a bold statement.

From Hokkaido: Hokkaido Special Seafood Soup Curry

Hokkaido Curry

Tastes of the sea — a rich seafood soup curry from NEXTLEVEL inc. Okushiba Shoten in Hokkaido.

Japan’s northernmost prefecture is known the world over for its dreamy landscapes and even dreamier cuisine — from fat salmon to succulent snow crabs. This original shrimp soup curry from Okushiba Shoten in Sapporo is made fresh every morning with a broth that uses 2,000 sweet prawns cooked with a wide variety of spices. While there are often long queues outside restaurants, you can beat the crowds by ordering a packet of their seafood soup curry, which is packed with ingredients sourced from Hokkaido, including squid, scallops and clams.

From Ishikawa: SOGEN SAMURAI Series

Sake From Japan

The Sogen Samurai series is an umami-laden sake from Sogen Sake Brewery in Ishikawa prefecture.

While there are over a thousand sake breweries across Japan, this brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture is truly extraordinary. That’s because Ishikawa is said to be the birthplace of the Noto Toji brewing style, which is a method of brewing that places emphasis on rich rice flavours. The SOGEN SAMURAI series of sake is no different, with a distinctive umami-laden flavour profile. As for the name of the sake, it is a nod to the founder’s family — the Hatakeyama samurai clan, responsible for building the Nanao Castle in the heart of Noto Peninsula. Having enjoyed commercial success domestically, the company has recently expanded their business overseas, using the samurai’s traditional spearhead as its logo.

Product photos from: