Eco-Friendly Products From The OMOTENASHI Selection | CoolJapan

Japan has long enjoyed a reputation for being sustainability-minded, with strict waste management laws and recycling guidelines in place to ensure landfill use is kept to a minimum. And with over 67 percent of Japan covered by forested lands, the Japanese have always enjoyed a close relationship with Nature. Wherever you go in Japan, be it a national park or a public garden, there are signs everywhere reminding one not to litter and to keep your volume down so as not to disturb the wildlife living there.

bamboo tableware from Nakayoshi Shoji
Eat right with sustainably sourced bamboo tableware from Nakayoshi Shoji.

It is perhaps this collective mindset of minimising waste that inspired these creators to produce household items that are both innovative and environmentally friendly. Recently lauded at the OMOTENASHI Selection, a prestigious award that aims to showcase the creativity and ingenuity of Japanese-made products and services, this line-up is a must-have in any eco warrior’s home.


Purple Cup(紫翠盃)

These eye-catching sake cups from SanYoshi Lacquerware are made of plant-derived plastic.

As its name “sisui(紫翠)”, an expression of the lush colour of nature, these SISUI hai sake cups actually come in a wide array of colours and designs. SanYoshi Lacquerware, the company behind this series of products, was adamant to tackle the plastic waste problem, which is why they came up with a range of “plastic” sake cups. Made of plant-derived plastic (a blend of starch, sugar cane and lactic acid bacteria), this 100% biodegradable cup has been certified non-toxic and safe for use as tableware and food packaging. The exquisite finishing of the product draws inspiration from the traditional Aizu lacquer, which has a history of over 400 years but uses a plant-based resin paint.

Wooden Straw

Wood Straws

Take a sip from these beautifully crafted wooden straws from AQURA HOME

Another company on a mission to tackle environmental waste is AQURA HOME, which wanted to address the issue of forest mismanagement in Japan that led to devastating landslides in 2018. These wooden straws are made with thinned lumber, using a time-honoured craftsmen technique known as “kannagake”, also known as “plane shaving”. With these Wooden Straw, AQUARA HOME hopes to promote the use of thinned lumber (usually ignored by producers because it is thin and immature) and encourage people to minimise the use of disposable plastic straws.

Bamboo based tableware for sustainable living

RIVERET: Dinnerware made of natural materials

The dinnerware from Nakayoshi Shoji is made with Moso bamboo.

Originally a maker of glassware and pottery products, Nakayoshi Shoji made the shift to bamboo products as early as the 1980s in order to reduce plastic waste and petroleum-derived products. Their iconic bamboo based tableware for sustainable living is made with Moso bamboo, which is renowned for its natural finish and gentle mouthfeel. Moso bamboo is also known for its rapid regeneration — the bamboo shoots grow at an amazing speed of 1 metre per day! Ranging from plates, bowls, utensils and even gracefully shaped wine goblets, these dining ware will make the perfect addition to your eco-minded home.

Amanatsu Natural Wine

Amanatsu Natural Wine

Have a drink (or two) of this organic fruit liquor from Masanobu Fukuoka Natural Farm (Nihon sogo engei Co., Ltd.).

Wine, but make it organic. This Amanatsu Natural wine, a delicious fruit liquor, is produced by the legendary Masanobu Fukuoka Natural Farm (Nihon sogo engei Co., Ltd.), where the eponymous founder is known across the agricultural world for his meditative and creative approach to farming. Made with amanatsu oranges that have been cultivated with zero pesticides or chemical fertilisers, this wine is also non-pasteurised, unfiltered and with no sulfurous acids. The result? A distinctively clean-tasting and refreshing wine that allows you to savour the fruit’s natural flavours.

Tree's Bento Box

Tree's Bento Box

Indulge your inner child with toys from Ichiba Mokko, which are made using sustainably-sourced wood.

If you’re looking for a unique gift for your little one, this set of wooden toys from Tree’s Bento Box would be ideal. Made to resemble a Japanese wooden lunch box, each piece is painstakingly handmade using wood sustainably sourced from forests in Hiroshima. Each piece is only partially coloured using domestic paints that have been approved by the Food Sanitation Law, which means it’s child-friendly and allows you to better appreciate the unique texture, warmth and scent of the wood. Each box contains two onigiri rice balls (hinoki), a hamburger steak (bigleaf magnolia), two rolled omelettes (hinoki), a mini tomato (hinoki) and lettuce (felt), and is made by a female-only production line at ICHIBA MOKKO, which is rare for a Japanese woodworking company.

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