5 Unique Made-In-Japan Gifts for Valentine’s Day | CoolJapan

It’s easy to dismiss Valentine’s Day as just another commercialised holiday but there’s something about a day dedicated to love that gets us all warm and fuzzy inside. Whether or not you have a significant other in your life, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love in all its shapes and forms — from romantic to platonic. If there’s somebody in your life you want to honour, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to tell them you care.

A twin set of handcrafted keepsake boxes make for a lovely Valentine’s Day gift

A twin set of handcrafted keepsake boxes make for a lovely Valentine’s Day gift

And what better way to demonstrate your feelings than with beautiful gifts from the OMOTENASHI Selection? It's 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”.

First started in 2015, the OMOTENASHI Selection is rolled out twice a year. Here are some of our top picks from the latest selection that would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts:

From Okinawa: Okinawan seaweeds facial pack

Seaweed facial pack

The gift of beautiful skin starts here.

What it is: Okinawa is the largest producer of mozuku — a type of brown seaweed that can only be cultivated in the highest-quality seawater — with over 90% of the nation’s harvest from Okinawa. Made with 100% mozuku, this Okinawan seaweeds facial pack is chockfull of nutrients that help hydrate and plump up the skin. Family Planning, the makers of this product wanted to demonstrate how this marvellous ingredient is so much more than just a type of food and can be used to beautify one’s skin too.

Best for: The skincare addict in your life.

From Toyama Prefecture: KIRIFT container series

Kirift container box

Form and function come together in a beautiful marriage.

What it is: Originating from the city of Takaoka, known for its long history of producing traditional crafts, kiribako is a type of box made of paulownia wood used for storing art and craftworks. The producer, Bijutsukibako Urata, combines age-old techniques with modern technology to create kiribako, as KIRIFT container series, that are highly durable and aesthetically pleasing. What’s more, each box is made with domestic paulownia wood that has not been treated with chemical preservatives and is coated with 100% natural beeswax cream, making it completely safe for the user.

Best for: Your artistic friend who appreciates the harmony of form and function.

From Kyoto: Chameleon Band for Apple Watch

Chameleon bands for Apple watch

A unique and beautiful gift for that special someone

What it is: These days, smartwatches are on almost every other person’s wrist but why sport a boring strap when you can have a Chameleon Band for Apple Watch? Produced by Hineno Katsujiro Syoten, a multi-generation business known for “shikkaiya” (the art of Kyoto kimono dyeing), this watch band makes use of the same hand-dyeing techniques to produce a watch band that is wholly unique in its colours, patterns and textures.

Best for: That buddy who loves all things Apple.

From Tokyo: Tsukime Ware

Tsukime Ware

One-of-a-kind glassware for that singularity in your life

What it is: This is no ordinary glassware. What makes Tsukime Ware's glassware so unique is that at the final stage of glassblowing, the inside of the molten glass is shaped with a single strong push, creating a one-of-a-kind glass each time. This glassware is made using volcanic stone (Koga stone) from Nijima island, which is known for its high surface durability and eye-catching natural olive colouring. This collection created at NIIJIMA GLASS ART CENTER  comes with six types of glassware – sake cup, straight glass, rocks glass, sazae cup, decanter and bowl.

Best for: Your house-proud co-worker.

From Fukushima: Fruit Amazake Series

Fruit Sweet Sake

Sweet and delicious — perfect for your sweetheart

What it is: Amazake is a type of fermented rice beverage that has been enjoyed in Japan for over 1,300 years. This Fruit Amazake Series is produced by the KOUJIWADAYA, a company that dates back to 1771. All of the ingredients for the fruit amazake are sourced locally, with only additive-free rice koji used. The fruit amazake is available in 12 delicious flavours, including yuzu, cherry blossom and matcha.

Best for: Your health-conscious girlfriend.

(Product photos from OMOTENASHI Selection)