Japanese summer

With this box, we recreate the atmosphere of a Japanese summer. Without leaving your home the clear sound of the “fuurin” bell will transport you to Mount Fuji. There, you will enjoy some cold “somen” noodles for lunch and a “yokan” with some tea for your afternoon break. Imagine yourself eating kakigori (shaved ice) and playing with paper balloons with children at a matsuri (festival), before lighting your incense, the scent of which will teleport you to Ueno Park where lotus flowers are in full bloom. Have a nice trip!

Paper Balloons

Isono Kamifusen is a traditional Japanese paper balloon maker. It has been located in Izumozaki City, in Niigata Prefecture, since 1919. Izumozaki is a coastal town that flourished as a fishing port in the Sea of ​​Japan and as a trading center with Sado Island. The founder of the company Isono developed the production of paper balloons as a winter job, when fishing was impossible. 

Paper balloons were valued as children’s toys throughout the Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) eras. Toys for children have changed a lot lately, but paper balloons remain popular as simple and nostalgic toys, especially during Japanese summer when nice weather calls for outdoor play. We recommend to hang them with a string and tape from the ceiling close to a window where they can swing with the breeze.

Japanese summer paper balloon
Japanese Paper Baloon

Japanese summer Fuji Fuurin

When we think about Japanese summer, we think about Mt Fuji. Indeed, it is possible to climb Mt Fuji only during the summer season, from early July to mid September. The peak season for climbing Mt Fuji is during Obon Week in mid August. This fuurin, japanese bell, is made from ceramic of the Aichi prefecture. Nothing feels more like Japanese summer than its clear sound when it sways in the breeze.

Fuji fuurin

Kakigori Towel

The Yokohama Nassen dyeing method and printing technique were developed when the ports of Yokohama opened to foreign trade in 1859, incorporating superior woodblock printing techniques of the East and West. It was during this era that Hamamonyo was founded as a textile printing factory in 1948. Nowadays, Hamamonyo continues to produce original handkerchiefs, tenugui, towels, using the Yokohama Nassen know-how.
Japanese people often carry a small towel in their bag, which they use to dry their hands after washing them, or, in the summer, to wipe the sweat off their faces. This small towel has a kakigori pattern (the shape of which also reminds us of Mount Fuji). Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert, covered with syrup and different toppings. It is a popular and refreshing dessert during Japanese summer.

Kakigori towel

Lotus Incense

Those incense sticks can be used for two purposes: prayer and healing. In August, Obon festivities take place all over Japan: a time to honor and pray for the spirits of the ancestors. During this period, spirits are said to come back to earth to visit their relatives. Incense is used to pray for those spirits.
We have chosen a lotus scent incense as lotus flowers bloom during summer, in July and August. The best places to enjoy them are Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park, Mimurotoji Temple in Kyoto or Tozenji Temple in Nagano. Enjoy this refreshing scent of lotus flowers as part of your summer daily routine.

Lotus flower incense

Japanese summer meal: Somen noodles, cup and broth

Summer meals in Japan are often synonymous with cold noodles. Udon and soba noodles are famous but do you know somen? These noodles, thin and white, are made from wheat flour, water and salt. In summer, these noodles are eaten at room temperature, dipped in a cold broth made with soy sauce and dashi (bonito broth). It is said that the preparation of somen was revealed by the gods in Sakurai City, in Nara Prefecture, as the population was suffering from hunger.
We have also included a somen cup used for the broth. Pour the tsuyu (broth) in the cup and dip your noodles in it. This beautiful glass cup comes from the Toyo Sasaki glass company, one of Japan’s top glassware manufacturers with its founder having studied under European craftsmen back in the Meiji period (1868-1912).

Summer meals in Japan are often synonymous with cold noodles. Udon and soba noodles are famous but do you know somen? These noodles, thin and white, are made from wheat flour, water and salt. In summer, these noodles are eaten at room temperature, dipped in a cold broth made with soy sauce and dashi (bonito broth). It is said that the preparation of somen was revealed by the gods in Sakurai City, in Nara Prefecture, as the population was suffering from hunger.
We have also included a somen cup used for the broth. Pour the tsuyu (broth) in the cup and dip your noodles in it. This beautiful glass cup comes from the Toyo Sasaki glass company, one of Japan’s top glassware manufacturers with its founder having studied under European craftsmen back in the Meiji period (1868-1912).

Japanese summer meal: somen
Japanese summer meal: somen

Japanese summer sweet: Yuzu Yokan

The Toshoan shop in Kyoto has been promoting the benefits of anko, the Japanese red bean, since 1950. There, you can find products made of this ingredient, some traditional such as yokan, and others more modern, such as cheese-cakes or chocolate cakes.
Yokan are a traditional Japanese confectionery dating from the Muromachi period (1185-1573). The word yokan is written with the Chinese character for “sheep”. Back in the days, this word referred to a mutton-based soup. As Japanese monks could not eat this soup because it was meat-based, a vegetarian version based on red beans was created.
Over the years, yokan evolved into a sweet confection, which is traditionally enjoyed with tea. It is the perfect sweet for a summer break. We have included a yuzu, japanese citrus, flavored yokan.

yuzu yokan

Hojicha tea

Hojicha is surprisingly brown for a green tea. Harvested in June, it consists mostly of the stems of the tea, roasted over a high flame. Hojicha has a delicious roasted and smoky flavor. By bringing the tea to a high temperature almost all of the tea’s caffeine is extracted from the leaves. This makes Hojicha a wonderful drink throughout the day and especially suitable for the evening. During hot summer days, it is often enjoyed cooled with ice.
This Hojicha comes from Obubu tea farm, located in the Uji area, and was recommended to us by Matsumoto-san and his French wife Marie-san.

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