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Tokyo Islands

Tokyo Islands

Not many foreigners know about the 9 islands of Tokyo. Indeed, Tokyo prefecture does not only include the big megalopolis that we all love, but also 9 small islands, located in the Pacific Ocean. We want to take you with us there, through our next Peko Peko Box: Tokyo Islands Box. Subscribe to Peko Peko Box before October 31st, 2021 to receive it.

An introduction to Tokyo Islands

Aogashima

Aogashima is a small island with a population of only 160. Its double caldera volcano is particularly remarkable. Such a structure only exists in a few places in the world. Inside of the volcano, you can feel the geothermal heat. It is a renown place for stargazing. The island specialty is salt, made inside the crater.

Salt Aogashima

Kozushima

Around Kozushima, the sea is particularly blue and becomes more and more clear as we approach the coast. It is a great place to go snorkeling and observe colorful fishes. You can also go on a hike, for example at Urasabaku, a desert of snow white sands.

Mikurashima

Mikurashima is a small island with a population of only 300. Visitors mostly come here to swim with wild dolphins. There are around 150 dolphins living around the island. The other main attraction is the giant trees growing all over the island. The trees give to the island a magical atmosphere.

Miyakejima

Miyakejima was uninhabited for 5 years after the eruption of its volcano in 2000. It is a majestic place to admire the beauty of nature. You can have a walk among lands covered with lava or admire Nippana Shinza, a mountain created in one night due to a pile up of lava and volcanic ash after the eruption of 1983.

Hachijojima

Hachijojima was formed by two volcanoes. There, you can enjoy palm trees, coral and tropical fishes. A great activity to do is scuba diving, to admire the lava formations in the ocean and maybe meet with a few turtles. You can also go hiking and enjoy forests, mountains and waterfalls.

Hachijojima

Niijima

Surfers come to Niijima for the strong weaves. Among the best surfing spots in Japan are Niijima beaches. The water, pastel blue, is beautiful.

Oshima

Oshima has numerous camellia trees and produces camellia oil. You can find numerous camellia oil products there: pure oil, shampoo, soap. It is also famous for its black desert (made of charcoal sand), the only one in Japan. The landscape makes you feel like you are on the moon.

Shikinejima

The main attraction of Shikinejima is Jinata onsen, a unique onsen in Japan. Indeed, located in front of the sea, it reaches its perfect temperature when onsen water is naturally mixed with sea water. You can only go to the onsen twice a day, when the sea reaches the onsen. Otherwise, the water temperature of 80 degrees is way too hot to enjoy.

Toshima

As in Oshima, camellia trees are very abundant in Toshima. 80% of the trees on the island are camellias. Toshima Island produced 60% of Japan camellia oil. The best season to visit the island is between January and March, when camellia flowers bloom.

If you want to receive souvenirs from those islands, subscribe to Peko Peko Box before October 31st, 2021 to receive our Tokyo Islands box.

Tokyo Islands
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Travel to Hokkaido

Hokkaido Box

Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan, after the main island of Honshu. It is located in the north of the archipelago. In winter, it is a popular destination for winter sports. In summer, it is the perfect place to go hiking in its magnificent national parks with flourishing flora and fauna. With this box, travel to Hokkaido, to the city of Abashiri, the Shiretoko peninsula and around Lake Akan, in the heart of the Ainu territory.

If you want to travel to Hokkaido with us, order your Hokkaido gift box now for 49$.

Travel to Hokkaido box – what is included:

Bear Plate

Shiretoko peninsula is one of the most beautiful places you could visit in the north of Hokkaido. It was added in 2005 to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. From Utoro port, you can embark on a local fisherman’s boat in hope to spot bears in their natural habitat. It is estimated that you have a 90% chance to see them! This small bear plate can be used for example as a plate for sauces, condiments, confectioneries.

Bear Plate
Travel to Hokkaido

Ainu Pouch

One of the Ainu crafts that immediately caught our attention were embroideries and their particular shapes. For example the “moreu”, the spirals, and the “aiushi”, the thorns pattern. These patterns may differ from region to region and from family to family, as they are traditionally being passed down from mother to daughter. These designs are known to ward off evil spirits.
In your Peko Peko Box, you will find a pouch with designs inspired by Ainu embroidery. Part of the profits for this item go to an association that promotes the preservation of Ainu culture. To know more, there is an interview at the end of the magazine included.

Ainu Culture
Travel to Hokkaido: Ainu culture

Owl Spoon

In Ainu culture, Chikap Kamuy is a great owl that watches over the land, its villages and its inhabitants. This spoon is made using Yew wood. Yew trees are enshrined in many shrines and temples as sacred trees. Yew is said to have the power to purify its surroundings and bring happiness.

Owl tea spoon
Travel to Hokkaido: Ainu village

Wood Chopsticks

Those handcrafted chopsticks are made in Enju wood. In Ainu culture, it is thought that enju wood’s unique odor has the power to ward off evil spirits. It is used to make pillars of houses to prevent the spirit of sickness from coming in.

Bayu oil balm

Bayu (馬油) means horse oil. It is said that it was first brought to Japan from China 1000 years ago. It became really popular in Hokkaido to protect the skin from the harsh winters with cold and dry air. In addition, as Hokkaido has a lot of empty and vast lands, horse farms were easily implemented. Horse oil is made using horse fat. Horse meat is quite common in Japan and is often eaten raw. Horses are farmed for food and horse oil production is rather a side product. For this oil, no coloring agents, preservatives, fragrances, additives for hardening horse oil were used. Horse oil prevents dry skin and gives it a nice gloss. It can be used on the whole body (skin and hair).

Hakka Mint Candy

Kitami is a city located in the north of Hokkaido, in the Okhotsk Subprefecture. There was a time when 70% of the world share of mint was produced in Kitami. However, the increasing use of synthetic mint flavor led to a decline in this industry. Kitami Hakka Tsusho aims to perpetuate this industry and keep the Mint Kingdom of Kitami’s glorious history alive.
Mint is a herb that is grown all around the world. Its major characteristic is the cooling sensation produced by menthol, the most abundant component in the leaves. Mint candies are one of the most beloved Kitami Hakka Tsusho products.

Mint Candy

Hokkaido Miso Ramen

On the package of this ramen, you can see a bear and big balck kanjis. This bear drawing with the sentence “熊出没注意” (kuma shutsubotsu chui), “be careful of the bears” can be seen everywhere in Hokkaido. Indeed, during our trip to Hokkaido, we visited the Shiretoko peninsula, which has one of the densest populations of brown bears in the world and concentrates 80% of the brown bear population of the island of Hokkaido.
Noodles are dried for 2 days to create a nice texture and the soup has a rich miso flavor. It is the perfect soul warming meal.

Travel to Hokkaido: Hokkaido ramen

Yubari Melon Caramel

Yubari Melon is a well known melon in Japan. It is considered as a luxurious delicacy. Only melons from Yubari city that have been inspected by the Yubari City Agricultural Cooperative can receive the label of Yubari Melon. Its price can range from 20$ to 60$.
Unfortunately, we can’t send you a piece of those melons , but we found those caramels for you to enjoy.

Melon caramel

If you want to travel to Hokkaido with us, order your Hokkaido gift box now for 49$.

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Japanese summer

Kakigori towel

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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Travel to Asakusa

For this box, we take you to Asakusa: a part of Tokyo called Shitamachi, where the atmosphere of the old city still lingers. The symbol of Asakusa is the Senso-ji temple and its huge red paper lantern at Kaminarimon gate. Around the temple grounds, craftsmen and traditional shops still thrive. Popular locations include the Nakamise shopping street, for snacks and souvenirs, and Kappabashi street, for tableware and other cooking utensils. Immerse yourself in the Tokyo of the Edo era with us!

Kanaya tooth brush

Kanaya Brush was founded in 1914, when Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather came from Kyoto to the capital, and opened his first brushes shop. The star item of the company are the toothbrushes made from horse hair. Thanks to the hair elasticity, the brush will clean the teeth while gently massaging the gum tissues. Upon entering the store, our attention was drawn to a large banner that reads: “Toothbrushes for a million people”. It was Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather’s wish: for a million people to use his toothbrushes. Today, this goal has been achieved but Mr. Ouchi set a new one: to introduce his toothbrushes not only to Japanese people, but to the whole world. And we are proud to be able to help him get closer to his dream, by introducing his toothbrushes to you.

Kanaya Brush
Kanaya Brush

Washi Manekineko 

This cat-shaped statuette called manekineko is made of washi paper. They are handmade so each is unique. The Imado shrine in Asakusa is believed to be the birthplace of the Manekineko statue. It is said that, a long time ago, an old lady had to part with her cat because she was too poor to take care of it. The next day of the separation, the cat appareaded in her dream, asking her to make cat statuettes to recomfort his soul from having been abandoned. And so the old lady did her best. The statuettes became so popular that she was able to get out of poverty with the sales. This manekineko will bring you good fortune.

Washi Manekineko
Washi Manekineko

Soy sauce dish

Kappabashi in Asakusa is a one kilometers long street lined up with shops selling tableware and cuisine ustensiles for restaurants and bars. From there, we selected a white porcelain soy sauce plate from the Mino region. It is ideal for your next sushi meal : pour the soy sauce in the place and the carved fish (sea bream) appears. In Japanese, sea bream is “tai”. The sound “tai” is found in the word “omedetai” which means celebration. As such, sea bream is seen as a good fortune animal.

Soy sauce dish
Soy sauce dish

Asakusa Paper fan

The Japanese traditional fan called uchiwa come from a shop called Takahisa that specializes in selling Hagoita: wooden paddles decorated with various traditional images and used for decoration. The manager, Mister Masanori Tsuchiya, aims to pass down the spirit and traditions of the Edo period. The Uchiwa is the best tool for kimono clad ladies who come to enjoy the famous Sumida river fireworks during summer. You can see the letters for Asakusa: 浅草.

Asakusa Paper fan
Paper fan

Post Card from Sukeroku

Mister Yoshitaka Kimura in Sukeroku shop

Founded in 1866, Sukeroku is the last remaining shop selling Japanese miniature Edo-style toys. Now run by 84 years old Yoshitaka Kimura, his family has passed-on this tradition, introducing the skills of craftsmen for 5 generations. During the Edo period, artisans developed the skills to make smaller and smaller items. The reason? The sumptuary laws issued during this time to control outward signs of wealth. This is how miniature toys gained in popularity. As each toy is completely unique and rare, we cannot include any in our box. However we included one of the postcards from the shop to convey the spirit of the Edo period.

Edo Postcards
Edo Postcards

Asakusa Cloth Bag

From Nakamise street we selected a good fortune cloth bag made in Japan. You can use it to store your pens or as a beauty case. There are different japanese masks represented on it. For example, the Otafuku, a mask representing a smiling woman, which can literally be translated as “a lot of good fortune”. Or the Hyottoko, a comical character with his mouth skewed to one side, which also brings good luck into one’s house.

Asakusa cloth bag
Cloth Bag

Kaminari Okoshi

Kamanari okoshi is the most famous snack of Asakusa. It consists of crispy rice mixed with syrup. Some also have peanuts and sesame seeds thrown into the mix. If you go to Asakusa, you cannot miss the big Kaminarimon Gate at the entrance of Sensoji temple, with its big red paper lantern. It is said that those snacks were sold for the first time in front of this gate and it is from there that the name comes from (okoshi means to come). We have included a selection of flavors so you can have fun trying to guess which one is which.

Kamanari okoshi
Kamanari okoshi

Ningyo-yako

Bairindo shop
Bairindo shop owner

From the Bairindo shop we have included 8 ningyo-yaki, one of Asakusa’s specialties and most popular sweet. Ningyo means “doll” and yaki means “baked”. Ningyo-yaki are cakes filled with a sweet red bean paste and baked in molds in the shapes of Asakusa symbols. For example, you will find in your box a cake shaped like the famous Senso-ji temple pagoda or like the big lantern of the Kaminarimon. Share this sweet red azuki beans delicacy with all your friends and have fun admiring the shapes.

Ningyo-yaki
Ningyo-yaki

Senbei

From Ichibanya store on the Nakamise shopping street, we have included a handmade rice cracker with black pepper flavor to go along with beer. In Asakusa, 5 minutes away from the Sensoji temple, is the Sumida river. From the beginning of spring and through summer, locals enjoy the nice weather on the riverbank, while having a cool drink and some snacks. It also where the famous beer company Asahi is located.

Senbei
Senbei

Asakusa Tea

Masudaen Sohonten
Masudaen Sohonten shop owner

As you alight from Asakusa metro station the first thing that strikes you is the pleasant smell of tea being roasted right on the streets. This fragrance comes from Masudaen Sohonten shop located in front of the Sumida river. Founded in 1867, the shop offers not only a variety of tea selection but also tea ceremony utensils. The staff is friendly and always ready to recommend you the best.

We selected a tasting of different powdered teas: pickled plum and kombu seaweed tea and pure matcha green tea. It will go very well with your ningyo-yaki for a well deserved break during the day.

Pickled plum and kombu seaweed tea
Pickled plum and kombu seaweed tea

Travel to Asakusa

If you want to discover Asakusa and other parts of Japan, you can either check out our gift boxes, or subscribe to Peko Peko Box to get a new box every 2 months!

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Travel to Kamakura

Peko Peko Box - Kamakura gift box

With this box, travel to Kamakura. Located less than an hour south of Tokyo, Kamakura is a coastal city in Kanagawa Prefecture. It became the political center of Japan at the end of the 12th century and until the 14th century after the shogunate settled there to rule the archipelago. Sometimes referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura is known for its many temples and shrines, surfing beaches and chill vibes.

Watch our video about Kamakura on Youtube, meet the people of Kamakura that made this box possible: here

Hate Shirube

Hato shirube is a dove-shaped amulet from the shop Kamakura Hachiza. Inside the cute statue you will find a small paper with an inspirational quote about life. Why a dove? It is said that the deity enshrined in Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū shrine (the most important shrine in Kamakura) was guided by doves. 

Kamakura Hachiza
Kamakura Hachiza

Incense sheets

Kôdô (香 道) is a japanese classical form of art. It literally means the “way of perfume”. To give you a taste of Kôdô, we have included incense-scented paper from the Kito Tenkundo store. These do not burn! You slip them into your wallet, for example, to diffuse a delicious scent around you.

Peko Peko Box - Incense Sheets
Sandalwood scented fragrance envelops

Washi Postcard

Shatoh was established in 1969 and handles high-quality Japanese paper goods from all over the country. They partnered with mister Saito to keep his traditional printing technique alive in our rapidly modernizing world. For each batch, mister Saito gets the ink mixture ready to his liking. The postcard you hold in your hands represents the buddhist statue of Yakushinyorai from Kakuonji temple in kamakura and is a perfect example of the collaboration between an artist, carver and printer. 

Peko Peko Box - Help the locals
Mister Saito

Heart Sutra Eco Bag

During your travel to Kamakura, we recommend that you give shakyo a try. Shakyo (写 経) literally means “to copy the sutras”. By hand you write entire Buddhist scriptures. This way you can  better reflect on their meanings Hoping that it brings you peace and joy we include a tote bag illustrated with the Heart Sutra.

Peko Peko Box - Heart Sutra Eco Bag
Heart Sutra Eco Bag

Drip Coffee and Coffee Cup

Bell Time Coffee is a coffee shop located in Kita-Kamakura. Suzuki-san, the owner uses a low temperature roasting technique. Ordinary coffee beans are roasted at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, but these ones are roasted at a maximum temperature of 173 degrees for 40 minutes. Mr. Suzuki prepared 3 blends for the Pekopeko box. Belltime blend, the signature blend, uses beans from Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala. The second is Ogane Coffee, named after the famous Engakuji  temple located next to the shop. The last blend is the Pekopeko blend, a deep roasted blend.

Peko Peko Box - Bell Time Coffee
Bell Time Coffee

Enoshima Octopus Senbei

When visiting Kamakura, we recommend we make a stop at the beach and the Enoshima island. From there, you can have a gorgeous view on Mont Fuji! We hope you can somehow imagine you are enjoying the sunset on the beach while eating those octopus senbei from the famous shop Chigasakiya located on Enoshima Island.

Peko Peko Box - Octopus Senbei
Octopus flavored rice crackers

Kinako Candy Bar

Matsuya no Ame is a candy shop owned for 4 generations by the same family. With their knives, they have been playing the same tune for 150 years as they cut the candy (watch our video to see how this candy is cut, it is such a show!). What makes this candy special is the kinako powder around it. Kinako is roasted soybean flour. A popular japanese delicacy. After you eat the candy, you can sprinkle the powder left in yaourt or top a vanilla ice cream or even on a toast. Delicious!

Matsuya no Ame
Matsuya no Ame

Travel to Kamakura: Get your box!

If you want to experience all these items, you can get the box right now on our shop. To not miss any futur boxes, subscribe with our 2 months, 6 months or 1 year plan.

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4 best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan

Your sister, brother, friend, or maybe significant other love Japan but you don’t know what to give them? This article is made for you! Here, we are going to give you the best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan!

A daruma doll

A daruma is a traditional hand-painted papier maché doll. It usually comes with blank eyes. The first eye is filled in when making a wish and the second one once the wish has come true. Why the eyes? Legend has it that Bodhidharma was prone to snoozing in the middle of this zen meditations. He then decided to cut his eyelids in order to keep his eyes open. So… yeah!

But isn’t it a beautiful gift to get your loved one so their wish come true? And it is the cutest decor for any room!

Gift from Japan
Daruma doll

Yuzu soap

In addition to having a great smell, yuzu is rich in vitamin C which makes the skin smooth and bright. Why not get this yuzu soap by Kyoto Natural Factory? Kyoto Natural Factory is a human-sized company located in the heart of Kyoto. They are very proud to deliver 100% Natural and 100% Made in Kyoto cosmetic products.The yuzu used for this beautiful soap are harvested from Taizo-in temple, a bouddhiste temple located in Myoshinji temple complex. A very spiritual soap indeed.

Gift from Japan
Yuzu soap

Genmaicha tea

In the olden days, genmaicha (or brown rice tea) was a drink for those who couldn’t afford pure tea blends. Genmaicha was also drunk by fasting monks or rationed warriors, as the mix between green tea and roasted rice made it a more filling drink. Nowadays, genmaicha has become one of the most popular teas in Japan.

Uji area (south of Kyoto) produces some of the finest tea blends of Japan. There is the small village of Wazuka-cho with over 800 years of history producing teas. At Obubu tea farm they make the perfect genmaicha tea. A perfect way to offer to your loved one a relaxing time, drinking a freshly brewed cup of tea!

best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan
Genmaicha tea

Plum Incense

Less known among foreigners than the sakura blossoms season, plum blossoms season, happening from mid February through March, is also a charming time to visit Japan. Plum blossoms are the sign that winter is ending and spring is around the corner. As such, it is seen as a symbol of perseverance and hope, as well as vitality, beauty, purity, and the transitoriness of life. Plum blossoms are loved by many Japanese, just as much as sakura blossoms.  

Plum incense translates this emotion with a subtle and sweet scent. It is perfect for a relaxing time and is one of the best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan!

best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan
Plum Incense

Where to get those gift ideas for someone who loves Japan?

Well, lucky for you, all those items (and more!) are included in the Spirit of Japan box by Peko Peko box! For $49, get the perfect gift box for someone who loves Japan.

Are included:

  • Items magazine
  • Tsujiri Matcha rolls (x3)
  • Genmaicha tea bags (x5)
  • Ogurasanso rice crackers (x1)
  • Daruma doll (9cm tall x1)
  • Japanese hand towel (89cm x 32cm / x1)
  • Organic yuzu soap (30g x1)
  • Incense plum scent (x15 sticks)
  • Goshuin calligraphy (x1)
  • Tatami coaster (x1)

Get it NOW!

best gift ideas for someone who loves Japan
Best gift for someone who loves Japan
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The year of the Ox

Akemashite Omedetou!! Since the ox is the slowest of animals in the traditional Chinese zodiac, it is said that the Year of the Ox is a year that goes by slowly. It’s an important year to get things done steadily, without rushing. It is a year to build the foundations for a bright future.

So that 2021 be full of good surprises, we have included in this box items that will bring you luck and good fortune. You can get your Year of the Ox box in our shop.

Fude Pen

Akashiya is a true institution in Nara City, with over 380 years of history. Today, of course, the company manufactures traditional brushes for sumi (ink) calligraphy. But also more modern tools such as fude pens which are a mix between calligraphy brush and pencil. A traditional custom in Japan for the New Year is kaki zome. It is the first calligraphy of the year, the first kanji that the Japanese compose after the New Year. Your challenge? Write a character and send us a photo!

Calligraphy brush pen decorated with washi paper

Monaka Miso

Monaka are thin crispy wafers made of glutinous rice. In this box you will find a miso monaka, a sea bream shaped monaka filled with a delicious dry miso. Sea bream is a symbol of luck and good fortune in Japanese culture. First of all, its color, red, is a symbol of luck and good auspices. Also, in Japanese, this fish is called tai. In Japanese, tai sound is found in the word omedetai meaning “auspicious” or “celebration”. It is also found in arigatai, a word for expressing gratitude. 

Miso soup “Monaka” (color and flavor is a surprise)

Washi Postcard

Nengajo are the New Year cards that Japanese people send to each other to celebrate the New Year. These New Year’s cards are used to show your gratitude to all the people who have supported you during the year that is ending. In this box, you will find our take on nengajo: a beautiful handmade washi postcard with calligraphy on it. The Japanese character on the card is yume and it means dream! 

This beautiful item was created only for Peko Peko Box. It is the result of a collaboration between 2 friends: Kayo, a calligraphy master who wrote one by one the characters, and Miwako, from the Kami to Wa shop, who made the washi cards.

Hand written calligraphy (dream) by master on handmade washi paper postcard

Ushi Okimono

To celebrate the year of the ox, we have included a ceramic statuette from Aichi Prefecture. The ox is numbered second among the twelve signs of the zodiac. When Buddha organized a race to choose the twelve animals, the ox, knowing that it was slow to walk, decided to start into the darkness of the previous night. The rat, clever, climbed onto the ox’s back and jumped in front of it as it crossed the finish line, becoming the first animal in the zodiac. As a result, the ox came in second.

Ceramic Cow for Year of the Ox (comes with a folding screen & a stand size 6cm tall and 8cm width)

Uragu notepad

Uragu is a tiny shop, hidden in the back streets of Miyagawacho, one of Kyoto’s geisha districts. There, you can find beautiful stationery with clean designs carefully thought out by the designer of the store.  Carp fish is one of the main Japanese symbols of luck and good fortune. In Japanese, carp is called koi. Koi also means “love”. As a result, carp fish is seen as a romantic symbol. But not only.  Being a fish that swims against the river flow, it also represents tenacity, perseverance in adversity, and the ability to achieve one’s goal.

Uragu designer notepad x1 (19cm x 7.5cm 50 sheets)

Matcha Peanuts

For New Year in Japan, every household prepares Osechi Ryori, a traditional meal including various delicious food. One of the most popular one is black beans or kuromame. Mame means beans but also hard work. Kuromame are served to wish for a hardworking year filled with accomplishment. We could not include kuromame in our box, but we tried to keep the same spirit by including those matcha flavored peanuts. This snack comes from the shop Itohkyuemon, a famous tea maker from the city of Uji, founded in 1832.

Macha flavored peanuts from Uji (70gr)

New Year Furoshiki

On this fabric is a large number of symbols related to the Japanese New Year. First, in the foreground is the Shishi, the lion-dog, a legendary animal with the ability to scare away evil spirits. In the background you can see a pine tree, a symbol of longevity, vigor and courage. In front of the house is a kadomatsu, a typical New Year decoration, made with pine branches and bamboo. Indeed, bamboos are also a symbol of longevity and strength. Kadomatsu are found in front of houses to welcome the spirit of the ancestors that will bring happiness to the family for the New Year.

New Year themed Furosiki (size 50cm x 50cm 100% Cotton)

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Travel to Joge

For this box, we are taking you to the town of Joge. Nested in the heart of the Chugoku region of Japan, halfway on the hilly road between Matsue and Hiroshima, Joge is a quaint town with a glorious past that deserves to be better known. During the feudal period, Joge benefited from its central location on the silver road that connected the Iwami Ginzan mine to Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. The town thrived when given the right to collect tax from silver commerce on behalf of the Bakufu – the central government of the time.

Time has passed since the last samurai surrendered and the prominence of Joge faded away with them. Nevertheless, when traveling through the elegant white walls of the town center we could see the remnants of the heydays. We could feel the town’s inhabitants’ strong pride in their cultural heritage.

What will you found in our Travel to Joge box?

Chestnuts manju

We started our day in Joge early in the morning by visiting Ms Miyoko who makes the Tsuchinoko manju at Fugetsudo. We wanted to catch the making process of the local delicacy. Fugetsudo added a western twist to the traditional manju recipe. A buttery baked pie crust replaces the usual rice bun and a white bean paste surrounding a chestnut fills the bun where you’d usually find sweet Azuki red beans. We highly recommend a cup of dark roasted tea to pair with the manju.

Japan Subscription box
Tsuchinoko manju at Fugetsudo

Kimono fabric basket

Sayaka and her mother run the local Kimono shop. They give a new life to colorful pieces of kimonos fabric to craft useful objects. One of those items is a bamboo basket. You can use it for storing keys or other precious items. It takes them 30 minutes to make one piece.

Japan Subscription box
Sayaka’s kimono basket

Yoshu cake

Ask anyone what you should try when you come to Joge and they’ll surely tell you in unison the Yoshu cake. We had to include it in this Japan Subscription box about Joge. So we visited the cake factory: Kunihiroya. They got inspired by a French baked confectionery called “Savarin” using as a base one of Japan’s most famous sweets called castella: a soft sponge cake with a nice brown crust on top and at the bottom. They then soak it in syrup made from a secret recipe including brandy and rum.

Yoshu cake
Yoshu cake from Kunihiroya

Antique plates

Walking down the main street of Joge town made us feel like we were traveling back in time. When we reached the town center we found an establishment that perfectly encapsulates this mood: an antique shop called Joge Garo (上下画廊). There, Ms Shigemori greeted us. She is a charming lady born and raised in Shinjuku (Tokyo). But she decided to move to Joge after she married a local. She proudly showed us her collection of dolls coming from the entire country and the antiques she sells. From her shop, we chose items from two piles of antiques. First, we got small plates called “Torizara” in Japanese which are used for side dishes. We then settled on the cute “Ochoko” cups used to enjoy japanese sake.

Japanese antiques
Antique plates

Nioi Bukuro

We heard that, within 20 minutes drive from Joge, there is a shop that offers experiences where we can make our own Nioi Bukuro: scented bag. We got intrigued and made our way to Mr Takahashi’s Butsudan shop in Fuchu city. A butsudan is a wooden cabinet. It is often found in Japanese homes. Families use butsudan to pay respects to the Buddha, as well as to their ancestors. Butsudan are often made of fragrant cedar that last for a long time but locals add a Nioi Bukuro when the natural scent fades away. Mr Takahashi is a soft-spoken gentleman. He took his time to explain the intricacies of his trade and offered us to create our very own sachets. We got to learn about the different spices that go in the bags and their properties. You’ll be enjoying our own blend of sweet aroma.

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Nioibukuro

Ofuda lucky charm

Mr Sato is the Bingo Yano station master, just two stops away from Joge main station. There are only 12 regular trains a day passing through which gives Mr Sato plenty of time to try new ventures. With his wife they opened a tiny restaurant within the station building itself which quickly grew in popularity. We sat and ordered each a dish of udon noodles for lunch while Mr Sato offered us his Ofuda: a little lucky charm that you can hang on your keys, your bag or simply hang as a decoration.

Japan Subscription box
Ofuda, lucky charm

Good fortune senbei

Senbei are Japanese crackers that come either sweet or savory. You can enjoy senbei with a cup of tea, coffee or even a beer. The ones included in the box are savory and garnished with roasted soy beans. Mr Stato, station master at Bingo Yano, recommended them to us. He specifically asked a senbei manufacturer in the region to create these senbei for him to sell in his station.

Bingo Yano station
Mr Stato, station master at Bingo Yano with ofuda and senbei

Daruma bookmark

In this Japan Subscription box about Joge you will find a daruma bookmark. Darumas are a symbol of luck and perseverance. Two things we all need. Unfortunately, we were unable to film a documentary about its maker, but it seemed interesting to include the object as the technique used seemed to us very novel and modern compared to what we had seen so far in Joge. This small company specializes in laser engraving on wood. The desired design is sent into a computer software which then sends the instructions to the laser machine which will come and cut the wood. In addition, the wood used is the famous Hinoki, the Japanese cypress.

Japan Subscription box
Daruma wooden bookmark

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Spirit of Japan

Japanese gifts box - Peko Peko Box

We are very proud to present to you our first box: Spirit of Japan. We wanted to offer you a selection of items that represent Japan at its best!

Spirit of Japan

When travelling for the first time to Japan, you may feel like a newborn as all your senses are stimulated by new experiences.

The smell of charcoal from a yakitori place, the sounds of sale assistants welcoming you to their shops, the feeling of tatamis under your feet at a ryokan, the flavor of wasabi revivifying your taste buds and the exciting lights of the cities bursting in front of your eyes…

We wanted you to feel all those sensations, while going on a journey with us through Japan!

Your journey begins in Tokyo

First stop on this adventure, Tokyo! In the beginning, you are a little lost. You have just arrived in Tokyo station and you are surrendered by salarymen going to work, students heading to school and other tourists as lost as you. In this continuous flood of people, you don’t know where to go. But isn’t it one of the beauties of traveling? Finally, you decide to hop on a train and see where it will take you… Miraculously, you arrive in Asukusa! Your confidence jumps in and one visit leading into the next, you discover the beauty of Senso-ji temple, take pictures of youngsters in Harajuku, have a walk in Meiji Shrine, relax at Ueno Park, make some Japanese friends in an izakaya in the Golden Gai, do some shopping in Shinjuku and Akihabara…

Tatami
Yamaki Taichi, tatami maker
Tenugui cat
Tenugui Cat

Let’s go to Takasaki

You want to take a break from the city. What about a small getaway in Gunma Prefecture, in Takasaki city? Less than one hour away from Tokyo, Takasaki is known for being the hometown of daruma dolls. First things first, you head to Shorinzan Darumaji Temple to admire its daruma collection. It is then time to have a look at how all those dolls are made. You visit one of the manufacturers and admire the hand-painted techniques.

Daruma doll getting it’s final touches

Kyoto awaits

Your stay in Tokyo is over. You jump on a shinkansen towards Kyoto! Put on some good walking shoes and don’t forget your camera, because Kyoto has so much to show you! Hear stories of the geishas at Miyagawa-cho, stroll through the little-known alleyways of the Gion district, try some tofu skin at Nishiki Market, enjoy some Japanese sake at a “Tachinomiya” (standing bar), explore 300-year-old temples in the Nanzen-ji complex,…

Yuzu Soap
Plum Incense
Shunkoin Temple Goshuin
Ogura Crackers

Little stroll in the countryside

You are not a tea specialist, but you have heard so much about Japanese tea that you feel like you have to get to know more. After renting a car, you head to Wazuka city and its endless tea plantations. The view is stunning. You have a walk along the plantation before joining a tea degustation at Obubu tea farm. Rumors were true, Japanese tea is delicious!

Gion Tsujiri Matcha Roll
Wazuka Genmaicha tea

To continue the adventure with our Spirit of Japan box…

… get your Spirit of Japan box now to enjoy the best souvenirs from Japan. You will also have access to private content like interviews of the people that made the products you will soon hold in your hands! Start the adventure, travel to Japan with us.

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