Konbini Guide – All You Need To Know About Japanese Convenience Stores

Konbini Japan Guide Japanese Convenience Stores 3

When you visit Japan for the first time, you will be blown away by the beauty of the Nature, the punctuality of the train system and the complexity of the Japanese traditional culture. But surprisingly, another thing is going to impress you: KONBINI!

What Is A Konbini?

A konbini is essentially a Japanese convenience store that sells everything from groceries to household products and cosmetics, and even Muji basics! However, the most typical reason for a duck into a konbini is to conveniently grab a selection of their deliciously prepared food items, ranging from oden (hot from the dashi broth!) to daily-made elaborately-wrapped bento boxes.

Visiting Japanese convenience stores is a beloved pastime for pretty much everyone visiting and living in Japan, guaranteed. It’s been hailed as one of the top favourite places and activities to visit during anyone’s trip to this wild and wonderful country, and as bizarre as that sounds, it has rightfully earned its reputation.

Konbini Japan Guide Japanese Convenience Stores 1

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Japanese konbini even gained international coverage and spotlight! As athletes and press from all around the world poured into the country, they found that their confinement to the grounds (because of COVID-19) wasn’t so bad when they discovered the magical world of Japan’s 24-hour convenience stores!

A journalist even labelled it as “a culinary world unto itself!”.

The Main Konbini Chains in Japan

Konbini Japan Guide Japanese Convenience Stores 5

There are quite a few different …continue reading


Ginza Hachimitsu – a golden treasure made with nectar from the Imperial grounds and surrounding areas


Honey is Mother Nature’s gift of gold. But in a world where urbanisation is fast taking over the natural world, our hard working honey bees are facing threats bigger than ever before.

When it comes to urban living, Tokyo is the world’s largest metropolitan area; and with little green space available amongst the jungle of concrete, you may be surprised to hear how one NPO is successfully raising honey bees right in the center of the city.

The Ginza Honey Bee Project, which started in 2006, aims to connect people with nature and lead society to a more sustainable future. Since its establishment, the Ginza Honey Bee Project has connected more than 18,000 people in the community through apiary tours and honey-extracting experiences.
A pioneer of urban beekeeping, the project works alongside honeybees to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems within modern environments. At the same time, the project provides environmental education to both children and adults, tackles local issues, promotes urban development and increases green spaces amongst the concrete.

Now the Ginza Honey Bee Project is ready to share the fruits of their labor with you, in the form of environmentally friendly honey produced from the nectar of flowers from Hibiya Park, Hama Rikyu and the Imperial Palace.
Made using nectar from the plants of the Imperial household, the honey from the Ginza Honey Bee Project is really and truly a golden treasure that will make mouths water.

Ginza Sakura Nectar

Price: 8,640 yen
The nectar used to produce this honey was collected by the honeybees back in spring during the sakura season. That means this honey is the earliest honey to have been produced in Japan this year, having been first collected on the 6th of April.
A fragrant honey, you can almost feel the cherry blossoms blooming in your mouth with every spoonful.

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Not just for burning: Innovative Japanese cord incense is great for all kinds of creative projects


You see what looks like a collection of fancy embroidery thread in various appealing colors.

© grape SHOP

But as you’re admiring them, you can detect a blend of fragrances wafting through the air. “Hmm, is that nice smell coming from the embroidery thread,” you wonder.

Actually, it’s not embroidery thread, it’s incense in cord form!

Check out the Aroma cord incense line at grape SHOP.

(We use WorldShopping Global. The grape SHOP page is in Japanese, but if you see the WorldShopping widget appear at the bottom of the page, that product can be shipped overseas)

Aroma Cord, colorful incense in cord form

Aroma Cord is an unusual, innovative type of corded incense that lets you enjoy authentic fragrances in a casual and creative way.

© grape SHOP

Each set includes an incense clip and a non-flammable mat along with a length of Aroma Cord incense.

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If you use an incense clip, you can burn the desired length without cutting the cord.

The approximate burning time is about 8 minutes for a 10 cm (4″) length, with a total of 2 meters (6’7″) per package.

© grape SHOP

Not just for burning: Unbind your creativity!

Of course, you can use Aroma Cord like traditional incense to burn and enjoy, but with a bit of imagination, you can come up with all kinds of other ways to put Aroma Cord to use!

For example, you can fashion it into a bracelet or anklet, tie it into a decorative element and wear it as a pendant…

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…tie it into elegant mizuhiki ribbons for decoration…

© grape SHOP

…or use them to add a bit of color and pleasant fragrance as the finishing touch to your gift wrapping.

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Furin Japan – All You Need To Know About Japanese Wind Chimes 

Furin Japan Wind Chimes

Furin (or Fuurin) essentially translates to ‘wind bell’ and describes the Japanese wind chime. Just like how eating an ice cream cone may make you nostalgic for summertime, the sound of a furin sends a Japanese person to their happy place in summer.

Widely known and accepted as the symbol of summer in Japan, when anyone hears the gentle ringing sounds of the wind chime, they become immediately washed over with a refreshing feeling.

It may be a cultural thing, but many Japanese people insist that hearing and seeing the furin sway in the wind actually makes them feel cooler and more relaxed – a must for the balmy Japanese summer nights!

If you’ve visited Japan during the warm months, you may have seen and heard Japanese wind chimes hanging outside places of residences. These days, they’re normally quite cheerful and bright.

What’s A Furin?

Furin Fuurin Japanese Wind Chimes 6

So what exactly is a furin? To start, we’ll give you a basic description of what it looks like and consists of, however, note that there exist thousands of versions of wind chimes in Japan today.

A furin is a Japanese wind chime that is consists of three main parts: the ‘gaiken’ which is the bell- or bowl-shaped exterior, the ‘zetsu’ which is the clapper inside the gaiken, and the ‘tanzaku’ which are the colourful strips of paper that hang down and flutter in the wind.

When the breeze catches and moves the tanzaku, the zetsu will chime inside the gaiken, producing the gentle ringing sounds that everyone loves.

You will likely see these hanging outside of people’s homes, either near the windows or along the balcony.

The History …continue reading


Matcha Tea Set – Full Kit For Your Japanese Tea Ceremony Inc. Whisk & Bowl

Matcha Tea Set Kit - Blue Waves Edition

Matcha Tea Set – Matcha tea is becoming more and more famous around the world and we, at Sugoii Japan, are big fans too! First, it has so much health benefits! It’s high in antioxidants, can help you lose weight, and has positive impacts on your liver and brain. But one of the best thing about Matcha tea is probably its preparation.

Indeed, the preparation of your tea via a traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a meditation session by itself! It’s so relaxing to slowly prepare your beverage and drink it by following the ancient Japanese traditions. For more info, we wrote a whole guide about the Japanese tea ceremony here.

To perform this traditional ceremony at home, you will need a matcha tea set but don’t worry, we have you covered!

What Is included In A Matcha Tea Set?

A Matcha tea set needs to contain these 4 following tools:

  • One large bowl where you will drink your tea.
  • One whisk called a chasen in Japanese. The whisk is actually pretty important cause it will help you to mix uniformly the matcha powder and the hot water. The design of the matcha whisk will also help you to create small air balls in order to give a visually pleasing look to your beverage. The whisk is made from a single piece of bamboo with uniform “teeth”.
  • In order to keep the shape of the whisk, it’s advised to use a chasen holder, usually made in ceramic.
  • The last tool you will need in your kit is a bamboo spoon called chashaku in Japanese. As you may have guessed, the chashaku is used to add your matcha powder into your bowl.

With these 4 tools, you will be able to prepare your matcha tea at home like a real Japanese tea master!

Get One …continue reading


The 10 Best Japanese Facial Masks For A Better Skin Health

Japanese Facial Masks - Lululun Pink Face Masks

Japanese facial masks are the craze right now. In fact, they have been for the past few years, and there seems to be no signs of it slowing down!

What makes them so popular, you ask?

In recent years when skincare popularity went through the roof, people began turning to countries like Japan and South Korea. Hailed as some of the leading countries in the world in terms of beauty products, it didn’t take much time for many brands to become household names.

One of the items that became super popular to use personally as well as purchase as gifts is face masks.

The rise in Korean and Japanese dramas saw the gradual interest in face masks also grow. People became more and more exposed to the benefits and regular use of them through streaming shows on places like Netflix.

As of now, there are hundreds of brands of face masks that you can purchase. However, some particular Japanese brands have sought the top position in terms of popularity and they aren’t letting go anytime soon.

We’ve listed below 10 of the best Japanese facial masks that you can use for better skin.

1. Lululun Pink Face Masks

We’re starting off this fantastic list with, of course, the most recognisable face mask product across all Japanese drug stores: the pink Lululun face masks.

This is one of the best, all-rounder daily face masks that most people can use. Its benefits include enhancing the skin protection barrier on the face. It also aims to gradually improve the base foundation of your skin for stronger, better skin health.

It contains various ingredients for a moisturising mask, including hyaluronic acid and acacia honey. It also includes rice ceramide and ginseng roots.

The Lululun pink face masks are a powerful tool to use to keep your face fresh …continue reading


Japanese sports company Mizuno releases stylish furniture which doubles as training equipment

Another perfect way to get some exercise while working at the desk or watching TV.

Depending on your living space and your schedule, getting an adequate amount of exercise can be pretty difficult, not to mention expensive if you want larger exercise equipment such as a treadmill. However, thanks to a new line of goods released by Japanese sports equipment company Mizuno, folks can now purchase workout goods which function as chic furniture.

The Mizuno Healthy Interior line offers a diverse array of furniture, from stools to even ottomans. While at first glance, these minimalistic products look like stylish pieces of furniture, in reality, they’re each incorporated with a special feature that enables a wide variety of workouts.

For example, the Le Coeur is both a coffee table as well as a way to limber up your shoulder muscles. When not in use, it’s a fashionable, minimalistic piece where you can leave your favorite cup of tea while reading your favorite book. However, when it’s time to get those gains, folks can use the knobs on the wooden turntable atop the Le Coeur for basic shoulder exercises and stretches.

▼ The Le Coeur available at 19,800 yen (US$181.76)

▼ Don’t forget to stretch before exercising!

If you want to continue exercising your arms after the Le Coeur, there’s also the Ballretch and the Ringretch. The Ballretch are a set of weights disguised as cushions. Each weighing 500 grams, or roughly 18 ounces, and priced at 3,080 yen (US$28.27), the Ballretch is a multifunctional weight which can be used to tone your shoulders, …continue reading


What’s the deal with the big colour-changing cup at Starbucks Japan?

Is the colour change really that great? And what about the straw, does that change colour too? We test it out to find the answers.

It’s all happening here at Starbucks right now, with celebrations in full swing to mark the chain’s 25th anniversary in Japan. That means we’ve been spoilt with specially marked drinkware collections, limited-edition Frappuccinos and now…the arrival of colour-changing cups.

While the four-piece colour-changing cup sets are yet to be released on 19 April, we were lucky enough to find a larger version, with a lid and a straw, hiding out on the counter at our local Starbucks. According to staff, the 709-millilitre (24-ounce) reusable cup went on sale on 14 April, and it’s considerably larger than the cups in the upcoming set, which don’t include a straw and lid.

We didn’t need any convincing to purchase this beauty–in fact we wanted to witness its magical colour-changing ability immediately so we ordered an iced coffee at the same time and asked staff to fill our new cup with it.

The outside of the cup started off with a shade of blue-green that reminded us of famous jewellery brand Tiffany’s, but once our drink had been poured into it, the part filled with cold liquid had turned a lovely shade of pink.

After finding ourselves a table, we peeled off the lid and peered inside. This cup had a much larger capacity than most of the reusable cups currently sold at Starbucks, and while we’d hoped that the straw might possess the same colour-changing qualities as the cup, alas it was still Tiffany blue.


Japanese company creates ultra-compact foldable electric fan

Clever design frees up more room for your winter storage.

As much as we love using electric fans in summer, when the sweat is pouring off us as the Japanese humidity melts its way through our souls, the appliances tend to become a burden over winter, when they take up precious space in our tiny Japanese homes.

Here to solve this problem is Japanese company Yamazen, who’s finally come up with a clever way to break the fan up into separate parts and have it fold down onto itself so that it becomes a third of its usual size.

▼ The DC Motor 30-centimetre High Living Fan YHX-FGD30 is here to change the way we store fans forever.

In its upright state, the fan looks like any other conventional fan, but this one can be adjusted in height from 92 centimetres at its highest position to 23.5 centimetres at its shortest, when it’s ready to be packed away. The “folding” space-saving feature is the result of a clever design that allows for the shaft, cord, and remote control to be stashed away inside the bottom of the base, with the fan section then slotting into the top of the base, to make it look as if it’s been folded on top of itself.

Disassembly is super easy, and the fact that the front of the fan is covered while it’s being stored means you won’t have to worry about dust accumulating on the blades either. Once winter is over and it’s time to save yourself from the sweats again, the fan is just as easy to assemble, requiring just four steps, or three steps if you want to only add one …continue reading


Starbucks’ Colour-Changing Cold Drink Cups arrive in Japan, supporting the LGBT community

New release helps to change the world…in more ways than one.

Japan may have been slow to join the crusade against plastic straws and disposable coffee cups, but now that they’re on board they’ve been going all out with reusable products, especially at Starbucks, where you can now get eco-friendly straws, tumblers, and even…colour changing cups.

While these cups were first released in the U.S. and Canada back in 2019, it’s taken a while for the coffeehouse chain to roll them out on a global scale, with the product appearing in the U.K. late last year, and now, in Japan from 19 April.

▼ The new product is called “Colour Changing Cold Cup Set No Filter“.

Here in Japan, the rainbow of colours appearing in the four-piece set is being used to draw attention to an important cause, with a portion of sales going towards the “Rainbow School Project” which delivers lessons about diversity and LGBT issues to junior and senior high school students.

▼ Each set of cups contains the following four colours: Orange; Pink; Blue; Green.

Once you’ve added a cold beverage to them, they instantly transform, with the body of the yellow cup turning green, the pink cup turning purple, the blue cup turning pink, and the green one becoming orange.

The cups were created to support the ethos of “living in your own way”, and whether you choose to use them at home or work, or outdoors at picnics, they’re sure to attract attention.

▼ The lightweight cups come with their own carry bag for extra convenience.

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