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.

© grape SHOP

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…

© grape SHOP

…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.

<img src="" alt="" width="600" height="639" srcset=" 600w,,150 …continue reading


Even among Japanese convenience stores, the Daily Hot makes this chain especially awesome

People tend to forget about Daily Yamazaki, but this cool feature makes the chain totally worth remembering.

By this point, we’re all pretty aware of the fact that Japan’s convenience stores are treasure troves of tasty treats. But while you can always find something worth munching on at 7-Eleven, Family Mart, or Lawson, the lower-profile chain Daily Yamazaki has something extra special.

Instead of just the standard shelf of shipped-from-a-factory breads and pastries that all Japanese convenience stores have, select branches of Daily Yamazaki have their own attached bakery, called Daily Hot, where they bake bread and offer it fresh out of the oven!

The Daily Hot bread is a self-serve affair. At the bottom of the case are trays and tongs, so just grab whatever pieces you want and bring them all up to the convenience store register to pay and be on your way with your fresh-baked baked goods.

The quality is better than what you get with pre-packaged convenience store breads, and the price is cheaper than what you’d pay at non-convenience store bakeries. With that combination, you can’t really go wrong with anything from Daily Yamazaki’s Daily Hot lineup, but we’ve got four in particular that we’re big fans of, starting with their melon bread (140 yen [US$1.35]). Because it’s fresh from the oven, the Daily Hot melon bread’s top retains a cookie-like crunch, with none of the mushiness that sometimes affects prepackaged varieties.

Likewise, …continue reading


6 Ways To Find Furniture for Your Japanese Apartment

Source: Gaijin Pot

Japan’s initial fees for a new apartment are expensive. While some budget-friendly apartments come furnished, it isn’t the same for most places. You might not even have curtains. Every day, neighbors will get a birds-eye view of you walking around in your empty humble abode.

That’s no way to live! Thankfully, there are lots of places to find furniture in Japan that won’t break the bank.

Here are the six best ways to find furniture that won’t break the bank in Japan.

1. Recycle shops

Photo: George N
Your typical local recycle shop.

Japanese second-hand stores are known as “Recycle shops” and can be found pretty much everywhere. Most will have a sign saying “リサイクル”(Recycle), and you can also recognize them by the product displays outside the front of the store.

There are franchise recycle shops too, like the hilariously named “Hard-off” (primarily electronics and musical instruments) and its sister branch, “Book-off” (books).

Good for: Appliances. Recycle shops are the best place to buy hefty appliances like fridges, washing machines and microwave ovens. A second-hand washing machine will set you back around ¥10,000, which is half the price of what you’d pay for a new one, and usually, they’ll deliver too.

2. Sayonara sales and Classifieds

Sayonara sales are a great way to get furniture on the cheap and help out a fellow foreigner!

Look no further than your fellow ex-pat for a cheap, or sometimes free, deal on second-hand furniture. Since many foreigners live in Japan only temporarily, there’s a constant flow of ‘Sayonara’ (goodbye) sales as people look to sell stuff they don’t want before they leave the country.

Sites like Craigslist …continue reading