39 Lists of Japanese Crafts and Traditional Products,Culture

39 Lists of Japanese Crafts and Traditional Products,Culture

Japanese crafts and traditional products, culture

Japan is a country with a history of 2,000 years. It has even been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest country in the world.Let us introduce you to Japan's unique culture nurtured over its long history.

Daruma doll

daruma doll
daruma doll

Daruma dolls are beloved by many Japanese as ornaments of good luck, and have recently become popular as wish-fulfilling items.Daruma" comes from Daruma Daishi, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Daruma became popular among the general public as the predecessor of the Daruma doll, "kakigaraki-koboushi," which means "rising up from the ground.

In the Edo period (1603-1867), it is said that Daruma as we know it today was created.The reason why Daruma is regarded as a good-luck charm is that the figure of Daruma naturally getting up after being knocked down reminds us of the attitude of not being discouraged by hardships and failures. For this reason, many people believe that Daruma is believed to bring blessings such as family safety, prosperity in business, achievement of goals, fulfillment of great aspirations, protection from evil, and a good harvest.

Japanese sake

sake dassai
asahi syuzo

Sake, also known as SAKE, is an alcoholic beverage made from rice and is also known as rice wine.Sake has a long history, and according to historical books, it has been made as far back as 2,000 years ago. The ingredients are rice, water, and rice malt, and sake production is thought to have begun during the period when rice cultivation was introduced from China.

The reason why sake has become so popular in recent years is that it is an excellent match for Japanese cuisine and other foods, and can be enjoyed as a marriage to a wide variety of dishes.The rich flavor and umami of rice, the clean water of various regions of Japan, and the passion of the craftsmen at each sake brewery make sake a drink loved by people all over the world.

Bonsai tree

bonsai tree
Japan Bonsai Association

Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art form, a hobby that seeks beauty beyond the appearance of plants in nature by growing plants in pots in the mountains and fields.The word "bonsai" is described in a poem from the mid-14th century, and the original form of bonsai can be found in the Kasuga Gongen Kenki, an illustrated scroll from 1309.

One of the reasons for the popularity of bonsai is that it offers a sense of nature in a compact pot. The harmony created by natural and artificial beauty is calming to the viewer. Bonsai has also been shown to reduce stress, promote creativity, and relax the mind, making it one of the most popular hobbies among people.

Bento box

bento box

Bento refers to food that is brought to eat on the go. In Japan, people bring rice, meat, fish, vegetables, etc. to school or work in a box called a bento box.The history of bento is said to date back to about 1,200 years ago, when it was originally prepared for aristocrats to eat lunch outside when they went to see cherry blossoms or to pick autumn leaves.Some say that the word "bento" was popularized by Oda Nobunaga, a feudal lord in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600). In Japan, some women make bento decorated with anime characters, called "kyaraben”.


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Manga is a story-like work with illustrations and dialogues, and uses panel division, background depiction, onomatopoeic printing, and speech balloons.Manga is said to have originated in the 12th~13th century in a work called "Choju giga" (caricatures of birds and animals). The development and method of reading stories by anthropomorphizing animals and expanding picture scrolls has led to modern manga.

The reason for the popularity of Japanese manga is that the touch of the works is fine and delicate, with excellent expressive power.One of the characteristics of Japanese manga is not only the interesting stories, but also the detailed expressions of the characters, which makes it easy to become emotionally involved and highly immersed in the story.In Japan and many other countries, many works such as Oni-no-Blade, Naruto, Jutsu Line, Chainsaw Man, and One Piece are well-loved.



Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment, and in modern times it is often worn for ceremonies, parties, and award ceremonies.In Japan, you can rent a kimono and explore the city in Asakusa, Kamakura, Kyoto, and other cities throughout the country. The history of the kimono is long, and it is said that the modern kimono style was born in the Heian period (794-1185).

It was during this period that diversity in kimono culture began to emerge, and it was also during this period that the junihitoe and sokutai, which were worn mainly by aristocrats, were born.Today, kimonos are often worn on special occasions, and the meanings attached to them differ depending on the kimono pattern. Four typical kimono patterns that are considered auspicious are the crane, the phoenix, the pine, bamboo, and plum, and the kanzemizu. There are also a wide variety of other patterns such as cherry blossoms, peonies, camellias, and other floral patterns, as well as animal patterns such as butterflies and rabbits, so it is fun to think of combinations.



Yukata is another traditional Japanese garment. Yukata is a type of kimono (Wafuku) and originally originated in the Heian period (794-1185) when it was used by aristocrats as a kimono (yukata) to be worn when taking a bath. The main difference between the yukata and the kimono is the time and occasion when it is worn.

In modern times, yukata are mainly worn in summer, and are often worn during summer events such as summer festivals and fireworks displays.Compared to kimonos, yukata are lighter and more breathable, making them easier to move around in and cooler. Kimonos can be worn throughout the year, but we recommend choosing a yukata for situations where you will be moving around in summer.

Beckoning cat

Beckoning cat

The beckoning cat is one of the most beloved figurines in modern times, characterized by its cute silhouette of a cat raising one (or both) hands.In fact, they have different meanings depending on the hand they raise, the color, and the item they are carrying. For example, if the right hand is raised, it is said to bring money, and if the left hand is raised, it is said to invite people. The beckoning cat is said to have originated in the Edo period (1603-1867), and its popularity spread from the culture of the townspeople of Edo to the rest of the country. Widely known in beckoning cat folklore is the story of Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya, Tokyo.

Naotaka Ii, a warlord of the time, was on his way back from a falconry trip when he passed by Gotokuji Temple and saw a cat beckoning him to come inside. As soon as Naotaka started to take a rest inside the temple, the sky became cloudy and a thunderstorm broke out. It is written that while escaping the difficulty of the lightning strike, Ii Naotaka, who listened to the sermon of the abbot of Gotokuji, felt the cause and effect of Buddha and renovated Gotokuji as the family temple of the Ii family.

Hand fan (sensu)

sensu hand fan

The folding fan is one of Japan's proudest traditional crafts. There are two main uses: the first is to fan oneself to keep cool, and the second is as a decorative item. Folding fans were used as a necessity for formal wear by aristocrats during the Heian period (794-1185) and were also an indispensable and important tool in traditional Japanese culture, such as Noh, dance, and tea ceremonies. Even today, fans are compact and easy to carry, and are used as a popular item to keep cool. Because of their delicate design, they are also fashionable to display at home for viewing.

Japanese umbrella(wagasa)

wagasa japanese umbrella

Wagasa is another traditional Japanese craft, and we see it used in special occasions. For example, when traveling to Kyoto or Kamakura to enjoy the ancient capital, a Wagasa along with a kimono is an item that will help you appreciate the ancient capital even more. The beauty of its appearance, the fragrance of the Wagasa, and the sense of the extraordinary can be said to be the unique charm of the Wagasa.

The history of the Wagasa umbrella is said to have been introduced from China in the Heian period (794-1185), and as time went by, it was incorporated into Japanese dance, Kabuki, and tea ceremonies. Today, it has evolved into a unique style that combines traditional beauty and has become popular among many people for its fashion and design. In Japan, Gifu Prefecture and Kyoto are the most famous places for Wagasa.


Matcha tea bowl

Matcha is a type of green tea that is aromatic and has a deep flavor. It is very healthy and rich in nutrients such as theanine, catechins, and dietary fiber. Matcha is unique in that it is a made-in-Japan drink that is loved in Japan and other countries around the world. Such matcha originated in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) when Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, brought back tea seeds from China. In 1211, he published his book "Kocha Yoseiki," which describes the "Matcha Law," which is similar to the modern way of brewing tea, and has continued to the present day. The three major production centers of matcha in Japan are Kyoto, Aichi, and Shizuoka Prefectures, and in some areas, visitors can experience picking tea and making matcha tea.


tatami (Japanese style room)

Tatami is a flooring material made from Igusa (rush grass) and has been used in accordance with the Japanese climate and lifestyle. The raw material, igusa, absorbs moisture, has a relaxing effect due to its aroma, and purifies the air. Tatami originated in the Nara period (710-794), when Emperor Shomu used it as a bed on a wooden platform. It is said that the structure of tatami as we know it today began in the Heian period (794-1185), and from the Kamakura period (1192-1333) to the Muromachi period (1333-1573), tatami began to be used to cover an entire room. Although the number of houses with wooden flooring is increasing in modern Japan, Tatami is still very popular.

Shoji (sliding door)

shoji japanise style sliding door

A shoji is one of the fittings used in Japanese houses, and refers to a door with a lattice-shaped wooden frame, one side of which is covered with shoji paper made of Japanese paper. They are used to separate rooms and are popular because of their natural brightness and warmth. The word "shoji" has been a part of Japanese life since the Heian period (794-1185), as in the Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari). In the Sankeiki, a diary written at that time, it is written that Emperor Antoku made a hole in a shoji. It may be a childish desire to poke holes in shoji screens in any age.

Kitchen Knife

japanese kitchen knife
Japanese kitchen knife

A kitchen knife is a knife used for cutting meat, fish, vegetables, etc. when cooking. In Japan, a kitchen knife is called "the soul of a chef," and it has even been said that one can tell a chef's skill by looking at his or her knife. There are many types of kitchen knives, such as thin-blade knives, dema-edged knives, sashimi knives, santoku knives, and so on. A good kitchen knife is said to have good sharpness, not to bend, and to have tenacity so that the blade does not chip. In other words, a knife that combines sharpness and impact resistance is called one of the best. Although kitchen knives can be purchased at supermarkets at a low price, knives that are handmade one by one by craftsmen have completely different sharpness and durability. Cutting food with a sharp knife will definitely make your daily cooking more enjoyable!

Japanese drums (wadaiko)


Wadaiko is a type of percussion instrument that is struck with a bachi to produce sound. There are various theories about its origin, but it is said that drums with stretched skins have already existed since the Jomon period. Throughout history, taiko drums have been used in Shinto rituals and festivals, in the arts such as Kabuki and Noh, and in the Warring States period as a camp drum for leading the army. One of the reasons why taiko is so popular is that the low, heavy "thump" of the taiko echoes through your body, and you feel the sound with your whole body. It is important to note that rhythmic drumming is a great way to relieve stress and refresh the body and mind.

Buddha images

A Buddha image is a sculpted or painted representation of the Buddha. Buddhism was born in India around the 5th century B.C. and came to Japan from Baekje on the Korean Peninsula via the Eurasian continent. The Chronicles of Japan states that a gilt bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni was presented to the then emperor by the king of Baekje around the 7th century. Although Shintoism has been a firmly established belief in Japan since ancient times, it is an extremely rare country where Buddhism and Shintoism coexisted in a form called "Shinbutsu Sharyo. The most famous Buddhist statues in Japan are the Great Buddha of Nara and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Please visit and worship them when you visit Japan.


Lacquerware is a traditional Japanese craft that is made by coating a wood or ceramic base with lacquer*. It has long been used by the Japanese as tea bowls, chopsticks, and lunch boxes. Lacquer itself has been used since the Jomon period (710-794), and by the Asuka and Nara periods (710-794), when Buddhism was introduced to Japan, lacquer was widely used for Buddhist ritual utensils and temples. Lacquerware is characterized by its durability, water resistance, and antibacterial properties, but its beauty is the most important characteristic. It is also very elegant to change the tableware used for everyday meals to create a different dining experience. One thing to note is that lacquerware cannot be used in a microwave oven. The high temperature expands the lacquer and the fabric, causing it to crack and peel. Lacquerware is also a beautiful tableware. Please use it carefully. *Urushi lacquer: Sap extracted from the trunk of the lacquer tree.


Japanese pottery

Ceramic is a general term for items made by kneading and firing clay or stone, and is also called pottery. In Japan, Arita/Imari-yaki, Hasami-yaki, Kutani-yaki, Mino-yaki, and Mashiko-yaki are well known. Ceramics are divided into pottery and porcelain, with the main difference being the clay used as the raw material. While pottery is made of kaolin, a raw material, and fired at low temperatures (900 to 1300 degrees Celsius), porcelain is made of feldspar clay and fired at high temperatures (1200 to 1400 degrees Celsius).

Although it is difficult to distinguish between the two at a glance, pottery is characterized by its soft appearance and dull sound when played with fingers, while porcelain is characterized by its thin, cold feel and high sound when played with fingers. Unique ceramics are also sold today, and some enthusiasts collect them as collections due to their high design quality.

Kiriko glass

Kiriko glass

Kiriko glass is a decorative glass processing method and all products made with this method (faceted glass). Edo kiriko and Satsuma kiriko are representative examples of Kiriko glasses. Both are characterized by the exquisite workmanship of the craftsmen and extremely beautiful patterns. The way to distinguish them is that Edo kiriko is sharp and clear with contrasting colors, while Satsuma kiriko is characterized by the transparent and gradient blurring at the mouth of the cup. There is also a difference in the historical background: Edo kiriko was born in the town people's culture, while Satsuma kiriko was developed under the leadership of the Satsuma clan. Incidentally, Edo kiriko is not limited to glasses; there are also brands of rings and necklaces that are gaining popularity.


fireworks in Japan

Fireworks are enjoyed as a summer tradition in Japan. They are often set off during summer festivals and events. It was not until the Edo period (1603-1867) that fireworks came to be appreciated in Japan. The fireworks became popular among shoguns and feudal lords after Tokugawa Ieyasu, a feudal lord in the Warring States period, saw fireworks set off by the Chinese at that time. It is said that fireworks in Japan were originally intended for the repose of souls, consolation for the dead, and to drive away evil spirits. Some countries in the world prohibit fireworks at home, in parks, or on beaches, but in Japan, you can enjoy hand-held fireworks very close to home. (Some local ordinances have been established, so you need to check the local ordinances.)


Kendama is a wooden toy that is enjoyed by catching balls tied to a string with a stick at the end. The original kendama toy was introduced to Japan in the Edo period (1603-1868), and was later named "Nichigetsu Ball" by Hamatsugu Egusa in the Taisho period (1912-1926), becoming the prototype for the modern kendama. Kendama is a toy that is loved all over the world and attracts many users because of its design and the variety of techniques it can be used for.

Japanese top (Koma)

Dokugaku is a type of toy that is also popular in Japan. It is believed to have existed in Japan as early as the Heian period (794-1192), and it was during the Edo period (1603-1868) that various types of dokugaku appeared, including hand-turned and thrown dokugaku. The basic type of dokugaku art that has spread throughout Japan today is called "Hakata Dokugaku. The wooden dokuraku has a central rod with an iron core driven into its center, and is characterized by its strong rotational force and its ability to keep spinning for a long time. In modern times, you can see people playing with it during the New Year's holidays while enjoying family gatherings.

Bamboo Dragonfly

The bamboo-copter is a traditional Japanese toy that is played with by shaving bamboo into a propeller shape, spinning it with both hands, and sending it flying into the air. There are various theories about the origin of the bamboo-copter, but according to one theory, a similar wooden product was excavated from the ruins of the Nagaya-ou residence in the Nara period (710-794), suggesting that it may have been a toy from ancient times. Since it is easy to play with, many children have played with it.


Menko is a type of toy played by slapping small cards on the ground and using the momentum to flip over the opponent's cards. Menco is said to have its roots in "Anaichi*," which became popular among the aristocracy during the Heian period (794-1185), and is said to have spread among the general public during the Edo period (1603-1868). However, in the Edo period, the game became more of a gambling game and was banned by the shogunate in the past. Today, it is not seen very often, but it is popular among some collectors.

Bamboo Craft

bamboo craft

Bamboo crafts are processed products made by processing bamboo or weaving bamboo strips. It is widely loved by modern people for its baskets, colanders, and fashionable ornaments. Bamboo crafts have a long history, with bamboo tools being excavated from Jomon-era ruins. During the Heian period (794-1185), bamboo crafts such as chashaku (tea ladle) and chasen (tea whisk) were beloved by tea masters and became indispensable tools for the tea ceremony. The exquisite bamboo craftsmanship produced by Japanese artisans is extremely beautiful and practical, and blends well with everyday life. In addition to practical items, art using bamboo is also attracting attention, and Mr. Chikuunsai Tanabe is attracting attention as a bamboo artist.

Amulets (Omamori)

An amulet is a lucky charm in the form of a person's wish, such as to ward off bad luck or bring good fortune. It is said that wearing it at all times brings good fortune. There are various theories as to the origin of amulets, such as the theory that people used to wear a kagatama as an amulet to ward off evil during the Jomon period, or that around the 6th century, when Buddhism was introduced to Japan, temples began to distribute amulets. Even in modern Japan, they are used at special times to pray for success in entrance examinations, for safe delivery, for daily safety, and for good fortune, among others. Since many of them are easy to carry and stylish in design, we recommend that you give them as gifts to your loved ones.


japanese art of flower arrangement ikebana

Ikebana is a work of art created by arranging flowers and plants in a container. Ikebana is popular among people who want to add color to a room or relax, as it allows them to feel close to beautiful nature. Although flower arrangement and ikebana may seem similar, flower arrangement is considered a discipline that trains one's mental and human abilities through the act of arranging flowers. Ikebana, on the other hand, is characterized by the freedom to design flowers and plants as one sees fit and to enjoy their beauty. It is also known as an art form, and exhibitions are sometimes held. Ikebana can be easily practiced at home. It is sure to liven up any room.

Printmaking (Hanga)

Printmaking is a technique of creating a painting by engraving or working a pattern on a wooden or metal material, applying ink, and pressing it onto paper. In Japan, printmaking is sometimes taught as part of school education during elementary school, in which students are taught to carve designs from wooden boards with an engraving knife. Woodblock printing, the original form of printmaking, is also characterized by its long history, beginning with character woodblocks that were introduced from the Baekje Dynasty. There are also hands-on classes in Japan for those who are interested.

Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi dolls are widely known as souvenirs throughout Japan. The oldest known kokeshi doll is said to be a pagoda used in the Hyakumanto Darani, a Buddhist scripture dating back to the Nara period (1,300 years ago). Over time, it was during the Edo period (1603-1867) that it began to spread among the general public. Kokeshi dolls began to spread as souvenirs among hot-spring cure customers, and have continued to the present day. Kokeshi dolls have gained popularity among collectors and fans, and are known as "kokeshi girls" and "kokeshi women" in Japan. Naruko (Miyagi Prefecture), Togatta (Miyagi Prefecture), and Tsuchiyu (Fukushima Prefecture) are especially famous as the three major kokeshi production centers in Japan.


Kabuki is one of the Japanese performing arts and can be seen even today in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other cities. The stories performed along with music and dance thrill and entertain the audience. The history of Kabuki is as old as 400 years, and is said to have originated in "Kabuki Odori" started in Kyoto in 1603 by a woman named Akuni from Izumo. Over time, various stories came to be performed, and kabuki became a popular form of entertainment. Since it is performed regularly in Japan, it will surely be a good memory for you when you visit Japan.


Origami is a type of traditional Japanese game that is enjoyed by forming animals, plants, and household utensils. The origins of origami are actually not clearly known, but it is believed to have developed from "orikata," a method of folding paper to wrap gifts and letters, during the Muromachi period (1336-1573) as a courtly custom of the samurai class. The greatest appeal of origami is that one sheet of paper can be used to express and play with a variety of shapes. Origami is a modern art form that has been attracting attention and is loved by many people. In Japan, there is a type of origami called "Senbazuru" (a thousand folded paper cranes), which is sometimes folded to pray for long life, happiness, disaster, or recovery from illness.

Calligraphy (Syodou)

Calligraphy is the art of expressing beauty by writing characters on paper dipped in ink using a writing instrument called a brush. Originally developed in China, calligraphy was introduced to Japan during the Asuka period (710-794). At the time, it was considered an essential culture for aristocrats and warriors, but as time progressed, it spread to all Japanese people. Calligraphy, in which each character is written with concentration and thought, has become popular because it is highly artistic and sharpens one's intellect and sensitivity.


Suiboku-ga is a type of painting in which the artist uses only one color, ink, to express himself using only shades of color and the touch of a brush. Suiboku-ga is characterized by the artist's ability to visualize the spiritual beauty, vitality, and characteristics of nature that he or she feels in his or her heart from the subject matter, and to express them in a simple and concise manner. Since the painting is done on a white canvas, effective use of margins is one of the key points to enhance the artistic quality of the work.


Furoshiki is a simple square cloth made of various fibers such as cotton and silk. In Japan, it has long been used to wrap and carry things. In recent years, furoshiki have become increasingly fashionable and coordinated with a wide variety of designs. Because of its simple shape, furoshiki can be used as a bag or as an interior decoration item for sofas and tables, regardless of the item it is used to wrap.


fuji ukiyoe

Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art form that is said to have been started by Hishikawa Shigenobu in the early Edo period. It is characterized by the free and bold composition of its depictions of ordinary people's lives, landscapes, Kabuki actors and women of the time, and other subjects. The most famous Ukiyo-e works are "Fugaku Sanjurokkei Triumphant and Fine Weather" by Katsushika Hokusai and "Miyagawa no Watashi (The Passing of Miyagawa)" by Utagawa Hiroshige. Ukiyo-e can be enjoyed more by learning about its creators and history, so it is recommended to learn more about the surrounding knowledge.


Washi is a type of paper used in Japan since ancient times. Washi is made from a limited amount of raw materials and is handmade one sheet at a time, which means that productivity is low.


Futons are a type of bedding that has been used on tatami mats since ancient times. There are two main types of futons: shikibuton (mattress) and kakefuton (quilt). In Japan, people tend to change futons according to the season, creating a comfortable sleeping environment with breathability and heat retention.

Wind chimes

Wind chimes are still used today as a tool to create a sense of coolness in Japan. Made of glass, they are placed along eaves or indoors to make a cool "chirin-chirin" sound when the wind blows, easing the summer heat. Wind chimes were originally used for divination, and over time they came to be used to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that the area where the sound could be heard was considered a sanctuary, and that it protected people from misfortune. Wind bells that play a cool sound are made in a variety of designs, so it is fun to collect them.


Chopsticks are one of the tableware used for eating. It is said that chopsticks were first used in Japan from the Yayoi period to the Asuka period, and it is highly likely that they were used as sacred utensils rather than tools for eating. It is thought that chopsticks then spread throughout Japan over time and became widespread. Today, they are made of various materials such as wood, metal, and bamboo, and are used in many parts of the world.

Japan, with its history and diverse culture

The traditional Japanese crafts and items introduced here are just a few examples of the culture and items that have been handed down from generation to generation. They have been handed down to the present day based on the foundations of our predecessors, nurtured with the changing seasons and the beauty of nature. Thank you for reading to the end.