51
4
16

楊枝

Picks

Nihonbashi Saruya is the only specialty store in Japan for yoji (Japanese picks). Established about 300 years ago, it has continuously supplied picks to Japanese people since the Edo era.

In Japan, mass-produced picks made of Japanese white birch are the most popular. However, long ago, picks were made from many different types of trees, including willow, white willow, and deutzia. Saruya picks are made from kuromoji tree wood, which is prized for its flexibility and aromatic scent. Even now, craftsmen hand-carve these picks, one by one.

The store master, Ryota Yamamoto, explains, “Many fans just refer to these picks as kuromoji rather than kuromoji yoji. There’s an attractive quality about kuromoji that can’t be found in any other kind of yoji.

“Let me tell you this,” he continues. “Here’s why we pay so much attention to a small detail like a pick. We believe it shows the spirit of iki.”

Iki is an aesthetic ideal of Japanese commoners regarding what’s chic, cool, and sophisticated in fashion and attitude. While inexpensive, convenient mass-produced yoji may be “good enough” for use, people continue to value cool details. Saruya picks play a role in passing on the iki legacy of style.

However, Nihonbashi Saruya doesn’t just stick to traditional values. This store develops new products while paying scrupulous attention to packaging. Kuromoji picks are used by premier restaurants and are also popular gifts. For example, Samurai Yoji picks may intrigue international visitors. The wrappers display short Edo era samurai expressions in Japanese like Matarei (“Please wait!”) and Korenite gomen (“Goodbye now!”) with English translations. These picks are inexpensive, and they make ideal gifts.

Nihonbashi Saruya
http://www.nihonbashi-saruya.co.jp/

Packaging for picks. From left, Sanbaso (offers congratulations for a good grain harvest), Ooiri (celebrates success in drawing many visitors), Kumadori (a type of kabuki makeup), and Kin-senryo (means both “million dollars” or “big success”). All of these good wishes represent traditional Japanese culture (noh, kabuki, and their performers).

Samurai yoji (picks). 950 yen for 40 kuromoji picks (excluding tax).

Yoji in decorative Japanese wrappers attract attention.

ANREALAGE
アンリアレイジ
Department store basement
デパ地下
Elevator attendants
エレベーターアテンダント
Nishikigoi
錦鯉
Jinrikisha(Rickshaw)
人力車
Soba (Japanese traditional noodles)
日本蕎麦
Gyudon(beef-on-rice bowl)
牛丼
Idol
アイドル
Architecture Street
建築ストリート
Gundam 1/1
ガンダム1/1
Novels of Haruki Murakami
村上春樹の小説
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Mango
マンゴー
Awamori
泡盛
Village of Long Life
長寿の里
Taketomi Island
竹富島
Japan
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Italy
Sengoku Muso
Japan
Neon Genesis EVANGELION
Mexico
Doraemon
The color wizard behind 80s kawaii revival.
Cute community character promotes local charms.
Introducing Japan’s latest arts to the world.
Harajuku girl leads next-generation kawaii.
Modern jikatabi
モダン地下足袋
Secrets of autumn colors
紅葉
Shohekiga
障壁画
Kitchen of Kyoto
錦市場
BRAIN WAVE CAT EARS
cutting-edge tech joins Japan’s “fetish” (moe) culture
GAME BAR
a gathering spot for grownups where old games are available
3D LATTE ART
the ultimate shape of art to come — too cute to drink?
OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
SOBA
蕎麦
SUSHI
寿司
TEMPURA
天婦羅
WASABI
山葵
KOHEI NAWA
YAYOI KUSAMA
TABAIMO
HISASHI TENMYOUYA
NEBUTA MATSURI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
NIIHAMA TAIKO MATSURI
MENBURYU
IAI
居合
KARATEDO
空手
KYUDO
弓道
NOH
FOOD MODEL CRAFTSMAN
食品サンプル職人
KATANA-KAJI
刀鍛冶
SENSHOKU-KA
染織家
EDOKIRIKO
江戸切子職人
GAME CREATOR
GAME CREATOR
GAME CENTER
GAME CENTER
PLAY STATION
PlayStation
SPACE INVADERS
SPACE INVADERS