50
3
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.

Nambu ironware
南部鉄器
Tenugui (Japanese towels)
手拭
Department store basement
デパ地下
Wrapping
ラッピング
Character bento
キャラ弁
Japanese pub
居酒屋
Karaoke
カラオケ
Paper fortune
おみくじ
Monja
もんじゃ
Architecture Street
建築ストリート
Novels of Haruki Murakami
村上春樹の小説
Yakatabune
屋形船
Shiisaa
シーサー
Mangroves
マングローブ
Public market
公設市場
Taketomi Island
竹富島
Japan
Final Fantasy VI
Thailand
Summer Wars
Brazil
Final Fantasy VI
Japan
(Original)
I want to become Hello Kitty, the icon of Japan.
Toybox kawaii shop shows people power.
Harajuku fashion is a way to express myself.
How global fans see Japan: kawaii heaven.
Cool terrace in Kyoto summer
納涼床
Uchimizu
打ち水
Inspiration of Buddha Statues
仏像
Shohekiga
障壁画
VACUUM TUBE HEADPHONES
a key item to bridge dreams and reality
KOBE TETSUJIN 28-GO
mega-size robot who saves the peace in Kobe city
AKIRA BIKE
enthusiasts create a dream machine from the world of Otomo’s AKIRA
OTAKU CAMERA
the app that makes anyone a manga character
WHISKY
ウイスキー
RAMEN
ラーメン
SUKIYAKI
すき焼き
WASABI
山葵
Nerhol
HISASHI TENMYOUYA
KOHEI NAWA
YAYOI KUSAMA
NEBUTA MATSURI
AWA ODORI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
SANJA MATSURI
KYUDO
弓道
KENDO
剣道
KARATEDO
空手
JUDO
柔道