Saitama (埼玉) is one of the great places to explore in Japan. It is a landlocked prefecture in the country in which a large number of residents commute each day. Besides being blessed with great sightseeing spots, it is also well developed when it comes to its transportation system. If you ever visit the place one of these days, buy original souvenirs which you can brag about and share with others. Here are 4 of the traditional souvenirs in Saitama which are definitely perfect for giveaways.
Yoga is a popular form of health and fitness discipline in Japan. It is taking up a huge chunk of the country’s fitness market. Despite the busy everyday lives of people, a lot of them have incorporated meditation into their routine to de-stress. There are some companies that actually include meditation in their work schedules in order to take care of their employees’ mental health.
In order to execute yoga properly, a yoga mat is needed. In Saitama, a tatami specialty shop known as Miyazaki Tatami Ten (宮崎畳店) is highly recognized in the country and sells yoga tatami mats. This is a pride of the people living in the area as their yoga tatami mat offers excellent quality. The mat that they produce is very convenient as you can just roll it up and carry it anywhere. It is very easy to store and can also be used as home decorations or even as rugs. It is nicely made that you can relax on it while doing yoga as it is made of natural soft rush. Even if you’re not doing yoga but feel tired, you may just lie down on it. The creator of this tatami mat is hoping that people will be sincerely interested in it even in the coming modern years.
Japanese Aizome (藍染) or indigo dyeing is a traditional craft in Japan which is popular in the northern part of Saitama. It is also a highly appreciated craft in other countries due to the deep blue color that is being produced in the products. It has been practiced for more than 200 years and produces such beauty that can only be achieved by hand dyeing. It has been treasured since ancient times and is now gaining a reputation for jeans, sweaters, and the cute indigo bear called “Ai Bear” by the company, Kojima Senshoku.
The Ai Bear is made of fabric whose threads have been dyed with different colors using the Aizome technique and have been woven together into one cloth. It is such a cute item which can be used as a decoration or as a souvenir to friends. Since this item is entirely handmade, each bear is uniquely different from the rest.
The Aizome technique is also said to be popular in making the Kendo uniform that is used nationwide. The purpose of making these products until today is to let people know and learn more about Japanese Aizome.
The Koibumi is a letter set that is made from Hosokawa washi paper (細川紙). It was developed by Tsukurie (合同会社つくりえ), a company that is popular for selling handmade crafts and items. The set comes in a box made of Kasukabe paulownia wood (春日部桐箱), which has been around for 300 years. It has a glossy finish due to its excellent quality. It is also bug proof and mold proof. Inside the box is a set of rolled washi paper paired with a brush pen which you can only find in Saitama. The rolled paper can be cut in the size that you want.
Some of these boxes come with envelopes and Ogawa washi paper (小川和紙) refills. Ogawa washi handmade paper has been broadly used in Japan since the Edo period (江戸時代). It has originally been made in the region of Saitama and has been existing for more than 1,300 years. Hosokawa washi paper is a type of Ogawa washi paper made from a mulberry tree called “kouzo (楮).” It has a very elegant and interesting appearance which reminds so much of the tree. This is a great way for writers to convey their true feelings to their loved ones. It is also very easy and convenient to use and can be given as a great souvenir.
The Samurai Bottle Helmet is popular in Saitama. It has been originally made by Tadayasu Company (株式会社 忠保) in order to give a reminiscent way of honoring the work of Japanese warriors during the Warring States period (戦国時代). The process of making this is carefully done in order to infuse both Japanese culture and spirit. This product is something worth treasuring as it can last a lifetime.
Aside from functioning as bottle caps, the Samurai Bottle Helmets can also be used as decorations and souvenirs, too. While enjoying a glass of whisky, you can just gaze at the armor and appreciate its beauty. Popular warriors depicted as Samurai Bottle Helmets are the following: Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), Oda Nobunaga (織田信長), Date Masamune (伊達政宗), Sanada Yukimura (真田幸村), and Uesugi Kenshin (上杉謙信). Since they have been elegantly made by hand, the caps closely resemble the real thing. These miniature helmets have been created with so much emotions that make them a great keep.
For unique souvenirs that you can give to your loved ones, this is probably a plus. Its detailed craftsmanship will surely wow every person who receives it.
Don’t be contented in visiting Saitama without getting any of these ideal souvenirs. Many of these are traditional so you can get to know the historical background of the place. These are originally made in the country so you can never find any of them elsewhere. Grab the chance to enjoy the area’s scenic beauty while getting the most memorable souvenirs as well.
Apart from being known by many tourists abroad, Saitama is also a great place for people to interact and socialize at. Besides being scenically blessed, it has a rich culture that is worth sharing to every visitor. If you’re heading out to Saitama one of these days, do not forget to bring home some beautiful memories in the form of these traditional souvenirs.