- # 1: Katori-senko, the traditional mosquito repellent and the cute pig incense burner
- 2: Fuurin, the Japanese wind chimes
- 3 Uchiwa and sensu, the Japanese traditional fans
# 1: Katori-senko, the traditional mosquito repellent and the cute pig incense burner
During the summertime in Japan you can smell the delightful smell of incense burning in houses and hotels.
This incense, green and spiral-shaped, is called Katori-Senko and is used as a mosquito repellent. It’s a very natural way to protect yourself against mosquitoes as it’s completely toxin-free.
It’s commonly used for camping and outdoor activities because of its portability.
It’s very easy to use: just place it on a plate or a incense burner called kayariki in Japanese. Lit the incense at one end, and leave to smolder for up to 8 hours!
The most popular shape of kayariki is a cute small pig called kayari-buta (buta meaning pig in Japanese) and it’s a common sight of the Japanese summer.
Katori-Senko often reminds Japanese people of summer, of their grand parents house during the summer vacations when they were kids.
Price: About 350 yens for a box of 10 rolls of incense; the piggy usually costs between 600 and 3000 yens depending on the size, design and maker.
Where to find them: You can find katori-senko in supermarkets, convenience stores and drugstores. During summer you can find the pig incense burner in ceramics shops, souvenirs shops, departments stores.
2: Fuurin, the Japanese wind chimes
The Japanese summer is terribly hot and humid, and the hottest days are hard to cope with even for Japanese people. In such weather, the smallest breeze can feel like a miracle.
Since ancient times, in the summer, Japanese people hang fuurin (wind chimes) at their front door, veranda or balcony. Each time a breeze comes, the wind chime makes a delicate sound, giving a refreshing feeling to the hearer.
Japanese wind chimes are made out of various materials such as glass, copper, and porcelain to which each material creates a different and unique sound.
You can enjoy the sound of the Japanese wind chimes in this relaxing video:
Price: Prices may vary between 800 and 5000 yens depending on the design, material and maker of the wind chimes. A nice one usually costs around 2000 yens.
Where to find them: Interior shops, department stores, Japanese souvenir shops
3 Uchiwa and sensu, the Japanese traditional fans
Despite looking very traditional, fans are still used a lot during the summer by Japanese people to cool down themselves. There are two sorts: the uchiwa and the sensu.
An uchiwa is a fan usually made of bamboo and paper. It is often used during Japanese festivals dances. I comes in a variety of designs, and during the summer you might find some bearing the kanji 祭, which means matsuri, the Japanese traditional festivals. Light and inexpensive, it’s ‘s a great souvenir: in Japan, during the Edo period (1603-1868), people were already buying them as souvenirs for shrines! If you visit Japan during summer, you might be given free plastic uchiwa during events or in the city center as a promotional material.
Price: Most uchiwa are very cheap and you can get pretty decent ones for 100 or 200 yens. But an elegantly decorated one may cost around 2000 yens.
Where to find them: 100 yens shops, Japanese souvenir shops
A sensu is a Japanese folding fan. They usually are made of bamboo and paper or silk. They also come in a variety of designs; shops often display them as ‘folding fans for men’ and ‘folding fans for women’, the ones ‘for women’ usually being more colorful and slightly smaller. The ones you can find in 100 yen shops are nice enough to be brought home as cheap souvenirs for your friends and family.
If you want to master the Japanese elegant manners when using a folding fan, check out our article: How to use your Japanese Folding Fan the Right Way.
Price: Prices vary between 100 and 10000 yens or more! Count about 3000 yens for a beautiful one.
Where to find them: 100 yen shops, department stores, Japanese souvenir shops, folding fans craftsmen shops.