Gifts from Kyushu

Recently I attended an event in London about Kyushu (九州), Japan’s third largest island. It was a great opportunity to learn more about a part of Japan I haven’t yet visited, and I found it very inspiring. Kyushu has so much to offer – from delicious food to traditional towns, hot springs to nature. It was great to meet representatives from the various parts of the island, and everyone I encountered was really friendly.

In true Japanese style I was lucky enough to receive some gifts, or ‘omiyage’ (souvenirs), from Kyushu to bring home with me. The first is a cute ‘geta‘ (下駄) shaped charm. Geta are traditional Japanese wooden clogs. They are made all over Japan, but I guess Kyushu must produce a lot of them too. this charm is from Kagoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県).

Kyushu crafts

I also got some snacks. The brown one is a kind of long doughnut, and the other one is a candy with a picture of Kumamon (くまモン) on it. Kumamon is Kumamoto Prefecture‘s (熊本県) bear mascot.

Kyushu snacks

There were a lot of different kinds of sake from all over Kyushu available to taste on the night. The ones I tried were delicious! I’m not much of a sake drinker really, but in case I decide to take it up I now have my very own sake cup:

Kyushu crafts

One of my favourite gifts was this beautiful decoration called a Yanagawa-mari. Yanagawa (柳川市) is a city in Fukuoka Prefecture (福岡県), and these decorations are traditional products of this area. The decorations are used for New Year and also the Doll’s Festival on 3rd March (Hinamatsuri / 雛祭り). The different colours in the ball are said to represent the parents’ wish for their child.

Kyushu crafts

Finally, here’s my favourite gift which I won in a business card raffle…

Kyushu crafts

This beautiful glass is from Saga Prefecture (佐賀県), and is made by a company called Hizen Vidro (肥前びーどろ). The company has been making glass since 1852, and is well-known for its glass blowing techniques. Glasses such as this are made without the use of any moulds and with very few tools. Usually a metal pipe is used for glass blowing, but this particular company uses a glass pipe called a ‘tomozao’ instead.

This glass is so beautiful, and looks different each time the light catches it. I’m very lucky to have this precious souvenir from Kyushu in my house.

So, if you go to Kyushu, be sure to leave a little extra space in your suitcase for all the lovely souvenirs you’re going to want to buy!

5 thoughts on “Gifts from Kyushu

  1. Lovely gifts. I like the Temari! 😀
    I’m allergic to Kumamon recently. I just wish it wouldn’t be EVERYWHERE right now. So annoying. Kumamon should stay in Kumamoto! *g*

    The geta are nice. I have a large pair of wooden geta hanging on my wall from Gujo-Hachiman. One of the most famous places for geta! ^__^ (though not in Kyushu, but in Gifu).


  2. I love Kyushu. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times with my students on their school trips. If I ever had to move from Okinawa, I’d go there. I’ve even put a big part of that into my second book. I’m glad to see Kyushu growing in notoriety all over the world!


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