Koyudo was the last planned manufacture visit during my Kumano adventure. If you aren’t yet a happy owner of a Koyudo brush, you may be wondering if they are really clever or if they are just here to be cute…
When you see very fun and cute brushes you don’t necessarily associate them with efficiency or great quality, you throw a suspicious look at them and wait for others to step first … Am I right ? 😉
I was apprehensive until I tried them, (thank you Nikoleta)… and after my first order I was so pleasantly surprised that I needed to try more… then the situation got out of control but I am no good at showing self-control anyway and I never will 😀 As a result, today Koyudo have a special place in my heart – and my wallet…
I sent them an email asking if I could visit their manufacture, they simply replied “Please come to Koyudo. It is waiting.” OK…. so I guess I should just go there and knock at their door, right ?
Actually I was a bit concerned because although the told me they were waiting I wasn’t sure they would speak English or that I would be arriving at the right place or who I would meet. Koyudo communications don’t always appear the most friendly since they are kept to their minimum but beware, this is not because they are not friendly, as you will see, just like their brushes they are insanely sweet and funny. If the language wasn’t a barrier you would be amazed by their energy and their kindness. Believe me, they are just on the mysterious side because there is a language barrier that is sometimes a blocking point. On the other hand, you can’t really blame them, they do the effort to offer international shipping despite that barrier and they really try their best. Just remember that even though sometimes it’s a painful long wait for your ordered brushes to be made, rest assured, the pain is worth the wait.
I had to meet them at 2:30pm, when we knocked at the door I was still with my friend Yumie but she was going to leave, Yumie spoke to them in Japanese and I just prayed for them to remember I had an appointment. Well, guess what ? They certainly hadn’t forgotten about it, they welcomed me like a vip queen 🙂 they were excited like little bees and I was blown away, I felt so much happiness and movement going on around me that I was overwhelmed, I didn’t know who I was meeting, who they were exactly… There is no way I can remember their names, I did ask them by email so when I’ll get their reply I will update this post if I made a mistake. My apologies for that 🙂
When I arrived, the manager came to say hello, Mr Seiji Uematsu. Then they suggested we took the car and went to the manufacture.
It’s not at the same location, just a short car ride from the offices but when we got there the manufacture was funny and cute, like a little pink box… 😀
In a way, their personalities fit very well with the brand, you have no idea what to expect and when you get to know them you are in awe 🙂
Koyudo has been established in 1979 and today they produce more than 100’000 pieces a month. When you walk along their production site you see them very calm but very active, concentrated, they told me their cat’s paw is hand-sculpted and to make one it takes 2 days… They have several type of goat hair, some brushes are softer than others, it will depend on the model and the function. One of the very first brushes I got from them is the “White Mushroom“, looks like heaven, feels like angel hair. If I take the brush and do a survey on the street, I don’t think : 1) they would believe it’s goat 2) they would stop patting it !
It’s all very clean and organized, I was happy to be able to see them at work but every time I was spotting new brushes I wanted to run, get close to them and check out those brushes !
They also manufacture calligraphy brushes but what makes them stand out is their creativity, funny shapes with extreme good quality and material, all that combined together for our wildest dreams 😛
I was driven to the manufacture in this car with the Koyudo advert at the back, it felt surreal 😀 I was telling to myself “omg I am in a Koyudo car!!!”
After the manufacture visit, we came back to their office, in the next picture -I hope I am not mistaken-, is Nakatani. She was smiling all the time, making sure I was fine, so energetic and funny. Shame I couldn’t speak Japanese because I was really sad not to be able to ask them many questions and to talk more in details about their brushes and also about themselves.
If you don’t think they could be touching with just a simple message… well think again :
Nakatani handed me this message just before she had to leave, she didn’t speak English, obviously she managed to write it while I was having tea with her colleagues. I found that really sweet and I am sure anyone would appreciate this 🙂
So I was sitting there with them, drinking tea and playing with their beautiful brushes, how could that not be paradise for a brush lover ? I didn’t know where to look, I wanted to hold them all at once 😀 I needed at least two days in front of this cabinet, but I had only minutes… well, it looked like minutes… but I may have been there hours…
I saw many brushes that I hadn’t seen before, I told you before that I was going to be a nice girl and be wise and not buy many brushes during my trip… yeah… well that didn’t happen. I was naughty, a more evil version of the Gollum, the only limit to my purchase was my budget because if I could I would have left with the contents of the whole cabinet (and more).
Some more beauties…
The material is just the best, you cannot imagine it can get any better at all, since I love long handle brushes I think that if they had made them with longer handles it would even be better for me. It’s probably my only regret.
I want so many of these ! I had a second brain crash when I had to chose which ones I could take with me, the main problem was also that some were not even available yet, therefore I had to give up on them.
Kabuki world… maybe you don’t really like kabukis, since I discovered the “White Mushroom” and some of their Kabuki beauties I do… Just keep in mind that not all have the same softness, some are softer than others.
When I was leaving I saw Mr Kawasaki working on the packaging… I just wanted to stay there and play with every single brush ! Wherever I looked I could see brushes 🙂
Mr Nishimoto from Koyudo asked me if I had something planned for the evening, since I was free of course, they took me out for dinner ! We were 5, Mr Nishimoto, Mr Kawasaki, Katou, Reina and me. I was supposed to take care of myself in this typical restaurant, prepare my food, cook it, but I had no clue what to do, so at the end they had to cook for me 😀
Here with Reina on the left and Katou on the right. Reina is Katou’s daughter. I loved to talk to Reina, she was explaining and showing me on her phone what music she loved and what she loved to do on her freetime, she dances hip hop… Korean hip hop of course… ! we had so much fun, she goes to school in Hiroshima so she joined us for dinner, Mr Nishimoto was translating and I enjoyed so much our evening.
Katou works at Koyudo, I cannot even describe how kind she was, how caring, always making sure I was all right. I will never forget them !
The pics have been taken with the phone so the quality is terrible and just a few were saved 🙁
So… onto the brushes… because you may want to see what came with me ?
As you can imagine, I left with a few brushes… I was given a big discount on some of them, that’s why I could afford so many.
These are the ones that are (or were) officially available. The Mickey brush is not available anymore but I wanted it for a long long time, unfortunately when I first placed my order some months ago they told me it was not available for export (Walt Disney regulations). My first brush question was “Can I buy the Mickey one ?” I love it so much, the quality is stunning and the hair, although at the outside it looks to be thicker hair, it is incredibly soft, does not poke at all, I am delighted.
The BP018 is the kind of blush brushes you just want to have. It has been on my shopping cart for ages but my cart was always too full so I had to chose. This time when I saw it in person, I couldn’t let it go !
The BP036 is a must have too, same softness than the Shu Uemura 5R. For detailed crease work or placing of product, no fall out whatsoever, very pleasant on delicate skin. Seriously, go for it if you are looking for this kind of brush.
The Fu-Pa01 is the white version of the first black Fu-Pa01, although the black one is very soft, the white one is softer, appropriate for liquid foundation, the hair seems at first too soft (silk-like) for blending foundation but it actually works very well , I don’t need to finish the application with a more rough one to really give an airbrushed finish. Specially at this moment since I am having little health problems, well basically it’s just migraines but very very painful where I can’t even touch the skin on my face, applying make up with extreme soft brushes is the only way I can manage a make up routine and I am so lucky I have the softest 🙂
These are the brushes that are not available right now, the top one is the LSY901, then there are two little ones with a special flower design. If they become available I’ll let you know.
As you can see the blush brush is similar to the one from their set but it’s not the same, I don’t know which one I prefer yet, if I had to choose I think I would prefer the head of the BP018 (denser) and the handle of the red one.
I can share with you some pics of their catalog, just for you to browse, if you have any specific question about the brushes in the pics below, just tell me in the comments, I have plenty of these brushes and I may be able to help if you need some precise info.
I apologize for the quality of the pics, my migraines are not helping and I don’t have the courage and energy of taking them again, but I still wanted to share this beautiful adventure with you.
That’s it for the manufacture visits… I hope it was interesting for you, for me it was a life-changing trip.
After this post I’ll have a lot of reviews to publish ! Not only the products I have bought in Japan but some holy grails that I have been using recently 😉
Oh my gaaaaaaaah!!! I want them ALL!! O_O Sorry to hear about your migraines Sonia. 🙁 Oh and I responded to your message on FB. I didn’t see it until yesterday!
No worries Bea, I am not often there anyway 🙂
I’ll be fine… will see the doc today 🙂
Oh my goodness, brush overload! Lol. It’s sad to read the final chapter but I cannot wait for your brush-making post with specifics on how brushes are made. These posts make my day sometimes and they are such a pleasure to read, thank you!
I also thank you for introducing me to Koyudo, they are innovative in design but they do not sacrifice quality or efficiency! So much so, I have two of the grey squirrel fu-pa14 – it is my favorite Koyudo brush. It feels much more expensive than it was!
I have the BP018 and although it isn’t a dense brush which I prefer, it really works on pigmented blushes and sheer ones too! I will probably place another order from CDJapan but I am running out of options since I have bought so many already, I really hope they expand the choices on their site! Hope everything is going well for you!
they do have ideas and as you see other models we do not see online, I wish they do it ! They will read us here so they know we are waiting for more 🙂
Indeed when you think at what you can get at the counters and the price of this fu-pa14, it’s really worth it.
When I have visitors and they see the Koyudo brushes, they all get addicted !
Oh, Sonia! How lovely – and i’ve been building a cart with Koyudo as well, since reading about them here :).
I’ve been admiring/coveting the cute shapes and colours of the Koyudo collection since i read one of your posts way back when – i’m so glad to know the quality is on par to the cuteness!
I hope your migraine goes away too – i get them as well, they’re no fun at all :(.
Thank you Twyla, it will, I am now under antibiotics since they found the root cause, 48 hours at most and I’ll be doing great 🙂
It’s so fun to fill the cart with goodies but it’s no fun to have to empty it 🙁 glad I could see some in person, helps to narrow down my choices (or not…) 😛
I want to hug that giant hanging brush! Was that a real brush? With real fur? hehe
Those red handled brushes (with the gold flower) with the orange heads are really interesting! I wonder if they are tree squirrel brushes? Some type of squirrel for sure. I like the colors–like a brush for foxes!
Were you eating Okonomiyaki? I love okonomiyaki in Japan, it is super yummy. Maybe yakisoba too?
Thanks for sharing! I always love the crazy shapes of Kyoudo. 😀
Stephanie, I did hug it ! I have a pic hugging it, it’s horse hair I believe, just like the one in the museum.
THis is canadian http://www.koyudo.co.jp/product/makebrushset/ces.html
I love them ! too expensive.. I wish they could sell them individually, at least I could get one !
Yes I was eating Okonomiyaki ! 😀 I couldn’t put the eggs because of my food problems but still, it was really good ! I think we were all very hungry and we had a great big meal !
Haha, how fun! And wow, those Canadian squirrel brushes are so expensive.
It is too bad about your food problems! Do you have problems with gluten? I went gluten free for about a month to see if it would help me with my stomach problems. Did you know there is wheat in soy sauce? Also gluten is in so many foods, especially Asian foods, with MSG. D: Luckily I don’t think I have a gluten problem, but it is super difficult to manage!
I know, I have to ask them if they would allow us to buy them separately !
Well, about my food problems, there are so many things that “I shouldn’t” eat that it’s impossible for me to stay away. It’s not allergy, it’s intolerance, I have identified what really makes me sick and what I can still have sometimes. The doctor told me to just avoid the strongest ones and the others try to control the quantity. It’s very difficult because the list is so huge. But yes, gluten and lactose are awful for me. Eggs, etc… the only thing that is 100% safe for me is vegetables and meat (and some fish but not all). You see now why I still have pasta sometimes, I shouldn’t but depending on what comes with it (no cream, no eggs) I can handle it.
I am happy it’s not worst than that. I hope it helped with your stomach problems, it can take years to identify the cause…
I have a dear friend with these problems, aggravated by misdiagnosis until very recently. Her small intestine is stripped of its cilia.
These problem are no joke!
I know, poor girl… I spent so many nights running to the hospital after a party and getting calming injections, gosh, I am so glad this is over !
Wow, that is too bad, because eating is a big part of life. D: I once had a classmate who was allergic to everything (like he would go into anaphylactic shock), including: beef, pork, fish, eggs, dairy, and I am sure other things I forgot. My sister is gluten intolerant. Luckily that is sort of a diet “fad” now in the US, so we have many gluten-free baked treats available! I just have IBS. ^_^ Can’t really find out what exactly is bad, but yogurt, caffeine, and spicy things upset my system, and I am randomly allergic to pineapple (in large quantities) and oranges! They give me rashes. >.>
Wow!!! What an experience! Thank you for this post.
Is the black hair kabuki with pink handle a new brush they are going to sell soon or for their display only? It looked so soft.. Ash squirrel hair maybe?
You spotted that one too … me too, when I arrived I saw it but they didn’t sell it, if you are interested (me too) I will ask them ! 🙂
I just found your blog on the third portion of your trip, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the end. I am so glad to know you share my love of brushes and your manufacturer’s visits have definitely inspired a Japan shopping trip one day! Looking forward to reading more, and thank you for sharing your journey!
You are welcome Soma, very happy to share 🙂
I hope you feel better soon 🙁 It seems that the intensity of your migraines is so severe and you are so sensitive that brushes of “normal” softness set it off is really worrying… I do hope you are taking care of yourself!
The Koyudo kabukis are so adorable! I don’t use kabukis very often, but I think that Koyudo have some of the best, in terms of quality and design. You were right (as always) – the White Mushroom is simply amazing! All these brushes in the cabinet… I can understand why you wouldn’t want to go! The pink that Koyudo use for their handles is really distinctive of their brand and to see that their building is the same colour… it really is something. I love it!
They seem like such lovely people, as does everyone else you met while in Japan. Thank you for bringing your experience home for us 🙂
Yes I am taking care of myself Bonnie, don’t worry about that, saw the doc today, taking antibiotics, should be back to my normal state during this weekend ! phewww
Since I know their kabukis, I wanted to try other company’s kabukis, I made many mistakes buying others to try to compare, they just weren’t as good despite same kind of price.
For me they are simply a league of their own 🙂
That’s good to hear 🙂
Did you end up getting the white mushroom dupe from…I can’t remember anymore. It had Avec Plaisir on the handle. Or if anyone else got it, do they know how it compares?
I think Koyudo – and all these other companies – have followed the Japanese concept of kodawari beautifully!
No I did not, did not feel like it would be as nicely shaped as the one I had but I may be wrong since I haven’t seen it in person.
If somebody did I am also curious to know, actually I think somebody did … but I don’t remember who, I may be able to find in the comments ..
oh they did, no wonder we love them so much !
It was Kihitsu! I’m definitely curious how it compares if you can find it as I just browsed Kihitsu’s shop and there’s some definite similarities between the brushes they and Koyudo offer…
I think kodawari is such an elegant concept 🙂 Total love! Just curious, do you have a lot of Japanese food available in Switzerland? Because Japanese is so common here in Australia, it’s very, very easy to find a Japanese restaurant in our CBD!
Here Japanese food costs a leg, restaurants are insanely expensive and in comparison to Japan, nothing like them.
I’ll try to get info on the Kihitsu one 🙂
I so look forward to your reviews and posts. I’ve had the White Mushroom in my cart for at least a month. I own the fu-pa14 and I can’t decide if I “need” both– I’d love your advice! I know the hair is quite different but from your reviews I wasn’t sure if the application would be similar.
Hi Jillian, The white mushroom is for bronzer or powder but the application is sheer, while with the fu-pa14 you can get heavier coverage, they are completely different brushes, it doesn’t mean you need both but they are like Yin and Yang, opposite, complementary, two essentials (to me).
Thank you so much– incredibly helpful!
I had so much fun trying to spy the different brushes and picking out what I recognize! I’m such a dork haha. I am so sorry to hear about your health problems Sonia… My mother used to suffer from migraines too and I could tell how painful they are. I hope you get better soon. My thoughts are with you!
Thank you Terry, much appreciated ! they always have a source, but I always think they will stop by themselves… they don’t, I am just lazy to go to the doc 🙂
Hi Sonia, thank you for the post! I really love the light blue and light pink handles of Koyudo brushes.
As I know you divide crease brushes in categories for different uses, how would you compare the BP036 to your other crease brushes? Could it be a substitute for Tom Ford’s? (I am eyeing that one, but don’t want to pay Selfridge’s shipping fee).
BP036 is more precise, narrow at the top, for precision work around the crease, I have hooded lids so I found a Rae Morris video where you can see what part of the eyelid I like to use it on. This video, go to 5:10 to 5:20, Rae shows the darken of the crease/outer v, that’s how I use this little brush, I prefer it to other similar alternatives because it is firm (but VERY soft) and I don’t need to build the application for ages. Allows me to softly place the product there and blend a little, then I blend with something like a Tom Ford 13 adding sometimes also a lighter sheer color in the crease with the TF.
I asked Wayne if he had a TF for sale.. we never know, maybe if he does you are interested ?
He wants to get rid of some of his brushes at the moment, not sure he will have that one though. If he does I let you know.
PS : there is no substitute for that Tom Ford’s…
Hi Sonia, thanks for the link, very educational. I think I need that brush 😉 I’d be very interested to buy the TF from Wayne, if he wants to sell it. So thanks for asking!
(And then I better take yet another look at your brush reviews to see, if there are other Kuyodo brushes I’d like to justify the shipping fee 😉
Hi Jeanette, bad news for Wayne, those he doesn’t want to get rid of for now… he loves them.
Please remind me, where are you located ?
I really love your insite into everything you post about! Now I want all those brushes but I think I will go bankrupt T.T Keep up the good job!
Hi Miriam 🙂
thank you ! so happy you enjoy it ! makes my day ! <3
!Feliz Dia de Santiago!! espero que te encuentres mejor. Has hecho un blog impresionante y eres una trabajadora fuera de serie, cuidate mucho y descansa.
Nota: no suelo escribir ninguna nota en los blogs que leo , pero no podía menos viendo lo que escribes y tu dedicación . Mejorate campeona :))
Hola Rmimi, gracias ! para ti tambien ! este dia esta un poco negro por lo del accidente, mi primo estaba en el siguiente tren y me pone tan triste ver lo que le ha pasado a los otros.
Pues si estoy un poco mejor ya, y por fin llegua el fin de semana…
Me alegra mucho que estes aqui y sobre todo que me dejes un mensaje, te lo agradezco, aun me da mas fuerzas, sois mi petroleo 😉 De donde eres ?
Sonia- thank you for sharing! I always love reading your brush posts! i carry a small spiral notebook in my purse with my current makeup/ wishlists and same for brushes! i also even have a section of Sonia’s HG / beginner suggestions from you. 🙂 I would really like your input for some Fu-PAs for foundation application, light to medium finish and bronzers as i every time I think I have it figured out, i start a new list. I figure 3-4 brushes will be my first budget! Like you and others I want an army of Fu-PAs / Koyudo brushes!!! MUAHHHHA
Hope your migraines get better as i used to get them frequently and know how debilitating they can be. 🙁
hahaha Michelle 😀
how cool is that ?!
your comment is hilarious, you’ll see my future posts and probably that you’ll be happy and you’ll find some answers to your list-updates, I can’t tell you more but you’ll see…
I am working on it and the first post might be published tomorrow 😉
it did get better thank you ! antibiotics worked ! yeah !
So now i have time for a comment 😀
Wow all these infos about the brands how nice 😉
The people from Koyudo seem so nice but bad there is the language barrier 🙂
And wow i def need the H008? with black/red handle thats awesome . Ohhh and the other ones with red handle 😀 But they would be very expensive i think.
If the face brushes from this set would be avail. seperatly i would order them… http://www.koyudo.co.jp/product/makebrushset/ces.html
HI Kikiiii ! 😀
I would order them too ! for sure !
Me too I was drawn to the black/red handles!! 🙂
You may have to start organizing group brush and makeup themed trips to Japan. You know, like they have cheese and wine trips through Napa and Tuscany :). I think the demand is there ;)!
Excellent post, sad it’s the last chapter, but can’t wait for the reviews! Feel better dear 🙁
Oh, such lovely brushes!
Thanks so much for sharing with us your unique adventure.
Do you think the bp018 is just as soft and dense as the bp016? There is also a bp017 on the cd japan site that appears to be squirrel (which may be even softer?), so I can’t decide.
This is just so awesome, what a beautiful experience! I just made my first koyudo order today…. So easy, which I did not expect,so thank you 🙂
Fantastic, let me know if you like them !
is the hair from BP 18 as soft as the grey squirrel from for example chikuhodo ? I’m thinking about that one instead of the koyudo from the red set 😉 You said the BP 18 is more dense than the red handle one ?
yes it is as soft as the z series for example, although I love the red handles I prefer the head and shape of the BP018, yes more dense “fuller”, a beautiful brush.
Since i’ve received my BP14 (for TF S&I) this week i really like the white/black handles too so when the head is “better” than i will order the BP18 😀
Sure red/black is really nice but you know you cant get all 😛 I think for that we have to make our own designs and let produce custom brushes 😀
I’m wondering how much brushes you have to order to get a good price for a single brush that you can pay…
Sonia- Can you tell be what brush is the one on far right in photo with all the hot pink handles? photo under the red handled one.thanks!
in this pic ? http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/koyudo11.jpg
on the far right they weren’t for sale.. I wanted the kabuki one but it wasn’t neither 🙁
Yes..that one! So were they prototypes? I wonder if and when they would release them? It looks beautiful!
Drooling over these brushes.
I just ordered 11 from their website and cannot wait! Your blog posts have been so helpful and informative — thank you so much.
I have a question about the actual paint brushes. A painter friend of mine just turned 50 and I’d like to get him a few as a special gift. Do you know if there is a portal/website for ordering their paint brushes, by chance?
you are very welcome! you can contact cdjapan email@example.com and ask them 🙂 they might be able to get the Koyudo paint brushes for you.
I know that in Tokyo they may be in the Tau boutique as well, but online it’s not that easy.
For Hakuhodo If you go there : http://en.hakuho-do.co.jp/products/list82.html
and then send an email to hakuhodousa.com contact email, they might be able to get them for you.
there is also http://global.rakuten.com/en/category/household_supplies_and_stationery/stationery_office_supplies/painting_tools/brushes/ or other Rakuten shops.
If you post on the forum and ask the members, there are a few great painters here as well, I am sure they can help 🙂
Hi Sonia! I usually order from cool japan, but I tried the international order form to koyudo last January. I just want to ask if it is normal not to get any reply? Are they only going to contact me once the brushes are ready? It’s been a month since I emailed them so Im feeling lost.. lol
But I know they are busy and the winter has been harsh. And of course, I am willing to wait.
it’s too long, do you have my private email ?
send me some details about the order and I will get in touch with them!
Oh the red kabuki with Canadian squirrel hair! Now that would be divine. I only have a couple to eye brushes with that hair and they are so soft despite being so dense. I wish they would release individual brushes since I don’t want to buy a full set.
You had such an amazing trip, thanks for sharing your experience with such a wondeful culture.
So excited for your new trip!! Can’t wait!
Hope you are doing better. And that all is well for you.
Quick question. Will you recommend the Walt Disney koyudobrushes anniversary brush?
Is it good? Like it a lot but maybe is just Mickey calling my name.
Hi Sonia. The one brush I really would like here is the red flower kabuki under the “Innovate” series in the catalog. What can you use it for? Any info on the price? I tried to look at it online but haven’t found it available. This place I would really like to visit for my own trip to Japan.
actually you can find that on Kihitsu.jp, look here http://www.kihitsu.jp/?cn=500000&scg1001=100017&ff=1
it’s for powder, I would use it to buff the whole face with it if I was applying powder, I don’t own it because I did not think it would be that practical 🙂 but I haven’t even tried it so I would not know!