Home Brushes My recent trip to Japan

My recent trip to Japan

by Sonia G.

I recently went to Japan for a week, the trip was pretty intense as I usually have 3 appointments per day in different locations and when the night comes, I still have work to do. I sleep very little but I absolutely love it! Being there is amazing is every single way!

I am travelling to Japan more regularly now. I love to stay at the same hotels as those locations allow me to easily change city even with a big luggage. Actually, the luggage topic was something that stressed me a lot in the past, today I feel more peaceful and comfortable. In Japan they really work hard to make your stay pleasant and stress free, they help you so much with your luggage or anything else you may need! I find it so much easier to get a bus or tram ticket in Japan and move around compared to Switzerland where I live!
It only takes 4 hours (with the fastest trains) to reach Hiroshima from Tokyo, I usually always go to Tokyo, then Hiroshima, sometimes Osaka or Kyoto. I meet with artisans but I also have friends living in Kumano so I want to go to Kumano to see them.

With regards to shopping, I don’t shop a lot anymore, but mainly because I don’t have enough time. I have a wishlist of places I want to go but I never manage to discover them all.

I often get direct messages about where to buy brushes in Japan so I thought to quickly mention it here.

Where to buy Fude -make-up brushes- in Japan

First place to go is the TAU Hiroshima Shop, there is one in Ginza (Tokyo), one in Hiroshima and one in Kumano inside the Fude museum. You’ll find Chikuhodo, Takeda, Tanseido, Kumano Fude Select Shop and other brands, make-up and calligraphy. I don’t often go to the Ginza one but I always go to the one in Hiroshima, it’s a very convenient location inside the JR Station.

TAU shop in Ginza a few years back

Some companies like Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo or Koyudo have a boutique at their manufacture so you can also shop there.

Hakuhodo has a big boutique in Omotesando (Tokyo) and several counters in big shopping malls across Japan but I strongly recommend you to visit the website of whatever brand you are interested in. You should check where they sell their brushes, even contact them directly, because that information changes and it’s not always reflected online. They may also be able to tell you where they have the biggest counters, so you’ll go directly to the place with the biggest selection.

Sometimes brands have pop-up counters in big shopping malls, if you follow the brands on Instagram you may see that info, otherwise, contact them directly and ask them!

Don’t forget to visit the JR Train Station souvenir shops because you can find little treasures there too!

It’s really weird for a brush lover to walk around and see the big ads with Chikuhodo and other brush companies, it’s really amazing and unusual!

If you are in a shopping mall and you don’t see the counter you are looking for, do not hesitate to ask the information desk (and show them a picture of what you are looking for if you don’t speak Japanese!). Not all beauty counters are grouped together in the same floor so make sure you ask before you leave.

If you go to some beauty counters like Three, Addiction, RMK, etc, their make-up brushes are made in Kumano, you’ll be able to feel them and get the ones that you really want! Or you can just take notes and get them later!

I have to confess that I don’t buy that much when I go there, I used to, but now I only buy some items either when they truly surprise me or when I need to.

I did not bring my usual Natasha Denona palette on this trip, I thought I would bring something else instead for a change but I forgot… After a couple of days applying my brow make-up on my lids I thought it was time to get something more fun – yet neutral and preferably cool toned.

There is an Addiction counter inside the Hiroshima JR station, ideally located for a tempting quick swatch on the go… I didn’t have a 6 pan empty palette from Addiction yet so I got one to try, then I picked 6 shadows that I also didn’t have.

I love the outside color of the compact, it’s a beautiful cream color, however, the sides are not symmetric, I think it’s on purpose but it feels ergonomically strange. It’s not very noticeable in the picture.

The second thing that disappointed me is that the shades I picked are a LiiiiiiiiiiiTTLE boring, they don’t look that boring on the swatches, but on the eyes gosh they really are bland, they blend away too easily, disregard of the tools used, not a lot of pigmentation in there. What I could achieve with my brow products was actually pretty much comparable to this palette. That is highly and partly my fault for not picking more contrasting shades! That Pink Sky 034 really does not show up on the eyes and does not provide the luminosity that I hoped for.

Then, at the Airport I found these two Shu Uemura palettes, it was their launch day, freshly arrived and I needed some color to cheer me up. These Shu were better, a mix of neutrals and a couple of pops.

Certainly more interesting compared to my neutral contrastless choice from Addiction but I am not that impressed with these either. I could depot the shadows I don’t like and put other Shu shadows in there, quite practical to have a big customizable palette like this.

Bottom line: Remind me to pack my fav palettes next time!!!!

If you go to Japan and you have the chance to visit a Sou-Sou boutique, these are clothes made in Kyoto, they are traditional, some fitted, some larger, some have big patterns, bold colors but others are more subtle -which I prefer. I purchased quite a lot from them and cannot wait to return to their shop! I love the quality and you can style them in so many ways!

I wear a size 16uk or 12usa and they have clothes that fit me in a very flattering way, I even bought clothes at the men counter for myself!

My next trip to Japan is probably in September, I cannot wait to go back! I just wish I could take my daughter with me as I miss her way too much.

This year, the Kumano Fude Matsuri will be on the 23rd of September, a Monday, just in case you wish to pencil this in!!

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Laura 8 August, 2019 - 4:49 pm

Happy to read you had a good though busy trip in Japan! I was amazed to see that photo of the Chikuhodo ad! So cool. When I’ve been in Japan it’s weirdly common to see plastic or Western brushes sold in inexpensive stores while there are much better selection available, made locally in Hiroshima. I think Osaka is my new favorite place to visit, Hiroshima is my love, but I’m a Tokyo gal in heart!

I recently wrote a blog post about Japanese beauty (although you know a ton about it already), in the case you’re interested. 🙂 Have a lovely week Sonia!

xx Laura / http://www.lauraloukola.net

Sonia G. 10 August, 2019 - 3:17 pm

Hi Laura,
I have to go read you! 🙂 Those ads always make me smile 🙂
I hope you are doing great, it has been a while! Hopefully we can meet in Japan one day!
lots of love!!!

Virginie Coget 10 August, 2019 - 7:10 pm

Hi Sonia! I will be in Tokyo the first week of September. If you happen to be there at the same time I would love meet you

Sonia G. 10 August, 2019 - 10:23 pm

Hi Virginie,
I will be there towards the end of September! I am so sorry we can’t meet there!!! just a few days apart 🙁
What will you do in Japan?

Virginie Coget 11 August, 2019 - 2:33 pm

Missed opportunity 😉
I’m going together with my boyfriend 2 weeks in South Korea and we will finish our trip in Japan. As we already went in 2016 (visiting Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Fuji and Tokyo) this time around I wanted to give the opportunity to my boyfriend to go to Seki where another beautiful craftsmanship takes place: Japanese swords and knifes making. Would have loved to go to Kumano after discovering a passion for fude thanks to your brushes and you high quality blog but unfortunately it won’t be for this time around. But we will for sure come back given his passion for katana and mine for fude.
This time I will go brushes shopping in Tokyo instead 😉
Also very excited that I managed to get my hands on entrance tickets for the Ghibli museum 🙂

May 5 September, 2019 - 4:09 am

I loved reading this blog post. I love Japan too. It’s one of my top 3 Asian countries to visit.

I’m in the process of buying all the brushes from your collection that I need. I have your Pro check and eye set now. The quality is extraordinary. The handles are a work of art. The hair, the softest and best shaped.

Could you please make a post about Builder Three? It seems to be missing. The brushes pages are missing a, ‘Submit’ button so I can’t post a comment there. I am trying to work out the difference between Smudger Two and Builder Two and Three. I need a brush to smudge under the eye (so, a flat tipped brush) and it would be great if it can also pack on glitters. Might need 2 different brushes.


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