28 June 2022

5 Motifs That Feel Like Japanese Summer

Although Japan belongs to a humid temperate climate, it is known for its extremely hot and humid summers. Japanese people have been trying to stay cool in every possible way since ancient times, and one of the ways to stay comfortable in the sweltering heat of summer is to visually introduce a sense of coolness.

In particular, motifs imagined from cool forests and waterside, as well as brightly colored vegetables and fruits that cheer us up, have become a favorite part of Japanese summer decorations. In this issue, we introduce five motifs that make you feel the summer in Japan, and suggest recommended items associated with each.


  • Bamboo
  • Goldfish
  • Fireworks
  • Vegetables
  • Ocean Waves
  • The Colors of Japanese Summer

Bamboo Motif

Flexible, strong, and versatile, bamboo is an indispensable plant in the tradition of Japanese culture and in people's daily lives. Bamboo is also favored in summer because of its light weight, workability, and cool appearance. Also, the image of refreshing bamboo forests as a perfect place to escape the summer heat no doubt helps.

In tableware, chopsticks, plates, and cups are lighter than wood, bringing a fresh, cool atmosphere to the table.

Hirota Ice Bamboo 3-Piece Edo Glass Sake Set

This set of bamboo-shaped glasses and carafe is a perfect item for the Japanese summer, with its cool and refreshing bamboo motif expressed in glass, giving it a chilled impression.

It is also a great set to enjoy in the evening while cooling off, and has an outstanding presence at parties. Please enjoy a glass of cold sake with this set.

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Goldfish Motif

Goldfish swimming elegantly in the water have a graceful beauty, just like a geisha dancing in a kimono. In Japan, there was a goldfish boom during the Edo period (1603-1867), and beautiful goldfish varieties were born one after another and became popular in the homes of common people.

Any motif associated with water gives off a refreshingly cool feeling, and goldfish, as a creature that reminds us of water, is a popular motif in summer, and is also a favorite pattern for yukata (summer kimonos).

Seikou Kiln Goldfish Kutani Sauce Plate

This sauce plate has a lovely pattern of red and black goldfish fluttering in the water.

In Japan, there was a saying, "Goldfish must be seen from above," which emphasized the beauty of goldfish when viewed from top down rather than from the side. With this sauce plate, you can enjoy goldfishes the same perspective as the view of the goldfish bowls that Edo townspeople used to gaze upon.

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Fireworks Motif

In Japan, there is a custom of setting off fireworks during summer night festivals every year. During that season, you can see the people wears Yukata (summer kimono) walking from the streets to the riverside in various parts of Japan, to watch the fireworks.

In the countryside and suburbs, people also enjoy setting off handheld fireworks in their yards or on riverbanks on summer nights. In particular, small hand-held fireworks hanging down, called “Senko-hanabi", have a deep-rooted popularity in Japan as ephemeral fireworks that reminds us of the beauty of Wabi Sabi.

Issou Summer Night Wakasa Lacquer Chopsticks

At first glance, these chopsticks look plain, but the decoration on the handles is a pattern of fireworks.

These high-quality chopsticks are decorated with a simple and beautiful fireworks pattern that is uniquely Japanese, with a delicate and ephemeral appearance that makes them look like fireworks seen from far away, or sparklers bursting at your fingertips.

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Summer Vegetables Motif

Eggplants, cucumbers, and other vegetables harvested during the Japanese summer are also common summer motifs. They are especially popular for their unique shapes and cheerfulness, and can add a colorful and fun image to the daily dining table.

Also, during “Obon", the Japanese equivalent of "Dia De Muertos," crafts in the shape of horses made from summer vegetables are often seen in the city as a summer tradition to welcome the spirits of ancestors safely back to this world.

Ihoshiro Kiln Vegetable Series Mino Ware Chopstick Rest

Chopstick rests are a must have for every household that uses chopsticks. Not only does it keep chopsticks clean during meals, but it can also entertain guests' eyes when place various figures on the dining table.

This vegetable-shaped chopstick rest is so cute and unique that one glance at it will make you smile, and it will make your dining table more comfortable.

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Ocean Waves Motif

Summer is the season for outdoor recreation especially the leisure activities at the sea. Every country has a custom of playing in the sea during the summer season, and Japan is no exception.

Motifs related to the sea are standard summer motifs, but the ocean waves themselves, as beloved by surfers, have also taken root in Japan as a dynamic summer tradition.

Katsushika Hokusai Motif Tableware

The Japanese Ukiyoe artist Katsushika Hokusai was one of the artists who influenced Western Japonism.

Hokusai was particularly brilliant in his depiction of ocean waves, and his three-dimensional, fluid descriptions of splashing waves are a powerful expression of the Japanese “Iki" aesthetic, or single-mindedness and sophistication, the spirit of the Edo period townspeople.

Items featuring Hokusai's paintings are iconic items that are recognizably Japanese from the first glance, and are popular as souvenirs.

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The Colors of Japanese Summer

Japanese people have long favored a cooler appearance during the summer season. Try adding cool colors, such as blue and white, or bright colors like summer plants and flowers to your dining room tableware or living room home décor, and you will feel the freshness of summer with a change of scenery.

We invite you to incorporate cool feeling Japanese items, and enjoy the tranquil Japanese summer atmosphere.

View Summer Collection