Hashioki 箸置き - Delicate Beauties

 Delicate Beauties

They say size doesn’t matter, and in the case of many Japanese goods, they’recorrect. Whether they’re thoughtful, heart-warming, delicate or just small but perfectly formed, there’s a mountain of pocket-sized goods in Japan that make ideal souvenirs. In this column, we aim to showcase some of them.


Hashioki - 箸置き 

 ◆◇◆◇◆ Hashioki(chopstick rests) ◆◇◆◇◆ 

Designed to keep the tips of your chopsticks clean while they rest on the table, Hashioki are also known, adorably, as Hashimakura, or chopstick pillows.

Their origins apparently date back to ancient times, when priests at Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine) needed a way to keep chopsticks clean while offering food to the gods. The initial ear-shaped pieces of pottery they invented to rest their chopsticks on, called Mimikawarake, evolved in shape and materials over time, and eventually became popular with the nobility and samurai, before finally making their way into commoners’ homes.

Hashioki today can be made from lots of different materials, such as wood, stone, ceramics, glass, or metal. Many have interesting shapes or patterns, which make them a joy just to look at. If you go to a chopsticks store in Japan, you can choose ones that match your chopsticks, too. In a pinch, you can even make your own out of coloured paper or the paper wrapping disposable chopsticks come in.

A small, but indispensable table decoration, we hope you find ones you love the next time you’re in Japan.


 ◆◇◆◇◆ 箸置き ◆◇◆◇◆