These premium youji (toothpicks) designed for savoring traditional Japanese sweets are made from kuromoji, a type of camphor tree prized for the aromatic scent of its bark. Kuromoji youji is an important part of Japanese culture. Not only are they used for eating sweets – especially in tea ceremonies – there is a custom to wrap up and take away the youji after the ceremony as a keepsake and inscribe it with the date and name of the sweet. In recent years, domestically produced kuromoji youji are rarely found, as youji made from cheap imported kuromoji dominate the market. Since imported products are often applied with chemicals and bleach for the purpose of quarantine, their colors tend to fade quickly compared to domestic ones. At Kikusui Sangyo, the entire process, from logging the wood to manufacturing, is handled in an integrated manner to produce traditional, fragrant kuromoji youji while paying close attention to safety and security. The charming packaging inspired by nature makes this a perfect gift for introducing Japanese culture to foreign friends.
Starting with finding a mountain that would provide us with kuromoji woods, it took three long years to finally commercialize this entirely Japan-made kuromoji youji. Because the youji is an integral part of Japan’s traditional sweets and the art of tea ceremony, the package is designed as if it were wrapped in a kimono. Whether for gifting with Japanese sweets or using it as part of an authentic tea ceremony, this is a thoughtful item to express the Japanese spirit of omotenashi to your loved ones.