Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee

Souvenirs to Buy in the First Year of Reiwa! The 5 Best Products Subject to the Royal Warrant of the Imperial Household Agency

On May 1st, 2019, Japan entered a new imperial era known as Reiwa. This news was broadcast throughout the world as the attention of the Japanese citizenry turned once again towards their new Emperor and Empress. This article will introduce some souvenirs adorned with a royal warrant from the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, marking them the most refined and formal souvenirs suitable for this new era.

What Is the Imperial Household Agency?

In simple terms, the Imperial Household Agency (or Kunaicho) is a government body that concerns itself with the administration of the affairs of the Emperor and the national engagements of the Imperial Family. It has a long history of more than 1,300 years, stretching back to the time of the Emperor Monmu when a similar organization could be found.

The agency as it is known today was established in 1949, following the dissolution of the Department of the Imperial Household and later the Imperial Household Office. Since 2001, it has been part of the Cabinet Office of Japan, the organ of the Japanese state.

The "royal warrant of the Imperial Household Agency" is a title only given to the purveyors of goods used by the Imperial Household Agency. In the past, this title was awarded by the state, however this is no longer the case. Despite the fact that this system is no longer in use, the craftspeople who were trusted by the Imperial Family enough to be awarded the title still sell under the auspices of the "royal warrant of the Imperial Household Agency" and continue to manufacture their wares to the highest standards.

The Imperial Household Agency

1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

1. The Western Confectionery of Colombin

Shortcakes are synonymous with Western confectionery in Japan and it was Colombin that gave birth to the first shortcakes in the country. In 1924, the founder of the company, Kuniteru Kadokura, opened the first real French confectioner in Japan in Omori, Tokyo. At the time of its inception, it was the first Western confectioner to be awarded the royal warrant and it remains this way to this day.

Today, its headquarters is located in Harajuku. In 2019, its specialty pound cake known as "Kuniteru" was awarded the grand gold medal by the Monde Selection food awards group. This is the fourth such time that Colombin has received the award since 2009. They strive to meet the highest standards in handmade confectionery and this begins with the attention and care they put into their ingredients. They use vegetables that are untreated and have begun beekeeping by themselves. They also offer gluten free cakes.

2019 Colombin Co.,LTD

Colombin Ltd. - Harajuku Main Store and Restaurant

6-31-19 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

2. Coffee from Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee

The original Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee was opened in 1937 in the Kyobashi area of Tokyo. In 1952, they were designated as a purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency by royal warrant and since then, they have been the only such recognized coffee maker supplying coffee to the Imperial Household's dinner parties and the banquets held by the organization in the spring and the fall.

The coffee served by Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee is brewed from the highest quality green coffee beans, which are carefully brewed and kept perfectly fresh to ensure a premium brew. After they have been roasted, in order to preserve the aroma and texture, they are used straight away and never prepared in advance. Among the blends that they offer, the one that is closest to that used in the Imperial Household is the "Royal Blend 200g" (1,242 JPY (incl. tax)). It is a decadent and richly aromatic blend with a smooth and deep flavor.  

Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee

Tamaya Kobayashi Coffee

16-5 Nihonbashi Kodenma-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

3. Silverware from Miyamoto Shoko

Miyamoto Shoko was established in 1880 and deals in silverware. The tableware developed by them boasts a purity of 925/1000 and, of course, has been registered with a royal warrant from the Imperial Household Agency. The cutlery produced by them is used at royal banquets for invited guests and other such occasions.

The goods produced by Miyamoto Shoko are made with incredibly delicate processes that have been passed down for generations. As you would expect, they make cutlery, however they also are involved in making a wide range of other goods such as smaller trinkets and accessories, as well as products for babies. You can create a more special personalized feel on your order with initialization on certain products.

The products of Miyamoto Shoko are not only beloved within Japan, but they are also loved across borders, making them a perfect souvenir from Japan.


Miyamoto Shoko Tokyo Main Branch

Yoei GInza Dai 2 Bldg. 1F, 1-9-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

4. The Lacquerware of Yamada Heiando

This company was established in 1919 in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo under the name Yamada Shiki Ten. The current name emerged after the owner received training in Kyoto and decided to change it to reflect this. Following the name change, the store was moved to Daikanyama in Tokyo and began its third generation with a mission to spread the charm of lacquerware to the youth.

Yamada Heiando has a history of over 90 years as a lacquerware specialist. They have been honored with a royal warrant and continue to create new lacquerware products to meet the needs of modern life, while not forgetting the importance of the old traditions. Their limited edition seasonal goods are teeming with originality and are comprised of accessory cases with traditional Japanese motifs inscribed on them, such as goldfish and fireworks.


Yamada Heiando Main Branch

Hillside Terrace G, 18-12 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

5. The Kutani Porcelain of Yamamoto Choza

Yamamoto Choza is famous for having recreated the techniques of Ai Kutani and Ai Ko-kutani, two styles of pottery that are said to have started the printing tradition in Japanese pottery. This royal warrant pottery of the Imperial Household Agency was used during the ascension to the throne of the Heisei Emperor, during the banquet ceremonies. The unique shape of the pottery is created through the use of closed dye forging, a traditional technique that is no longer in widespread use anymore. It is also very light and you will never tire of the beautiful and relaxing indigo color.

The pottery of Yamamoto Choza is made with the idea that it plays a supporting role. It only comes alive when it is used. For this reason, thought is given to the size of the product to make it as easy to use as possible. The piece known as Chubachi Hosho Fuyo-te (21,600 JPY) is imbued with a striking presence that really makes your food shine.

2001- 2019. 九谷満月

Kutani Mangetsu - Kutani Experience and Living National Treasure Exhibit

Ru 95-2, Nakadai-machi, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa

The goods of purveyors awarded with the royal warrant may seem expensive, but you should think of them more as being incredibly high in quality. As the new Imperial Era has changed to Reiwa, how about getting yourself some of goods from the purveyors of the royal warrant, the most formally honored souvenirs you can get in Japan ?

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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