WELLNESS EAST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE
FOUNDER JISA OH CURATES THE BEST JAPANESE EXPERIENCES & GIFTS TO GIVE TO ALL THE MOMS IN YOUR LIFE
Mother’s Day is almost here and it’s the perfect opportunity to show all the moms and mother figures in your life just how much they mean to you. Mother’s Day can be a celebration of you, your mom, mother-in-law, aunt, friend, or someone who provides you with mothering energy. With so many experiences and gifts to choose from, this holiday can easily feel overwhelming. So, with that in mind, we turned to Wellness East founder Jisa Oh to get her curated tips on where to celebrate Mother’s Day this year in Japan as well as the gifts she recommends giving that is rooted in the local culture.
Relax at Amanemu
This ryokan-inspired onsen resort, located beside Ago Bay in the forested hills of Ise-Shima, is an idyllic sanctuary with villas and suites that features mineral-rich hot springs, a breathtaking coastline, and ancient pilgrim walking trails for hiking and strolling. Adds Oh, “I ordered the Japanese tea bag sets from their spa. It’s different flavors of green tea bags that come in a luxurious hinoki box with Furoshiki wrap.”
Lunch at Wadakura
According to Oh, this elegant restaurant at the Palace Hotel Tokyo is the place to go for a Mother’s Day lunch. Thoughtfully designed with textured walls and naguri-style woodworking on the floors, Wadakura’s menus are an homage to four distinctive areas of Japan’s cuisine: tempura at Tatsumi, teppanyaki at GO, sushi at Sushi Kanesaka, and kaiseki in the main dining room. During the Mother’s Day holiday, Wadakura will be having “A Taste of Spring,” where mom can enjoy a seasonal Wadakura kaiseki in which the flavor is heightened by salt, kombu, and mirin. Usui green peas from Kansai are steamed in a heavy clay pot with Yumegokochi rice from Yamagata and topped with a quick-fried sakura shrimp, before freshly flavored rice finishes the dish.
Tea at Happo-en
Rooted in all aspects of Japanese culture, Happo-en is a Tokyo venue brimming with architecture from the Edo period (1603-1867) as well as manicured grounds that incorporate the principles of traditional Japanese garden landscaping. There are bonsai trees on view that date back over 500 years, along with a koi pond and seasonal blooms and foliage. While here, in addition to enjoying the scenery, Oh recommends booking the green tea ceremony at one of their teahouses, named “Muan” and Kahoan.”
A Taste of Okinawa: The Wellness East Power Duo
Help mom to begin her daily routine with a literal taste of Okinawan wellness thanks to this antioxidant set that features Shikuwasa Lime Powder and Purple Sweet Potato Powder. Together, this pair provides a significant health benefit for the immunity, digestive system, and cognitive function by preventing cellular damage, protecting against age-related neurodegenerative disease, and reducing inflammation. To use these powders together—and to make the mom in your life a sweet treat—follow the Purple Sweet Potato Mochi Cake recipe that we created in partnership with Valerie Confections.
Brush & Glow: Hinoki Wood Body Brush + Alpinia Shell Ginger Oil
Let mom savor a spa experience from the comfort of home or on the go. Made from pure Japanese Hinoki Cypress and all-natural medium firm bristles, the body brush helps to lower blood pressure, improve immunity, and calm the nervous system. After dry brushing and showering, apply several drops of the oil onto the face and body, massaging it into the skin until the product is absorbed. Made from sustainable, sugarcane-derived squalane and Okinawan Alpinia shell ginger essence, this powerful oil locks in moisture and leaves a firm and radiant appearance.
Scents of the Seasons: Hako Incense
Give mom the olfactory notes of each season by gifting her the Hako Incense, which comes in the nature-inspired scents of spring, summer, fall, and winter. Crafted on Awaji Island, the incense is designed to add an enhanced feeling of calmness to the environment. A great way for mom to incorporate this product into her routine is by adding a piece to a heat-resistant incense tray first thing in the morning to set the tone for her day.