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March 21 – 春分 Shunbun no Hi

Welcome to the series of posts made in collaboration with Kintoki sweets and ITSUMO Life exploring Japanese culture and seasonal observations.

Yesterday was the spring equinox and marks the start of 春分 Shun-bun the 4th micro season in the 二十四節季 24 Sekki solar calendar. In Japan Shunbun was a time to mark beginnings but also a time to reflect and reconnect with family. It’s one of the few Sekki that was established as a national holiday so families can spend time together.

Equinoxes hold a lot of significance in Japanese culture where it is believed that the land of the passed and living come in close contact when the day and night times are the same length. Many people make time to go back to the countryside to their ancestral homes to gather with extended families, connect over food, and pay respect to their family grave sites during the spring and autumn equinoxes.

Our childhood memories of visiting the countryside homes included many traditional handicrafts including baskets still being used. In Sen’s ancestral home in Japan, her grandpa’s master weaving skills were still present in the forms of large bamboo baskets that were used to raise silkworms tucked up in the rafters for when they were needed for the odd task on the farm.

Also at ITSUMO, Japanese baskets play a very important role in kitchens, gardens, and all around our daily lifestyle. Beautifully handcrafted one by one using the traditional techniques, every spring we look forward to receiving Japanese baskets made during the long winter season from the snowy part of Japan. To carry your essentials, use them as a strainer to wash vegetables, as a plate to serve food, or to simply store your favourite things in one place…, they come in various shapes and sizes. We believe in the beauty and functionality of baskets. More than just the physical contents, true baskets can carry something valuable, transmitting the deeper respect for nature and culture from the human hands of basket makers to our hands, as if they were continuing to weave our lives within.

Soon it will be the spring flower viewing season. We can pack some onigiri (rice balls) and snacks in our basket, enjoy a little picnic with family and friends under the cherry blossom trees.

We hope that you have some time to connect with your loved ones during this shunbun, and at a time people usually look forward to warmer longer days and new positive growth, we pray the world will also move towards a peaceful resolution in these tumultuous times.

Until our next exploration,
ITSUMO & Kintoki Sweets


Styled With

Three different size kiso sawara ohitsu rice chests made of Japanese cypress and copper trimHands holding a kiso sawara ohitsu rice chest with serving spoon
Kiso Sawara Ohitsu Rice Chest Sale price From $220.00
Gesuzaru Bamboo BasketGesuzaru Bamboo Basket
Gesuzaru Bamboo Basket Sale price From $325.00
Azmaya miyajima rice scoop in cherry woodMiyajima Rice Scoop
Miyajima Rice Scoop Sale price$58.00

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