Nestled amid the restaurants, bars, and department stores of Tokyo’s ever-busy entertainment district sits a small cosmetics shop where time slows.
Upon entering, the sounds and sights of the city fade away and are replaced by gentle music accompanied by the distant melody of running water. Pleasant aromas relax your tightened muscles and the shop’s minimalist, yet subtly colorful interior encircles you in an ethereal atmosphere. Welcome to YUBUNE.
More Than Just a Cosmetics Company
Located about a three-minute walk from Shinjuku-sanchome Station, YUBUNE is a cosmetics store that not only sells eco-friendly, high-quality cosmetics, but also crafts meaningful customer experiences that convey the values of their products and company. Established by Hiroshi Watanabe after visiting a healing hot spring village in nature, YUBUNE aims to share mindful products and create a space where people can de-stress their minds and bodies.
Although YUBUNE’s Shinjuku location is closing in October 2023, it is opening a new location in Shibuya’s Omotesando area in March 2023.
Products that Facilitate Mindfulness and Embody Japan
YUBUNE sells a variety of products related to hair, skin, and body care, as well as perfume and mindfulness tools. These products are primarily composed of natural ingredients and have carefully selected scents that connect people to traditional Japanese places and environments. The shop even has aromas related to locations around the world. “Smell is the strongest sense related to memory,” Watanabe shared during my visit, “When people’s minds and bodies are tired, they go on trips to purify their souls. Through our products, I want to recreate this refreshing experience and make people feel as though they are traveling.”
YUBUNE predominantly focuses on using Japanese fragrances and ingredients in its products. By highlighting materials from local areas, the shop seeks to protect traditional cultures and share them with visitors. Although the aromas represent traditional Japan, YUBUNE has reimagined them for the modern world and made them appropriate for any occasion—from temple visits to nightclubbing. Within the store, each product is accompanied by a description in Japanese and English so visitors can better understand their meanings.
Enjoy Cafe Sweets and a Footbath After Shopping
When I asked Watanabe to describe YUBUNE in one word, he said, yohaku, which roughly translates to blank space or margin. With the busyness of the modern world, people are constantly trying to balance work, social life, and family. However, in order to live a more fulfilling life, it is also important for people to slow down and spend time with themselves. YUBUNE strives to create this “blank space” with its products, as well as its physical store where paying customers can enjoy an onsite cafe and footbath.
The cafe menu features an assortment of seasonal teas, coffees, sweet treats, and savory snacks. After placing an order, you can then head down to the footbath below the main floor. The atmospherically lit room exudes tranquility and feels like a hidden haven among the bustling city life above. Find lockers and towels to ensure that your experience is comfortable. The cafe staff can deliver your dish when ready, so you can enjoy it on the water’s edge. As you submerge your feet in the scented, warm waters, feel instantly transported to your “blank space.”
A Sustainable Souvenir That Keeps on Giving
Thanks to their eco-friendly ideals and embodiment of Japanese heritage, YUBUNE’s products serve as an excellent souvenir. The shop even offers a complimentary name engraving service that takes just a few minutes. Since the store encourages the reuse of its containers—refills are sold online—the engraving will last multiple uses. For personal use or as a gift, Watanabe recommends YUBUNE’s hair oil. The oil comes in multiple scents, as well as unscented, and replenishes hair with astaxanthin extracted from algae.
After you return home, YUBUNE’s products will act as a doorway, not only to your memories of Japan, but also to your “blank space” where you can rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
Interested in More?
Follow YUBUNE’s Instagram, and explore its website to learn more about this unique company. If you purchase one of their products, be sure to tag them on Instagram!