Visiting Japan and wondering what to buy for your folks back home? Here’s a beautiful gift idea from someone who lives there! Over to Ted:

(炭・Sumi) Charcoal Bath and Beauty Products –

Charcoal, “sumi” in Japanese, has been used for centuries in Japan to purify water. Modern Japanese companies have expanded the use charcoal into a variety of bath and beauty products. Jet-black face washes, pitch-black body soaps, and inky bath salts are popular and trendy among both men and women in Japan. Adding a charcoal product to a current beauty regimen will be a great way to share your Japanese experience with a friend or revisit the trip for yourself.

My Secret: The “Black Paint” store ( in Kyoto, Japan (700 meters from exit one of the Marutamachi Kyoto Subway Station) is well known for their quality charcoal based beauty products.  A 60g block of their premium Black Paint Charcoal Face Wash sells for 2,700 yen (1,646 rs). The traditional Japanese floral print on the block wrapped in a contrasting white packaging makes the purchase ready to hand-off to a friend or loved one. A great souvenir to enjoy on your own after returning home from a long trip or to give to a friend who will need some relaxation.

Meet and follow Ted on He was our Japan Correspondent during the time he lived in Osaka, Japan.