The Best Japanese Wallet Brands
There’s no doubt that Japan makes some of the most wonderful products in the world. Famed for its craftsmanship and quality, Japan has built itself on the world stage as a country that doesn’t take half measures and only creates products that exceed many of the traditional standards on the international stage. Today we’re going to be looking at a select few of these Japanese Wallet Brands and really delve into what makes them different and why you should go through the effort of purchasing one.
Some of our other articles regarding ‘wallets from another country’ might also be worth looking at (simply to see what’s out there in a competitive market). Click below to read these articles if nothing takes your fancy on this list.
Japan’s Cash Society
Unlike a lot of western countries that have begun to move away from cash as the standard form of payment (opting for a more cashless society), Japan still very much is a cash-conforming society with the average Japanese citizen preferring physical cash over other forms of payment. This is so ingrained within Japanese culture, that many stores won’t accept credit, and you’ll be lucky to find somewhere that even knows what wireless, or contactless, payments are.
Cash is still very much king, and this has inspired and influenced the types of wallets that are sold, and preferred, in Japan. The first thing to note is each and every wallet is very cash-focused with the main functionality of each wallet being tailored towards efficient storage of banknotes, and most of the time, storage of coins.
Because of this, many wallets on this list use innovative methods not commonly seen or found in western style wallets. You’ll also find it hard to come across a minimalist wallet on this list, as again, cash is still important and it’s difficult to streamline and reduce a wallet’s size when hefty amounts of bills and coins need to be stored.
How easy is it to buy a Japanese Wallet?
The biggest issue you’ll have with getting your hands on a Japanese Wallet is finding a store, or distributor, that’s willing to ship outside of Japan. Most of the stores I’ve linked to you are written in Japanese, and although Google will instantly translate the page for you, it’s a sure-fire way to guarantee the Japanese brand isn’t looking to ship internationally (or they’d have an English version of their site). Getting in contact with stores directly through email doesn’t usually end up with the best results as Japan is notorious for not speaking great English.
Why Buy a Japanese Wallet?
The real question is why not? Japan offers a unique array of wallets to choose from, and although it isn’t always easy to get your hands on one (see above), the payoff can be huge. I think if you’re the type of person who still loves to carry physical cash like coins or banknotes then there’s no better option than to choose a wallet from a country that plays into these features. Japan also has above-quality wallets in terms of material use and craftsmanship. All wallet(s) and brands mentioned on this list are of the utmost quality and have all been independently reviewed by us to make sure we’re only recommending the best wallets from Japan.
Plotter Key Wallet
Plotter is a brand that stands for ‘the person who envisions. Their main goal is to develop a range of goods (not limited to wallets) that innovative with creativity to improve our future. The wallet we’ll be looking at today is the Key Wallet, a simple yet innovative wallet aimed at people who probably carry more keys with them than the average Joe.
The design is really clean and simple with a minimalist look (even if the wallet isn’t exactly small in size coming in at H 100 x W 70mm). It is in a bifold style design with two card slots internally for storage of up to 4 cards. The main functionality of the wallet comes from the wallet’s ability to hold keys. This is done with 3 elastic slots that are perfected sized for typical-sized keys being able to hold up to three. Finally, the Plotter Key Wallet is made from very high-quality material being made with full-grain leather that has an amazing smell and will develop a wonderful patina over time with continued use.
The Plotter Key Wallet comes in at a price tag of ¥7,700 JPN, which is about the equivalent of $70.00 USD. It’s fairly pricey but it does provide functionality offered by most other wallets on the market. It’s a niche wallet before as it will only really be relevant to those who carry lots of keys, and want a more inclusive way to carry them (slimdown their EDC and get rid of the keychain). It’s a great bit of design and the Plotter Key Wallet is like nothing I’ve really come across in any Western wallet. For more information on the Plotter Wallet check out their official website using the link below.
I’ve written about Postalco before, more specifically their vintage-looking pressed cotton wallet. One thing Postalco does right provides us with that previously mentioned quality and craftsmanship. Postalco wallets are all handmade in Japan by independent and family-run craftsman-based across Japan with quality control a top priority. Not only that, but Postalco is also highly creative and innovative with their designs and materials they use. Take the Pressed Cotton Wallet for example. This wallet is made from pressed cotton that not only looks fantastic but has a very durable disposition for a wallet that will most likely last a lifetime.
Other notable wallets in the Postalco collection include anything from minimalist cardholders (the Crossgrain Flat Wallet), a minimalist zip wallet, and an array of classic bi-fold style wallets. Due to the quality of Postalco wallets you want to find any single wallet below the price of $120.00 USD (or ¥12,000 JPY), with the most expensive wallet coming in at ¥48,000 JPY (or $430.00 USD). One great aspect of choosing Postalco is they ship worldwide and the website has a native English version. This is quite the luxury on this list making Postalco the best for shipping internationally. For more information and to view the full range of wallets from Japanese brand Postalco visit their official website using the link below.
When shopping in Japan do as the Japanese do. And nothing says Japanese more than applying the traditional craft of Origami to a wallet. Origami itself dates back to Song Dynasty (around 905 BC) and is most famous in Japan where its been a part of their culture as far back as 1680. Origami has since been developed and used in a wide variety of applications and has since be seen used in a variety of wallet brands, including the likes of the Mowal Notch, and of course the Kamino range of wallets that we’ll be discussing today.
Although we’re not going to focus on any one wallet from the Kamino range (they have a great array of different styles to choose from), I will discuss the general design features, unique choice of material, and whether they’re worth the price. All Kamino Wallets are hand-folded and created from a material called Cordobra – a type of paper. This is a latex laced and washable paper fabric that has great durability and a reduced environmental impact. Each wallet in the Kamino range has a distinctive design aimed at a wide variety of people. For example, the Kamino Card Wallet is folded in such a way where it remains a minimalist size (90mm x 55mm) but also retains the high capacity for cash, card, and even coin storage (can store up to 7 credit/debit cards).
Kamino is probably the top choice on this list when it comes to ease of purchase and convenience. They themselves have set up a dedicated website for English-speaking countries so you won’t have to worry about trying to traverse a language you don’t understand. Kamino also has decent shipping times with a general shipping time of 7 days. Postage can get a little pricey (depending on your shipping location) but this isn’t out of the norm. The Kamino Wallet range starts at a lower end price of $21.90 and ranges up to $48.90. Overall, I was impressed with the Kamino Wallet range and they make a great budget option for those looking for a unique Origami Wallet. For more information check out their official website using the link below.
The Tenuis 2 Wallet
Sola is known best for its innovative array of wallets that time and time again have proven to be a popular choice on crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter. Recently, Sola successfully crowdfunded their Tenuis 3 Wallet a complete overhaul of their already popular Tenuis 2 Japanese Wallet. This Kickstarter success story managed to raise a pretty respectable $15,000 in funds. But currently, the Tenuis 3 wallet is only available for backers (those who helped fund the wallet), so it’s unclear when it will hit the market for other eager buyers. Because of this, we’ll be focusing on the equally good Tenuis 2 Wallet a fantastic wallet in its own right.
Designed in the style of a traditional bi-fold, the Tenuis 2 Wallet combines great functionality with some pretty unique materials that add some much-needed durability for a long-lasting wallet. The outside is made from a paraffin-coated canvas exterior. It has a nice texture to it, although slightly rough to the touch. Inside is made from faux leather (essentially plastic). This is the only downside as the material does look and feel quite cheap. The Tenuis does also come in a sweet array of color options to choose from
Where the Tenuis 2 Wallet really shines is with its functionality and high storage capacity for cash, cards, and other small objects like keys or coins. In total, the Tenuis can store up to 9 credit/debit cards split among 3 slots. Along with this, is a double-layered bill pocket and a triangle lid pocket that keeps coins or other small items safe and secure while expanding functionality. At a price of ¥8,400 JPY (approximately $76.00), the Tenuis is priced accordingly and is a fantastic pick for a great Japanese Wallet. For more information visit their official website using the link below.