I recently went to Kyoto, and unfortunately I didn’t get to stop by Yojiya’s full store in Gion. I did stop by one of their kiosks (there’s two!) at Kyoto Station. The Kyoto Station kiosks have a very limited amount of products – I only clearly remember seeing the Mayugomori hand creams and aburatorigami (facial blotting papers). I bought one booklet of 20 sheets for 330 yen.
From what I’ve read, the paper was a byproduct of pounding out gold leaf. The process involved banging hammers on gold sandwiched between sheets of paper. The paper was used so that the gold didn’t stick to the hammer, or go flying all over the place. Having the gold resting on paper also helps to easily scoop up the gold leaf later – just pick up the paper!
The gold leaf-pounding process produced really thin sheets of gold leaf, and as a byproduct – really thin paper. I’ve come across some descriptions that say that the current product contains gold – hehehe, come on, of course it doesn’t. If it did have gold, it would cost way more than 330 yen/20 sheets. It may have had near-invisible flecks of gold during the gold leaf-pounding days (hundreds of years ago), but gold is no longer involved in the paper-making process.
There’s a light grid pattern on the paper. My guess is, the pattern comes from being rolled off a press.
The paper was discovered to be really good at absorbing oil. Gold merchants would go to the entertainment district and pay to be entertained by geishas and maikos, and the merchants would give them blotting papers as gifts. Geisha/maiko makeup is quite heavy, and the paper was really convenient for blotting oil and sweat away without messing up their makeup. And back then, the papers were face-sized, about four times bigger than their current retail size.
Later, actors also began using this to blot out the oil and sweat during their live performances and filming. Yojiya started making smaller, portable booklets of paper.
This gross picture here is of my facial oil on the lower half of the sheet. It picks up oil beautifully, and the oily spots show up as translucent spots. The product is just paper – no powder, no scent. It’s a lovely souvenir to have for a first-time Yojiya purchase. But I would not re-buy this. It doesn’t work better or worse than other blotting sheets. It’s just thin paper, but I guess it’s thin paper from Yojiya. Honestly, it’s difficult to improve on blotting papers. Personally, I think the best product on the market is Clean&Clear’s (poly? vinyl?) blue absorbing sheets.
THESE blue sheets!
Flipping through the booklet. There’s 20 sheets inside. At 330 yen per booklet, that’s 16.5 yen per sheet. At today’s rate (Oct 2015), that’s about 0.14 usd.
A little information sheet inside the booklet.
And now, a detour. Yojiya’s product presentation and packaging is absolutely perfect. Here’s a look into what you get when you buy from Yojiya:
I had bought a 30 g tube of Mayugomori hand cream, and also the booklet of blotting paper. The store assistant asked if I would like a bag – I said yes, not realizing how big it was in comparison with what I had bought. But still, it was better than having them bounce around in my hand bag – don’t want the blotting paper to get crumpled! The bag was sealed with a tidy sticker on top. (Many Japanese shops do this – they put a bit of tape or a sticker to seal the bag. And for plastic bags, the handles are twisted together to make one tidy loop.)
The envelope containing the blotting papers.
The Yojiya logo. It’s a hand mirror, with a woman’s face reflected in it.
The back of the envelope. Another little sticker!
I love the little details. The company could have used the same sticker for the larger bag and the smaller envelopes, but chose to have two different stickers.
Adorable – the QR code has the Yojiya logo inside.
You can only buy Yojiya products in Kyoto, and a few places in Tokyo (Shibuya, Haneda Airport, Narita Airport). The store locations are listed on their English website and also on their Japanese website.
Japanese: よーじや あぶらとり紙
English: Yojiya Aburatorigami (oil blotting paper)
Retail Price: 330 yen
Amount: 20 sheets in 1 booklet. Each sheet is 9.3 cm (horizontal) x 9 cm (vertical), or 3.66 inches x 3.54 inches.
Ingredients, Japanese: 特殊和紙
Ingredients, English: special washi (Japanese paper)
Brand page: yojiya.co.jp, yojiyacosme.com