One such shop is Common, located on the fringes of the so-called Design District in the centre of Helsinki. This tiny boutique, which was opened in 2007 by couple Masako & Kohsuke Nakamura, sells design objects and crafts from all four corners of Japan. Their idea was to present items that were clearly of Japanese origin but that could blend in with the Nordic lifestyle. The noticeably simplicity of the shapes means that many of the objects in the shop never age and can be used for years upon years.
Several different brands from different parts of Japan are represented including About:Blank, who produce notebooks, a bookstand and a folding chair, Hakusan, who make beautiful porcelain items such as their legendary soy sauce dispenser, Kami No Kousakujo, whose flagship product is their air vase made from intricately cut paper, and Uogashi-Meicha who produce one of the most famous brands of tea in Japan and have their main store in the world's largest fish market, Tsukiji, in Tokyo.
A great little shop to look around but also to bring back a gift or souvenir from your time in one of the world's design epicentres. The vast majority of the items are small enough to fit easily into your luggage and will travel very safely.
Address: Laivurinrinne 1, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
Telephone: +358 9 670 385