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My trip to Japan

by Sonia G.

My trips to Japan are the opportunity for me to meet the artisans, spend time with my friends, shop, get inspired and learn about Japanese traditions and craftsmanship. I usually travel on my own and although I am so happy to be there, I miss my family, especially my daughter. This recent trip to Japan was very different, my husband and my daughter were there with me, when I woke up in the morning I had to pinch myself everyday… I was so deeply happy and grateful!

This post is not to talk about what we have been doing during this trip, most of it is family moments or time with friends, but I can share pictures of a couple of Fude shops so you can virtually browse, and I can show you the Fude and make-up purchases that I made in Japan.

The trip

We went to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo. It was a family trip, we still had a few meetings with the manufactures but we wanted to be able to spend time enjoying Japan with our daughter. We live in a small ski resort here, Japan is completely different for her, she learned a lot and I am sure that this trip will be very beneficial for her.

In Kyoto, we did a lot of sightseeing by ourselves, same for Tokyo, we had some things planned and we were very busy. Our daughter is going to do a presentation about Japan at school so we tried to do things she can talk about and show to her class.
In Hiroshima it was different, we spent almost all of the time with our friends, starting very early in the morning and ending late. I started my blog in 2012 and I have been travelling quite a lot to Japan since then. I am very grateful that I have close friends in Hiroshima and that we could spend our time with them, having dinners, doing activities and even spending time with their children. Those moments make the best memories! We will never forget this trip, this was truly the trip of a lifetime.

The Fude Shops

There are several places to shop for Fude in Japan, wherever you go. JR Train stations, dedicated boutiques, souvenir shops, shopping centers, even stationary shops like Itoya in Ginza have a couple of Fude. There are little pop-up stores inside shopping centers and sometimes the manufacturers have special collaborations with places or companies in Japan. One idea is to contact the brand you are interested in – should you already know them – and ask them where they sell their brushes.
Today I just want to share some pictures of two shops, one in Hiroshima and one in Tokyo, but keep in mind there are more Fude shops.

When I was walking towards the Hiroshima Fude Center I heard someone calling my name on the street, I turned around and it was Kashoen‘s President and her daughter. We have met in the past and we know each other quite well but I wasn’t expecting to meet them randomly in Hiroshima. If you love Kashoen, they have a boutique in Hiroshima near the Hiroshima Fude Center. I went to their boutique in 2017 with Troy Surratt and partner Nathaniel Hawkins while we were sightseeing in Hiroshima together, then in 2018 I returned to the boutique to make a couple of purchases. They have also art brushes for painting, which is what I mostly got at the time.

Pic of Kashoen from my visit in 2018


This is the entry of the Hiroshima Fude Center, at the entry level they have a lot of stationery and Fude available to purchase, calligraphy, painting and make-up brushes.

I took some pictures inside to show you what to expect in terms of selection. I didn’t buy make-up brushes this time, only calligraphy.

I was interested in a set with Yakusugi handles but they could not find the price so they could not sell it to me 😀

The KCR brand are OEM brushes made by Koyudo for the Hiroshima Kumano Center.

Here is a little gallery for you to see what type of Fude you can expect there and how they are displayed. You often find samples opened for us to feel, but not for all brushes or sets. There are many brushes available and the great thing is that you may find something that has been discontinued. I bought quite a lot there in the past. They are very nice and friendly but make sure you have a way to translate if you have any specific questions.


There are several Kumano Fude Select Shop shops, two in Hiroshima and one in Tokyo.
If you are in Tokyo, it’s located in the TAU shop in Ginza. TAU carry also many other traditional products from Hiroshima.

As I was leaving, I ran back upstairs to ask them if I could take some pictures. I was in a hurry as we needed to go somewhere before it closed, but I still managed to grab some pics. It gives you an idea of what they have.

I remember a few years ago they offered to hire me because I was able to say exactly what material was in each Fude (also synthetic) and knew all the collections and brushes. They were pretty amazed and we laughed so much about it. You can touch any brush you want (I believe they have samples for all) and ask questions, they are extremely friendly and so happy to help.


This time we had many places to go with my daughter so I did not have time to browse for Fude, however, I still managed to get some…


There is a collaboration Koyudo x Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel and here is the brush they made:

It feels like 100% goat bristles, I have asked Koyudo what type it is and it’s saikoho but not the softest ever if you are familiar with the softest saikoho. Still great and very functional (and a great price). The brush costs JPY 5,200 and can be purchased at the Sheraton Hotel in Hiroshima.

It’s a big face brush, a bit similar to the Koyudo CW-01, but it’s denser and slightly less soft than the CW-01.
The Sheraton brush seems to be stronger, with its strength more concentrated towards the center of the surface – it’s more determined with the application and the blending, while the CW-01 offers a more lightweight application and diffused on a larger surface.

I think it’s a good brush for all over powder – or bronzer, the bristles flow evenly and we have good control on the movement of the bristles despite its size. I still need to wash it to see how much it opens. If it stays like this, it could also be an option for blush if you don’t require precision.


If you travel to or from Japan with ANA (All Nippon Airways), you have access to their in-flight sales. You will see this Hakuhodo Sakura brush set. It costs JPY 9,500.

The set comes with a pouch that is Made in Japan. The face brush is a mix of goat/synthetic bristles, the medium eye brush (100% goat) is similar to the J5523 and the slanted eyebrush (100% horse) is similar to the S151.

Hakuhodo seems to usually always have a collaboration with ANA, it’s not the first set I purchase with this airline but since I don’t always fly ANA, I don’t know what other sets were offered.


Cle de Peau

I went crazy on the new Cle de Peau eye color quads. I started with two, then as I was using them, I wanted to try more of their shades and ended up with 8. I came back home with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 12.

The reason why I got quite a few is because this is a release I was very interested in and with the exchange rate, they were a lot less expensive. I was also very curious about the formula, and I want to thoroughly test my brushes with these shadows.

I am just going to share some quick first thoughts and impressions since these shadows are new and they are now coming to our counters worldwide.

The packaging

I don’t enjoy the bulkiness of the new cases; I still bought a case for each one of the quads. They are easy to open and close, and the quads inside are easy to remove as we don’t need to use anything dangerous to push the quad out.

We cannot separate each shadow from its original quad and mix them around – like with the Lisa Eldridge compacts for example.
I prefer the previous thinner Cle de Peau compacts, they are much easier to travel with and less plastic was used in the making. I don’t really like the shiny gold surfaces and the fact that they are bulkier, it’s not such a big difference but when travelling with the minimum, it makes a big difference. They are still smaller than Tom Ford quads but I preferred the previous Cle de Peau cases.

In comparison to the previous Cle de Peau quads, it looks like there is much more product now, justifying a much bigger case, there is 1g difference = 20% more product.

The product

The quads are made in Japan. They all have a light cream shadow and when I asked them how to use it, they told me these creamy shadows were a primer, then we work or layer the other powders on top -should we want to.
I am usually suspicious about palettes with one cream shadow in them, I often notice more creasing when using them. However, these Cle de Peau primers help a lot as the shadows look more vibrant and last longer. I used them while walking for hours with 70% humidity and 35 degrees C and they stayed put, they faded but looked great, that’s pretty awesome.

What I love about these shadows is how effortless and elegant the results are. For my everyday life, I want something beautiful, that lasts, I want to feel comfortable and not worry about creasing or fading unevenly, and these quads deliver. I also love to use Natasha Denona and Pat Mc Grath because I get the impact and the whole creativity going strong, but in terms of formula, these Cle de Peau do more for my eyelids, and the pigmentation is stronger than most Japanese brands out there.

I encourage you to watch and follow Sofia Sees Beauty as she made such a fantastic review. In her review, she is comparing many and also the YSL to the Cle de Peau, she nails the differences and I fully agree with her. I have many of the YSL new quads too but my issue is that on most days I just don’t want so many sparkles and the extra maintenance that comes with them, I want to look like I am put together with no fallouts, no transfer, no creasing until I decide to take my makeup off, and this is what Cle de Peau offers.

There is a huge list of “Key Benefits“, I can confirm that these palettes are definitely long lasting and they truly enhance the appearance of my ageing lids, that’s for sure. I am always happy with the results but I am not in love with all of the palettes. At the moment I have them all in rotation, I use a different one each day just for fun and to try them all out properly but I have my favorites.

The price

They come with a very high price point: in Japan the refill costs 5,800 JPY and the case 3,000 JPY, in total 8,800 JPY for one palette. When converted with today’s exchange rate, 8,800 JPY = USD 58. However, in the USA they are $110 ($75 just for the refill, and $35 for the case). All prices mentioned before tax.

Surratt Beauty quad palettes are also $110, they are also made in Japan. At least we can create a custom palette with the shades we want and there is more product with a less bulky packaging.

In Switzerland, we already received these Cle de Peau in our Globus Department Store. Here, the palette with the refill costs CHF 92 (=USD 102). This means that in comparison to what they cost here, I paid half of the price for each palette in Japan.

I am not surprised that customers are shocked with the prices of these palettes, $110 is just way too much for a quad, specially when we cannot play around and select the shades we want to group together. I think the formula is great, reliable, and it’s handy to have one or two palettes in our collection for when we want something safe and beautiful. But there is an issue with their price.

The swatches

My favorite palettes are number 6, 9 and 4. Number 6 and 9 are too similar to justify having both, I would definitely go for the 6, there is more contrast in the shades and it’s more interesting (to me). I also enjoy using the number 4 because again, there is contrast and these are shades I wear regularly. However, they are easily dupeable. Number 1 was often sold out at the counters, I had to search for a less obvious Cle de Peau counter to find it in stock.

I was going to swatch just the primers, to show you that they are all different. Then I thought it would be useful to see what the first shadow (top left) would look on top of the primer, but then I continued and swatched all of the shadows, layered 😀

Swatches by palette in this order, from left to right : 01,02,03,04,06,08,09,12.


Primer base + top left shadow

Primer + top left + top right

Primer + top left + top right + darkest

Suqqu and RMK

I shared this pic on Instagram – I was showing my little shopping bags from Suqqu and RMK.

At the RMK counter, I just bought backups of their waterproof mascara as it’s my goto for everyday. That’s all.

At the Suqqu counter, I bought quite a few things.

The new Suqqu Foundation “The Foundation”, it looked ok while I was in Japan, the humidity really helps but still didn’t love it. Here in Switzerland, with the drier weather, it’s not working at all for me and makes me look lifeless. I think it was the first release of their Cream Foundation (around 2013 maybe) that was incredible and I loved it so so much. The two releases after are not what I am looking for in a foundation today – I am going for light to medium coverage with radiance or glow. I am unable to wear medium coverage with a matte finish.

The eyeshadow palette 102 Yumesakikou is gorgeous, bright, sparkly, stunning. I find it to be bolder or more pigmented in comparison to the usual Suqqu quads. I use this palette regularly and I am always excited to play with it. By the way, the blush doubles as a great crease shadow. I recommend that you get it if you love Suqqu. There were two palettes in this 20th Anniversary collection, the one that looked more orange was out of stock at the Suqqu counter.

I took two of the lip defining shades, the description is quite interesting: “A lip-liner that re-stores shape to your lips and combats thinning due to aging”. It’s a thick pencil and it’s matte but it’s not powdery. The shade 01 is a light beige so it was a wrong choice for me. If I wear the 03 it’s ok and yes it redraws the outline of my lips but I am not crazy about it and I have yet to figure out why!

The powder 101 Harutsuya has a golden geometric pattern embossed on it, the pattern adds a golden shine with tiny particles to the actual powder.

I removed a bit of the pattern to see if the golden shine would remain underneath, although the pattern stops, it seems to keep the golden shine within the powder.

I wanted to use this as a highlighter but it’s not for me, in order for it to show on my skin as a highlighter, the application is going to add too much of the base powder. On my dry skin it doesn’t look good, it ends up too powdery and emphasizes imperfections.

It wasn’t my favorite Suqqu haul but the palette 102 Yumesakikou is pretty awesome!

And that’s it for today, if you have any questions about Japan, the trip, or Fude, please do not hesitate to get in touch in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading!!!

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Cynthia 18 October, 2023 - 8:08 am

Dear Sonia,
Thank you for this wonderful post. My lovely husband took me to Hiroshima and we attended the Fude Matsuri together. It was absolutely wonderful, though we missed out on the Kumano Museum and the Hiroshima Fude Centre was closed on the Sunday that we went to check it out. I wasn’t that disappointed though, as I had my eye on and was happy to find Chikuhodo brushes, that I really really wanted, discounted at the Festival.
I am a little sad that I didn’t bump into you, as we were there at the same time, but it is definitely more important to have family time when your time in Japan is limited.
The Boat Parade was so entertaining I couldn’t stop laughing. I am glad your daughter could participate.
Thank you for introducing me to Fude all those years ago, as before your brushes and blogs, I thought it was my lack of expertise that gave my make-up looks the unfinished edge. After reading the blogs and using Japanese Fude the appearance is pretty flawless and I am even more in love with make-up and now Fude too. Especially since Covid has somewhat ended and I’m slowly getting back into it.
Even though I shouldn’t say this, as others may feel regretful, I am so happy I bought several of your original Fude from the fundamental line. I really treasure these first brushes you came out with, especially the original buffer and the squirrel crease are my favourites from that series. My current favourite continues to be your mini keyaki buffer. It’s fantastic for travel, and even with my long fingers the handle isn’t too short. It’s incredibly soft, even compared to my other Fude brushes in my collection.
My skin is similar to yours and we are off similar age, so your reviews on your current purchases are especially pertinent. I agree with you an the quality and longevity of the Cledepeau shadows, I was so surprised I could do an elegant look in a matter of minutes and it last all day on my drier lids. Please update us on all the products you purchased as I am using you as my standard for comparison before purchase!!!
Finally I hope everyone enjoys your daughter’s presentation, that the Switzerland winter will be kind to you and … Of course….I am looking forward to your winter holiday releases!

Sonia G. 20 October, 2023 - 11:26 am

Hi Cynthia,
Thank you for your amazing comment! such a joy to read you!
First of all, I am sad we didn’t meet, I would really have loved that! please never hesitate to say hello and even tell me you would be there and we could organize a nice meet up!!
That parade was fun indeed, they really liked to show off their strength 😀
It was my pleasure to introduce you to Fude, if I could help in any way it makes my day and this whole adventure so worth it!
Oh those first Fundamentals… it was a while ago, thank you for being with me for so long! Maybe you should have a look at the upcoming holiday release? 🙂 could not be what you are looking/hoping for but it’s a hint… <3
I often think my thoughts or reviews on make-up are not relevant, it may not be what most people are looking for nowadays (trend/preferences), but I appreciate it so much when I read comments like yours, I should post more about my purchases if this helps anyone, so thank you for letting me know and I will definitely do more.
My daughter is working on her project as I write this, she is very excited to prepare everything and she is asking everyday to go back... the teachers and her friends are really looking forward to hearing all about it! We brought calligraphy brushes and paper for the class, she is going to show them how to make a paper crane (they had this activity on the planning for this year anyway) and more activities. She is very shy and this helps her so much!!
Thank you again for taking the time to stop by and leave me a message! We talk soon and take great care of yourself!! <3

Severine 19 October, 2023 - 9:49 am

Sonia, merci énormément de prendre le temps de nous relater ton voyage, d’agrémenter avec des photos, vidéos. C’est extrêmement plaisant à lire, c’est toujours un plaisir de découvrir, d’en apprendre davantage . Je rejoins l’avis de Cynthia plus haut concernant l’importance et la pertinence de tes avis concernant les produits. C’est toujours analysé finement, construit, objectif. Merci pour tout , tout et plus encore…

Sonia G. 20 October, 2023 - 1:36 pm

Bonjour Seve! J’aimerais pouvoir te prendre avec moi! et aussi j’aimerais tellement pouvoir avoir plus de temps pour partager ces aventures et mes avis, on est une petite communauté mais probablement la plus sympa et la plus folle aussi 😀 😀 😀 Je t’embrasse!!!


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