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When receiving a gift or even after buying a snack at the convenience store, it’s sometimes hard not to just rip open the package to get to the goodies inside. But if you find yourself in the possession of one of the following products, you might want to pause and take a few moments to admire the hard work and creativity that went in to designing the packaging. Here are 10 beautiful product packages from Japan, all of which have won at the Pentawards, a worldwide packaging design competition.

  • Rengo

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Designed to look as if it’s wrapped in a furoshiki, a traditional Japanese cloth used to carry food or gifts, this gift box of fresh apples from Tsugaru City in Aomori Prefecture is sure to impress. The design was created to express wa no omotenashi, or “Japanese hospitality” and won the Bronze Pentaward in 2012.

  • Glamorous Butterfly

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As beautiful as this package is, some might be embarrassed to admire it in public. Maybe the small stature and “Moist Type” printing on the package already gave it away, but the small sparkly pink boxes you see above hold condoms. The design was so appealing, it took the gold in the Health Care category in 2007.

  • Mikanz

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Mikans, Japanese mandarin oranges, are a delicious treat in Japan, usually enjoyed during the cold winter months while huddled under a kotatsu table heater. But wrap them in an award-winning package and add a cute face and they become nearly irresistible. Although they aren’t cheap (a two kilogram box is sold for 1,980 yen [US$20]), they are hand picked and guaranteed to be the tastiest (and cutest) mikans you’ve ever had.

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If you’re wondering how they get the faces on the little fruits, they’re actually clear stickers that are applied after being carefully checked one by one for quality. You also get an extra set of face stickers to stick wherever you like!

  • Funazushi

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Although it may not look like much, a lot of thought went in to the creation of this package containing funazushi, a traditional fermented carp dish made in Shiga Prefecture. The mesh pattern represents a fishing net, but the shape represents the scales of the funa carp and also the sight of heaps of funazushi lined up in buckets. The handle at the top is made to look like the tail fin of a fish. The makers of funazushi deliver a special local product in an equally special package with many hidden symbols to uncover.

  • Gokuri

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Those living in Japan might recognize this little can of juice beverage. Gokuri is a relatively new product that’s not quite juice, but has added pieces of pulp to give it that fruity feel. The can has a simple design and appealing shape, winning it the Silver Pentaward in 2012. The following year, banana Gokuri won the Bronze Pentaward for its all-yellow design.

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  • Iyemon-cha

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There are plenty of brands of bottled green tea in Japan, but Iyemon-cha takes the silver for its bamboo-inspired design. With subtle vertical lines, slight color irregularities and small raised segments, this bottle of green tea looks right at home amongst a bamboo backdrop.

  • JT Pianissimo

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No, those aren’t fancy cosmetics or even packs of gum, the product seen above is JT Pianissimo brand cigarettes. Although we don’t encourage anyone who hasn’t already started smoking to purchase this product, the artwork on the packaging is beautiful and worthy of being admired.

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  • Ito

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Spread is a “create unit” made up of Hirokazu Kobayashi and Haruna Yamada. The pair make wonderful loom-woven scarves under their Ito brand, but it’s the box these garments come in that caught our attention. With eight paper strips woven together, just like the item it contains, these gift boxes are masterpieces on their own.

  • nana’s green tea maccha latte

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The fancy fan pattern on this tin of maccha latte is made to resemble a chasen, a small whisk used to mix green tea during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. The simple yet elegant design earned it the Gold Pentaward in 2010.

  • Kanpyo Udon

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Kanpyo Udon comes from Tochigi Prefecture and has fiber-enhanced dried gourd shavings added to the typically flour-based dough. The packaging features a cute image of one of Tochigi’s famous gourds drawn in a calligraphy style. The bag features delicate loops, representing fresh udon noodles and the black color disguises the black string of the gift bag. It’s the luxurious, yet friendly design that earned Kanpyo Udon the Platinum Pentaward in 2009.

Reference: Entabe
Images: Pentawards