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Written by: Savanna Frimoth

February 18th , 2021


The Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi embraces simplicity and the beauty of aging and imperfection. Its history dates back to a 16th-century legend. The story centers on Sen No Rikyu, a young man studying under a tea master, Takeeno Joo. To test his student, Takeeno Joo asked him to clean the garden. Sen No Rikyu removed debris and raked the garden until it was pristine. But then, before he showed his work to Takeeno Joo, he shook the cherry tree, allowing blossoms to fall and cover the ground.

This story illustrates the core of what wabi-sabi is about: accepting the unique touches left by life, aging, and nature. Wabi-sabi embraces worn wood floors, handmade pottery with a chip in the edge, well-worn denim jackets, and beloved furniture that molds to the lounger. Other key principles of the concept include kanso (simplicity), fukinsei (asymmetry), shibumi (understated beauty), shizen (natural elements), and datsuzoku (freedom from habit). Wabi-sabi can be applied in the home, personal style, and everyday life.

Snow Peak indigo garments lend themselves to a wabi-sabi approach. The deep blue color comes from a customized dyeing process with indigo and sulfur. Each piece grows better with age, as it becomes unique to the wearer. Classic staples like the Okayama OX Pants in Indigo or the Indigo C/N Down Coat fade slightly with use, especially around the creases of the elbow and knees. The Yamai Line, a capsule collection designed by Snow Peak President Lisa Yamai, also encapsulates wabi-sabi in its use of ancient dye techniques and natural fibers. Each garment is one-of-a-kind and intended to bring the wearer closer to nature.

Snow Peak outdoor gear also fits into the wabi-sabi aesthetic. The iconic Takibi Fire & Grill becomes fire-weathered after multiple uses, while the reliable Copper Head Peg Hammer offers a visible representation of age as its head flattens over time. All Snow Peak goods are backed by a lifetime guarantee and designed to be passed down to the next generation. 

However you’re integrating wabi-sabi into your life, it’s a sure way to appreciate the rich details around us.