Meet Noriko Hattori – founder & maker of Monte Sapo

On one of my trips to Yatsugatake, a place close enough to Tokyo to make it the perfect weekend escape, I was introduced to Noriko Hattori, founder and maker of Monte Sapo skincare.

A lady who of the age of wisdom, who after a career in the cosmetic industry moved to the countryside to launch her own natural skincare brand. She certainly knows what’s going on in the beauty register.

Her home is set it a scenery that takes your breath away. The light over the South Alps is never the same, in the distance the shadow of Mt Fuji, wide sunrises and lush fields.

Noriko set up her botanical beauty line Monte Sapo, in a little blue cottage next to her house. Everything is made by hand, selecting only the purest ingredients from trustworthy sources who don’t use pesticides. Using her skills she blends Western with native Japanese herbs depending on your age and skin condition. A remarkable natural brand I can highly recommend for seekers of a more original gift from Made in Japan to pass on or bring back from a visit.

I use the face lotion all year long and alternate my face oils with her floral lavender chamomile blend which is ideal during fluctuating temperatures and dry Winter air.

Norika and I had a little chat in her garden not long ago, while sipping a lovely herbal tea, during which I got to ask her a few questions about her brand and her decision on moving to this mountainous area to launch Monte Sapo:

When did you move to Yatsugatake and where were you before?

I have moved to Yatsugatake in 2013 summer from Nakano-ku, Tokyo

When did you launch your own botanical beauty brand and why?

Initially I started botanical skin care brand in 2004.

After several trial and error, I launched the current organic skin care brand in 2015.

I have experienced hurting my skin in my 40’s and I studied the origins of skin care from tracing the cause.

I wanted to make a skin care brand becauseI am convinced that skin problems are caused by hormonal balance and environmental changes as well as the chemical substances contained in cosmetics in the general market. 

What do you care for most when creating a new skincare formula?

It is to use only the necessary ingredients for the skin care. I aim for simple skin care, where less is more.

I firmly judge the original role of the item, examine ingredients that are more effective, and use its ingredients that contain no pesticides as much as possible. I also examine manufacturing plants so that they can be sold at reasonable prices. 

I believe that a good quality skin care should be available to everyone.

(view of the Japanese Alps from Noriko’s home by Monte Sapo)

Since you don’t use any chemicals as preservatives, do you also apply this in other areas in your life, like cooking?

I do not use any synthetic detergent at home. I use only things that are plant based.

I try to eat meals without additives as much as possible.

When I do my groceries at the supermarket I always check the ingredients listed on the labels.

Where do you see Monte Sapo in three years from now?

I will make efforts to increase the number of people using detergent derived from soap detergent and laundry detergent instead of Synthetic shampoo, body shampoo as well as kitchen detergent and laundry detergent.

What are your recommended places in Yamanashi you can recommend?

I recommend the location where you can see Yatsugatake, Southern Alps and Mt. Fuji.



herbal face toner ¥3,880                             herbal face oil ¥2690


charcoal goat milk soap ¥1500             yomogi soap ¥1,500

(locally sourced botanicals for Monte Sapo skincare)

Follow Noriko’s skincare steps in the pictures:




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