Monday, February 6, 2017

Japanese Beads - MIYUKI™ and TOHO™

New to market, Japanese beads are not produced as regularly as Czech glass beads. However I felt it necessary to create this blog as a reference tool, as and when new MIYUKI or TOHO bead finishes, shapes etc are released; they will be included here. ✍

"Seed Bead" is a generic term for any small bead be it Czech or Japanese. There are numerous types of Japanese beads in all shapes and sizes such as Round, Cylinder, Hexagon, Bugle, Triangle, Cubes, Rectangle, Peanut shaped and Drops.  

There are two premium manufacturers of Japanese seed beads, MIYUKI and TOHO. MIYUKI was the very first Japanese company to manufacture beads so I will begin with MIYUKI. 

MIYUKI offer a large range of seed beads ranging in sizes; as does TOHO. MIYUKI named their round seed beads rocailles and their small tube/cylinder like beads Delica®. TOHO named their equivalent tube/cylinder like beads TOHO Treasures® TOHO have another line of tube/cylinder like beads called Aiko (named after the wife of the TOHO beads founder). Aiko beads are precision cut beads and as such are more expensive than the Treasures® and are not so readily found online or in storesAiko beads are available in both smooth and cut styles but are only available in size 11º; there are 100's of colors.

MIYUKI have an equivalent, but smaller sized bead called a Delica® precision cut 15º (DBS).  See the example Pic 01 from the MIYUKI website that demonstrates what can be achieved with the precision, smaller beads.

Pic 01 Fringe made with DBS swing smoothly just like silk thread.

Handsewn Sample Cards of both MIYUKI and TOHO beads are available through bead stores. They are a work of art in themselves; tiny rows of little beads handsewn to the sample cards to display every color and every color has a unique number.

MIYUKI Delica® bead numbers begin with DB (which actually stands for Delica® Beads). TOHO Treasures® bead numbers start with an A (A stands for ?). MIYUKI Delica® beads and TOHO Treasures® are available in both faceted and smooth styles. MIYUKI Delica® beads have a larger range of sizes and styles than TOHO Treasures®

This link will take you to the MIYUKI website to view color charts of every bead that MIYUKI manufacture:

This link will take you to the TOHO website to view colocharts of every bead that TOHO manufacture:

The MIYUKI Long Magatama (LMA) bead is available in one size 4x7mm and is available in 147 colors. MIYUKI Magatama (MA) beads are available in three sizes; 3mm, 4mm and 5mm. TOHO Magatamas claim they are available in 5 sizes; 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm and 5mm.  However, the TOHO Color Chart for Magatamas has colors for only three sizes 3mm, 4mm  and 5mm; these beads are available in 41 colors. 😕   #confusedface

MIYUKI has three drop beads; Drop (DP) 2.8mm and the larger (DP) (F) 4.5mm beads, and the largest Long Drop (LDP) bead which measure 3x5.5mm. TOHO have only one drop bead it measures 3.5mm.  I cannot locate a TOHO Color Chart for these beads.

The MIYUKI Tila™ bead is a flat, thin, square 2-holed bead 5x5x1.9mm. MIYUKI advise caution when handling the beads as they can be fragile when dropped. There are more than 120 colors available.  Then came the MIYUKI Half Tila™ bead which is as the name implies is half the size of the original MIYUKI Tila™ bead 5x2.3x1.9mm. TOHO have no equivalent of the Tila™or Half Tila™ beads.

**MIYUKI has launched a new bead called Quarter TILA Beads. The size is 5.0x1.2x1.9mm with 2 holes.
MIYUKI Berry beads are peanut shaped beads with one hole; that are available in two sizes 2.5x4.5mm and the larger sized 3.3x5.5mm. Currently there are 33 colors available. TOHO have no equivalent of the Berry bead; there is a Czech peanut shaped bead called a Farfelle® (it comes in two sizes 3.2x6.5mm and 2x4mm).  The Beadsmith released the Butterfly bead which again resembles the Berry Bead.  It is only available in neon colors and one size 4x6mm (it has now become elusive so I'll need to chat with The Beadsmith). Matsuno have a peanut shaped bead, measuring 2x4mm. See Pic 02 for a visual comparison of these beads.

Pic 02 - Image from Robins Beads UK
MIYUKI Sharp Triangle Beads (STR). The vertex of the triangle is sharper than their regular MIYUKI triangle beads which have a rounded vertex. There are three sizes (10º , 8º and 5º) and 10 colors are available.  TOHO state on their Shape Chart that they have 7 sizes of triangle beads; 14º or 1.6mm, 12º or 2mm, 11º or 2.2mm, 10º or 2.4mm, 8º or 3mm, 5º or 5mm and 3º or 7mm.  However, TOHO's Color Chart for these sized beads states there are no colors for the size 14º or 1.6mm, no colors for size 12º or 2mm, 78 colors for size 11º or 2.2mm, 5 colors for size 10º or 2.4mm, 58 colors for size 8º or 3mm, 23 colors for both size 5º or 5mm and size 3º or 7mm. The hole in the TOHO Triangle beads is triangular unlike the MIYUKI variety which is round, see Pic 03.

Pic 03 Toho bead holes

Here is abother helpful video, this one is from Beadaholique offering information and discussing the differences between the triangle beads:-

MIYUKI Unions® beads are rocailles (seed beads) that are coated with Czech Glass finishes. MIYUKI Unions® beads are extremely uniform in size, shape, and color. MIYUKI Unions® beads are only available in Size 11º there are 19 colors available with sizes 6º, 8º and 15º 'coming soon', no actual pre-order date seems to be available. TOHO's equivalent of these beads are their TOHO Hybrids beads and their TOHO SuperNova Hybrids Limited Edition beads. 

MIYUKI Unions® & TOHO SuperNova Hybrids plus a close up of Toho's Apollo Gold coated beads 😍 
October 2016' MIYUKI released two new bead shapes the Slender Bugle bead and a Rectangle bead. The Slender Bugle (SLB) bead is available in two sizes 1.3x3mm and 1.3x6mm; they are available in 21 colors. The Rectangle bead (RB) is size 4x9mm and has 28 colors to choose from. MIYUKI have other Bugle bead sizes, please view the MIYUKI Bead Chart below ⬇ for more information about these beads.

TOHO have plenty of choice when it comes to Bugle beads, see the TOHO Shape Chart for more information ⇩.

The TOHO Demi Round™ is a thinner version of the traditional size 11º and 8º round seed bead with the same hole size and diameterMIYUKI have no equivalent of this bead.

Toho Demi Round™
TOHO Takumi® beads have been available since 2013 and have a stringing hole 15⁒ larger than TOHO's  size 11º round beads. TOHO Takumi® LH beads are available in size 9º. MIYUKI have no equivalent of the TOHO Takumi® beads other than their Macrame beads (7mm hole) and their size 1º round rocaille bead.

Both MIYUKI and TOHO have round seed beads that have two types of different shaped holes; they are a round hole and a square hole. MIYUKI offer it in both their size 11º and 8º round beads and two of their Bugle beads. TOHO's size range of beads available in both round and square hole, round seed beads is significantly larger than the MIYUKI range (see the TOHO Shape Chart for more information) ⇩.

Only TOHO offers 3-Cut beads in sizes 15º, 12º, 9º and 8º and two Charlotte bead sizes 15º and 12ºCharlotte beads have one cut on the bead which acts like a facet, giving sparkle to the bead. 3-Cut beads have three cuts giving even more sparkle to the bead. MIYUKI have no equivalent of these beads.

MIYUKI Duracoat-Galvanised® is a durable clear coating for dyed or galvanized beads. It is a thicker and stronger coating that is used for standard galvanised beadsMIYUKI Duracoat-Galvanised® beads are available size 11º, 10º, 8º and 6º beads and are available in 22 colors. 

TOHO have an equivalent galvanised coating for their beads, called PermaFinish® PermaFinish® beads feature a protective coating that helps prevent fading, scratching, and tarnishing. Available in over 60 colors including Silver-Lined, Ceylon, and Galvanized.

MIYUKI offer Picasso Coating on a range of their beads, but it is only available for sizes 8º and 6º in round Rocailes, 13 colors are available. TOHO have Picasso Coating on a range of their beads as well.

Picasso coating effect

TOHO released Glow-in-the-Dark beads to the market in 2016. 12 colors are available in sizes 11º and 8º only. MIYUKI have no equivalent of these beads.

TOHO have semi-glazed seed beads that feature a partially matt, lightly textured finish, These semi glazed beads are available in 24 colors both regular and rainbow finishes; in sizes 11º and 8º only. MIYUKI have no equivalent of these beads.

Toho semi-glaze finish promo
MIYUKI Cotton Pearls are made by using compressed cotton with a pearl coating instead of resin, crystal or glass, so the weight of the beads is much lighter than other pearls (such as Preciosa or Swarovski). There are 14 colours and they are available in sizes 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm and an 8x11mm drop.

MIYUKI Shrink Pearl is also coated with "Baroque" on an ABS resin base. There are 7 colors available in 8mm, 10mm and 12mm. The Shrink Pearl looks similar to pearls which were used in an antique or vintage costume jewellery. TOHO have only plastic pearls.
MIYUKI Shrink Pearl

MIYUKI Baroque beads

MIYUKI Baroque beads have a pearl coating, but the surface of these "Baroque" beads has a very unique, rugged texture which reflects the light softly. There are 7 colors available in two sizes, 6º and 5º. It is interesting to note that the edge of every bead-hole is cleaned by hand 😲  #astonishedface.

MIYUKI manufacture 50m (55 yard) spools of 100% nylon twisted beading thread which is available in 18 colors and is approx 330dtex. It has a strong, slick coating, so that it does not need waxing or other lubrication.

TOHO manufacture 50m (55 yard) of nylon beading thread called One-G; it is available in 12 colors.  This nylon thread is strong, easy to thread, shred-resistant and won't fray as easily as other nylon threads. It is treated with an anti-tangle agent, so it is easy to work with. It is my personal favourite nylon beading thread. 💕 

⬇ Sizes and Shapes of MIYUKI Seed Beads ⬇

Hole Size
Rocailles (R.R.)

15/0 Extra Small 
丸特小ビーズ1.50.7R.R. 15/0
Rocailles (R.R.)

2.00.8R.R. 11/0
Round Rocailles (R.R.) 
3.01.1R.R. 8/0
Round Rocailles (R.R.)
6/0 Extra Large
特大ビーズ4.01.5R.R. 6/0
Round Rocailles (R.R.) 
5/0 E Beads
Eビーズ5.02.0R.R. 5/0
Round Rocailles (R.R.)
EEビーズ6.52.9R.R. 1/0
六角ビーズ(小)2.00.8Hexagon 11/0
8/0 (2Cut)
六角ビーズ(大)3.01.1Hexagon 8/0
Bugle Beads
竹ビーズ1.50.7Bugle 3mm
Bugle Beads
竹ビーズ1.70.8Bugle 6mm
Bugle Beads
竹ビーズ2.41.1Bugle 12mm
Long Bugle Beads
竹ビーズ2.51.2Long Bugle 30mm
Drop Beads 
Drop Beads 
3.40.8Drop Beads 3.4mm
Long Drop Beads 3.4mm(LDP) ドロップビーズ3*5.5Drop Beads 3.4mm
Magatama Beads
Magatama Beads
4.01.3Magatama Beads 4mm
Magatama Beads
Magatama Beads

トライアングルビーズ4x71.4Triangle Beads 5/0
Triangle Beads
10/0 (TR)
トライアングルビーズ2.50.9Triangle Beads 10/0
Triangle Beads 
3.01.1Triangle Beads 8/0
Triangle Beads
5.01.8Triangle Beads 5/0
Triangle Beads 
Triangle Beads 
Triangle Beads 
Square Beads 1.8×1.8×1.8
Square Beads3×3×3(SB)
Square Beads
4x4x41.4Square Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 2.0 x 6mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.00.8Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 2.0 x 9mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.00.8Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 2.0 x 12mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.00.8Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 2.7 x 12mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.71.1Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 3.4 x 12mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)3.41.1Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 2.7 x 20mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.71.1Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
Bugle 3.4 x 20mm (TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)3.41.2Twist Bugle Beads
Twist Beads
2Cut 10/0(TW)
ツイストビーズ(TW)2.20.9Twist Cut Beads
Macrame Beads 
マクラメビーズ7.03.0Macrame Beads
Delica Beads 
Round 15/0(DBS)
delica beads1.30.65Delica Cut
Delica Beads
Cut 15/0(DBSC)
delica beads1.30.65Delica
Delica Beads 
Round 11/0(DB)
delica beads1.60.8Delica
Delica Beads
Cut 11/0(DBC)
delica beads1.60.8Delica Cut
Delica Beads

Round 10/0(DBM)
delica beads2.21.0Delica M
Delica Beads

delica beads2.21.0Delica M Cut
Delica Beads (L)
Round 8/0 (DBL)
delica beads3.01.5Delica L
Delica Beads (L)
Cut 8/0 (DBLC)
delica beads3.01.45Delica L Cut
3Cut Beads 
3 cut beads2.0 - 2.20.73Cut
Half TILA™BEADSHalf tila5x2.3x1.90.8
Berry Beads 3カットビーズ2.5x4.53Cut

⇩  TOHO Bead Shape Chart ⇩


  1. Wow melissa, you are providing the beading community a wonderful service setting this up for them.


  2. You're welcome Patrick .. I like to be useful during my hiatus from beading. Hugs Mx