Iroha Zen by Tenga – Sex Toy Review
So, I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with Iroha for awhile now. One the one hand, the toys in the Iroha line are simply gorgeous. They are minimalist masterpieces that border on being decorative art pieces rather than sex toys. But then on the other hand… they pretty much suck at being sex toys. The Iroha Mini is an adorable little toy that is weak as hell… then their is the Iroha Stick, another sadly weak and disappointing vibrator… the only Iroha toy I have come close to really enjoying was the Kushi and even that still really fell short in vibration strength. Even though Iroha has disappointed me time and time again… I still get excited when I get that email offering me a chance to review a new Iroha product… deep down I believe that eventually they will get it right… that eventually I will have an Iroha toy that is both gorgeous and powerful. When that day comes… oh man… just you watch out…
So, is today that day? Not long ago I received one of those exciting emails offering me the chance to test out the Iroha Zen, the latest (and hopefully greatest?) toy in the Iroha vibrator line up. Needless to say, I was stoked… (even though I’ve been burned by Iroha vibrators in the past… I still have an obsessive like interest in Iroha toys) and immediately replied back with something that basically boiled down to “YES! GIMMIE! I WILL REVIEW THIS TOY AND ALL THE TOYS ALWAYS AND FOREVER!” to which the emailed back with something that more or less sounded like “YES! WE WILL SEND YOU TOY! YOU MUST PICK COLOR! PICK IT NOW!” and it was at that point I was crippled with major indecision…
If you have read any of my other Iroha reviews, it should come as no surprise that I fucking love all the colors the Zen comes in. What Iroha toys lack in power they usually make up for in fucking amazing color combinations (remember that Iroha Mini? Sure it may be weak as fuck, but damn do I love that ‘Fuji-Lemon’ purple and yellow color combo). The Zen is currently available in three color choices: Hanacha (a soft coral-like color), Yuzucha (a beautiful goldenrod color) and Matcha (a lighter green color). I agonized for an entire day about what color I wanted… every time I thought I had decided on a color, I would take one last look at the choices and once again be racked with great indecision. In the end I decided on the Matcha, but man… that Yuzucha is gorgeous, that bold yellow color is such an unexpected choice for a sex toy, it is absolutely amazing. After receiving and unboxing my Zen, I am pretty pleased with the Matcha… although looking at it does make me thirsty for green tea.
The packaging is pretty beautiful. The Zen arrived in a hexagonal shaped box (which is cool in and of itself) in the color of my chosen toy (matcha). The box was adorned with a small photo depiction of the toy itself along with a pretty patterned design and the Iroha Zen branding. Around on the other side of the packaging is a run down of the toys specs. Honestly, this box looks like something I could stick in my kitchen cupboard along side my other tea boxes and no one would ever suspect it wasn’t a box of green tea. It is a very pretty box. Iroha and Tenga always do such a beautiful job with their packaging.
The Iroha Zen is battery powered (sigh) and requires two AAA batteries. Iroha gets you started by including a pair of tester batteries but their website recommends that you replace these with alkaline batteries for further uses (the included batteries are manganese). I’m on the fence about this being a battery powered toy. One the one hand… knowing that it is battery powered, I already have an inkling that this vibrator is not going to be at all as powerful as I want it to be. I also HATE digging around for batteries… I never have any on hand… like ever. As soon as this thing runs out of batteries, I will be forced to cannibalized some other poor AAA battery powered device… it is a vicious cycle of one set of batteries being passed around my house like a two-bit whore. But, being battery powered usually means that a toy will be offered at a lower price point than a rechargeable toy… so it is possible that the Iroha Zen will be a more budget friendly toy for most shoppers. One last thing about these batteries… I don’t know if I am just extra dumb or if inserting these batteries is legit confusing… but it took me way too many tries (and then finally crying to my Stunt Cock to fix it for me) to get these batteries inserted correctly and the toy in working order. So… just in case you are googling “how to insert Iroha Zen batteries” I’ve got you covered. So, first off… twist the base of the Zen off (it is that black portion at the bottom of the toy). Once you have that open you should see the open space for the batteries, drop one battery in positive side down and the other battery in negative side down. There are two springs at the bottom of the toy, which made me think the toy would go in with box negative ends facing down… but apparently not. Closing the toy back up was also kind of tricky, but if you look close you should see a little black arrow just above the battery opening, line that up with the little black square on the cap and twist close.
The shape of the Iroha Zen is somewhat reminiscent of a bamboo tea whisk. Okay, I know this is a really random thing to compare a sex toy to… but I was seriously obsessed with tea ceremonies in high school (I read a lot of books about Geisha) so that was the first thing I thought of when I pulled this toy from its box. But seriously though, I am getting some serious tea-vibes from this toy… everything from its packaging, to its color and shape, alway the way down to its name (hello, matcha…)… I’m almost certain this must be intentional… there is no way it’s all a coincidence. Okay… so, I just did a little googling and it turns out that Yuzucha is a type of citrus tea and Hanacha is a flower tea… so this whole tea-vibe must be 100% intentional… very cool!
The top half of the Iroha Zen is covered in silicone. It has that same pillowy, marshmallowy, softness that the Kushi possesses. It is a completely joy to fondle and squish, I absolutely adore how soft to the touch this toy is. It’s kind of hard to describe, as I can’t think of any other vibrator to compare it to… this seems to be something unique (or at least so far unknown to me) to Iroha vibrators. I think marshmallow is really the perfect way to describe it… squishing the head of the Iroha Zen is like squishing a big, soft, marshmallow. The bottom half of the Zen (the base) is also coated in a silicone, however it does not have that same pillowy awesomeness as the upper half (which is fine, I don’t need it to be soft). The silicone is pleated all along the shaft, creating a twisted ridge pattern around the toy that mimics the whisk design I mentioned earlier. This texture is awesome but kind of a butt to clean at times… for the most part I’ve been able to just rinse it clean, but there have been the odd occasion where I have had to whip out the sex toy cleaning toothbrush to scrape dried lube and vag gunk out of the ridges. Oh! Another totally awesome thing about the Zen’s silicone is that it has a matte anti-dust finish… which is seriously the most amazing innovation in sex toys (at least as far as I am concerned), do you know how nice it is to not be constantly picking lint off a silicone toy for a change? It is positively delightful… the less time I have to spend picking lint off of something is more time I can spend actually masturbating with it.
The Zen is controlled by an incredibly simple one button setup. The button is located at the very base of the toy and is decorated with a sort of flower like design on a raised bump… trust me, you can’t miss it. Push and hold that button down to power the Irhoa Zen on, continuing to push the button will cycle the Zen through its four vibration modes. The Iroha Zen comes programed with three constant vibration modes that increase in intensity and one rhythmic patterned pulse mode (which sucks). When you are ready to power down the Zen just push and hold the button until the toy shuts down. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
The Iroha Zen is also waterproof up to 50 cm (which if I am bathing correctly is something like 19 inches) so it is safe to use in the tub. I rarely take my toys into water with me but I like knowing if toys are waterproof or not so I know just how careless I can be with water while I’m washing something. If I know its waterproof, I will go ahead and run it under the tap or dunk it into a full sink of water without worries. To me… waterproof means easier to clean. But I’m sure there are those of you out there who like to take your toys to sexy pool parties and naughty bath times … because I’m sure many of you are far more fun and exciting than I am. Me… I like to masturbate alone in the dark while watching Monk.
I’m sad to say that I am not all that impressed by the strength of this toy. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t the kind of power I crave and enjoy. The vibrations are very mild but do have a kind of rumbly aspect to them, not at all buzzy or numbing. With all that pillowy soft silicone to get through, I would have liked to see the Zen have a little more power behind it, because I think what strength it does have is getting dampened and lost inside all that delicious silicone. However, if you are looking for a gentle vibrator, this might be perfect for you.
I was completely unable to orgasm with the Iroha Zen. It just wasn’t cutting it for me, and after many (agonizingly) long tests, I have finally accepted that the Zen is just another beautiful yet weak Iroha vibrator and I am left sitting here, waiting for my Neo (get it… Neo… as in… my chosen one?! Is the Matrix still cool? Do you kids know what that is?). BUUUuuuut… there was something I did enjoy about the Zen (hooray!). The textured ridges and that soft silicone make the Zen a delightful toy for a little sensation play and teasing… I enjoyed rubbing the textured body over my skin, around my nipples, down my thighs, just enjoying that pleasant sensation and gentle vibration. So, sure… I may never have an orgasm from the Zen alone… but at least it didn’t turn out to be a completely useless waste of space toy.
Just for the sake of thoroughness I also tried the Iroha Zen internally, and while twisting the toy while inserted caused those ridges to slide along my vaginal walls (and feel great), it still wasn’t enough to bring me to orgasm-town. You can’t say I didn’t give the Iroha Zen that old college try. It’s just not a toy made for me.
Now for the hard part… do I recommend the Iroha Zen? I mean… maybe? I do like the over all quality and aesthetics of the toy. Iroha does a fabulous job creating it’s toys… they just lack… power. If this toy was stronger, it would be an absolute yes on the recommendation… but as it stands… I’m on the fence with this one. If you are the kind of person who likes mild vibration, then absolutely, yes I recommend this toy to you. If you are power hungry, like I am, then no… you will only be disappointed by the vibration strength of the Iroha Zen… you will be left in a puddle of frustration and tears as you fruitlessly rub the Zen against your clit trying to orgasm. Nice try Iroha, but better luck next time… I eagerly await your next vibrator with all my fingers and toes crossed that it will have some serious power behind it!
As far as I can tell, the Iroha Zen is not yet available here in the US (or possibly anywhere for that matter). As soon as I start seeing it stocked at some of my favorite retailers I will let you all know! Until then, I guess go drink a steaming cup of green tea and read Geisha, A life by Mineko Iwaskaki to get in the mood.
The Iroha Zen was provided to me free of charge by Tenga in exchange for my honest review.