List of Must-Buy Souvenirs from Japan!
Are you planning to come to Japan, or are you about to leave Japan?
Whenever you travel, you may want to buy souvenirs to take back home to remember your precious experiences. You may also want to share your experiences with your family and friends.
Then, why don’t you get some souvenirs in Japan before having a flight back home? There are many kinds of souvenirs (or “omiyage” in Japanese) that you can feel “Japan” everytime you see/use them.
The followings are top recommended souvenirs!
If you are visiting Tokyo, here are more detailed ideas for what to buy in Tokyo!
There is a wide variety of stationary in Japan with plenty of design from traditional to modern. Not only are there normal pens and notebooks, but also there are mechanical pencils (“sharp pencil”), erasable pens, post-it, and other types of stationery that you may not be able to find in your country. If you want something cheap, usable on a daily basis, Japanese stationery is the best choice. Just grab as many as you want! You won’t regret!
2.Snacks from Convenience Stores
One of the things you probably will miss about Japan is snacks. As we introduced in this page, there are huge selections of snacks from classic ones to modern ones. Before you leave Japan, stop by the convenience store or supermarket nearby and get whatever you want.
Also, Japanese sweets and breads will be great to take back home or eat on the way to the airport.
3.Matcha (Green tea) Flavored Sweets
Matcha, or green tea flavor is one thing that represents Japaneseness. Not only convenience stores and supermarkets but also department stores, drug stores, and tourist shops at train stations or airport have a large selection of matcha-flavored snacks or sweets. In particular, if you travel to Kyoto, where green tea cultivation is well developed, matcha flavored items should be on your must-buy list.
Other than snacks or sweets sold nationwide, treats that are specific to the region can be a nice souvenir. Local treats usually use ingredients specifically produced in the area, such as Yubari melon flavor from Hokkaido, mentaiko flavor from Fukuoka, pear flavor from Tottori, etc. You can get these sweets at tourist shops, department stores, train stations, and airport.
If you fell in love with Japanese liquor, how about buying some sake? Since sake is made from fermented rice, it tastes different from other alcoholic beverages such as whiskey and wine, which are mostly consumed in the Western countries. You can buy sake at supermarkets and convenience stores, but it may be a good idea to buy sake made in the region. Most prefectures produce special sake, sometimes using fruits specific to the area. Sake may not be a cheap souvenir, but if you love drinking, it is worth buying.
Sensu is a traditional Japanese hand-holding fan. It is made of bamboo and Japanese fabric with traditional patterns printed. It is light and compact when folded, so it is perfect in the summertime.
The price varies depending on the shop: you can get 100 yen sensu at 100 yen shop, but the quality is so-so. If you want good quality one, you can buy it at shops that specialize in sensu or traditional Japanese products.
Tenugui is a thin cotton hand towel with a soft texture and always dyed with some patterns. Tenugui is said to be used from the Nara period (710-794 AD), and have been serving many uses in daily lives. Not only is it used as a towel, but also it is used as a dishcloth, washcloth, and headcloth that are worn under the kendo helmet.
Tenugui is getting replaced by other types of towels, but it is still a popular gift.
Furoshiki is a piece of cloth used for wrapping cloths or gifts or as a bag. It was primarily made from silk, but these days is made from a variety of fabrics such as cotton, and polyester. Furoshiki comes in different sizes, colors, and patterns. Patterns include not only traditional ones but also modern, cute ones, even anime characters like Totoro! Furoshiki is sold mainly at shops that specialize in Furoshiki, but sometimes can be found at department stores.
9. Sheet Masks
If you want some beauty products, why not getting sheet masks? They come in a wide variety of designs such as kabuki faces, anime characters, and animals. Of course not only are they cute, but also they contain moisturizing essence and other beauty benefits!
10. Anime Character Goods
Everyone knows anime is huge in Japan. There are many shops where you can find your favorite anime or manga character items. You will feel like you are in heaven. But be careful not to spend all of your money!
Omamori is a good luck charm that is sold at shrines. There are several types of omamori dedicated to different purposes, for example, “Kotsu anzen” means protecting you from traffic accidents, and “Gakugyo joju” means helping your study. But if you are not sure which types to buy, just choose “Omamori,” which brings you luck.
Yukata is a type of traditional Japanese clothing worn in summer. It is easy to wear compared to Kimono, so if you want to enjoy traditional style Japanese clothing back home, Yukata is a good one. It costs about 4,000 yen~10,000 yen with a set of yukata, obi, yukata strings (himo), and geta (shoes).
Do you want to eat with chopsticks back home? Then, get your chopsticks! They are sold anywhere like supermarkets, department stores, and 100 yen shops, but If you want authentic, good quality chopsticks, you want to buy them at a chopsticks store. They sell not only modern-style chopsticks but also traditional ones which are made from wood painted with lacquer, which creates a glossy appearance. Having Japanese food with good quality chopsticks will make your dining time excellent.
14. Traditional Craft Works
Each region has traditional craft works that have been preserved for centuries. Edo kiriko glass from Tokyo, gold products from Ishikawa, Odawara lacker ware from Kanagawa… etc. Taking back traditional crafts will be the treasure of your trip.
15. Thermal Bottles
Thermal bottles are bottles that keep the drink warm/cold for long hours. Even if it is a shivering cold day, you can warm yourself with a hot drink from the bottle all day! If you do sports, you can refresh yourself with a cold drink! They come in different sizes and designs, so pick what suits your daily use.
16. Food Samples
Many tourists think food samples interesting. If you show them to your family or friends, they will be surprised! Also, you can make your food samples at some shops at Asakusa and other parts of Japan. Let’s see how they are made with your eyes!
17. Cosmetic products
Japan has a wide range of cosmetic products produced by many cosmetic brands. The price varies, but the quality is guaranteed! Reasonable cosmetic brands include CANMAKE, KATE, and CEZANNE, and they offer trendy items with cute packaging. Expensive brands include Esprique, SHISEIDO, and Primavista, which offer high-quality makeup/skin care products with fancy packaging. These items can be found drug stores.
18. Traditional Toys
Traditional toys like kendama, origami, kami-fusen (paper balloons) will be an interesting souvenir to play with your family and friends. If you have small siblings or kids, they will be happy!
There are many shops that specialize in accessories with low price. They offer necklaces, pierces, bracelets, hair accessories, and many more varieties. The price varies depending on the shop, but some inexpensive stores offer items from 300 yen! They are good for gifts for your friends!
20. Kanji T-shirt
At tourist shops, you will find unique T-shirts with kanji (Chinese characters) printed on. They come in a plenty variety of words or phrases written in kanji, so please find your favorite one!
Furin is a wind bell made from various materials such as ceramic, glass, and metal. Furin is one of the symbols of summer in Japan and is hung outside of the house, shops, and restaurants. The elegant, healing sound of the bell brings a sense of cool on a hot summer day. The glass is painted in various colors and patterns, so find your favorite one or you can make your own!
Kairo is a pocket warmer that warms up your hands or body. There are a disposable type and reusable type, but the disposable one is more common than the other one. When you take out the kairo from the package and shake it, it gets warm in a second. The warmness lasts about 8~10 hours. The disposable kairo is sold at about 500 yen for a pack of 10 at drug stores, so it is very useful and helpful especially if you are from cold areas.
Where to Get Best Souvenirs in Japan
Now, let’s check where you can get these souvenirs!
LOFT and Tokyu Hands are a type of shops that sell a wide selection of goods used in daily lives such as bags, stationery, cosmetics, smartphone cases, goods special to Japan, kitchenware, DIY goods, party items…etc. You can get almost all the items listed above on good quality and reasonable price!
You can find large stores of LOFT and Tokyu Store in Tokyo and other big cities: especially the Shibuya store is so big that you can look around for hours and hours.
100 Yen Shop
100 yen shop like DAISO, Seria, and Cando is another good option to buy souvenirs. They sell hundreds of thousands of varieties of items at 100 yen, so there is no reason not for shopping at 100 yen shop! Also, you will find interesting products that you can find only at this type of shop.
Japanese drug stores sell not only medicines and other products commonly sold at drug stores but also beauty products and snacks. Some drugs sell cosmetics and snacks cheaper than convenience stores or supermarkets, so please remember to shop at drugstores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Tomo’s, Create, and so on.
Convenience stores literally come in handy to buy souvenirs, especially snacks. They spare a large space for snacks, and all sorts of popular snacks are there. Some convenience stores their private brands and sell original snacks at a lower price, so it may be good to try them!
Tourist shops found near sightseeing attractions and on streets are typical places to buy souvenirs, particularly items that are specific to the region. Traditional crafts are mainly sold at this type of shop.
If you buy souvenirs in the last minute before having a flight, train stations and airport are good places to shop. But they mainly sell food items and do not have many items like traditional crafts. So make sure to get what you want early on your trip!
We hope this list helps you get some ideas of souvenirs from Japan!