With Japan finally opening up to the world and allowing tourists to explore with more freedom, you might be interested in some souvenirs to remind you of your awesome time.
Check out these Japanese souvenirs for your next trip to Japan
Forget refrigerator magnets or keychains; here’s a list of some of the most memorable, unique, cool, quirky, and delicious souvenirs for which you must make space in your luggage.
Grab something that’s unique to the place you visit
ou don’t need to travel far to grab a souvenir in Japan because you can go shopping based on your itinerary. For example, if you visit Koedo or Little Edo in Kawagoe, its sweet potato offerings are a must-try and must-take back home. You can find snacks, desserts, and other recipes made with sweet potato, oozing with rich flavors and a gentle aroma. Head over to any souvenir shop in Little Edo, and you can find sweet potato treats to take back home.
If you find yourself mesmerized by Mt Fuji, then you might be in Shizuoka, Japan’s most significant tea production region. Did you know that although Japan is the 8th largest tea producer in the world, it only exports less than 2% of its tea, meaning the rest is for local enjoyment. The best sencha (steamed, loose-leaf green tea) is in the area, so check out any of the tea shops for a pack or two to enjoy back home.
We’re not sure what came across Nestlé’s mind to produce wasabi flavor KitKat, but it’s definitely a must-try treat in Japan. If wasabi isn’t your thing, there’s umeshu (ume fruit soaked in alcohol), eda mame (soybean still in the pod), miso soup, banana, rum raisin, and so many more surprising flavors to choose from! After you’re done enjoying the chocolate wafers, you can then keep the unique packaging as a keepsake. KitKat is more readily available in Japan and is usually present at souvenir stores nationwide.
Go the handcrafted approach
Handcrafted masterpieces are an excellent souvenir idea because these last a lifetime and will spruce up your home as well. You can find wooden geisha dolls (like Russian nesting dolls), ornaments, and other symbols unique to each city or area you visit. These items have more innate value because of the love and mastery invested by the makers.
Another popular wooden item readily available is chopsticks. If western homes have their silver cutlery only taken out for very important events, then Japan has its chopsticks. These are great gift items, or you can use them as décor. Chopsticks are often found at souvenir shops for convenience.
Other handcrafted goodies you can find in Japan are ceramics, pottery, and paintings that showcase the rich culture and history of the country. Whether it’s a sake set, tea cups, plates, or a piece by an up-and-coming artist, you can go home with something that won’t depreciate in value.
Something quirky or hobby-related
If you’re looking for something quirky or weird to take home, head over to Don Quijote, which is filled with Japan-only items from skincare and haircare products, cosmetics, household necessities, toys, and costumes. Are you planning to be something unique for Halloween? Then you’ve come to the right place because the store has outfits ranging from cute to bizarre, like an onigiri or radish.
Another popular fashion item to consider is kimonos which range from ¥4,000 to ¥100,000+ depending on the fabric used. Wearing a kimono is a great way to show respect and appreciation for Japanese culture, plus they look superbly beautiful. If you’re looking for something extra special, the Japanese kimono brand Chiso reigns supreme, with one kimono taking over six months to produce and 20 artisans pouring their time and expertise into the piece.
Then we have Sekaido in Shinjuku, which is a seven-floor building filled with all things art. If you’re an avid stationery collector, then this is heaven. From the popular Pilot pens to rows and rows of notebooks, Sekaido has something for every shopper. It also has floors dedicated to crafts like clay making, painting, and so on.
Another uniquely-Japan souvenir item is action figures, mainly featuring anime characters. Although these are available online for shipping to Japan or in some stores worldwide, the selection is still the best in Japan, plus you can get them at amazing deals. One of the best places to find rare collectibles is in Akihabara and if you’re looking elsewhere, check out Animate, Mandarake, or even some big Book Off stores for items at a discounted price.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with buying something the recipient is interested in, such as anything Sanrio, Disney-Pixar, Ghibli, or Peanuts-themed. Japan loves its cartoon characters, and their merchandise is found across the country in stores like Kiddy Land, official Disney stores, Sanrio Gift Gate, or even in Loft outlets.
Japan is definitely a treasure trove of items that are perfect for taking home as souvenirs. There’s a gift item to match all sorts of interests and budgets. With that said, have fun shopping!