The Complete Guide to Japanese Souvenirs: 30 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Japan

Have you ever wondered what to take home as a Japanese souvenir? Here's a list of 30 Japanese things, including food, traditional crafts, practical everyday items, and fun stuff! Look through the list and look for one that best suits you or the person you are planning to give the souvenir to!

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Food & Drinks

1. Matcha-Flavored Sweets

 

From patisserie-made sweets to everyday sweets, you can find a wide variety of matcha flavored items in Japan. It matches well with both green tea and black tea. Why not choose your favorite and take it back home as a souvenir? Check out the supermarket and the department store for these matcha sweets!

2. Wagashi 和菓子 (Japanese Sweets)

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How beautiful are they! The small and refined wagashi displays the seasons and the natural scenery of Japan. First, enjoy it with your eyes, then feel the subtle sweetness and the gentle touch on your tongue. However, be careful as some types of wagashi do not keep well and must be eaten within a few days of purchase.  

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Have you seen this before? It's a dorayaki, Doraemon's favorite snack. Red bean paste is sandwiched between Japanese pancakes and its usually available at around 200 yen.

There are many different types of wagashi, so look for the one that most suits your friends' likes. You might want to check the department store, as they often offer a great variety of traditional Japanese sweets. Here's a list that may also help you out!

3. Instant Ramen

Even if you can't take back the ramen you ate in Japan to your home country, you can always take home the dried instant ramen. It can be prepared in an "instant," so it's usually eaten as lunch or snacks by those who do not have time to cook a meal for themselves. Also, by choosing your favorite toppings, you can make your own customized ramen!

One packet is available for about 100~200 yen at the supermarket. Take a look!

4. Otsukemono お漬物 (Japanese Pickles)

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You might have already noticed, but you can always find a small dish of otsukemono with your Japanese style meals. Chinese cabbage, cucumber, aubergine, white radish, etc. are all common vegetables made into pickles. It goes well with rice and you can enjoy the flavor and the texture that works as an accent to your main meal.

There are tsukemono specialty stores, but you can also find them in a cooler case at the supermarket. It is often available at around 500 yen.

5. Japanese Green Tea

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Green tea is the most widely enjoyed drink in Japan. It is easy to serve and its delicate flavor is a great match with Japanese confectioneries. It has a lot of catechin, which is said to have antimicrobial properties and many other positive health effects that are being researched.

You can find green tea leaves and tea bags at supermarket, but if you're looking for something a little more special, why not visit Ippodo, one of the famous green tea brands? The prices vary, but you can get tea starting from a few hundred yen.

HP: www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/shop/index.html

6. Sake

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Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. It is usually enjoyed in a small cup called the ochoko, in which sake is poured in from the tokkuri flask. As different regions have different kinds of rice and varying water quality, each area has its own local sake.

Japanese Traditional Items

7. Fans

A sensu is a traditional Japanese hand fan. There are a wide variety of different sensu with different colours and patterns. Why not find your favorite and take it home with you?

It's available from about 1,000 yen at souvenir stores in most cities.

8. Yukata 浴衣

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Yukata is the traditional casual clothing during the summer season. It's similar to a kimono, but there's no need to worry as it is much easier to put on. Why not find a yukata of your choice and take it back home to show to your friends and families?

If you are coming to Japan during summer, have a look at some traditional stores or you can also find them at UNIQLO or yukata corners in supermarkets. The price varies but you can get them for about 10,000 yen.

9. Furoshiki 風呂敷

Furoshiki may look like simple pieces of cloth, but they can be used in all facets of daily life, including as bags, wrapping material, and decorative interior goods. They come in a huge variety of color and patterns from traditional to cute or even with character designs like Totoro. They're called "furoshiki" ("bath cloth") because they were originally used to wrap your clothing when you went to a public  bath. They're not expensive and can usually be found for about 500-1000 yen.

Here are 2 furoshiki specialty stores in Tokyo.

Musubi

Address: 2-31-8 Jingu-mae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001 (Google Map)
Opening Hours: 11:00~19:00 (Closed every Wednesdays)

HP: www.kyoto-musubi.com/shopdata/index.html (Japanese Only)

Yamato Nadeshiko

Address: 6-15 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-0825 (Google Map) 
Opening Hours: 11:00~19:00HP: www.yamatonadeshiko-tokyo.com/about_furoshiki.html

10. Chopsticks

Did you have a hard time using chopsticks during your stay in Japan? Why not get your own pair and practice at home too? It is actually a very convenient piece of cutlery for all kinds of meals, maybe except soup. In some cases, you can get your own name carved into your chopsticks so they are exclusively yours.

The price ranges from a few hundred yen to over 10,000 yen. You can find them at supermarkets, Tokyu Hands, etc. There are also some chopstick specialty stores. Here's one of them.

Nihonbo

Address: 5-3-13 Hiro, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0012 (Google Map)
Opening Hours: 11:00~20:00
HP: www.hyozaemon.co.jp/nihonbo/shop.html (Japanese Only)

11. Traditional Craftwork

 

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How about checking out some of the great traditional crafts, such Edo Kiriko  glass (first picture) or Arita Yaki porcelain (second picture)? You might think there are only traditional items, but there are also many goods made using traditional techniques meant for daily use.

12. Incense

Jun Ohwada from Flickr

Why not enjoy Japanese incense home? It will relax you and will bring back great memories of your time in Japan. There are incense sticks, sachets, etc. available from a few hundred yen to few thousand yen depending on the product. Kohgen is a incense specialty store in Ginza, Tokyo.

Kohgen

Address: 4-14-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061 (Google Map)
Opening Hours: 10:17~19:17
HP: www.kohgen.com/user_data/tokyoginza.php (Japanese Only)

13. Furin 風鈴 (Wind chimes)

Wind chimes are a must-item for the Japanese summer. The tinkling sound made by the blowing wind will make you feel cool. How about taking it back home to make summer in your country more comfortable? They are available from about 1,000 yen.

There is a Furin Festival at Kawasaki Daishi every July, so it's also interesting to check that out if you are in Japan in that season. 
Check this page out for more information.

14. Omamori お守り (Good Luck Charms)

Get one of these lucky charms when you visit a shrine or temple in Japan for a few hundred yen. There are also charms specially for safe driving for people who are avid drivers or for easy delivery of babies for pregnant women.

15. Kendama けん玉

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Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy. A ball is attached to the wooden handle by a string, and you try to make the ball sit right on the handle. It's more difficult than you expect! There are also various techniques to learn. They are available from about 1,000 yen.

16. Origami 折り紙

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How about picking up high quality Japanese washi origami paper with beautiful Japanese colors and patterns? You can use it for various kinds of decorations and also try out traditional origami folding.

You can find them at stationery stores, LOFT, Tokyu Hands, etc. starting at a few hundred yen.

17. Randoseru ランドセル

 

Randoseru is the bag used by most the Japanese elementary school students when they go to school. But recently it's becoming popular among foreigners because of its style and its toughness. Why not get one for your kids or use it as a bag for yourself?

You should have a look around tsuchiya randoseru or department stores for them.

Electronics

18. Camera

 

Japan boasts high quality camera brands like Canon and Nikon. Canon’s single lens camera is a popular souvenir. The instant camera is also popular as you can print the picture out on the spot instantly.

Visit LAOX, Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, etc. for a wide variety of cameras and their price.

19. Rice Cooker

Japanese rice is delicious! If made with a Japanese rice cooker, the rice cooks deliciously. Japanese rice cookers have a function that cooks the rice as hard or soft as you like - definitely top class! There are ones with corresponding voltage for usage overseas and some also come included with instructions in English and Chinese.

Also, check LAOX, Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, etc, for these rice cookers. They are sure to make your everyday meal more exciting. 

20. Stationery

Japan is famous for the wide variety of very practical, stylish and reasonable stationery. The items range from pens, scissors, notebooks, sticky notes, etc. so you can find the one that most suits your lifestyle. Visit LOFT, Tokyu Hands, Itoya or any other stationery store to look through the great items on sale!

 

Next: No.21-30 Further must-buy souvenirs from Japan

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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