Visiting Japan is in everyone’s bucket list because it is such a beautiful place. There are lots of tourist destination, and the Japanese culture is something worth exploring.
One can never have enough of this country, and once you have set foot in this land, you will never wish to leave. However, of course, you need to go back to your home and tell everyone about your adventures and experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun. Moreover, what could be a better way to say that you have thought of your loved ones while you are still in Japan than to bring a little piece of this country with you as you go back home. You have to get some souvenir items for your visit to Japan to share with your friends and relatives.
Here we list down some of the best souvenir items you can get that best represent this beautiful country and its equally impressive people.
Japanese food has been recognized worldwide. However, because of its fame, there have been different varieties of these foods in every country. Why don’t you bring some of these Japanese food items and let your loved ones have a taste of authentic Japanese stuff?
Japanese chocolates are among the favorite souvenir items among tourists. Kit Kat is one Japanese chocolate brand popular around the world. However, there are several Kit Kat variants and limited edition ones which are only available in Japan. To be exact, Nestle has created and released 300 regional or seasonal limited edition Japanese Kit Kats since 2000. Take advantage of your stay and find those unique ones. If you do not have time to go around to buy stuff, there are online stores where you can get those and have your stuff delivered to the place where you are staying.
Matcha is green tea leaves specially grown and processed and then grounded finely. The word ‘matcha’ actually means ‘powdered tea.’ It is rich in anti-oxidants and has lots of nutritional value. It contains caffeine, so it is a healthy alternative to coffee.
Japanese instant ramen is available in all parts of the world, but, like, chocolates and other snack items, there are varieties which can only be bought in Japan.
Senbei is traditional rice crackers which are usually offered to guests as courtesy refreshment. Kids and adults alike love this crunchy and flavorful snack item. So, go on and stock up as you will never get enough of this snack item, as well.
- Biscuit Sticks
Who would dare not bring Pocky and Pretz home? Biscuit sticks are also popular snack items all over the world, but there are lots of variants which have not been released in the international market and are only available in Japan.
Though toys are usually meant as present or gift for children, most of these Japanese toys are already considered crafts and collectors’ items.
A ‘kendama’ means ‘sword (and) ball. It is a traditional skill toy which resembles the classic cup-and-ball game. It is a popular toy among adults and children alike. It might look simple, but there are more than 1,000 different techniques to play with it.
- Kokeshi Dolls
For over 150 years, kokeshi has been crafted as a toy for children. These are simple wooden dolls with no arms and legs. Handmade from wood, these dolls only have a simple trunk and head with a few, thin painted lines defining the face.
- Daruma Doll
A traditional symbol of perseverance and luck, the Daruma doll is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after the founder of Zen tradition, Bodhidharma. Curiously, these dolls have been helping Japanese people to achieve their goals. How? Because of its round shape, this doll will never knock over. This is a message of persistence.
- Warrior Doll
Also called musha ningyo, this doll is usually displayed during the annual celebration of Boy’s Day on the 5th of May. Garbed in wonderfully detailed cotton and silk brocade costume, it is complete with full armor and accessories.
- Hina Doll
Hina dolls are put on display for the Hinamatsuri; the Doll Festival celebrated every 3rd of March. A complete set has at least 15 dolls, each one representing a specific character. The basic set, meanwhile, is composed of the male and female set, which is also referred to as the Emperor and the Empress.
Japanese Household Items
A genuine Japanese experience would not be complete unless you get the use a piece of a household item which forms part of the regular Japanese household. Bring home one of these and see how you can put it into practical application.
Chopsticks are the usual kitchen utensil or tool used by the Japanese to eat. Shaped pairs of equal-length sticks, these tools have been the constant companion of every Japanese for over two millennia.
- Bento Box
Ranging from mass-produced disposables to handcrafted lacquerware, bento boxes are a traditional container that holds rice or noodles, fish or meat, vegetables. It is popular Japanese lunchbox first used by Japanese workers during ancient times.
- Folding Fans
Excellent quality folding fans might be a little bit pricey, but they are worth the price considering that they are made of authentic Japanese fabrics and wood. Traditionally, Japanese hand fans are made from paper on a bamboo frame and are used by Geisha in their fan dances.
Pottery is the oldest Japanese craft and art form, which they have been practicing since the Neolithic period. Japan is known for its ceramics, so it just makes sense to bring home a piece of Japan by buying a ceramic. If you are worried about it getting damaged, you can have it delivered right at your doorstep.
- Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints
Meaning ‘Pictures of the Floating World,’ ukiyo-e is a style of Japanese woodblock print and painting from the Edo period that depicts Japanese life, landscapes, and famous figures.
Japanese Clothing and Accessories
Japanese wears two types of clothing—the traditional ones and the Western one. Japanese conventional clothing is fascinating, diverse, and unique that one item alone has the word ‘Japan’ stitched on them.
- Samurai and Ninja costumes
Samurai are warriors during premodern Japan, and they made up the ruling military class during the Edo period. They are known for upholding the Bushido Code, or the unwritten Samurai code that places importance on loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honor.
Meanwhile, the ninja is another type of warrior who specializes in unconventional warfare that includes infiltration, sabotage, and assassination. Though they are also warriors just like the samurai, they were not held in high regard because of their unorthodox methods.
Though they do not exist today, samurais and ninjas are still alive, thanks to a variety of costumes available at stores across Japan.
Socks has a special place in Japan, and Japanese people are fascinated by them. Socks are seen more often than shoes, as Japanese culture dictates that upon entrance in someone’s home, one should take off his shoes, leave it by the door, and enter the house with socks. There are different kinds of Japanese socks which have the attractive design as much as they are functional and have health benefits.
Kimono is a traditional Japanese garb usually worn during important festivals and formal occasions. This formal clothing is often associated with politeness and good manners. Kimono are wrapped around the body and is secured by a sash tied at the back. This sash is called Obi. They are worn with traditional footwear and split-toe socks.
- Anime Ties
Japanese people loved their anime so much that they wear it near their hearts—through the necktie. It’s quite unconventional, as ties are more associated with business suits which are worn during the formal occasion. However, remember that Japanese people are so polite and respectable that they can still look elegant and composed even while wearing an anime necktie.
By the way, have you seen the Japanese Reconstruction Minister wearing an Evangelion tie at a press conference?
Cloth hair ornaments worn over intrinsically-designed traditional Japanese hairstyle, a Kanzashi is worn for special occasions, and the designs vary according to seasons and months. Large sharpened pins are often inserted inside the hair ornaments leading some people to believe that this accessory is used during the ancient times for self-defense.
Japanese Cosmetics and Skin Care Items
Ever wonder how Japanese women maintain their youthful-looking, bright, and clear complexion? They take skin care seriously and here are some of the products which are not only lovely souvenirs but are also good for the skin.
- Face/Sheet Masks
Japanese face masks are among the top selling items brought by tourists. Aside from the fact that they are very nourishing for the skin, they also come in the convenient sheet mask type and are packaged nicely. All-in-one sheet masks are top-rated in Japan as they give a complete skin care regime in one sheet.
- Facial Cleanser
Japanese facial cleansers are popular worldwide because of their excellent quality, and they work effectively. There are many variants of facial cleansers that address different skin needs and concerns, and the good thing is that they only cost around $5-$10 when bought in a Japanese drugstore.
- Bath Salts
Japanese people love a nice bathroom ritual. At the end of a busy workday, they loved to indulge in a relaxing bath. To make it even more soothing and luxurious, they use bath salts. They are not only aromatic; some of them have health benefits, as well. Bath salts are widely available in drugstores and department stores in Japan.
Japanese brand of makeup and skin care products has long set the gold standard in Asian beauty. Westerners might find Japanese make up products to be different from what they are used to. This is because the mainstream makeup style in Japan leans more towards color that enhances the natural beauty and focuses more on clear, bright skin, and subtle use of colors.
- Cleansing Oils
Japanese women use cleansing oil as the first step in their skin care regimen and then use a facial cleanser to double-cleanse. They work wonders on removing even the longest wearing makeup and mascara and are useful in attracting dust and other particles away from the skin.
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Nothing screams ‘Japan’ the loudest than Otaku items. Need we say more?
- Gaming Consoles
Japan is also known for the electronic devices it produces. Gaming consoles are the best combination of excellent Japanese products—electronics and anime. It is cheaper to buy video games and gaming consoles here where it is sourced.
Mangas is comics or graphic novel created in Japan and are written in the Japanese language. Most popular anime started as a manga. In Japan, people of all ages read manga, and the stories cover a wide range of genres such as action, adventure, business and commerce, comedy, detective, drama, and a lot more.
Playing cards come in a wide range of design as inspired by anime or manga series. Instead of anime or manga, some cards have pictures of Japanese celebrity idols, boy band, or girl group.
- Anime DVD/Soundtrack
You don’t want to miss any single episode of your favorite anime, and you sure wish to the soundtrack to keep playing on loop. In Japan, you will be able to complete the collection of your favorite anime series, and you may also discover other series if you take the time to browse them one by one.
- Action Figures
No anime collection would be complete without an action figure. Unleash the anime fan in you and get ahold of your favorite action figure. There is a lot of toy shop around Japan where you will find the action figure you are looking for.
Here we list down several random items that you do not need to buy or to collect but would make a nice souvenir of Japan.
- Train Ticket
You will take several train rides while you go exploring Japan to buy the best souvenir items. Why not keep that train ticket home with you and stay in a secured place? We are pretty sure that seeing that ticket again after several years or even months will bring back memories of your Japan visit.
- Lucky Cat/Maneki Neko
A good luck charm, the Maneki-Neko, or the Lucky Cat, is a Japanese talisman believed to bring good fortune to the owner. This figurine depicts a cat sitting upright while waving its hands. Sometimes, the cat is holding a significant item, which is also thought to bring good luck.
- Wagasa/Japanese umbrella
Wagasa also called an oil-paper umbrella, does not only provide shade. They are also traditional item during a wedding. The red umbrella is said to ward off evil spirits. As a ‘paper,’ a wagasa is part of the set of marriage dowries that the bride’s parents present to the would-be husband’s family.
- Paper Lanterns
The Japanese lantern was inspired by Chinese lighting technologies, and the first ever lantern in Japan was used to honor Buddha. Initially, lamps are only used in temples, but later on, homes and gardens are accentuated by a lovely lantern. Over time, a Japanese lantern would develop into something distinct from its Chinese counterpart.
- Wooden souvenirs from temples
‘Tsuko-tegata’ or ‘wooden passports’ are used in ancient Japan as a permit to travel; tp one province to another. Nowadays, the tsuko-tegata are still found in different temples, shrines, and hot spring resorts and serve as ‘proof’ of your visit.
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