20+ Best Japanese Souvenirs To Take Home

What to buy as souvenirs when traveling in Japan?

Japan is famous for its unique and quirky souvenirs. If you have the opportunity to travel to Japan and are wondering what to buy as a gift, refer to the list below!

 

1. Japanese Dolls

Traditional Japanese dolls are great gifts for those who are looking for things to buy in Japan.

Since ancient times, dolls have been an important part of Japanese culture and presenting a childhood toy or an object of delight. 

The most popular and iconic one is a Kokeshi doll – a minimalist wooden doll usually painted in red and originally from Northern Japan.

In addition to Kokeshi dolls, you can buy Daruma dolls for luck or Hina dolls and Kimekomi dolls for decoration.

Japanese Kokeshi dolls things buy in Japan
Kokeshi Dolls are sold both as decorative handicrafts and souvenirs of Japan.

 

2. Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth

Rarely has any country where the seemingly simplest things have been elaborately and artistically carried out like Japan. One of the unique features of Japanese culture is the art of warping called Furoshiki.

Made from high-quality fabric, Furoshiki remains one of the most iconic items in Japanese daily life. 

Although it may look like a simple piece of cloth, you can use Furoshiki for many purposes.

In addition to gift wrapping, you can tie it as a stylish bag, using it as headscarves or interior decorations for your living spaces. 

Furoshiki wrap Japanese souvenirs

 

3. Tenugui towel

Tenugui is a beautiful thin towel made from cotton, typically about 35×90 cm in size.

It usually has different colors and patterns, and carries a long history and makes a wonderful gift for any occasion.

Tenugui towel Japanese souvenirs

“Tenugui” is a combination of the word Te (手), which means “Hand”, and Nugui (ぬ ぐ い), which means “Clean”, but this towel is not only used to clean your hands but also has other uses.

  • Where to buy: You can find it everywhere in Japan, not only in specialty stores but also in souvenir shops.
  • Price: The price of a Tenugui scarf is also quite cheap, starting from 100 to 1000 yen

Japanese Tenugui tower

 

4. Hanten Kimono Jackets

If you love Japanese clothing, Hanten Kimono jacket is an excellent addition to your wardrobe.

Made from fine quality cotton padding, this kimono-style jacket is a wonderful souvenir from Japan that you can wear during cold days. 

These winter coats are very stylish and easy to mix with jeans and a simple top. 

Hanten jacket Japanese gifts

 

5. Noren Curtains

Entering Japanese shops and restaurants, you can notice the beautiful Noren curtains hanging at the doorway. These curtains traditionally indicate the types of establishment, logos, and names.

With a gentle design, Japanese Noren curtains are like a half-closed door, both used as a partition to divide the space while creating a comfortable feeling. 

With these features, Noren is a great decoration for your own home. It’s pretty to look at and guard your living spaces from smoke, dust, and smells, while ensuring the air in the room is better circulated.

Japanese Noren curtains souvenirs from Japan

 

6. Japanese Furin Wind Chimes

Visiting Japan in the summer, you may hear the soothing melodies of Japanese wind chimes. 

Wind chimes in Japan, known as Furin, are the sign of summer. The bells are made from glass and decorated with beautiful patterns and colors.

Wind chimes according to Japanese customs have the effect of protecting and dispelling evil spirits.

Also, the Japanese also write good wishes on the paper hanging below so that their wishes will be sent to the gods when the bell rang.

Japanese wind chimes things to buy in Japan

 

7. Bento Boxes

Bento boxes with cute designs are perfect souvenirs to buy from Japan. 

These boxes began to appear during the Kamakura period in the 1300s when farmers pack their boxes for lunch. As time went by, Bento boxes have developed and become popular throughout Japan.

With attractive designs, these boxes can encourage you to make your own lunch, eat healthier while saving money

Japanese bento boxes

 

8. Japanese ceramics

If you love tea ceremony, Japanese ceramic is an interesting gift to buy.

Traditional Japanese ceramic art can be considered the best in the world thanks to the convergence of many factors including influence exchanges from China and the West, with talented and passionate Japanese artists and craftsmen. 

 

9. Electronic devices

Japan is a heaven for electronic devices, as this country has the latest models and applications. 

Japanese electronic products are famous for their quality and reasonable prices. The most common items that people buy are cameras, phones, or 

Where to buy

Some famous centers are “Yodobashi Camera”, “Bic Camera” and “Yamada Denki”. In Tokyo, Akihabara is an excellent area to buy electronic products. 

Tips:

  • You should consider the power source when purchasing Japanese domestic electronics because it’s 110V while other countries use 220V. To be safe, you should buy converters for electronics.
  • Don’t forget to get your Tax return
  • Some good Japanese brands are Sony, Toshiba
macbook
I bought my Macbook from Yamada Denki.

 

10. Yukata

If you are wondering about what to buy as gifts for your friends or family, you can consider Yukata.

Yukata is summer kimonos with fewer layers and made from cotton. Japanese often wear yukata on festive occasions or at the ryokan.

  • Where to buy: Department stores
  • Prices: 10,000 to 40,000 Yen

Japanese Yukata

 

11. Geta Sandals

Geta is an important accessory in traditional Japanese costumes such as Yukata or Kimonos, so don’t forget to add them to your shopping list!

Made from wood, they are a combination of clogs and flip-flops. 

Its base is usually much higher than the ground, so people often use Geta clogs to go on rainy or snowy days to keep the feet drier. Geta sandals are completely handmade so it has good quality and durable.

 

12. Japanese Sensu fan

Japanese fan is one of the best souvenirs that you should bring home from Japan as they are practical and beautiful. 

Many people mistakenly believe that folding fans are of Chinese origin, but in fact, they were born in Japan in the early Heian period.

Japanese fan best souvenirs in Japan

Not only cooling and decoration, but Sensu folding fan is also an essential prop in traditional dances, tea ceremony, or an object to show friendship and goodwill. 

These beautiful fans are made from silk and bamboo, then decorated with fine patterns. 

Where to buy: 100 Yen shop or gift shops

 

13. Kanzashi

Kanzashi are hairpins and ornaments used with traditional Japanese hairstyles. It is used by Japanese girls when wearing traditional Kimono or Yukata.

Kanzashi comes in many sizes and shapes but mostly flowers. Thanks to the variety, it is not difficult for you to find a suitable Kanzashi clip as your gift.

Where to buy: Department stores or gift shops

 

14. Japanese incense 

Japanese incense is widely considered as having the best quality in the market and is one of my favorite things to buy when traveling in Japan. 

Incense is a key element in the Japanese ornament, easing our minds and creating a relaxing and comfortable environment for our home. 

Where to buy: You can find a large range of incense types in Japan at department stores. 

 

15. Maneki Neko

Maneki Neko is an excellent choice for Japanese souvenirs. 

It’s often known by many names such as “Lucky cat”, “waving cat”, and is a popular symbol of luck in Japanese culture.

Maneki Neko is made by ceramic or porcelain, in the shape of a cat raising his hand to wave people.

In Japanese, Neko means “cat”, and Maneki means “inviting, attractive”. The combination of these two words means praying for health, protections to avoid evil spirits, diseases, and bringing good luck to homeowners.

  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, supermarkets or souvenir shops
  • Price: The price of each of these cats depends on their size, color, and meaning. Ranges from 500 – 10,000 yen.

Maneki Neko Japanese gift

 

16. Chopsticks

Chopsticks are very popular gifts to buy in Japan.

Japanese people believe that chopsticks are the bridge connecting feelings between the giver and the recipient.

The Japanese also said that chopsticks are often used to “pick” the luck, and the chopsticks are always paired. Offering chopsticks is also a wish for the recipient to have good things.

Where to buy: Gift shops

Japanese chopsticks

 

17. Kit Kat 

Although Kit Kat is now available in many countries, there are some flavors that are only available in Japan.

So, take a break from your usual chocolate choices and bring home these exclusive Japanese Kit Kats!

There are more than 300 different seasonal editions of Kit Kats in Japan, and my favorite is Sakura Matcha Kit Kat.

 

18. Pocky

Do you know that there’s a National Pocky day in Japan? Every 11th of November, all Japan celebrates the famous chocolate sticks.

Similar to Kitkat, Pocky comes in many fun flavors that are only available in Japan. Greentea, banana, and mango are my favorite choices!

 

19. Matcha 

Matcha tea is one of the most popular Japanese souvenir’s choices and has existed in Japanese cultural history for about 800 years.

This green tea powder is made from buds and leaves of green tea grown on Japanese soil through a meticulous and elaborate process.

Matcha
In Japanese cuisine, matcha powder is used and modified in many dishes, cakes, and drinks.

Matcha not only brings reverence and purity in Japanese tea ceremonies but also energy and nutrients. Also, some studies have proven that using Matcha green tea daily will help increase longevity.

Where to buy: Supermarkets or Drug stores

 

20. Tokyo Banana

If you’re looking for a unique snack to buy in Japan, Tokyo Banana is a perfect choice. 

It’s an ultimate blend of soft, fragrant, and sweet cake, and is perfect to eat while drinking matcha tea. 

This cake is difficult to find outside Japan and is usually only sold in Tokyo with a short shelf-life.

Where to buy: Tokyo Skytree or Narita airport

 

21. Mochi

Mochi with sweet fillings and packed in beautiful boxes are delicious Japanese souvenirs.

In Japan, there are hundreds of types of mochi with different flavors. However, there are common mochi types including:

  • Daifuku Mochi: This type of mochi is often used during traditional holidays with fillings made from red beans.
  • Ichigo Daifuku: It has an outer layer similar to Daifuku, but add fresh strawberry in the filling.
  • Kusa Mochi: It has a green layer and is made from wormwood and filled with red bean paste.
  • Ice Cream Mochi: With an outer layer made from Mochiko flour and filled with different creams, Ice-cream mochi is my favorite Japanese dessert. 

Daifuku Mochi Japanese dessert

 

22. Japanese Sake

Although there’s no exact record of when people started making Sake, it’s believed that this drink has been produced for thousands of years.

Gradually, Sake has become a cultural feature of Japan and is its most unique exports.

Different types of Sake

  • Junmai sake is made entirely of rice
  • Honjozo sake is made from rice, water, koji mold, yeast and a portion of added distilled alcohol
  • Nigorizake (cloudy sake) a rich taste of mash, smooth texture, and refreshing sharpness
  • Umeshu is made from Japanese apricots

Where to buy:

  • At the liquor stores or supermarkets, there are different sizes from small size 360ml to normal size 1800ml.
  • You can buy different types with small sizes to drink and compare.

 

23. Japanese beauty products

I love Japanese cosmetics!

Japanese cosmetics are very diverse with many price ranges, and the quality is very good. 

Where to buy: I often buy cosmetics at Drug stores or department stores.

 

24. Functional food

Functional foods are extremely popular in Japan. The drug stores offer medicines and functional foods fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Where to buy: Drug stores or department stores

 

25. Japanese-designed clothes

If you love Japanese styles, Japanese brands are great choices to buy. Their winter section is amazing, with well-designed coats and sweaters at affordable prices.

Where to buy

  • UNIQLO shops
  • Flea markets near Shinjuku Mitsui building, Shinjuku Park flea market, Yoyogi Park flea market
  • Shop for cheap clothes at Bookoff Super Bazaar
  • Shopping malls
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