Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Top 10 Japanese Souvenir Items

Photo: GetHiroshima.com on Flickr

Top 10 Japanese Souvenir Items

Anastasia Okonta

No matter the place you travel to everyone loves to purchase souvenirs. Souvenirs are great gifts for others, offering a snippet of the place you visited, but are also great gifts for yourself, as a fond reminder of the time spent somewhere away from home! Japan is a country that is very fond of omiyage and the souvenir giving custom and thus has many great souvenirs to offer! Below are the top ten…

1. The Classic Omiyage

Photo 1

As previously stated Japanese people love to give souvenirs, and it is even custom to bring back souvenirs to work anytime you travel. This is most commonly done in the form of famous sweets/snacks from the place visited, and so any place worth visiting will likely have plenty of omiyage to choose from. The classic omiyage snacks also come beautifully and neatly packaged, and inside each snack is often also individually packaged.

2. Japanese Foldable Fans

Photo 2

Japanese foldable fans are a popular choice not only for tourists as a souvenir but also are a staple for Japanese people in the hot summer, so there are many to be found! You can find some good quality foldable fans with stunning patterns all over and they make for a great traditional gift that has Japan written all over it.

3. Tenugui

Photo 3

Tenugui are traditional Japanese hand towels which come in a variety of colours, patterns and texture. The options range from traditional Japanese patterns to cutesy stencil patterns. Tenugui can also be used not only as hand towels but also as a wash cloth, headband and even for decoration. A souvenir with many uses, what’s not to love about that! And to top it off they are relatively inexpensive!!

4. Omamori

Photo 4

Omamori are Japanese lucky amulets/talisman most often found at shrines and temples. They often offer some form of luck or protection in a particular area of life. Some popular ones are love, health, work, family, money, but there are also many more available! Omamori are great gifts for those who are starting something new (new job, new family etc.) or for those who just need a bit of extra luck! Plus they are pretty to look at too!

5. Matcha

Photo 5_2

Matcha is a serious food staple in Japan and not just in the tea form. There are all sorts of matcha flavoured sweets, cakes, snacks which are interesting to try and hard to find outside of Japan. A popular one is the matcha flavour Kitkats! You can also go for traditional matcha tea as a gift, along with many matcha associated accessories (special steeping mug, steeper etc.)

6. Japanese Pottery/Porcelain

Photo 6

Japanese pottery and porcelain is one of the country’s oldest art forms, which is why it’s a wonderful souvenir! It is often skilfully crafted and can be found decorated with intricate designs or in a simpler yet still beautiful aesthetic. You can purchase traditional Japanese items such as sake sets, tea sets, chopstick rests etc., and depending on how much you want to spend, you can purchase modern or old (even antique if you really want to splurge) pieces!

7. Socks!

Photo 7

This may sound like a slightly odd choice but socks are great! Particularly in Japan! There are many shops dedicated to selling socks and only socks, and you are spoilt for choice with patterns, designs, colours etc. There’s the option of the traditional “two toe” socks (tabi) intended for use with Zori/Geta (traditional thonged footwear); (for ladies) socks with cute bows, mesh socks, glittery socks etc; (for men) preppy patterns, plain, cool slogans; (for everyone) animal/character faces on socks! In a nutshell there are socks for all!

8. Chopsticks

Photo 8_2

Quite an obvious one, but chopsticks are a great souvenir. Something that is specific to Japan but useful too! There are options for men, women and children alike. As always there are many designs to choose from but also many materials (wooden, plastic and metal) and lengths. As an added extra you can also buy traditional chopstick cases.

9. Stationary

Photo 9

Now this probably sounds like the world’s most boring souvenir but secretly we all love stationary don’t we! Especially when you can find such cute/cool stationary, something Japan has plenty of! From the practical letter sets, folders, notebooks, pens to the fun stickers, decorative tape, stamps, Japan has it all, and in a variety of cute/modern/cool designs! And again this is one that doesn’t have to be expensive! Some great stationary bits can be found in Japan’s awesome 100 Yen shops! Perfect!

10. Magnets/Key Chains

Photo 10_2

The go to souvenir no matter the country/place, magnets and key chains are great if you’re still stuck for something to buy! In Japan you can choose from (as usual) cutesy themed items , traditional, the obvious “Japan” themed items, specific place items (Skytree, Osaka Castle, Mt. Fuji etc), Japanese characters (Anpanman, Doraemon, Hello Kitty etc) and there are also many Japanese food themed items (sushi, ramen bowl, tempura etc) which are very cute too!