One of the best ways to remember travel memories is with souvenirs. Besides buying personal mementos, souvenirs are the perfect gift to bring back to friends and family. While plenty of Japanese items can be purchased around the globe, there are some items unique to the region that can only be bought in Japan.
In Japan, souvenirs are known as omiyage and refer to small items or gifts that are given to friends and family upon arrival from a trip. Here are few souvenirs to buy in Japan that are exclusively Japanese and sure to make anyone smile.
Snacks and Candy Souvenirs from Japan
One of the best parts about visiting a new destination is checking out the local snacks and candy, and of course, are some of the best souvenirs to buy in Japan. Many Japanese snacks can now be purchased globally due to their popularity, items like Pocky are sold worldwide. However, some snacks which are sold all over the world are available in unique flavors in Japan, for example, matcha flavored Kit-Kat bars and literally hundreds of other flavors. A few popular snack items worth stocking up on including, Umaibo – a delectable corn snack that is highly addictive, Kinoko No Yama – chocolate biscuits in the shape of tiny mushrooms and Koala’s March – cream filled cookies shaped like cute koalas. It is a great inexpensive gift idea to bring back from Japan that can be purchased from most convenience stores. Just make sure to leave enough room in your suitcase.
Japanese Green Tea
While green tea can be purchased all over the world, buying authentic, ceremonial grade green tea from Japan is a special treat. For the tea lover in the family, bringing local green tea from Japan is also an easy and inexpensive souvenir idea that is light in a suitcase. Green tea is easy to find all over Japan in many varieties including matcha powder. A great souvenir to pair with the tea is a tea set or matcha set.
Japanse Skincare Products
From cosmetics to face masks and everything in between, skincare in Japan is no joke. One of the best souvenirs to buy in Japan are face masks. They are easy to pack, inexpensive and are easy to find. What makes Japanese face masks unique are the fun patterns and designs on sheet masks and special ingredients used. Masks can also be used on hands and feet, eyes and lips. Japan is also famous for blotting papers, the ideal travel companion and a great souvenir to bring back to any makeup lover since blotting papers absorb skin’s oil without ruining makeup.
Some of the sharpest and most impressive knives come from Japan, made from Japanese steel and expertly designed, they are some of the best in the world. While traveling with knives can be risky, if there is enough room in your suitcase bringing back knives from Japan makes for a memorable and thoughtful souvenir. Arguably, a katana sword or large blade may not be the ideal travel companion, but purchasing small kitchen knives or a main chef knife such as a Santoku or Gyuto can be easy to transport. When purchasing knives, the price can range and it is also important to check about sharpening, as some knives must be sharped in a very specific manner, and it may be worth purchasing sharpening steel along with the knife.
Traditional Japanese Clothing/Fabrics
From Kimonos to Tenugui, there are plenty of unique textiles to find, each making for great souvenirs to buy in Japan. For a small, easy item that pack, Tenugui are small hand towels that are made out of thin cotton. Tenugui can be used practically for washing or decoratively as they are often dyed and patterned beautifully. Beyond the practical use, Tenugui can also be used as a headband and makes for a great souvenir to bring back from Japan. While Kimonos are larger in size they can take up more room in a suitcase, but make for a very special and authentic souvenir to buy in Japan. Kimonos can be found in a variety of sizes and price points.
Japanese culture is definitely known for cats, from cat cafes in Tokyo to entire cat islands, and bringing back a famous Maneki Neko cat is a perfect souvenir to buy in Japan. Maneki Neko is also known as lucky cats or fortune cats, meant to bring good luck to others. Ranging in size and price, Maneki Neko is authentically Japanese and make for a perfect souvenir to buy in Japan.
Although it may seem like a bad idea to bring back heavy and breakable items, Japanese pottery is some of the most beautiful in the world. There is a long and distinguished history of ceramics in Japan and many techniques and styles are still influenced today from the past. From pottery to glazed stoneware and porcelain there is a large variety of handcrafted works of art. Picking small, unique, handmade items that are easy to pack are some of the best souvenirs to buy in Japan.
There are many more ideas for what souvenirs to buy in Japan, to learn more about shopping in Tokyo or outlet malls in Tokyo and tax-free shopping. One of the best places to look for souvenirs that are inexpensive and small are convenience stores in Japan.