Souvenirs, known as omiyage in Japan, are one of the best ways to share and treasure your travelling experiences. There are many souvenirs to bring home as gifts that you can only find here in Japan. Here's our list of unique omiyage to treat yourself or give to your family and friends!
As one of the cultivators of the finest leaves in the world, Japan produces the world-famous Matcha, composed of powdered green tea stems and dried leaves. Traditionally used for tea ceremonies, Matcha has evolved to become part of delicacies and beverages across the globe, making it a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. Its unique flavor will surely bring back memories of your visit to Japan.
Saké (Japanese Alcohol)
Alongside the popularity of non-alcoholic teas, Japan is known for brewing and curating the traditional saké. Made from fermented rice, this Japanese alcohol is everyone's favourite drink served across the country. Never miss this chance to share this drink with your family and friends.
Saké is actually designed to be drunk like a wine, not a spirit. Take your time to slowly sip a glass and enjoy the taste as well as the buzz from this delicious drink. With thousands of options to choose from in terms of taste, acidity, dry vs sweet and more - there is something for everyone!
Anime, Manga, Merch
Your Japanese experience will not be complete without purchasing merchandise from your favorite anime, manga and video games. All great buys are available in Akihabara, the centre for all gaming and anime and manga culture in Japan. From the old favorite anime and retro games such as Pokemon, Naruto and Sailor Moon to the most recent ones, you'll find rare anime, manga, and video game selections. There’s no need to worry if you’re not familiar with the Japanese language as several stores are selling foreign-language translations as well.
Japan also showcases the finest handmade ceramics which can be the perfect souvenir to dive deep into Japanese culture. There are various shapes, colours and lovely Japanese patterns available from teacups and sake cups, to chopsticks, small plates and bowls. At an affordable price, you can purchase Japanese ceramics for yourself and your loved ones!
Sampuru (Japanese Food Display)
Another unique souvenir that can only be found in Japan is the Plastic Food Display, also known as sampuru. These hyper-realistic foods are made from wax and used by many restaurants to display their menu instead of using photos. You can even make your own sampuru! Many restaurants and shops in Japan display glass cases of sampuru at the entrance to attract customers to buy. It’s the perfect souvenir to remember your remarkable Japanese food trip experience.
Ukiyo-e (Traditional Woodblock Prints)
Japan’s traditions and culture continue to flourish and one of them is the Ukiyo-e, or the traditional Japanese woodblock prints of natural landscapes. These paintings are made of washi paper that is manually painted by locals. There are popular gifts and souvenirs like Hokusai’s Great Wave. On top of that, there are several museums where you can see Ukiyo-e, such as the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Hokusai Museum and Tokyo Fuji Art Museums.
Hanko (Personal Stamp)
All locals use hanko, a personal seal stamp, instead of a signature in Japan. You can even bring your own one home as your own souvenir. A hanko is created with Hiragana or Katakana with your name. If you have a foreign or unique name, you may visit a hanko shop so they can make your original hanko.
In temples and shrines, you can purchase an honorable Japanese stamp book or the goshuincho. Many people collect the official seals of temples and shrines with the calligraphy of the date of visit and location. You get to visit all the temples and shrines while collecting all the official seals and stamps as part of your remarkable journey in Japan.
Maneki Neko, or the welcoming lucky cat, is a seated cat statue raising its paw that is believed to bring good fortune and attract many customers for business owners. The original Maneki Neko color is white representing good luck with other available colors like black and gold. It’s a small and simple gift you can have for yourself or your family and friends and is easy to find in many stores.
Japanese chopsticks are one of the most popular gifts bought in souvenir shops! From handmade to mass-produced products, even personalized chopsticks, Japanese shops are your ultimate destination for it. It’s the best souvenir for sushi lovers!
Since the 1970s, KitKats have been popular in Japan with many different forms, sizes, and flavors that only Japan offers. The popularity is due to the fact that in Japanese “kitto katto” means “you will definitely win”. KitKats are therefore a common gift around exam time or when someone has a big tournament coming up.
If you want to experience all the flavors, including regional exclusive flavors like Mount Fuji, Hokkaido’s Melon, and many more by visiting one of the KitKat Chocolatory stores in Tokyo or Osaka.
A Kimono is the most recognized representation of Japanese traditional culture, which would make a perfect souvenir or gift from Japan. Kimono prices vary depending on the material used and silk kimonos are much more expensive. With a variety of kimono styles, such as Yukata (casual summer kimono) and Haori (hip-length kimono), that are equally exclusive, you’ll never go out of style with your family and friends!