When hunting for the perfect souvenir, most travelers want something that’s unique to the destination. Whether you’re keeping these souvenirs for yourself or giving them away to family and friends—a gift the Japanese call omiyage—you want something that captures the spirit or culture of the country you’re visiting.
There are endless options in vibrant, bustling Tokyo, but trying to figure out what to buy in Japan can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of our favorite Japanese souvenirs you can buy at the capital city to help you narrow down your choices.
Omamori are Japanese charms usually found in shrines and temples, of which there are thousands in Tokyo. Each pocket-sized omamori consists of a small prayer inside a silky pouch that has a thin thread tied to it. Choose from a variety of options, including prayers for love, success, and health, among many others. Just remember, omamori aren’t supposed to be opened and it expires within a year.
Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints
Ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world” is a form of traditional Japanese art often portraying Kabuki actors, geisha, sumo wrestlers, landscapes, and historical or legendary scenes on woodblock prints. Visit Mita Arts Gallery, Adachi Hanga, or Yamada Shoten Prints in Tokyo for ukiyo-e woodblock prints, both originals and replicas.
For those who want art on something more handy, seek out uchiwa or rounded Japanese fans. Found in many souvenir shops, uchiwa often feature pretty designs, including designs from real ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
Edo Kiriko Glassware
Another traditional Japanese craft is Edo Kiriko, the art of cutting glass into intricate designs. This type of glassware is often used to serve liquor, but tableware, vases, and accessories can also be found. It’s a beautiful Japanese-themed souvenir, especially accompanied with a glass of sake or another delicious local drink.
Tenugui is basically the Japanese version of a hand towel, but it’s a lot more functional, used as a towel, handkerchief, gift wrapper, accessory, mat, décor, and anything else one might think of. Lightweight, inexpensive, and found everywhere in an endless array of designs, the tenugui is the perfect Japanese souvenir to hoard.
The yukata is the simpler, more lightweight version of the kimono designed for the summer season. Just as recognizable as the kimono, it’s a wonderful souvenir to commemorate a trip to Japan. Akasuka and retro neighborhood Kōenji are good places to shop for a yukata, which is often sold with a matching obi (sash) and even geta (shoes).
Dress up in a yukata and relax in a hot spring theme park with a KKday Tokyo Odaiba Oedo-Onsen Monogatari Hot Spring Ticket.
Japan is the home of manga, so it’s not surprising that it’s the best place for manga shopping, whether you’re looking for something mainstream or rare. Dive into manga and anime heaven in Akihabara or Nakano Broadway to discover all kinds of related merchandise.
When shopping in Tokyo, it’s impossible not to come across the many stationery shops or stalls found in the city. Here, you’ll find all kinds of products: stationery, postcards, stamps, stickers, pens, washi paper items, and countless other knick-knacks. In souvenir shops and stationery stores like Itoya and Tokyo Hands, these items come in all shapes, sizes, and designs.
Japanese Face Masks
Beauty is valued in Japanese culture, so what better Japanese souvenir than something that’ll help your face stay smooth and soft? Japanese facial sheet masks are popular in the beauty circuit with plenty of experts swearing by them. Plus, it’s an incredibly cheap buy at just about any beauty shop or drugstore in Tokyo.
Kit Kat Special Flavors
Food isn’t usually an ideal souvenir as it doesn’t last, but Kit Kat’s novelty flavors in the country make it a fun exception. In Japan, Nestlé flexes its creativity with flavors like green tea, sakura, apple vinegar, wasabi, sweet potato, strawberry cheesecake and many more. It won’t all be winners, but they’ll certainly be an experience!
Explore the capital city and find out what else you can buy in Japan on a tour of the top attractions in Tokyo with KKday!