47 Best things to get from Japan: best souvenirs from japan you can’t miss
by Coco Tran On September 19, 2023
47 Best things To Buy In Japan: best souvenirs from japan you can’t miss
Planning a trip to Japan and getting your extra luggage ready for all the awesome things thing to buy in Japan? I’ve got a list of the Best things to get from Japan so you know exactly what to get from Japan.
Japan is a shopper’s paradise, with countless unique and authentic souvenirs to take home. From traditional handicrafts to cutting-edge electronics, the variety can be overwhelming. This comprehensive guide covers the ultimate souvenirs to buy in Japan, from must-have classics to cool hidden gems.
Top Souvenirs from Japan: Best Things To Get from japan
- Traditional Crafts – Folding fans, chopsticks, ceramics, textiles
- Pop Culture Items – Anime figures, plush toys, accessories
- Cosmetics and Beauty- tons of japanese cosmetic brands only availabble in japan
- Food & Snacks – Kit Kats, rice crackers, sake, matcha
- Homewares – Maneki neko cats, origami, dishware
- Stationery – Washi tape, memo pads, pens
- Clothing – Yukata, jinbei, kimono
what to buy when in japan
Great Souvenirs to get from japan: Traditional Japanese Crafts
Japan has a long and rich history of exquisite traditional craftsmanship. Handmade items purchased directly from artisan workshops make wonderful souvenirs. Here are some of the best things to get from Japan
Japanese Calligraphy Brushes & Ink Unique Things to buy in Japan
Make your own shodo artworks and calligraphy at home.
Places to buy: art supply shops
Folding Fans (Sensu) : cool things from japan
These beautiful paper or silk fans have many meanings in Japanese culture. Available in a huge variety of patterns and designs, they make lightweight, meaningful souvenirs.
Places to buy: Asakusa’s Nakamise Shopping Street, Kyoto’s Miyagawa Morning Market.
Chopsticks with unique designs, like ukiyo-e woodblock prints or Mount Fuji scenes, are quintessential Japanese souvenirs.
Places to buy: Tabino Yado gift shops, Loft department stores.
Coin Purses for Souvenir Savings
You’re going to be getting a lot of coins during your trip to Japan, so one of the handiest souvenirs you can grab is a coin purse! Not only are they great for keeping all that yen organized as you explore, but they don’t take up much space in your luggage. It’s a win-win.
While you’ll see basic coin pouches in many shops, keep your eyes peeled for themed ones at specialty stores like Mandarake for anime and gaming or Loft for cute characters. I found an adorable Moogle one from Final Fantasy and a Legend of Zelda leather pouch during my first trip that I still use years later!
The “otaku” shops like Nakano Broadway in Tokyo have tons of options to satisfy your inner geek. And since cash is still preferred over cards in Japan, a cool coin purse gets plenty of use even when you get back home and want to reminisce about your travels.
So don’t just get a boring old travel wallet. Grab a coin purse you actually love and get excited to use. It can stash your yen on the go and spark happy memories of your time in Japan every time you take it out!
Things to get in Japan: Japanese Ceramics & Pottery (Tōgei)
From sake cups to tea bowls, Japanese ceramics are renowned worldwide for their sublime artistry.
Places to buy: Arita and Imari villages in Kyushu, Kiyomizu-dera temple shops in Kyoto.
Textiles & Fabrics
Traditional Japanese fabrics like indigo-dyed cotton, bast hemp, and silk brocades make one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Another unique Japanese things to buy is Japanese Textiles. Such as Tenugui cloths, noren curtains, furoshiki wrapping cloths. Great lightweight souvenirs.
Places to buy: Kurashiki, Fukui Prefecture, Kyoto Nishijin Textile Center, Takayama, Arimatsu
Japanese Pop Culture Souvenirs: Things To Buy Japan
For anime, manga, and gaming fans, Japan offers endless otaku treasure hunting opportunities. From cutesy to creepy, you’ll find something to wow your friends back home.
anime souvenirs from Japan Anime Figures & Plush Toys
Poseable figures, nendoroids, plushies – stock up on merch from popular shows at Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway, Akihabara’s Animate, or Osaka’s Den Den Town.
Harajuku Fashion Accessories
Grab kawaii hair pins, fun socks, and decora jewelry on Takeshita Street. Don’t miss the pastel goth vampurin bags at Paris Kid’s for a very Japanese take on gothic style.
Retro Gaming Consoles & Arcade Merch
Relive the glory days with Famicom and Game Boy-themed merch from Super Potato in Akihabara or Book Off gaming stores nationwide.
Anime Blu-Rays & Manga
Pick up limited edition box sets of popular series unavailable overseas.
Places to buy: Animate, Gamers, Kinokuniya
Gotta Buy ‘Em All – Pokemon Center Exclusives
Calling all Pokemon trainers! Did you know Japan is home to 11 amazing Pokemon Centers packed with exclusive merch you won’t find anywhere else? Even if you aren’t a huge Pokefan, these stores are souvenir goldmines.
Some items like keychains and pins will be obvious exclusives with the Pokemon Center name on them. Others you’ll need to research online to identify what’s currently sold only at that specific location.
It’s super fun for you to hunt down and collect exclusives across multiple Pokemon Centers. The stores themselves are also interactive playgrounds that bring the world of Pokemon to life. Between the exclusive goods and the cool experiences, Pokemon Centers are a must-visit for souvenir shopping in Japan!
So grab your Pokeballs and set out to catch ’em all – by which I mean the amazing Japan-only Pokemon Center exclusives, of course! Even if you aren’t a huge Pokemon geek, you’ll find adorable and affordable souvenirs. Time to start training for your own Pokemon gym badge as an exclusive souvenir master!
Daruma Wish Dolls : must buy souvenirs from japan
Daruma dolls are round, hollow papier-mâché dolls modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. They are made without pupils – the idea is that you draw in one pupil when you set a goal, then the other when you achieve it, so the doll motivates you to accomplish your dreams.
Daruma dolls are sold at temples and shrines around Japan as symbols of perseverance and good luck. Their hilarious round shape and grumpy facial expression have made them icons of Japanese popular culture.
These dolls come in various sizes from mini keychains to human-sized. They are light and easy to pack so make fantastic souvenirs from Japan. The vivid red color is associated with warding off evil spirits. Get a daruma doll as your own personal goal coach or an amusing gift for friends.
The dolls are only sold around Japan, so they make very unique memorabilia of your trip. When you return home and look at your daruma doll, it will remind you of the amazing sites and culture of Japan!
Get mini sizes as souvenirs.
Place to buy: temples, shrines
Gachapon Machines – Quirky Toy Souvenirs
- Gachapon are capsule toy vending machines ubiquitous in Japan – just put in a coin, turn the knob, and get a surprise toy!
- They are called gachapon because of the sounds they make. Japanese collectors spend big money trying to collect full sets.
- Most gachapon take 100 yen coins, though some deluxe versions with nicer prizes take 200 or 500 yen.
- Prizes range from toys, mini figures, and accessories themed on anime, games, characters and more. A quirky souvenir!
- Best places to find gachapon with cool prizes are Akihabara, with 400+ machines at Gachapon Kaikan, and Yodobashi Camera’s huge gacha section.
- But gachapon machines can be found all over Japan – keep an eye out! You never know what fun, weird, or rare toy you might get.
- They make affordable souvenirs and are sure to spark fun memories of your travels in Japan as you admire your capsule toy collection at home!
What to buy in Japan: Japanese Cosmetics and beauty
Japanese cosmetics emphasize gentle, natural ingredients and innovative formulations. Beauty products make fantastic souvenirs – either treat yourself or grab cute makeup items tailored to Japanese trends as gifts.
Must-Buy Cosmetics in Tokyo:
- Shu Uemura eyelash curler – a cult classic praised for its quality and curling power, available at their flagship store in Omotesando.
- Kiss Me Heroine Make mascara – gives dramatic doll-like lashes, found at drugstores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi.
- Fairydrops mascara – provides long lasting volume, available at fashionable places like Shibuya 109 or Omotesando Hills.
- DAISO silicone face masks – these affordable sheet masks are super soft and hug contours well, at any DAISO 100 yen store.
- Fake eyelashes – Japanese lashes are very delicate and natural looking, can find cute styles at Don Quijote or Loft.
Top Kyoto Cosmetics:
- Juju and Shiseido facial sheet masks – available at pharmacies, these treats give radiant skin.
- Yojiya oil blotting sheets – the famous brand provides oil and sweat control, found in their store in Downtown Kyoto.
- Tawashi sponge – this traditional scrubbing cloth makes an eco-friendly exfoliating tool, at Nishiki Market.
- Fan brushes – perfect for mineral makeup, find soft high-quality brushes at art supply shops.
Here are some more specific Japanese cosmetic items and brands that are popular must buys in Japan:
- – SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – This cult favorite toner hydrates and brightens. Find it at high end department stores.
- – Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner – A gentle, no-frills toning lotion loved for its simplicity. Available at drugstores.
- – Rohto Melano CC serum – Works well on pigmentation and dark spots. Convenient, travel-friendly packaging.
- – Pola sunscreen – Lightweight Japanese sunscreens that wear well under makeup. Good for preventing aging.
- – Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Edge Meister mascara – A favorite for long, lifted lashes with a curved brush.
- – Integrate mascaras – Come in colors like blue and purple for fun looks. Found in drugstores and fashion boutiques.
- – Anessa sunscreens – Silky formulas perfect for outdoor activities and the beach. Especially popular is the Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen line.
- – Biore cleansing oils – Effective at removing stubborn makeup and waterproof products. Available at convenience stores.
- – Hada Labo lotions – Iconic hyaluronic acid lotions that deliver serious hydration. Offered in several versions like Whitening, Anti-Aging, etc.
- – My Beauty Diary sheet masks – Taiwanese import with top-notch formulas and ingredients. Shop at Loft, Don Quijote and Matsumoto Kiyoshi.
Popular drugstore brands like Canmake, Dolly Wink, Kate, and Fairydrops offer quality makeup at reasonable prices. High-end brands like Addiction, Suqqu, and RMK are perfect for splurging.
Take home innovative products you can’t get back home and recreate Japanese makeup looks. The artistic packaging also makes these fun gifts for beauty-loving friends.
Must buy in Japan for Japan Souveneirs: Japanese Food & Japanese Sweets Snack Souvenirs
Bring back tasty edible treats for yourself or as gifts. From traditional green tea sweets to wacky Kit Kat flavors, Japan offers endless snacking opportunities.
Kit Kats & Japanese Sweets & Regional Snacks
One of the Japanese sweets that you can bring back as souveneirs are Kit Kats in matcha, sakura, miso, and other exotic flavors are cult favorites. Also try Tokyo Banana cakes, Hiroshima’s momiji manjuu, and Hokkaido’s Shiroi Koibito.
Japanese Sake & Plum Wine
Sample then take home the best sake from Hida Takayama, or famous plum wine from Yame and Ume-no-hana. Don’t forget a traditional ochoko cup!
Matcha Green Tea Products
Everything matcha makes a perfect gift – it’s healthy, iconic, and delicious! Bring home matcha kit kats, green tea, matcha cookies, mochi, and sencha.
Authentic Ramen Kits
Dehydrated noodle packs, broth mixes let you recreate ramen at home! Places to buy:
Ramen Street in Tokyo, ramen shops
Packets of crunchy dried squid, shrimp, kelp make great flavorful snacks. Places to buy: supermarkets, Nishiki Market
Other Japan Articles
Fun Japan Souvenirs To Buy in Japan
These homeware souvenirs will remind you of Japan’s unique aesthetic every time you use them. They also make great gifts.
goshuincho Japanese stamp books as souvenirs
- Goshuincho are booklets for collecting stamps or seals from temples and shrines visited in Japan
- Each shrine and temple designs its own unique stamp and calligraphy with the date and name
- Make a monetary offering, then visit the goshuin counter to get your book stamped
- Can buy new goshuincho at stationery shops or at the stamp counter when you arrive
- As you collect stamps across Japan, it charts your one-of-a-kind journey in a beautiful keepsake
- The covers are decorative and the pages fill up with striking and varied calligraphy and stamp designs
- Great way to commemorate the different shrines and temples you visit during your travels
- An increasingly popular souvenir as the customized stamp books feel very personal and special
- The stamps, calligraphy and book itself become a memory of your explorations around Japan
- Highly recommended as a unique and artistic souvenir to look back on fondly for years to come!
Maneki Neko Lucky Cats
With raised paw beckoning fortune, these cute cats come in many colors and styles. Place near your entryway or cash register to invite wealth and luck.
Origami Decorations & Crafts
Japanese paper folding art is used to make everything from ornaments to jewelry. Pick up origami decor and try making your own using how-to books.
Chopstick Rests & Mamezara
Cute and creative chopstick rests are a fun way to infuse some Japanese flair into everyday dining. Mamezara mini plates keep soy sauce tidy.
Cute pens, memo pads, sticky notes featuring Doraemon, Rilakkuma, Pompompurin, and more.
Places to buy: Loft, Tokyu Hands
Lucky Charms : Japan things to buy as Souvenirs
Known as omamori (お守り), these are small amulets sold at Japanese temples and shrines that provide good luck and protection. Omamori feature Buddhist prayers or Shinto spirits thought to offer blessings for different purposes – common types ward off evil, bring academic success, heal illness, ensure safe childbirth, and more.
The charms are sold in vivid embroidered pouches that make attractive souvenirs. Omamori make wonderful gifts for friends and family or as a special memento of your own to look back fondly on your time in Japan.
Popular places to buy omamori charms:
- Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo – The iconic temple sells a wide variety ranging from health to traffic safety.
- Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto – Get a fox omamori representing Inari, the shrine’s deity that offers prosperity.
- Meiji Jingu in Harajuku, Tokyo – Consider an omamori for relationship or academic success.
- Naritasan Shinshoji Temple near Narita Airport – Pick one up right before flying home for travel safety.
Look for the omamori stall at any temple or shrine you visit during your travels in Japan to get one matching your own unique wishes!
Tsuko-tegata are small wooden plaques sold at temples and shrines in Japan. During the Edo period, travelers had to carry these passports issued by local authorities to move between different regions and provinces.
Today, tsuko-tegata are sold as souvenirs and serve as proof you visited a particular temple or shrine. They come printed with the site’s name in calligraphy and often have an attached bell or tassel.
Popular places to find tsuko-tegata include:
- Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo
- Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
- Todaiji Temple in Nara
- Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island
Tsuko-tegata make wonderfully meaningful souvenirs from Japan. Get one stamped at each temple, shrine, and landmark you visit to commemorate your trip. Display them together once home to reminisce about your travels every time you see them.
The handwritten calligraphy and historic roots of these wooden plaques make them special relics exclusive to Japan. They are lightweight and easy to pack. Give tsuko-tegata as gifts or as a personal keepsake of your own adventures.
Known as ukiyo-e, the traditional Edo period prints etched onto wood make lightweight wall art. Great for décor.
Japanese Tea Boxes
Keep green tea or matcha powder in beautifully crafted Japanese cedar wood tea boxes.
Japanese Wooden Combs
Handmade wood combs, called kushi, are another historic Japanese craft and are engraved with lovely designs.
Magewappa Bento Boxes
Lightweight but sturdy bento lunch boxes made by bending strips of wood. A reusable and eco-friendly souvenir.
Buddhist Altar Pieces
Mini wooden plaques, offering dishes, and bells sold at temples for your own homemade Buddhist altar.
Japanese Dishware: what to buy from Japan
For me, a must buy and what I’m most excited for things to buy in Japan. To add an authentic flair to dinner parties with handmade plates, bowls, and cups featuring traditional or modern motifs. These are excellent souvenirs from Japan.
Boxes, bowls, chopsticks made of lacquered wood. Beautiful and functional.
Places to buy: Wajima, Aizu, Takayama
Hasami Porcelain from Japanese maker
Unique, lightweight tableware handmade in Nagasaki.
Places to buy: Hasami shops
Japanese Bamboo Products
Vases, trays, spoons, baskets. Sustainable and eco-friendly.
Places to buy: Arashiyama bamboo grove shops, Takayama
Must-Buy Japanese Stationery
Japan makes the cutest, coolest stationery on Earth. Stock up on these hot items.
Decorate notebooks, packages, and more with this masking tape printed with gorgeous Japanese motifs. Buy rolls at 100 yen shops.
Beautiful handmade paper used for origami, cards, art prints. Best places to buy: Kyoto’s Nishijin Textile Center, Mino washi shops
Cute sticky notes, memo pads, pens and more come packaged in Keroppi, Pompompurin, and other Sanrio characters.
Mt. Fuji Pens
These ballpoint pens have a tiny Mt. Fuji and flag on top. Popular inexpensive souvenirs.
Cool Japanese Clothing Souvenirs: Things to buy from japan
While some traditional clothing items can be pricey, Japanese loungewear and summer yukata make affordable souvenirs.
Jinbei Summer Kimono
These lightweight cotton kimono are worn at summer festivals and make comfortable pajamas or beach cover-ups.
Yukata Summer Kimono
Colorful yukata worn at festivals often have beautiful floral or landscape designs. They make striking lightweight souvenirs.
Tabi Split-Toed Socks
Add these traditional socks to complete your yukata outfit. One size fits all.
Design-Lover Souvenirs from Japan; Best high-end things to buy in Japan
Beyond pop culture and crafts, Japan offers endless innovative, design-forward souvenirs to delight aesthetes.
MUJI Household Items
MUJI’s elegantly minimalist homewares, snacks, and stationery make souvenirs with timeless appeal.
Issey Miyake Foldable Garments
Famous fashion designer Issey Miyake’s signature pieces unfold from a compact shape into wearable clothes.
Omote Sando Luxury Bags
Japan’s high fashion mecca has flagship boutiques for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci to splurge on.
Camera Gear Souvenirs from Japan’s Photography Paradise
Japan is a haven for photography enthusiasts – so much so that you’ll find massive electronics stores like Yodobashi Camera packed with endless aisles of camera gear. As a photo junkie, these shops made my heart race!
Yodobashi sells way more than just cameras – you’ll also find home goods, toys, and gachapon machines as you explore the various floors. But the camera sections will make any photographer weep tears of joy. Shelves upon shelves stacked with lenses, filters, tripods, camera bodies…you get the picture (pun intended).
There are over 20 Yodobashi Camera stores across Japan, with the largest being the shop in Akihabara, Tokyo. My tip if you want to grab souvenirs for your camera-loving friends or yourself: go wild at Yodobashi!
Given how skilled Japanese engineers are, you can find camera equipment not readily available overseas. Even as technology changes, photos you take with your souvenir gear will help you reminisce about your time in Japan down the road.
Just be sure to keep your receipt and manufacturer’s warranty info if you do make high-end purchases. But for camera nuts, Yodobashi Camera is paradise and the ultimate place for geeky, long-lasting souvenirs. Say cheese!
How To Save On Tax When Purchasing and shopping in Japan
Hey there fellow traveler, before we dive into all the amazing souvenirs, I’ve got a hot tip to save you some yen. As a tourist in Japan, you can get tax-free shopping on certain purchases over 5,000 yen at participating stores. Cha-ching!
Just make sure to bring your passport, since you’ll need to show it to get that sweet tax refund at the register. It’s a nice perk only available for foreign visitors that you don’t want to miss out on.
The tax-free benefit applies at tons of shops across Japan from electronics stores to fancy department stores to duty-free sections of the airports.
Definitely take advantage of it when buying pricier items like cameras, watches, and luxury fashion. But it can add up to big savings even on smaller purchases that meet the minimum.
Before embarking on a shopping spree for the coolest Japan souvenirs, I’d recommend stopping by the tourist info centers at major shopping areas like Ginza, Shinjuku, and Osaka Station. The friendly staff there can hook you up with info on where you can shop tax-free nearby.
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on saving money, let’s get to the good stuff – all the incredible souvenirs you’ll want to splurge on! Keep tax-free shopping in mind as you browse to maximize your shopping budget.
Souvenir Shopping in Japan by City
Almost every town in Japan offers at least a few special local souvenirs. But some places are souvenir shopping hotspots:
Tokyo Best things to buy in japan
Here are some additional places for souvenir shopping in Japan and descriptions of what to find there:
Where to Go Souvenir Shopping in Japan Major Towns
Where To Buy Things in Japan Kyoto
Nishiki Market – Known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, this lively covered market has hundreds of food stalls and shops selling local delicacies like sweets, teas, and sake that make great edible souvenirs.
Arashiyama – On the scenic Arashiyama bamboo grove footpaths, find shops specializing in bamboo products like baskets, vases, wooden combs, and folding fans.
Fushimi Inari Shrine – At the base of this iconic shrine’s mountain path, vendors sell souvenirs like keychains, charms, and fox masks representing Inari, the shrine’s deity.
Gion District – In Kyoto’s traditional geisha district, shop for beautiful handmade crafts, antiques, pottery, and more in the narrow streets lined with machiya townhouses.
Where To Buy Things in Japan Osaka
Den Den Town – The heart of otaku culture, this district is filled with anime, manga, and gaming goods. Pick up limited edition merch and unique souvenirs.
Kuromon Ichiba Market – Called ‘Osaka’s Kitchen’, this lively market has seafood stalls and shops selling Japanese kitchenware and food items perfect as edible souvenirs.
Dotonbori – The iconic billboard-lined canal is bordered by shops selling local specialties like takoyaki octopus balls and traditional crafts as souvenirs.
Shinsaibashi-suji – Osaka’s covered shopping arcade over 600 meters long has a huge variety of stores for fashion, crafts, electronics, and more.
Where To Buy Things in Japan Tokyo to bring back
Asakusa – Grab traditional souvenirs like fans, kimonos, and Noh masks along Nakamise-dori leading to Senso-ji Temple.
Akihabara – An otaku paradise with stores filled with the latest anime, manga, figurines, retro gaming items, and electronics.
Ginza – Tokyo’s upscale shopping district is home to luxury department stores and brand flagships, perfect for splurging on exclusive souvenirs.
Harajuku – Takeshita Street is filled with colorful and kawaii fashion, beauty, and character goods while Cat Street has a laidback bohemian vibe.
Asakusa – Nakamise Shopping Street
Harajuku – Takeshita Street
Shibuya – Tokyu Hands, Loft
Akihabara – Animate, Kanda Myojin Shrine
Where To Buy Things in Japan Kyoto
Arashiyama Station Area
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Nishijin Textile Center
Where To Buy Things in Japan Osaka
Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street
Kuromon Ichiba Market
Dotonbori Canal Area
Hiroshima & Miyajima
Hiroshima Station Area
Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima
Omotesando Shopping Street
Where To Buy Things in Japan Takayama
Miyagawa Morning Market
Sanno-machi Historic District
Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade
Don Quijote Discount Stores
Amazingly, you can find cool Japan souvenirs at Don Quijote (Donki) 24-hour discount stores located all over Japan. Browse wacky sweets, beauty gadgets, anime goods, and household knickknacks among the organized chaos.
Secret Tips for Shopping for Souvenirs from Japan
After all that, a few tips to make your souvenir shopping as smooth as possible:
- Seek out locally made crafts and food specialties for the best gifts and memories.
- Check if your home country allows certain items to be imported before buying food and agricultural products.
- Look for lightweight items to save room in your luggage. Paper fans, textiles, and stationery pack flat.
- Duty-free shops at the airport offer last-minute souvenir shopping on your way home.
- Have bigger or fragile items like ceramics or sake shipped home directly from the store.
- When buying electronics, shop tax-free and choose models compatible with your country’s electric system.
The Perfect Souvenir from Japan
With this huge variety of authentic, well-crafted items to choose from, you’re sure to find the ideal souvenirs from your travels in Japan. Spend time browsing colorful markets, quiet workshops, and dazzling department stores to discover souvenirs you’ll treasure for years.
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