things you can only get in japan

32 unique Things you can only get in Japan

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32 unique Things you can only get in Japan

Japan is a shopper’s paradise bursting with fascinating, one-of-a-kind items you won’t find anywhere else. Shopping in Japan currently (2024) is cheaper than purchasing from the USA. So although some items you can purchase in the States, the quality will be better from Japan and there are limited edition things you can only get in japan. 

 From my 3 week Japan Trip, I hauled back 2 luggages full of awesome Japanese things you can only get in Japan. Japanese Snacks, Japanese skincare beauty products, Japanese clothing, and unique Japanese souvenirs.  

things you can only get in japan

32 unique Things you can only get in Japan

From hello kitty toys to zen rock gardens, cutting-edge technology to serene temple stamps, Japan offers rare treasures for every taste and budget. This article highlights 20 can’t-miss souvenirs and experiences that you can only get in Japan.

No time to read the whole article? Here’s a quick summary

Japan offers many unique items that make perfect souvenirs, from temple fortune slips and customized cup noodles to Capybara plushies and Mt. Fuji shaped sake bottles. Don’t leave without getting these must buy Japan items. Check out the full article below for more details, including shop names, locations, and tips.

Unique Things you can only get in Japan: what to buy when in japan

Things you can only buy in Japan

With exquisite handicrafts passed down through generations while also innovating, Japan offers countless meaningful Japanese souvenirs

omamori Temple Luck Charms

Take home unique Japanese omamori lucky charms from temples you visit, placed in small brocade bags. Different symbols offer luck in health, wealth, studies and more.

  • Find these at temple gift shops across Japan

Goshuin: Elegant Temple Stamp Books

Collect stamps or calligraphy at temples across Japan in a decorative book called a goshuincho. With each artistic stamp and inscription, reminisce about the tranquil temple settings.

  • Sold at temples, shrines, souvenir shops.

Ema: Japanese Wishing Wooden Plaques

At Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, have artisans hand-render your dreams onto ema plaques or choose pre-made plaques with wishes featuring zodiac animals, cherry blossoms and more.

  • Sold at most temples and shrines.

Tenugui: Colorful Japanese Hand Towels

Vibrant tenugui cotton towels feature shibori tie-dyeing, yuzen paste resists and peaceful scenes of nature, perfect for reminiscing about Japan.

  • Souvenir shops across Japan and at dyeing studios.

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Indigo Dyed Samurai Pouches

Vivid indigo dyeing techniques adorn these protective pouches, resemblance samurai garb. Historically, the dye prevented infection. Stylishly stow your journals or gadgets inside.

  • Various souvenir shops and craft studios across Japan
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Teamlab Tokyo

anime things you can only get in japan

For pop culture fans or anyone wanting only-in-Japan quirkiness, anime figures will impress otaku friends. And capsule toy machines full of endless weird plunder await.

Gachapon: Charming Vending Machine Capsules

These cheap coin operated capsules dispense ultra cute, tiny figurines and oddities. With anime to food themes, kids and adults alike love the surprises!

  • Find at toy stores, markets, train stations across Japan.

Gundam Figurines

Gundahm figurines are cool things you can buy in Japan. Limited edition Gundam and Vintage Gundam Kits and now no longer sold outside of Japan. , It makes a great collectible item or gift and it’s one of the most unique things in japan to bring back. There are HG kits, few old MG, and  RG kits available in very limited supply so you’ll have to do some hunting too find them.

  • Gundam factory in Yokohoma 

Gudetama & Kawaii Clothes

Japan produces endless cute mascot “yuru-chara” characters plastered on shirts and pajamas, from melancholic egg Gudetama to chilled out bear Rilakkuma. At discount shops Don Quijote you’ll find the biggest selections of cute shirts at budget prices.

  • Where to Buy: Don Quijote stores across Japan

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Capybara Cuddle Pillows

At Izu Shaboten zoo’s famously mellow Capybara hutches you can find plush pillows and other souvenirs featuring the sweet giant rodents lazing about, perfectly capturing Japanese eccentricity. Great gift for the quirky friend.

  • Near the capybara enclosure at Izu Shaboten Zoo, Shizuoka prefecture.
Best Ryokans in Gion Kyoto tings you can only get in japan
kyoto Gion

Vintage Nintendo Games & Consoles

Relive retro games with vintage Nintendo GameBoys and Famicom systems alongside first edition Pokemon, Zelda, MarioKart games and more. A nostalgia rush perfect for big kids. You will find these cheaper in Japan than buying on Ebay.

  • Book Off/Hard Off stores selling used goods nationwide.

Studio Ghibli Anime & Film Art Prints

For anime lovers, official film art prints and figurines from world renowned Studio Ghibli like Totoro plushies and Spirited Away memorabilia make wonderful souvenirs you can only find in Japan.

  • At the Studio Ghibli store right by the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo or the Donguri Kyowakoku chain shops.

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unique things to buy in japan only available in japan

Personalized Cup Noodles

Design your own custom cup noodles at the Shin-Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum’s “My Cup Noodles Factory”. Select soup flavor, toppings, noodles, and label designs for this delightfully kitschy gift.

  • Located at the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, next to Shin-Yokohama Station.

Lucky Temple Charms – awesome Japanese stuff

Take home unique Japanese omamori lucky charms from temples you visit, placed in small brocade bags. Different symbols offer luck in health, wealth, studies and more.

  • Find these at temple gift shops across Japan

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Second Hand Kimonos

Kimonos are intricate and expensive new, but the second hand market offers opportunities to score beautiful kimonos, hand fans and hair ornaments at a fraction of original prices. An elegant heirloom.

Tip: There are a lot of second-hand stores in downtown Kyoto. I purchased two kimonos and tons of kimono jackets both short and long and second hand yakutas to wear at home.

  • Look for second hand kimono stores in Kyoto and other cities
kyoto kimono rental

Onitsuka Tiger Lifestyle Sneakers

Onitsuka Tiger is Japan’s iconic retro sneaker brand, favored for sleek, understated designs that emphasis craftsmanship. The high quality shoes make fashionable keepsakes.

Tip: There are special edition made in Japan tigers and 

*Various department stores and shoe shops across Japan, Check out Tokyo Shopping streets in Omotesando in Tokyo.

Mini Mt Fuji Building Block Sets

Charming miniature block building kit sets let kids and adult hobbyists recreate Japan’s famous Mt Fuji alongside tiny torii gates, home, and Samurai scenes. A cute, educational made-in-Japan toy.

  • Toy stores across Japan

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Mt Fuji Pads & Japanese Stationery

Even mundane office supplies get a makeover with beautiful ukiyo-e woodblock print, zen garden and bonsai motifs. Stock up on notepads, washi tape, posters and pens featuring signature Japanese imagery.

  • Loft, Tokyu Hands, and other stationery boutiques across Japan’

Tokyu Hands DIY Kits

Peruse endless notebooks, origami paper, ink stamps and drawing kits featuring japanese scenes. Great for crafty kids or adults alike.

  • Major locations in every city with Shibuya store most foreigner friendly.

Pilot Fountain Pens & Ink

For luxurious writing, pick up renowned Japanese brand Pilot’s fountain pens and accompanying ink bottles in limited edition Japanese themed colors and bottles.

  • Itoya stationery stores, Loft boutiques

Japanese Fountain Pen Paper

Complete the stationery set with silky smooth paper crafted specifically for Japanese fountain pens, to prevent bleeding and feathering. Makes a wonderful journaling kit.

  • Itoya, Loft and other paper specialist stores

Elaborately Folded Paper Stars

Pick up delicate origami paper and try expertly folding thousands of interlocking paper stars and cranes, strung into out-of-this-world garlands. This symbolizes luck, healing and nuanced Japanese craftsmanship.

  • Sold in souvenir shops nationwide.

Japanese Toilets with All the Features

Pamper your derrière back home with a high tech Japanese toilet seat! Featuring built-in music, heating, bidets, dryers, automatic lids, and more, these thrones transform your bathroom experience. An expensive but iconic Japanese invention.

  • Sold at high end electronics shops such as BIC camera
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Shibuya Sky

Local Japanese Snacks & Sweets Unique Things to get in Japan

Edible souvenirs like flavors of KitKat or cultured sweets make perfect omiyage – the custom of bringing back small gifts for friends and coworkers in Japan. Why not keep the tradition going back home?

Related: Japanese Snack Box 

Luxury Royce Chocolates

For a refined edible souvenir, pick up a bow of Royce made chocolate wafers and cocoa candies, renowned for perfectly silky smooth chocolate and ornate packaging.

  • Find at luxury department stores across Japan.

Fujiyama Sakura Mochi

These sticky rice sweet cakes wrapped in a salted cherry tree leaf are a traditional spring delicacy made freshly every season. They represent fleeting beauty and renewal. A perfect memorable springtime edible souvenir.

  • Get directly from Fujiyama Seika shops in Tokyo.

Related: Best Japanese Snacks to Buy from Japan

Strong Zero Japanese Beer

Strong Zero chu-hi canned cocktails with their cutesy fruit flavors and deceptively high alcohol content make iconic Japanese souvenirs. Bring some back to sip occasionally and reminisce.

  • Any convenience or grocery store

Japanese whiskey

Japanese whiskies have been racking up international awards lately for their exceptional quality and smooth taste. While Japanese whisky is gaining more global availability, you can still find special single-cask editions and limited releases only in Japan.

Tips for Finding Rare Bottles:

  • Check out whiskey specialty liquor stores which stock exclusive single barrel offerings
  • Look for store-select special edition bottlings only sold at certain shop locations
  • Limited seasonal releases also abound

Things you can only buy in japan electronics

Although you are able to find these outside of Japan, it is cheaper to buy in Japan than outside of Japan. 

Zojirushi Rice Cookers

Renowned for advanced technology yielding perfect rice texture, Zojirushi’s rice cookers are beloved kitchen appliances found in Japanese homes. The premium models make great souvenirs.

  • Electronics stores like Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera or specialty shops carrying electronics.
Photo of Person Holding Ice Cream Cone

Previously Japan-Only Electronics

Some electronics launch exclusively in Japan before expanding overseas. Keep an eye out for the hottest just-released gaming devices, music players, robot companions only found in Japan. The RICOH GR series of advanced digital cameras is a great example.

  • Where to Buy: Major electronics retailers

Special Edition Gaming Consoles

Japan releases special versions of Nintendo, Sony Playstation, and other video game consoles in limited production runs and themed designs that you can’t get anywhere else. Whether for playing or displaying, these make great collector’s items.

  • Where to Buy: Retailers like Bic Camera, Sofmap, Yodobashi Camera

Japanese Smart Toilets

World-famous for next-level engineering, Japanese smart toilets feature built in bidets, dryers, automatic lid lifters, odor neutralizers, sound effects and more innovations for the ultimate bathroom experience.

  • Where to Buy: Home fixtures stores carry luxury toilet brands like Toto.

Vintage Camera Finds Mint Condition 35mm Film Cameras

One of the high end things to buy in Japan are vintage 35mm cameras, Japan manufactured legendary reliable and compact 35mm film cameras in the 1970s-1990s from brands like Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and more. You can still find mint condition cameras, in special editions sold only in Japan, for far under collector prices back home.

  • Where to Find: Camera specialty stores like Map Camera, Fujiya Avic. Also look in used electronics stores like Book Off.

Tips:

  • Flea markets can have super cheap cameras but likely with wear. Expect to pay $150+ for truly pristine condition.
  • Research Japan-only limited edition releases of classic camera models to score extra rare finds as investments or photography tools.

Takoyaki Grills and Makers – cool thigs to buy in japan 

Takoyaki are delicious ball-shaped Japanese snack pancakes with octopus. Special rectangular grills with oval molds and Teflon surfaces provide effortless takoyaki making so you can recreate this street food favorite back home.

  • Where to Find: Kitchen supply stores like Tokyu Hands, Loft or Kappabashi “Kitchen Town” area of Tokyo. Also often at souvenir shops.

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