With a colourful culture like Japan’s, finding the right souvenirs to bring back home for yourself, as well as your friends and family, is exactly like finding the best ramen around — locals know best. So, with that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best Japanese souvenirs that even locals love and where to find them. But first you have to get there. Search for flights on Cheapflights.com.sg and start packing (but save room for souvenirs in your carry-on!).Search for flights to Japan
One of the most popular Japan souvenirs among locals and tourists alike is the Gashapon. Gashapon, also called Gachapon or Gacha Gacha, are toys you can get from vending machines. The toys come in a capsule, so you never know what you will actually get — toys range from Anime action figures to cute keychains. While vending machines are located in convenience stores or supermarkets everywhere, the best place to buy Gashapon are in Tokyo‘s Akihabara Gashapon Hall. Aside from boasting over 500 machines, the store is also known to update its range of toys weekly.
Yukata is similar to a kimono but more casual and fashioned from lighter fabrics, making it the perfect traditional Japanese wardrobe during the summer (not to mention the humid Southeast Asian climate as well). In Tokyo, you can find them in various department stores, supermarkets and flea markets around the sunny months of June to September. If you are in Osaka, meanwhile, you can find great Japan souvenirs in Don Quijote at Dotonbori, including inexpensive yukata.
Believe it or not, knives are a must-have Japan souvenirs. The country is known as one of the best producers of knives and even chefs from all over the world travel to the Asian country just to purchase their own. So, if you have friends or family who love to cook, getting them knives from Japan is an excellent option. If you’re in Tokyo, you can find numerous specialty store selling knives around the Tsukiji area. In Kyoto, you can visit Aritsugu, which is known as one of the best producers of knives in the world. Be sure to have the knives shipped home or pack them carefully in your checked luggage according to your airline’s regulations.
Matcha-flavoured KitKat are a tasty Japanese treat, and indeed, this delicious snack is among the most popular of Japan souvenirs. Matcha is specially grown and processed green tea finely ground into powder, and you can also purchase other products infused with Matcha such as tea and cookies, which are conveniently available at stores in any Japan airport.
Manga and Anime
Cartoons and anime have been an important part of Japanese culture, and what better way to celebrate this unique Japanese culture than by bringing home manga or action figures. To do your shopping, head to anime and manga specialty store Animate, which has several locations around Japan, with the biggest one located in Tokyo’s famous Akibahara area.
Looking for something cheap, convenient and edible? Consider ramen. You can purchase instant noodles at every supermarket, grocery and convenience stores in Japan, but if you want something that’s a little more special, head to Yokohama Ramen Factory and Museum, where they let guests create and customize their own instant ramen.
Made from mulberry, gampi tree and mitsumata shrub fibers, washi paper is by far one of the most beautiful souvenirs to come out of Japan. It’s so beautiful, in fact, that even UNESCO has included it in its list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage Objects.” Where to find the best washi paper? Head over to Ozu Washi, which is an institution when it comes to producing and selling traditional Japanese papers.
Tenugui are rectangular cotton towels with a myriad of purposes. Apart from being great souvenirs, they can also double as headscarves, hand towels, place mats or even belts for kimonos. If you want one with an interesting design, check out the ones they sell in museums or specialty shops such as Kamawanu.
Looking for something beautiful yet practical? Head over to Natsuno in Tokyo, where you can find over 2,000 chopstick designs. We know it’s a lot, so if choosing one set ever gets too overwhelming, the shop’s staff are known to give good advice on exactly what style suits you, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s open daily from 10 a.m.to 7 p.m.
If you want to bring back the best of the best sake, visit Fushimi in Kyoto, which is home to over 40 breweries to date. Among the best brands include Gekkeikan and Kizakura. Be sure to check the rules on flying with alcohol before you head to the airport for your return flight.