Japanese gift ideas can be an overwhelming topic to think about. Japan has a wealth of unique gifts and souvenirs that it can be easy to get lost because you have too many options. From the most practical souvenirs to the weirdest ones, Japan has it all. But don’t let your excitement for souvenir-shopping in Japan tamper with your travel plan. Or punched a hole in your wallet. Just because you decided to buy everything in sight “just in case, this seems good as a souvenir”. To give you some ideas, we’ve compiled some of our favorite gifts and souvenirs and where to find them.
Classic and fun Japanese gift ideas: Japanese KitKat
The Japanese KitKat is a huge thing both in Japan and overseas. With over 200 flavor variations to date, every KitKat release is a popular time to shop for sweets in Japan. You can even find luxury KitKat line sold at the KitKat Chocolatory—a luxury boutique sweets shop. Basically, you really can’t go wrong to have KitKat in your list of Japanese gift ideas to bring home from your travel.
You can even find Sake (rice wine) KitKat with actual alcohol content in them. Another favorite of mine that has a small alcohol percentage contained is the Rum Raisin KitKat. Aside from these unique sweets, the Japanese KitKat also offers limited edition KitKat as well as Region Specialty KitKats only sold in the designated areas. For example, they only sell the Honten Wasabi (horseradish) KitKat in Shizuoka and Kanto regions, while the Roasted Tea (Hojicha) is sold in Kyoto. By doing these region-exclusive specialties, domestic travelers will be able to take home the region specials KitKat as an omiyage when they travel out of town.
Japanese gift ideas: Go to Donguri Republic Ikebukuro for Ghibli Stuff
A renowned animation studio, Ghibli is another one of those classic but modern Japanese souvenirs that seemingly everyone is fond of. You don’t have to go to the Ghibli Museum yourself. Apparently, this store that is located in Ikebukuro is bigger than the store in the Ghibli Museum itself.
Donguri Republic is located at the Sunshine City in the Ikebukuro district in Tokyo. Despite not being named “Studio Ghibli Shop” or anything like that, the store seemed to have nothing but Ghibli goods.
Try the Japanese Snacks Subscription Box
This option of Japanese gift ideas can be obtained even when you’re not traveling to Japan. Some of these boxes offer premium and artisanal sweets and snack goodies, perfect to be given to anyone. An example of these subscription boxes is Bokksu, which offers a premium selection of Japanese delicacies. This one has a “guide” that tells the story of the snacks contained within the box. Just as the name suggests, these Japanese snacks subscription boxes will come each month to your doorstep, often with different themes for each month.
Japanese matcha gift set
Matcha is one of the favorites when it comes to beverages and gifts in Japan. When you’re traveling to Japan, these can be found in many pottery stores. Large department stores such as the Isetan department store would have premium matcha kit set perfect as a gift. Another good idea on where to find them is by going to the Kappabashi Street in Tokyo.
The street is lined with shops selling items mainly catered to kitchenware. Vendors here also sell restaurant equipment. So if you’re interested in the ultra-realistic faux food display in many Japanese restaurants, then this is also where you can find them.
Unique Japanese Gift Ideas: Socks and more socks!
The Japanese are crazy with their socks. These footwears are a common gift and various companies often manufacture them as merchandise. You can find unique ones such as the sushi socks and many others! A personal favorite of mine when it comes to socks is the Erimaki Sox. This label has brought Japanese socks scene into a whole new level of fashion. They’re very stylish and are perfect as gifts either for you or your loved ones.
The Erimaki Sox is also known to do many collaborations with several popular Japanese manga & anime titles. One of the most notable ones is their collaboration with the Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) franchise. These gorgeous fashion items can be found mainly through their website. But when your travel to Japan coincides with one of the time they have their items on sale in the department store or pop-up store, be sure to stop by! Find the schedules here.
Stumped for ideas? Go to Don Quijote for one-stop gift-shopping
The Donki is a place always filled with crowds of tourists and local shoppers alike looking for all kinds of goods. If you’re not familiar with Don Quijote in Japan, the place is seemingly a department store for all the most random things you can find. They have many shops all around Japan and they’re especially easy to find in the Tokyo 23 wards. From ceramic knives, Belgian chocolate to underwear, Donki has a wealth of seemingly everything. If you’re in Tokyo, they’re usually very easy to spot because of their proximity to the major train stations. Do take a look!
Read more: Top 10 Free Things to Do in Shibuya Tokyo
Get some Fukubukuro or Lucky Bags
These lucky bags are a customary trend in Japan every new year. When you’re traveling to Japan during this time, make sure to purchase at least one of these from your favorite shops or labels. The fukubukuro custom relates to the Japanese culture or philosophy that you’re not supposed to start the new year with ‘trash’ from last year. The lucky bag tradition is also a convenient method for shops to get rid of unwanted items from last year.
You can find virtually any stores doing fukubukuro every time new year approaches. Therefore, you have a lot of options for your Japanese gift ideas. From clothes to homewares, try your luck by getting one especially if you have a favorite label. You can get many items at a much cheaper price of 50% or more. An there’s the element of surprise; of not knowing what you will get from your bag!
Budget Japanese gift ideas? There’s always DAISO
Daiso Japan always deserves an honorable mention. You can find a huge assortment of practical and useful gifts, snacks and many more in this 100 Yen store. They seem ti have everything. Slippers, scarfs, sandals, bags, travel pouches, seasonings, makeup, notebooks, you name it. And everything is priced at 108 JPY inclusive of tax. The priciest items only at 300 JPY. Going to the DAISO is perfect if you need to buy souvenirs for a lot of people. It’s also the perfect place to browse very affordable Japanese gift ideas.