Are you visiting Japan soon, but still undecided on what to buy in Japan? Don’t worry as you are not the only one who has this problem. The fact you are here reading this post, you probably started to do some research online… Fret not and congrats for landing here, because this post has all you’ll need to help you with your shopping decision. Let me share the complete list of the top 10 things I think everyone can consider buying when they visit Japan.
- 1 Matcha Products
- 2 Tokyo Banana
- 3 Instant Noodles
- 4 DSLR and Cameras
- 5 Japanese Cosmetics Brands: Shu Uemura & Shiseido
- 6 Origami 折り紙 Paper Kits
- 7 Japanese Kitchen Knives
- 8 Sumo Merchandise
- 9 Tokyo Honey Sugar (By YOKU MOKU)
- 10 Yukata / Kimono
- 11 Starbucks Tumblr
- 12 Products from 100 Yen Shops
- 13 Japanese Chopsticks
- 14 Wagashi Sweets
Japan is really popular with Matcha products. Due to Matcha’ growing popularity over the past few years, demand for Matcha has skyrocketed over the world. With its health benefits and soothing delightful taste, you can find Matcha products all around Japan – In cafes, snacks in supermarkets, restaurants and more… Some of the few matcha snacks that I will recommend include Kit Kat (Limited editions), Pocky, Orea, Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato, Pretz and more. If you are a tea person, you may like Itoen Matcha (powdered) tea and Shirakata Denshiro Genmaicha tea.
Pro Tip: Don’t leave without buying any Matcha products.
If you haven’t heard of Tokyo Banana, you must be living in a cave for quite some time. Just browse your Instagram/Facebook, I am sure you’ll come across your friends posting about this “Tokyo Banana”… Grapestone Co is a well-known sweet company based in Tokyo, and one of their most popular snacks is called the “Tokyo Banana”. Basically, it is a banana looking fluffy cake filled with banana flavored custard cream. It is also available in different themes – e.g. leopard or panda spots. There is also a recent collaboration with KIT KAT which combines the best of both KIT KAT and Tokyo Banana – What a great combination! This is a MUST buy and the good thing is that Tokyo Banana stores are widely available around Japan (in train stations, shopping malls, airports, etc)
You must be wondering, why people recommend buying instant noodles when you can find them widely available in supermarkets in your own country as well. Many people say that instant ramen noodles from Japan taste far BETTER. There are many flavors and a variety of instant noodles that is uniquely Japan. I’ve yet to try instant ramen noodles, therefore, I can’t really conclude if this is true. But knowing that the first instant ramen is invented in Japan (By founder of Nissin Cup Noodles), I quite believe this.
DSLR and Cameras
If you are a camera enthusiast, be sure to check out cameras stores in Japan. Japan is home to several high-quality top global camera brands like Canon and Nikon. Therefore, you can find that prices for these products can be a little cheaper as compared to your home country too. Don’t forget to also check out the trendy Instax instant cameras that are immensely popular globally too. In my opinion, Instax cameras(by Fujifilm) makes a really good souvenir/gift too. -FYI, if you do not know what’s Instax, it’s an instant camera which you can print out instant film photos instantly in a few seconds.
Japanese Cosmetics Brands: Shu Uemura & Shiseido
Japanese luxury cosmetics brands like Shu Uemura and Shiseido will make great and ideal gifts for your girlfriend or wife! Get the latest eyelash curler or cleansing oil products that are not yet available worldwide to impress your loved ones. Well, the good news for you is that brands like Shu Uemura and Shiseido will be cheaper. (According to local sources: As compared to prices in Singapore, it’s relatively around 20% cheaper off retail price)
Origami 折り紙 Paper Kits
Japanese Origami (Ori means fold, Gami means paper) paper with patterns and colors makes a good gift to symbolize Japan culture. Origami refers to the traditional art of paper folding and the most popular model of “Origami“ is associated with paper cranes. Picking up some origami paper off any stationeries or bookstores, and learn how to fold a Japanese paper crane is a great way to experience the Japanese culture. It is said that folding 1,000 paper cranes can make your wish come true.
Japanese Kitchen Knives
Japan-made kitchen or chef knives are best known for their highest and finest quality. No matter if you cook frequently or not, having a Japanese kitchen knife will be an excellent addition to your kitchen. Not sure whether a Japanese knife will suit you? If you cut lots of vegetables, chicken or fish meat, or if you enjoy making sushi or sashimi, using a Japanese knife will be really suitable. Head down to Kappabashi-Dori in Tokyo and you can find a whole street dedicated to selling kitchenware and accessories. Some of the popular Japanese brands include Takamura Knives, Misono, Tsukiji Masamoto, Aritsugu, Global, Shun, Nenohi/Nenox and more.
Sumo is the Japanese style of wrestling and it is the undisputed nation sports in Japan. Its origins date back to ancient times as a performance to entertain Shinto deities. Sumo is a traditional culture which exists in Japan for centuries and getting sumo merchandise back is a great souvenir to signifies your trip to Japan. Pro tip: Plan some time during your trip to catch a live sumo tournament!
Tokyo Honey Sugar (By YOKU MOKU)
Just like the Tokyo Banana, Tokyo Honey Sugar by Yoku Moku is another MUST BUY snack from Japan. It is a beehive crispy waffle snack which is honey coated. The snack is sold by YOKU MOKU which is a famous confectionery shop in Tokyo. Also, note that Tokyo Honey Sugar can only be found in Tokyo.
Yukata / Kimono
Yukata is a casual version of Kimono (a traditional Japanese dress). It is a robe made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and people wear it by wrapping around the body and fastening with a sash. Well, it may be too extreme, in my opinion, to buy a Kimono back, but getting a Yukata seems reasonably suitable – You could wear a Yukata as pajamas or after a bath, or if you are more daring, out at streets.
I’m not sure if you are one of the many loyal Starbucks fans? If you are, don’t forget to drop by a Starbucks Cafe in Japan for their Japanese merchandise products. I am a regular collector of Starbucks mugs and my hobby is to collect every different (city name imprinted) mug from all the cities around the world. Starbucks in Japan is very popular – I guess Japanese love coffee culture! You can find a limited collection of seasonal products (Cherry blossom themed etc) if you are lucky.
Products from 100 Yen Shops
Heard of a shop called Daiso? Japan is popular with the so-called “100 Yen” shops where you can shop for bargain cheap stuff at just 100 yen (100 Yen is around $1 USD) each. Japanese love this concept and while you are in Japan, I would say it will be a good experience to drop by one of these shops to experience the local culture. Popular 100 Yen shops are Daiso, Can DO, Masashi, Seira, 100 Yen shops, and more, etc. While you may be super engrossed in shopping due to the insanely cheap prices, I will have to warn you to be skeptical of the quality though!
A pair of beautiful Japanese chopsticks that is elegantly crafted is a perfect souvenir to buy back from Japan in my own opinion. Priced quite fairly cheap at a few bucks, the chopsticks are a great depiction of the rich culture of Japan. I always wanted to own a pair of unique chopsticks for myself!
Wagashi (和菓子), also known as Japanese traditional sweets, comes in different varieties of sizes and shapes. These sweets are n0rmally eaten alongside a cup of hot green tea and are normally being served in cafes or restaurants all around Japan. Some of the popular wagashi sweets that tourists love are Namagashi, Daifuku, Dango, Dorayaki, Manju, Monaka, and more.
That’s all for this simple guide on what to buy in Japan, and hopefully, this can help you make some shopping on your trip to Japan. This is the top 10 things that I will consider buy when I visit Japan and note that the expressed ideas are jolly my own personal opinion.