When traveling in Japan you are sure to encounter many intriguing items that are unique to Japan, which would make for fantastic gifts to share with your friends and family back home. So what are the best souvenirs to bring back from Japan? Luckily, many great gifts and souvenirs you can find in Japan are low priced yet provide an authentic glimpse into Japanese tradition and cultural history.
Traditional Japanese items are some of the perfect souvenirs to remember your journey by. Things that can be found nowhere else but Japan include traditional clothes such as robes or kimonos, summer robes or yukata and sandals called geta, and paper items like ukiyo-e prints and origami paper.
You can also never go wrong with traditional teapots and matcha tea sets that can be used to wisk up great memories, as well as great tasting green tea. Japanese teapots and tea sets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are decorated with village scenes and Japanese characters that complete an elegant design. Many other specialty cooking and food items can only be found in Japan. Home of the bento or combination box, Japan is the perfect place to pick up one of these lunch-boxes with neatly separated compartments for hearty meals. These range in design from those suited for kids to more elegant boxes.
On the cooking end, Japanese knives are some of the best in the world. From the days of the samurai up until modern times, the blade-making process has been perfected in Japan. Pick up these traditional knives or try a ceramic knife that offers enormous satisfaction in cutting through fresh produce. Other cooking items like chopsticks or hashi make for great traditional souvenirs. If you’re willing to carry home fragile items, porcelain Japanese china (pun intended) is one of the most beautiful in the world, and it’s practical and cheap too. There are also plastic soup bowls and tea cups that are just as pretty and easier to handle.
Speaking of cooking, food is what the Japanese perhaps do best. The good news is that you can recreate that mouthwatering taste of Japanese food back at home with the help of neatly packaged food products found in any supermarket or convenience store or combini. The Japanese are experts in freeze-dried instant foods that require a short microwave or some hot water. Try their packaged curry sauce or some furikake which are flavored flakes to add on top of rice. The best part is that these are extremely cheap, but one word of warning: The instructions will mostly like be in Japanese.
Home items like the maneki neko or the lucky white cat statue look great up on any shelf and business entrance. It is easy to find beautiful fans and lanterns decorated with traditional patterns and pictures. The koinobori or koi windsock is another unique item used to celebrate the Boy’s Festival or Tango no Sekku.
Other items for the home include noren or traditional Japanese fabric dividers. These split curtains come in many bright colors and traditional designs. Delicate furin or tiny glass and metal bells ring gentle in the breeze and make for great front porch or back patio additions. Many will not be able to resist the most beloved Japanese deity Jizo-san, since this bodhisattva statue is said to protect travelers, women and children. Alternatively, a round bellied Buddha statue is one souvenir that is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
There is so much you can bring back from your trip to Japan. Remember, the best souvenirs in Japan are not found in tourist shops but at local markets that sell everyday goods. Get the real Japanese experience without breaking your wallet!