11 Japanese Souvenirs you will Absolutely Love (Gift Guide)

Wondering what to buy in Japan? Well have no fear. These are the coolest souvenirs from Japan. Tokyo is the city of cool. Japan, the country of characters. We’re talking ninjas, geishas, sumo wrestlers, Pokemon and Hello Kitty everything! So while we sadly couldn’t bring a Sumo wrestler back with us as a souvenir, (trust us, we asked) we did find what to buy in Japan. Here is the list of cool things to buy in Japan that you can’t buy anywhere else.

What to buy in Japan – The Souvenir Guide

Anything sumo. People love sumo souvenirs.

Souvenirs from Japan are the best. One of the most well-known things about Japan are their finely conditioned athletes, the Sumo Wrestlers.

You can’t bring back a Sumo Wrestler. But you CAN bring back totally neato Sumo Wrestling playing cards. An added bonus is the pictures of sumo moves on the cards so you can try them out on your friends! Endless fun and something you’ll always use that has a cool story. Great for all ages.

Other sumo souvenir ideas: t-shirts, wall prints, or small figurines to put on your desk.

  • What to buy in Japan | Sumo Wrestler Playing Cards
    What to buy in Japan | These sumo wrestler playing cards are so cool!

Kimonos. For that classy gal (or guy!)

Nothing says Japanese themed gifts like a kimono. Ladies love Kimonos. Period. It’s like…a girl rule. I mean, look at them! They are exquisite with their designs of cranes and chrysanthemums. You can also look fancy just walking around the house.  If you are wondering what to buy in Japan for grandmothers, pregnant friends, wives, sisters, and moms, this is it. They are also super dope Halloween costumes. There’s different levels of quality, from 100% silk to cotton ones, so shop around! Also, kimonos for guys who want to lounge around in comfort.

BBC article about saving the kimono!

A costume or outfit for people who love to dress up, or are into cosplay.

This store in Tokyo is 6 floors full of all of these kinds of things. Costumes, accessories, and cosplay. It’s all here. Buy a crazy costume and walk around Harajuku in it. It’s the thing to do.

Ninja Headbands for that cheesy gift.

Guys and kids love them. And it’s probably one of the cheapest things to buy Japan. Throw in a toy ninja star while you’re at it.

Check out this cute kid’s guide to making a ninja mask with a t-shirt.

Japanese Hair Combs (Kushi Combs)

What to buy in Japan | Kushi Hair Comb
Kushi hair comb if you’re wondering what to buy for a lady friend.

Pretty combs. Simple, cheap and something you can use to add a touch of Japanese elegance to your day. WIDE range of prices, so shop around.

These combs can be used in traditional Japanese hairstyles, if you want to look authentic. There are even monthly and seasonal hairstyle changes according to this Wikipedia article on Kanzashi, or hair ornaments.

Cliche but who cares: Sake set.

Sake, or rice wine, is awesome in Japan. Not like that cheap kind you can get back in the States at an unlimited sushi restaurant (don’t ever go there.) Sake sets are really nice, so if you know someone who loves sake, this would be the perfect gift from Japan.

Chopstick set for that person that needs to slow down when they eat.

Father, uncle, or even brother. We all have that one person who eats too fast. Problem solved! Definitely a cheap thing to buy as well.

Sushi keychains

Seriously, Google it. Cutest thing ever.

Want to see where the freshest fish in Tokyo is, check out our post on Tsukiji Fish Market.

Pokemon anything.

This is the country that invented the pocket monsters way back in the 1996. It doesn’t get more authentic. No lie, there is a Pokemon Center where you can buy everything Pokemon you ever wanted! Clothes, plush toys, games, this is what to buy for the Pokemon lover.

Buy at your own risk: Samurai Sword, Nunchucks, Ninja Stars..

We saw quite a few people looking at samurai swords. They look cool, but what are you actually going to do with them?

Food to buy in Japan as souvenirs

Matcha, or green tea powder flavored anything. Snacks, cakes, cookies, and more! You’ll know it’s matcha because the food will be bright green in color. I have always enjoyed buying food or snacks as souvenirs because it’s really fun and interesting to try snacks from another place. Even the same old things are exciting in different packaging!

DON’T BUY: Bonsai trees (actual plants OR SEEDS)

Customs officers don’t play around. When you beg, “They’re only just a Christmas gift for my grandpa!” The customs officers will just roll their eyes as they throw them in the trash. But hey, we got to keep the cup that the trees would’ve grown in. Thanks!

Where to go Souvenir Shopping in Tokyo

So now that you know what to buy in Japan, here is where to get the best deals. These 2 places are the only two you need to buy souvenirs in Tokyo for everyone.

Nakamise Dori (Address: Japan, 〒111-0032 Tokyo, 台東区Asakusa, 1−36−3)

This small street is located on the way to the incredible Senso-ji Temple. Be sure to haggle!

Where to buy souvenirs in Tokyo - Nakamise Dori
Nakamise Dori is the perfect place if you don’t know what to buy in Japan. They have everything in one place!

Oriental Bazaar ( Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, 渋谷区Jingumae, 5−9−13 喜多重ビル)

Awesome prices, tons of selection and variety. Located near Harajuku. This is the place we bought most of our gifts from.

Here’s their website.

Daiso ( Address: 1 Chome-19-24 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan)

Japan’s version of the dollar store. Snacks, food, housewares and souvenirs can all be found in this 3 floor shop. The ultimate place to look for cheap things to buy.

Gee! Store (Address: 東京都千代田区外神田3-15-5)

Six floors of costumes and accessories. Great for people who want a costume or are into cosplay or anime. Here’s their website with all of the information.

Pokemon Center Store

Located in Sunshine City Alpa (Address:Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−1−2, サンシャインシティ)

Thanks for reading our guide on what to buy in Japan. If you are looking for ideas of what to see on your trip to Tokyo, check out our 4 day guide, Things to do in Tokyo.


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