18 Things You Have to Buy in Japan

ViaHero · October 21, 2018

When in Japan, one thing you have to do is go on a shopping spree. But beware: you’ll buy more than you would ever expect. Here is a list of the 18 souvenirs that you’ll need to bring back home. And remember to contact us to help you build your travel—and shopping—plans today!

Want to explore Japan differently? Have a local plan your trip.

#1: Wagashi candies

Washagi candies are what to buy in Japan

These candies are so moist, you’re going to want to eat them as often as possible. Share them with everyone back at home—or keep them all for yourself. You know, up to you.

#2: Japanese Makeup and Hair Products

Japanese makeup or cosmetics are what to buy in Japan

The cosmetics industry in Japan is booming, and you’ll be able to find some of the best skin care and hair products in the world. Take to the streets and stores of Tokyo to find the best for you, and remember that you’ll find the best in some of Tokyo’s less popular locations.

#3: Sensu Folding Fans

Sensu folding fans are what to buy in Japan

Sensu—Japanese folding hand fans—are an ancient Japanese accessory, weapon, and art piece that has been around for hundreds of years. You can buy a modern Sensu of your own anywhere in Japan and are a must-own as a decoration or just a way to keep cool. Sure you can get them anywhere, but it’s just so much cooler (get it?) to buy one in Japan!

#4: Japanese knives

knives are what to buy in Japan

Foodies who decend on Japan know that the country is home to some of the best cookware in the world, especially knives. Though they’re kinda very pricey, every chef (professional or amateur) should have a Japanese blade in their knife block. Talk to one of our local Japanese trip planners about the best places to find affordable knives.

Pro tip: If you're feeling adventurous, you can even make your own knife at a traditional Japanese blacksmithing class!

#5: Kendama toys

Kendama toys are what to buy in Japan

If you’re looking for some games and toys to bring home, look for a kendama, a traditional Japanese toy that has been around for ages. A kendama (Japanese for “sword and ball”) is similar to a yo-yo but is also much more challenging and fun, so picking one up and trying it is a must during your trip to Japan.

#6: Unique Japanese Instruments

Japanese instruments is what to buy in Japan

Any music lover visiting Japan should buy one of the many unique instruments only found here. From the biwa to the koto and beyond, Japanese musical instruments provide beautiful and unique sounds that you can’t find anywhere else. Talk to you Hero about the best places to find an instrument of your own

#7: Name Stamps (for a perfect Japanese signature!)

name stamps are what to buy in Japan

Talk about taking home something unique from Japan! Japanese name stamps might be the most traditional items you can find, as these stamps have been used for centuries as personal signatures. Get one of your own!

#8: Sake

Sake is what to buy in Japan

Sake is a quintessential part of the Japanese travel experience. Buying a bottle—whether a fancier one in a sake brewery or just at the airport on your way home—is something you’re going to want to do. Pro tip:  If you’re looking for the best in Japan, check out Kyoto’s Fushimi Castle for authentic, classic sake.

#9: Randoseru Bags (they’re not just for kids)

Randoseru bags are what to buy in Japan

These backpacks might look ordinary, but in reality, they a must-have accessory. The bags are so practical and cute that nowadays everyone wants one. Buying one now allows you to make a (fairly cheap) fashion statement in Japan and beyond. Not just that, but they’re pretty affordable as well!

#10: Green Tea

green tea matcha is what to buy in Japan

Green Tea is an incredibly popular drink in Japan, and you’ll grow to love it for sure. Whether it is matcha or any other kind of tea, you are going to want to bring some home with you. And don’t forget to ask your Hero about the best places to find green tea across Japan.

#11: Toe Socks

toe socks are what to buy in Japan

For a light and fun (yet fashionable) purchase, grab a pair of toe socks. They’re absolutely adorable, and a great way to stay warm in the winter!

#12: Anime, Manga, and Beyond

anime and manga toys are what to buy in Japan

Geeks of the world descend on Japan every year, so you might want to look into the culture that has become so popular across the world. Anime and manga are super findable, and you can spot action figures and toys all over the place.

#13: Kimonos

Kimonos are what to buy in Japan

The kimono is probably the best known Japanese garb, and there’s a reason for that. The outfit is most available and visible Tokyo, and you can buy one almost anywhere.

#14: Omamori (for good luck!)

omamori is what to buy in japan

If you’re in the mood for a more traditional and religiously associated gift to give someone, search shrines for an omamori, Japanese charms used for prayer and more. If checking out a shrine is already your Japan itinerary, grab an omamori as a gift for your friends back at home.

#15: Vending Machine Toys

vending machine toys in Japan

A vending machine doesn’t seem exciting, but Japanese vending machines aren’t like anything you’d find in America. Toys, games, unique foods and more occupy the machines, giving affordable and exciting prizes to all. Plus you can rest assured that no matter wherever or whenever you go to Japan, you’ll find something unique.

#16: Chopsticks

chopsticks are what to buy in Japan

Buying chopsticks might seem a bit cliche, but they’re more than worth it. The artistic beauty of the utensils alone is enough to justify the price, and no matter where you go in Japan you’ll be able to find some chopsticks unique to that region. Collect them all around the country!

#17: Tea Sets

Ceramic tea sets are what to buy in Japan

Only a full tea set provides the proper brew of Japanese tea. It might not seem like the most useful purchase, but you’ll fall so in love with tea while in Japan that you’re gonna want to keep making the best tea you can on your own.

18: #KitKat Bars (in literally hundreds of flavors!)

kit kats are what to buy in Japan

For some reason, the KitKat bar is one of the most popular candies in Japan. Stores carry hundreds of different flavors of the brand on their shelves year-round, so if you want one last sweet to take back home on the plane with you, find your favorite flavor of KitKat—oddly, they’re one of the best foods to bring back from Japan.

Any more questions? Talk to one of our Japanese travel experts about how we can help make your trip perfect, and message us with any questions you may have. Plus, check out: