Tokyo is a dream destination for many. It is a vast, populated and busy city with many places to go and things to do. With its size and number of places to visit, you may feel overwhelmed about where to do your souvenir shopping and what to buy. While there are some gifts exclusive to Tokyo (especially in Tokyo Station or Haneda Airport), there are still plenty of gifts unique to Japan that are readily available in its capital city. Here are the 40 best gifts to bring back from Japan’s capital.
An interesting twist that you can add to someone’s skincare routine! These masks have all of the nourishing elements in them that any other sheet mask would but are a little bit special! They have two kabuki makeup designs on them, allowing you to add comedy to your gift.
Isshin-do (Japanese only)
No doubt many people who travel to or have an interest in Japan enjoy manga. For those friends or family members of yours who don’t read Japanese but love Japanese comics, you can find plenty of English language books in Kinokuniya including manga. The fact that it came from Tokyo instead of your local bookstore should leave an impression.
If, however, you have a friend that knows Japanese but could not make the trip, you’ll find manga easily available in several bookstores and smaller shops.
Stickers may seem like quite a dull gift at first, but wait until you feast your eyes on the sticker supplies of hundred yen shops or large variety stores like Loft and Tokyu Hands with their massive amounts of cute stationary. Stickers in Japan come in many forms – different shapes, colors, characters, sizes and seasonal stickers all abound. If you have a child in your life or even an adult who still enjoys this kind of thing, don’t miss out on buying these.
Rilakkuma is an iconic character. He and his friends take up half of the fourth floor of Harajuku’s Kiddyland. There, you can buy Rilakkuma goods of all sorts. Plushies, stationary, pass cases, phone straps and the list goes on! There are even some seasonal or special edition lines of goods that you can get your hands on during your stay.
There is practically an endless list of what you can purchase for your family and friends at Skytree. The landmark actually has its own shopping area, Soramachi, as well as a gift shop where you can purchase plenty of gifts related to this tower. There are Tokyo Skytree shaped chopsticks, themed forks and spoons, T-shirts, tote bags, chocolates and many other souvenirs!
Asakusa is quite a popular tourist destination, making it quite easy to find plenty of shops for Japanese gifts on the famed Nakamise-dori. However, Asakusa is also famous for the Sensoji Temple with its large gates – including the front gate called Kaminari mon. The lantern in this gate is a famous symbol of Asakusa and thus its image is shown on plenty of merchandise including tote-bags, socks and more!
Also in Asakusa, as mentioned above, is its large shopping street. Nakamise-dori is covered in shops that specialize in souvenir selling (as this area is frequented by tourists). Among some of the less authentic gifts, though, you can find a few gems. There are shopowners who handmake plenty of traditional Japanese crafts. For example, you can buy wooden umbrellas and combs there for anyone interested in the traditional side of things!
Meiji Jingu is one of the most famous shrines in Tokyo. Located very close to Yoyogi Park, many visitors, residents and locals come to the shrine for some peace and quiet, to pray or even to attend events. Most shrines that receive visitors have a place to buy omamori (or protective charms). As Meiji Jingu is quite a big shrine, there are several options for what omamori you can choose from. There are charms for health, passing exams, safety and all kind of situations you might like to have good luck for!
Most people abroad may have heard of Japanese erasers that look quite a bit like food, but perhaps the colorful magnets at Tokyu Hands are not as admired overseas. While the giant store still has plenty of those famous erasers to choose from, there are also a variety of magnets. In Shinjuku’s Tokyu Hands, there is an entire floor dedicated to stationary and related items. There are, of course, ordinary magnets, but also plenty of colorful ones in the shape of food or animals too!
Tokyo Tower now often seems to be overshadowed by Tokyo Skytree. However, this is still a much-loved and much-visited spot. It may not have a “Soramachi” of its own, but it does have quite a lot of gifts and things to see. You can get character goods of the tower’s mascots, as well as plenty of items shaped like the tower – including plenty of models and even water bottles as pictured above.
Tamago means “egg” in Japanese, but not to worry. You would not be carting eggs back from Japan after your trip. These are sweets are a white chocolate covered cake filled with black sesame (kuro goma) bean paste and they are delicious. This would be a good gift to buy for those unfamiliar with traditional sweets, as they may be surprisingly delicious to many palettes.
TV Asahi in Roppongi and Fuji Television in Odaiba are two television station buildings that are somewhat public. Outside you can take pictures and inside there are displays and merchandise from currently running shows that you can purchase! The Fuji TV building, in particular, is quite interesting to look at, even if you don’t venture inside.
For many people in Japan, LINE is a necessity! It is an app that lets you message friends and make free calls and video calls. There are also “stickers” (or large emoji) that you can send. Some of these stickers have LINE’s original characters including lovable bear Brown, adorable rabbit Cony and many others. These beloved characters now have their own store in Harajuku where you can pick up plenty of merchandise!
If you’re in the Shinjuku area during your stay and want to pick up anything washi – be it paper, tape or anything else – definitely make a stop at Bingoya! They have a five-floor store full of traditional Japanese crafts. In addition to the paper goods, they also have a lovely collection of pottery, fabric, and traditional art!
This is a paradise for anyone who loves shopping. The Shibuya store has six floors, each housing their own genre of items. The 2nd floor is full of beauty products and is wonderfully extensive. Still, their crowning glory is probably the endless amounts of colorful stationary in the basement. Anything you could possibly imagine having to do with writing and planning can be found down there. You could spend hours in the basement alone though it is worth it to pop up to the first floor to check out the other gifts designated to that area.
Loft (Japanese only)
Another Shibuya option is its iconic fashion mecca, Shibuya 109. This place is quite popular with the younger crowd – particularly those who are interested in unique fashion. There are numerous shops, each dedicated to a particular brand or style of Japanese fashion. Any fashionistas in your life would appreciate something from this place. There is also a 109 Men’s somewhat closeby in the same area.
Outside of many restaurants throughout the country are large displays of extremely realistic plastic food. It is quite helpful in deciding whether or not you would like to eat somewhere! The re-creation of this plastic food has taken on many forms as souvenirs – in keychains, phone straps or magnets, for example. You can find these amusing gifts all over the city!
Yes, you read that correctly! Designer chocolate. Not only does Bulgari sell tasty confections in Ginza, but Gucci has its own cafe there as well. Ginza is known as a somewhat ritzy shopping area, so these high-fashion names appearing there won’t come as a surprise even though the chocolate might!
The uchiwa, along with the sensu (folding fan) are probably two iconic pieces of Japanese culture. While the sensu is more known to non-Japanese as being used in the arts, the uchiwa might be less well known. There are uchiwas of all sorts – uchiwas with idol groups’ images sold at concerts, uchiwas given for free on the street to promote something or other to passersby. These uchiwas might be of more interest to those seeking something a little more historically important. Ukiyo-e is a type of traditional art that was popular from the 17th to 19th centuries, but still remains visible to this day. If you happen to make your way to Ibasen, you can find plenty of these treasures to choose from.
Ibasen (Japanese only)
If the name isn’t enough of a hint, let it be known that this shop is full of interesting knickknacks. There are Mount Fuji-themed cups and paper products, light-up kokeshi dolls, Doraemon goods, stationary and so much more! Being located in Nishi-Nippori, this shop might be a little out of the way for the average Shibuya-Shinjuku-Harajuku sight-seer but it is definitely worth a look!
Kit Kats are delicious and in Japan they are everywhere. The country has plenty of special flavors to offer including red bean, green tea, and sakura. There are also flavors limited to certain areas! Tokyo’s special flavor is rum raisin. Give these a try if you or anyone you know has a sweet tooth.
This sounds like a no-brainer when visiting an Asian country. Of course you will come across chopsticks of all sorts everywhere you go. But, what’s great about Tokyo’s shops is the variety you will find. You will see much more than average wooden chopsticks. There are many types that you will come across from colorful, patterned sets in 100 yen shops like Daiso, to beautiful, lacquered chopsticks from elegant shops like Ginza Natsuno. Whatever you are looking for, you will definitely find chopsticks to your taste in Tokyo.
There are other countries that have Muji stores. Most will know it is a duty-free shop offering household items and furniture. However, it also has its own brand of snacks and teas. You can buy anything from dried fruit to marshmallows. Or if you’re looking for something more Japanese, you could always pick up some dried squid!
Another item that is all over the world may not seem like something you want to pick up, but Japan seems to have an abundance of smartphone cases! While the trend before smartphones was putting a phone strap on your flip phone (and these little charms do still exist), now it seems everyone wants to express themselves with cases. The previously mentioned Shibuya Loft has an entire section on their 1st floor dedicated to phone cases. Not to mention other places, including the Disney store have some options unique to Japan!
There are many places to buy incense if you really look for it, but one particular brand that is special because of its history would be Kyukyodo. Around 3 and a half centuries old, Kyukyodo was prominent in the Edo period for providing the Imperial Family with their incense. Their store in Ginza is likely to provide you with some standard as well as unique choices for what to bring home. There are also shops in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Soramachi.
Kyukyodo (Japanese only)
You will likely find all sorts of origami paper all over the place. Many simply colored packs of it are used by children at school. However, if you’re looking for more interesting paper, the aptly named Souvenir From Tokyo might just have what you’re looking for! Their selection offers a whole assortment of patterns. They also have plenty of other gifts for you to browse once you’ve stocked up on paper!
These glasses are a beautiful gift to buy for your family, friends or even for yourself as a memento. Their jewel-like appearance makes them an excellent souvenir choice. They come in many styles, cuts, colors and even shapes. You can go the classy route by picking up some detailed, colorful glasses to be used for your expensive alcohol, or you might choose to grab some novelty Mount Fuji glasses. Either way, the person receiving the kiriko glass will appreciate it!
An ideal gift to enjoy that comes in many varieties. The regular variety is the cake-like outside shaped like a hiyoko (chick) with a “yolk” made of bean paste in the middle. You can buy different flavors or even different varieties like gelatin or pudding desserts shaped like the hiyoko!
Tokyo Hiyoko ( Japanese only)
Hello Kitty is one of Japan’s many adorable characters and her image is nearly everywhere! She and the other Sanrio characters can be found in several places, including their own theme park in Tama City, Tokyo! If the Sanrio Puroland atmosphere is a bit too much for you, you can always pick up some character goods in Shinjuku Takashimaya’s Sanrio shop or various other Sanrio shop locations throughout the city.
Not the type of brulee dessert you might be imagining, though still tasty! Tokyo Sakusaku Brulee can be found in Tokyo Station. It’s a crunchy twist on the creamy dessert. Made with whipped white chocolate, they look quite a bit like muffins, and have nuts and cornflakes mixed in them for that nice crunch!
Tokyo Sakusaku Brulee (Japanese only)
Located inside Shinagawa station in Ecute Shinagawa, D-bros sells very unique products! Their parent company is one with a background in graphic design, thus giving their beautiful glassware, stationary, vases and all other products that extra boost of quality. Stop by their shop for a different take on every day items!
D-BROS website (Japanese only)
It may be a bit excessive to some to spend a little over 4000 yen on a glass, but if you are really looking to commemorate your Tokyo visit, this is a great idea. Each of the beer glasses, shaped like mount Fuji, are handmade. The glasses were designed after Mount Fuji was named a World Heritage site in 2013. And, if you do buy one, the glass will be packaged in a gorgeous wooden box.
H-Tokyo has a great line of handkerchiefs and pocket squares! They are actually a shop specializing in men’s handkerchiefs, as their website calls them. There is an electic and beautiful array of designs too! All are made in Japan, too, which makes them an excellent choice for a souvenir for a man in your life who needs something a little fancy.
H-Tokyo (Japanese only)
Tokyo Mise is a gorgeous shop and cafe located in Nihonbashi. The shop, which is open from 10 am until 9 pm, offers traditional Japanese sweets with an interesting history. The flagship store in Kyoto was founded in 1803 by Tsuruya Ihei, whose knowledge and techniques continue to be passed down in the Tsuruya business. The sweets are beautifully made and change often depending on the season, so you can buy a treat that is unique to your travels!
Looking for something retro and otaku? Chances are, Gaotchi in Nakano Broadway has it! There is a vast collection of toys, figurines and memorabilia from the anime of your childhood. With a wide variety of character goods to choose from, you won’t want to leave!
Gaotchi on Nakano Broadway’s Website (Japanese only)
Tokyo’s Tokyo is something of a variety store with an array of products that perfect souvenir choices. They have figurines, bags, stationary, clothing and so much more. They have a location in Haneda Airport, which is great for travelers who want to do a bit of last minute shopping! For a whole guide to Haneda’s goods you can also look here.
Shimokitazawa is mostly known for being a hip, lively shopping area. Now, to add to their reputation, B&B has opened and it is not a bed and breakfast. After you’ve relaxed with a beer and a book (what the B and B really stand for!) you can go to the second floor and browse their bookstore. You’ll be sure to find something cool to bring back as a souvenir!
B&B (Japanese only)
Here is a fashionable take on a traditional Japanese item. By Kamawanu, located in Ebisu, specialize in tengui (or hand towels). Not only do they have an amazing selection of tenugui to choose from, but they have also launched a scarf collection! You can choose both traditional and more modern souvenirs to bring back and spruce up a friend’s wardrobe or accessory collection.
Kappabashi is a street in Tokyo known for its series of shops that offer kitchen supplies. You can find several Japanese-style bowls, a store for kitchen knives and you can also find plenty of fake food themed items! The giant chef on the corner marks the entrance to the street.
If you have any makeup lovers or beauty gurus in your life, Tokyo will have plenty of places for you to give them a treat! Drugstores in Japan carry a wide variety of makeup brands running from high mid-range to extremely affordable brands. Even the cheaper items are great quality! Matsumotokiyoshi is a great destination to do a makeup run, but many other drugstore chains are equally equipped!
A visit to Tokyo is certain to be a busy, exciting and even tiring experience at times. Hopefully with these tips of what to buy and where to go, your trip will be made easier and your memories of Tokyo will be well-preserved!