Many people who visit Japan tend to head to the capital city of Tokyo as their first destination. While Tokyo is undoubtedly a fantastic place to visit with its impressive Tokyo Skytree, many shrines and temples, exciting events, shopping areas, and low crime rate, there are also many other great cities to visit in Japan.
Osaka is the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama. It is famous for its people’s sense of humour and friendliness, delicious and nationally loved street food, and various sightseeing spots such as Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, and Dotonbori shopping street. Almost nine and a half million tourists visited Osaka in 2016 alone, no doubt to experience the friendly vibes, charming shopping streets brimming with shops and bars, and the famous areas of Umeda and Kanda.
If you decide to visit Osaka, you may be looking for great souvenirs to take home to your friends and family. If you are stuck for ideas, here are 37 great ideas as gifts and souvenirs which you can take back from your trip to Osaka!
— OsakaBob_Official (@Bob_OGTB) May 29, 2016
To anyone living in Japan, Jagarico is a common snack. You may have already come across these potato chip-like sticks with satisfying crunch and varying flavors, which are abound in supermarkets and convenience stores and available in a variety of delicious flavors. In Osaka, you can buy a special, rare flavor: takoyaki! Osaka is known for its tasty takoyaki, which is batr cooked and rolled with octopus inside, so of course they would put their own spin on this snack! If you are a fan of takoyaki, pick up a few boxes of this octopus-ball flavored Jagarico.
— bckalleydlvry (@bckalleydlvry) April 1, 2015
The fun doesn’t stop at food for takoyaki fans. Takoyaki is such a famous street food in Osaka that it also comes in many forms of souvenir that are not only popular among foreign visitors, but domestic tourists from other parts of Japan. The keychains and phone straps may be among the most common of takoyaki-themed merchandise that you can see all over Osaka. They have both realistic and cute, artistic designs too. These make great stocking fillers at Christmas and are not too heavy or big to carry, so grab several of them as small gifts for loved ones back home.
These sweets are a must for any Harry Potter fan you know who is unable to go to Universal Studios and experience Harry Potter’s Wizarding World for themselves! You can buy these famous every-flavor beans, but beware that while some are very tasty, some really are as disgusting as the flavors sound! If you have a friend who would love to try these fun but risky delights, these might be a good option for them too. Or you could always trick your friends that can’t read Japanese!
Cute, bite-sized mille-feuilles can be bought at a shop in Osaka called CuBette, and these sweet pastries and small cakes are elegantly wrapped and very popular. If you know someone with a sweet tooth, these lovely little treats would be just perfect. Colorful displays of wrapped millefeuille come in a gift box. As well as being available to buy at CuBette, these bite-size treats are mostly available in the newly designated tourist spot “Abeno Harukasu”.
After visiting the beautiful and historic Osaka Castle, there will be a huge amount of choices for souvenirs on or near the castle grounds. They have everything from general, Japan-related goods to themed food souvenirs and, of course, souvenirs having to do with the castle itself. Perhaps you would like to buy a 3D puzzle or model of the castle? Maybe some cute keychains or phone straps with characters dressed in historical costumes? You can even get some snowglobes with the castle inside! A small gift like this would be perfect for someone interested in Japanese architecture and historic castles.
Kuidaore Taro is one of Osaka’s most loved mascots. He started off as a friendly feature of Cui-Daoré restaurant to make the establishment appeal more to families, and soon became a known and loved mascot. He gained more popularity when his usual red and white costume changed to black and white to mourn the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989. Even though Cui-Daoré sadly closed down in 2008, Kuidaore Taro can still be seen banging his drum and smiling at passersby.
Kuidaore Taro-themed gifts are just too cute! You can buy a Taro-themed pudding featuring his friendly face and signature pinstriped costume. You can add the caramel sauce and caramel pieces later on to flavor it, too. This gift is very easily transported, cute and tasty, and has a story behind it as well!
From an old Osaka sweet shop, these little cakes have traditional Japanese flavors. These include anko red bean, matcha green tea, and seasonal flavors such as chestnut glace or chocolate. For anyone who wants a taste of classic Japanese sweets, these are a great choice! “Fuku” also happens to mean luck. Any friend who needs a bit of good luck and also loves sweets would adore this gift.
An Osaka original, these snacks are crunchy clusters of all sorts. Depending on what their flavor is, the texture and color are a little bit different. Some of the many flavors they come in include strawberry milk, almond coffee, milk chocolate, and maple syrup. There are even some savory flavors such as curry! They come in adorable, colorful packaging and taste great! Take some of these unusual snacks home and compare the flavors with your friends.
pon pon Ja pon (Japanese only)
These treats come in all shapes and sizes. Crispy on the outside with some red bean paste in the middle, these are a fun souvenir to bring back from your Osaka trip. You can buy them in beautifully colored boxes that are wrapped in “furoshiki”, a cloth that is traditionally used to carry lunchboxes and other foods. This nice gift has a traditional touch!
If you are traveling through Kansai International Airport, you are bound to come across some of the special Osaka tumblers if you walk into Starbucks! There are special region-specific tumblers in several airports, but the Osaka design is really quite beautiful, featuring many of Osaka’s most well-loved sightseeing spots. Grab one for yourself for some nostalgia when you drink your coffee, or grab one as a last-minute gift before you fly home.
A popular Osaka souvenir is this tasty madeleine called Osaka Meika Ehmonchi. However, these come with a bit of a twist! The inside are large, sweet black beans to add a more “Japanese-style” flavor. Their name comes from “eemon” a Kansai term for something of value. Interesting!
Ehmonchi *Japanese only
“Kaki” is the Japanese word for persimmon and “tane” means “seed” or “pit”. From there, maybe you can guess what these snacks are modeled after! The taste might be surprising at first, but as they come from a kaki no tane specialty shop, you are sure to find a flavor you like! There are sweet flavors like strawberry chocolate and maple sugar as well as savory like wasabi and soy sauce! They come in beautiful boxes as well, making them a great gift for those who like to try unusual food.
Now that you’ve seen the kaki no tane, you might be happy to know there is a green tea chocolate version of these snacks that you can pick up, too! In addition to that, there are also plenty of green tea Kit Kats and the fancy version of Pocky, Baton d’Ore, from Glico in a green tea flavor. You’ll find no shortage of tasty matcha flavored snacks in Osaka. There are many people who simply adore green tea flavored treats, so keep them in mind when you’re shopping for souvenirs.
Explained simply, these are bean paste filled pancakes. Anyone who loves red or white bean paste and the sweets related to them will love these too.
This might not be the grandest souvenir to give, but it will definitely be delicious! As its name suggests, these potato chips, from the widely known snack company Calbee, have the flavor of fish broth (dashi) from the Kansai region and soy sauce (shoyu). They’re affordable, unique to Kansai and, of course, very tasty! Grab a bag for yourself to try and if you love them, grab a few more as small and delicious gifts.
Calbee Kansai Dashi Shoyu (Japanese only)
If you’re a baseball fan, or even if you simply prefer Osaka to every other city, you will probably want to get your hands on some Hanshin Tigers gear. There are official shops where you can buy hats, jerseys, and all kinds of memorabilia. Or, you can always pick up plenty of Tigers merchandise at the airport, too!
Although chocolate is common, you will find that this is a unique gift. Cagi de Reves is delicious chocolate in the shapes of keys and locks. The name of the shop is a combination of the Japanese word “kagi” meaning key, and the French “reves” meaning dreams. They do sell plenty of other chocolates, but the keys are the most charming and can be given as a romantic souvenir!
Cagi de Reves (Japanese only)
Another airport find are the lucky cat souvenirs, called “maneki neko” in Japanese meaning “inviting cat”. Normally you can see these guys in many shops, especially restaurants with one paw lifted. If it’s the right paw, the cat means to bring in money. If they’re lifting the left paw, it means they will bring you good luck. Pay attention to which paw is lifted when you grab one of these for a loved one at home!
Osaka Petit Banana is a fluffy, custard cream-filled cake with, as you may have guessed from the name, bananas in the filling. It is wrapped in small pieces to make it easier to distribute among your family and friends when you get back! They won’t be disappointed in the cake’s light texture and delicious, sweet flavor.
Osaka Petit Banana *Japanese only
Madame Shinco makes beautiful, colorful cakes with natural ingredients. There are so many delights to choose from that you may want to buy them all! From colorful roll cakes with patterns and interesting flavors to seasonal treats (like the elaborate and cute Christmas cakes!) you will certainly find something for you at this shop. Their ring-shaped baumkuchen cakes are probably their most popular items.
Madame Shinco (Japanese only)
These colorful treats come on their own or in many flavors to a box! They have strawberry, green tea, purple sweet potato, maple, brown sugar, and camembert cheese! They are a sweet gift to give to anyone who is willing to try several flavors! Their taste is a mix of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. Definitely worth a try!
Are you a fan of Ghibli? Or is someone waiting for you at home an avid watcher of Miyazaki Hayao’s films? If you find yourself around Umeda Station, you can go to Kiddyland Donguri Kyowakoku and pick up all sorts of Ghibli character goods!
Donguri Kyowakoku (same source)
新大阪のGIFT KIOSKなどお土産屋さんで買えるのでお試し下さい。 pic.twitter.com/X3sFHpHJN7
— SHIN@PATHFINDER札幌参戦 (@r_shin_yu1102) 2017年8月15日
Apparently, this crispy waffle cookie started as a joke. People native to Osaka are known to have quite a sense of humor, and the creators of this cookie took the idea of being funny (omoshiroi) and blended it with a snack (Hokkaido’s Shiroi Koibito langue de chat cookies). At first there was a bit of a scuffle over these, but their difference from the original in shape, size and taste must have kept them around!
Omoshiroi Koibito（Japanese only)
These sweet, colorful macarons come from a shop specializing in black tea. They have several different flavors and the colors to match, with some even having something of a pattern on them! They are an elegant and delicious choice for a souvenir.
Not only is this roll cake beautiful, it’s also special and delicious! Made by a reputable patissier, the cake is filled with delicious white cream. However, if you get the matcha version, there are many elements of traditional Japanese sweets rolled up into it! The cake itself is flavored like green tea while inside there is a filling made of cream and red bean paste.
Dojima Roll (Japanese only)
It wouldn’t be a trip to Japan without any senbei! These rice crackers originally come from a shop in Kyoto. There are several flavors to choose from and, of course, beautiful packaging to impress your recipients!
Fuji Goro Senbei Japanese only
If the Kansai dashi and shoyu chips weren’t fancy enough for your liking, then perhaps these chips might be! Made by the same company, Grand Calbee is a more upscale version of potato chips (if there is such a thing). They are thicker, have ridges and come in classy boxes! You can even buy these in sweet flavors like vanilla or peach, in addition to other flavors like tomato basil or cheese.
Grand Calbee (Japanese only)
Osaka’s beloved god of “things as they ought to be”, Billiken is all over the city. There are statues of him sitting with his big feet out, which you can rub for good luck! Although he was actually created by an American, he is quite popular in Osaka and was enshrined in many places. Now, you can see his image on plenty of souvenirs. From food to socks to stuffed Billikens!
Just as their name suggests, these are some special cube-shaped cream puffs! They even have cute designs on versions that are exclusive to Osaka including Osaka Castle. These unique and adorable desserts are available at Ana Festa in Kansai National Airport and have 4 types of filling – strawberry, chocolate, custard and matcha.
Here is a light and tasty custard pudding that melts in your mouth. A fairly new brand of pudding from Morozoff, these smooth, dome-shaped puddings are named after eggs (tamago) for their beautiful shape. You can buy a small portion or a large sized pudding too. And, for those travelling in the summer, you can try their lemon flavor which is available only in the hot season!
A combination between a cream puff and rusk, the Petit Etoile are small treats with a light texture and sweet taste! They also come in bright packaging to make for a lovely as well as tasty souvenir! These are also recommended as a great White Day gift.
— 旅するグルメなくうちゃん。 (@gogopicopico55) 2015年5月6日
This small, delicate mochi is made from high-quality Japanese rice. It also has a sweet and sour filling. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a light, Japanese treat!
This is a sugary, buttery rusk flavored with caramel and sprinkled with almods. Does anything more need to be said? Maybe its elegant black packaging that makes it a perfect souvenir will sway you to buy these!
Another egg-themed treat! This cheesecake is only available in Osaka. These are bite-sized cakes that are made from carefully selected ingredients. They even have an adorable character, Tama-chan, adorning their packaging!
This is an interesting candy made by a company that is famous for their tea. They are little, colorful sugar candies in cool, retro tins and they come in all sorts of flavors. Things like strawberry, chocolate, ginger, various types of tea (of course) and even wine and salt flavors are available for you to pick up!
Maybe not everyone thinks of butaman (steamed pork buns) as a souvenir, but these are so delicious you will want to take many back with you after a trip to Osaka. The shop sells a few types of dumplings as well like gyoza! They might be better for travelers who live within Japan, although they do have an online shop, which means they must be used to selling their food long-distance.
551 Horai (Japanese only)
If Madame Shinco’s amazing ring cakes weren’t enough to tempt you, maybe the interesting cream puffs available there will! Osaka clearly has a great selection! These are shaped like ice cream cones, and have a crispy outside flavored with Madame Shinco’s delicious maple syrup while the inside is wonderfully creamy!
Hopefully, you will enjoy your trip to the Kansai region and fill up on takoyaki, okonomiyaki, matcha and all sorts of other delicious food, as well as enjoying the amazing sights the area has to offer its visitors. These souvenirs and gifts should give you a better idea of what to pick up when your trip is near its end!