Okayama is prominent on the travel radar of Japanese natives and foreigners alike for many reasons: it is blessed with abundant sunshine, thus making it a great environment for the growing of fruits; it is home to Japan’s best-loved folk tale character, Momotaro; and it is the birthplace of both the washi masking tape and blue denim jeans! As a prefecture stepped in natural beauty, history, and industrial innovation, Okayama offers visitors a wide range of value-for-money and unique souvenirs. Here are 7 souvenirs you ought not to miss:
Okayama is not known for being “the Land of Sunshine” for nothing, as its sunny days add up to about 270 to 280 days every year! Thus, big, juicy grapes thrive very well here. The green muscat grapes tantalize your taste buds with their mellow taste while the purple pione grapes have a rich sweetness that will bowl you over. Best thing of all? They are seedless, so you can just concentrate on savoring the taste!
As Momotaro (Peach Boy) hails from Okayama, it is perhaps not surprising that Okayama produces sublimely delicious white peaches known as Okayama Hakuto. Capturing your attention with their porcelain-white flesh and boasting a succulent flavor, these peaches are as much as a feast for the palate as they are for the eyes. Indeed, eating them will really make your day!
If you are the kind who likes your sake to be more fruity, why not get yourself a bottle of Momo sake (peach-flavored sake)? The ideal accompaniment to your meals, one bottle of Momo sake will help bring the flavors of your food to greater heights!
Fashionistas will feel right at home at Kojima Jeans Street where they can get their hands on tastefully crafted blue denim jeans. Many stores here still persist in using natural indigo dye and traditional shuttle looms to produce their denim fabric, thus ensuring that the jeans that they produce are of the highest quality. Flaunt your fashion sense with these great jeans!
Okayama has gifted the world an awesome invention: washi (Japanese paper) masking paper. Easy to stick on and easily removed, washi masking paper is a budding artisan’s must-have item when it comes to wrapping, decorating, and making cards and scrapbooks. Why don’t you visit Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter and select cute and chic tapes that you can use for making a scrapbook to remember your Japan travels by?
Characterized by its simple design and reddish-brown color, Bizen pottery has a considerable 1,000 years of tradition behind it. Even until today, Bizen pottery craftsmen leverage their expertise of wood-burning kiln firing and make their ware without any glaze or pigment. Make your way to the Imbe area to buy Bizen ceramics that will enrich your home surroundings with a rustic feel.
Of course, no souvenir list would be complete without Momotaro. He was not only a humble hero who readily accepted the offers of help from his animal friends but he also bravely took on the ogres at Onigashima and beat them into surrendering. Thus, buying Momotaro-related figurines and the like for your family and friends back home will make for an inspiring gift as they learn about the great qualities of this hero!
All in all, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying souvenirs in Okayama. From delicious fruits and sake to exquisitely crafted products that showcase traditional artisanal techniques, these souvenirs enable you to gain a better appreciation of Okayama’s rich resources. So visit Okayama and enjoy shopping while basking in its warm sunshine!