Souvenir shopping can be a pain. Everyone wants something from your exotic trip abroad. Worse still, if you live in Japan, people at home always want you to send cool stuff back.
The goals are: light for shipping, not readily available abroad, and of course, the WOW factor.
Origami paper can be expensive abroad, and limited in design. Also, they can be of quite low quality compared to the selection in Japan. Let’s face it, Daiso beats the socks off Dollarama any day in terms of quality.
With origami instructions readily available online, your friends, especially friends with children, will thank you for providing hours of fun that doesn’t involve batteries, a screen, or loud noises.
You can pick up great paper up from 100 Yen shops, such as Daiso or Seria, Amazon Japan, or any stationery store you come across.
Sure, you can buy pens anywhere, but calligraphy pens? They are simply exotic, and all around cool.
Practicing Japanese characters may be beyond the ability of many, but this won’t stop your friends from enjoying writing letters, drawing, or playing paint by number with these beauties. They run from 100 Yen to around 1000 Yen, come in a variety of brush widths and colors, and, depending upon the brand, and are disposable or have screw in refills to keep your writing game strong. Be sure to grab a couple refills, lest you find yourself halfway through a masterpiece and have to fly back for more ink.
Typically found at souvenir shops, these towels are thin and versatile. The length may be a bit odd for foreigners – 3.5 cm by 9.5 cm, but they are a great and useful gift to bring back home. Need a towel to dry your hands? Tenugui. Need a quick wrap for something? Tenugui. Need something Japanese to give that friend who has everything? You guessed it, Tenugui. They come in a variety of patterns from traditional Japanese designs to Hello Kitty. Your friends will thank you.
Sure, you can find chopsticks a dime a dozen at any Asian food shop abroad. But they are usually the standard wooden kind, or come with a few simple sticker designs pasted on. Your friends and family will be amazed at these chopsticks with wonderful designs, dishwasher safe plastic options, and ones that are only available in Japan. No one needs to know they came from the 100 Yen shop.
Most people roll their eyes at getting a keychain for a gift, but Japanese keychains are unique and coveted. You can find them anywhere, from little souvenir shops or 100 Yen shops to major department stores. Kimono girls, characters, Japanese foods, you can find them all. Who doesn’t want a cool sushi keychain from the Orient to impress friends who have never left town? Throw a few in your bag for that person you forgot on your shopping list.