5 Traditional Japanese Souvenirs that Leave a Long-Lasting Impression

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  • When you visit Japan, you will come across the uniqueness and genuineness of its proud culture. Below are a few goods that give you a feel of Japan in its appearance itself. These are among the best souvenirs that you can have or gift.

    1. Furin, Japanese wind chimes

    If you visit Japan in summer you will never miss the musical sound of wind. Japanese wind chimes are called furin. As with many other customs of Japan, these also originate in China and later reached Japan through Buddhism. In earlier periods it was made of bronze and only royal people were able to afford it. Nowadays it is made of different materials like glass, porcelain and metals. A clapper suspended within the bell is usually attached with a strip of paper called tanzaku , where a small haiku or wish will be written. So when air moves, the paper swings, and the furin rings. Japanese believe that people who are within earshot of the bell’s chime are protected from evil spirits. You can buy this from shops near to any shrines or temples.

    2. Kokeshi, wooden dolls

    These are authentic handmade wooden dolls with round face and a cylindrical elongated body without legs. These have the traditional Japanese look as they are always wearing colorful kimono. Keeping kokeshi dolls at home comes from a belief that they will prevent fire accidents. They are available in almost all tourist places and Northern Japan is known for its production. In some places they are given as a souvenir to the onsen visitors.

    3. Chochin Japanese lantern


    Definitely you have seen this once you go out for a walk in the night through Japanese streets. These are traditional cylindrical or globe shaped lanterns made of spirally arranged bamboo strings and covered with traditional paper called washi. These are used for illumination in olden times, but nowadays used mainly for decorative purposes during the time of festivals and hung in front of restaurants.

    4. Sensu Folding fans

    If you have seen a woman in kimono attire, then you would have been attracted to the folding fan she holds. These are made of collapsible bamboo ribs and washi paper pleated into an arc shape. The durability of the original one is high and it depends on the number of bamboo ribs. The more number of ribs the better the quality. Pleated paper can be replaced with fabric also. It is decorated with pictures, paintings and colors. The high-quality Japanese folding fan will never lose its shape even after folding and closing it for times. The other types of non-foldable and non-bendable fans are called uchiwa, in which round paper is attached to the bamboo frame.

    5. Wagasa, traditional umbrella


    Wagasa are Japanese traditional umbrellas made of bamboo and washi paper. It is also introduced from China, but became more popular in Japan. The beauty of wagasa lies in the number of ribs say up to 70. It is an eco-friendly umbrella and the paper alone can be replaced when it is torn. Washi paper is greased for waterproofing and glued to the bamboo ribs. It needs utmost care and if given, lasts up to 20 years.

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