Souvenirs

Souvenir recommendations from all over Japan


Souvenirs from Hokkaido

■Marusei Butter Sandwich

The well-established Rokkatei’s butter sandwiches have raisins in them and the butter cream which uses fresh butter from Hokkaido, full of dairy farms, is rich and full of body. We recommend this product which has been popular since long ago. They last for 10 days. There is an English translation of the Japanese Rokkatei website which provides information about Rokkatei stores and retailers and Rokkatei facilities such as Rokka no Mori and Campana Rokkatei. There is an English translation of the official Japanese Royce website. It provides product information for Royce Potato Chip Chocolate, etc., duty-free shops that stock them and overseas retailers.

Rokkatei Obihiro Branch
Address: 9-chome 6 Nishi 2 Jominami, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido *Also available at many other outlets in Hokkaido including Obihiro airport, supermarkets and department stores.

■Royce Potato Chip Chocolate

These are potato chips covered in chocolate from Royce, the famous chocolate company. The saltiness of the potato chips and the sweetness of the chocolate form a perfect balance. There is even a store at New Chitose Airport which is convenient if you don’t have a lot of time. They last for one month. There is an English translation of the official Japanese Royce website. It provides product information for Royce Potato Chip Chocolate, etc., duty-free shops that stock them and overseas retailers.

New Chitose Airport Duty Free Store
Located in the international departures lounge. *There are other stores in duty free areas of other international terminals in Japan.

■Hokkaido Kaitaku Okaki (Rice crackers)

Premium Japanese snacks using Hokkaido salt and carefully selected sticky rice. These are deep fried so they are nice and crispy, there are many flavors and they contain only carefully selected ingredients from Hokkaido. One of the reasons for their popularity is that there is a number of flavors of ingredients mixed in with the okaki. These are made in the traditional fashion taking 7 days to carefully complete them. They last for 35 days.

Kitakaro
New Chitose Airport store 2nd floor of the airport terminal

Please pay attention to expiry dates on foodstuffs.


Souvenirs from Touhoku region

■Nanbu Tekki

Nanbu tekki are iron kettles that are still famous these days the world over but there are various types of kettle and other articles, too. This wind chime gives off a cool, refreshing sound typical of iron, creating an air of Japanese harmony. The official Japanese website of Morihisa Iron Studio, a studio that makes Nanbu Tekki, provides an English translation of some of its pages with information about Nanbu Tekki, its creation process and an introduction of the artists and their works.

There are other types in addition to the owl such as lanterns and dragonflies.

■Naruko Kokeshi Dolls

Naruko kokeshi dolls were created in ancient times as children’s toys in the onsen hot spring town of Naruko in Miyagi Prefecture. One of their features is the squeak that they make when their neck is twisted and a typical pattern is the side view of a chrysanthemum.

A popular souvenir is a small kokeshi doll for the Girl’s Festival.

The official Japanese website of Naruko Spa Tourist Association provides an English translation of some of its pages. These contain details of Naruko Kokeshi dolls and decorating workshops for traditional and modern dolls which are extremely popular among young women at the moment.

■Apple Kuchen

Aomori Prefecture is an apple producing area which produces half of the Japanese harvest. This is a new baumkuchen containing a whole Aomori apple. You can enjoy the crisp texture of the apple enveloped in baumkuchen.

Best before: 2 months
Available in souvenir shops in Aomori Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture antenna shops in Tokyo.


Souvenirs from Kantou region

■Daruma

Daruma, which are Japanese lucky charms, are quite large and round and difficult to carry home as souvenirs unless you buy the small size but this is a flat-pack version which is convenient for carrying home and the optimum format for a souvenir. There is an English translation of the Japanese Gunma Daruma Doll Manufacturer’s Cooperative Union website with explanations about Takasaki Daruma, their history and the process of making Daruma.

Available at Takasaki Station and Sakura, the Japanese souvenir shop in Terminal 1 at Narita Airport.

■Wooden Mosaic Work

A traditional craft representative of Japan is the wooden mosaic work of Hakone-machi. Making use of various types of wood and their colors and grains, this woodwork creates beautiful geometrical patterns. Recently, new products such as mouse pads and iPhone covers have been introduced to make it easier for us to incorporate this craft into our everyday lives. There are also unique items such as photo frames, sake cups and puzzle boxes which have mechanisms that need to be manipulated in order to open them. There are various wooden mosaic work stores but Hakone Maruyama, Inc. offers an English translation of its Japanese website with easy-to-understand explanations of wooden mosaic, how to open the boxes and information on the master craftsmen. The website also offers products for sale and shipping overseas. In addition, it also offers a service whereby users can download traditional Japanese wooden mosaic patterns free of charge to use as the wallpaper on their PCs.

■Kawagoe Potatoes

Kawagoe Potatoes are sold by Monzoan, a long-established Japanese confectionery store. They are called potatoes but they actually have Japanese-style sweet potatoes as the main ingredient and have a mellow refined flavour that conserves the delicious taste of the sweet potatoes. There is also a chocolate-flavoured version and you can enjoy the harmony of sweet potato and chocolate.

Kawagoe City is also called Little Edo (the old name for Tokyo) and you can enjoy a walk round the old town with its original kura storehouses.
Best before: 10 days


Souvenirs from Tokyo

■KitKat

This well-known snack is sold in over 70 countries. There is focus from other countries on KitKats in Japan because there are a number of different flavors. The most popular one among international visitors is matcha (green tea) flavor. They have long expiration dates so can be bought with peace of mind.

The first 2 KitKat stores in the world are located in Tokyo.
Daimaru Tokyo Branch
Address: Hoppe Town BF1 Daimaru Tokyo Branch, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Seibu Ikebukuro Branch
Address: BF1 Seibu Ikebukuro Honten, 1-28-1 Minami-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

■Sensu (Folding Fans)

This is a typical Japanese souvenir item. There are many different types of sensu but if you are looking for a premium sensu, we recommend Iseban no Sensu (sensu and uchiwa (flat fan) specialist), a traditional store established in 1590. Japanese-style designs in particular make good presents.

Iseban Nihonbashi Kobuna-cho Honten
Address: Iseban Bldg. 1F, 4-1 Kobuna-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo *Also available at Tokyo Station’s First Avenue TOKYO Me (Tokyo Metasu).

■Ohashi (Chopsticks)

These are also a typical Japanese souvenir item. Washoku, the traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2013 and chopsticks have become even more popular since then. If you are looking for your own chopsticks to keep for the rest of your life, we recommend Edokibashi which has been making chopsticks for around 100 years. Chopsticks come in many lengths, thicknesses and weights. Hold them in your own hands to choose the ones you want.

Daikokuya Honten
Address: 2-3-6 Higashi-mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

■Furoshiki (Wrapping cloths)

These are also a typical Japanese souvenir item. It goes without saying that we recommend Japanese patterns. The link below gives instructions in English on how to use furoshiki.
http://www.miyai-net.co.jp/furoshiki/english/furoshiki/
Use a furoshiki not only for wrapping objects but as a part of an elegant interior design.

Chikusen
Address: 2-3 Kobuna-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo This store stocks not only furoshiki but also tenugui (hand towels) and yukata (summer kimonos). *Also available at Tokyo Station’s First Avenue TOKYO Me (Tokyo Metasu).


Souvenirs from Koshin-etsu region

■Yawataya Isogoro Shichimi Togarashi

Yawataya Isogoro is a well-established chilli pepper shop outside the gates of Zenkoji Temple. The features of this Shichimi Togarashi (seven-flavoured chilli pepper) are the good balance of the spiciness of the chilli, the flavour of the ginger and the aroma of the perilla. Each year the company designs a new can as packaging for that year and an original silver can is available at Ginza NAGANO.

Available at major department stores throughout Japan.

■Kaki no tane

Niigata Prefecture is famous as a rice-producing region but it is also famous for rice crackers for which rice is the main ingredient. These kaki no tane (persimmon seeds) were named as they are crescent-shaped just like the seeds of persimmons and have been loved by consumers for over 90 years. They are slightly spicy, aromatic rice crackers. Naniwaya Seika is said to be the company that invented kaki no tane.

Best before: please check the package
Widely available in many souvenir shops and department stores within Niigata Prefecture.

■Kikyo Shingen Mochi

Mochi rice cakes coated with roasted soy bean flour are eaten topped with the brown sugar syrup that comes in the package. The aroma of the roasted soy bean flour coupled with the richness of the brown sugar syrup gives a traditional Japanese flavour. The packaging is tied like a furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloth) with a bamboo skewer, giving it a charming appearance. Kikyoya, which sells the Shingen Mochi, is a well-established, famous Japanese confectionary shop which also sells custard pudding and Swiss roll made from Shingen Mochi rice cakes.

Best before: 12 days after purchase
There are many company stores in Yamanashi Prefecture and they are also widely available at Tokyo and Ueno Stations and major department stores, etc.


A souvenir from Hokuriku region

■Chuzo

KAGO rose is a bowl that bends due to the soft nature of the tin it is made from. It is a Nosaku product. It is an innovative product in the shape of rose petals which can be pulled and stretched into any shape you like. It has many different uses such as fruit bowl, candy bowl or receptacle for jewellery. The Nosaku website offers an English translation of some of its Japanese pages. These contain information on products, presents and stores that stock them.

Available at CiC Iki Iki KAN in front of Toyama Station, the Palace Hotel in Tokyo and Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi, etc.

■Gold lacquer magnets

Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture is ‘gold-leaf town’ as its national share of gold leaf production is almost 100%. There are many different kinds of gold leaf products including cosmetics and edible gold leaf. These magnets are processed with sealed gold lacquer. By making this into an everyday object, we can easily have access to works of art.

Available at Kanazawa Hyakubangai.

■Habutae Mochi

Habutae Mochi rice cakes are a typical Fukui confection, a delicate and fine mochi. Matsuoka-ken is the pioneering Japanese confectionary shop that invented and named Habutae Mochi. It has a slightly sweet and refined flavour and is as smooth as silk, melting in the mouth.

Best before: 10 days after purchase
Available in the main branch beside Fukui Station and major department stores.


A souvenir from Tokai region

■Aoyagi Uiro

Uiro is a Japanese confectionary made of rice flour and sugar and is a speciality of Nagoya. Aoyagi’s uiro has been on sale for the past 130 years and are still popular even now. It has a soft, sticky texture and a refined sweet flavour. There are two sizes: half-size and bite-sized.

The official Aoyagi Uiro website provides an English translation of some of its Japanese pages with an explanation of Uiro, the history of the company and information about products.

Best before: 30 days
Also available at Nagoya Station, Chubu International Airport and SA, etc. in and around Aichi Prefecture.

■Unagi Pie

This Western confectionary, a Lake Hamana specialty sold by Shunkado, is made of pastry mixed with eel powder. Surprisingly, it also contains garlic but it is a delicious, light pie with a buttery flavour and tastes neither of eel nor of garlic. The official website of Shunkado, the company that makes Unagi Pie, provides an English translation of some of its Japanese pages. These contain an explanation of the company and Unagi Pie as well as the artisans who make Unagi Pie and information about Unagi Pie factory tours.

Best before: around 30 days (please confirm when you purchase them)
Shizuoka Station, souvenir shops within the prefecture

■Mino Washi

Mino washi paper has a tradition of 1300 years and is strong, white, soft, smooth and transparent is used for shoji sliding doors. It was also used as paper for the oldest family register that still exists in Japan. Hon-Mino washi, which is one of the hand-made papers which was registered as an intangible cultural property in 2014, is a high grade Japanese paper made under strict conditions.

In addition to writing paper, there are traditional craft items such as mizu uchiwa fans. The paper that is used to make these fans is so thin that you can see through it and they were called mizu uchiwa (water fans) long ago because people dipped them in water and used them to cool themselves. They are also beautiful, many of them having refreshing designs such as goldfish or sweetfish. There are also more casual and smaller round fans and folding fans.

The Tourist Guide to Mino City website, which provides information on Mino-Washi paper, offers an English translation of some of its Japanese pages. It contains information on Mino-Washi Museum where visitors can touch and come into contact with the paper and Mino-Washi Akari Art Gallery where lights made of Mino-Washi are on display. Mino-Washi Museum also offers a service whereby visitors can try out a traditional Japanese paper-making.


Sourvenirs from Osaka region

■Baton d’or (Ezaki Glico)

Baton d’or is a more sophisticated premium brand of the Pocky chocolate pretzels that are popular in Japan. They have a mellow buttery and rich chocolate flavour. It’s fun to choose from the many different flavours.

Best before: please check the package
Available at the Umeda branch of Hankyu department store and the Osaka branch of Takashimaya department store.

■Jiyuken

This is Osaka’s famous Jiyuken curry in a retort pouch. Jiyuken is the oldest Western-style restaurant in Osaka and the famous curry is a mix of rice and curry topped with an egg, a rare preparation method even in Japan. This restaurant has been popular, with queues of customers outside, since its establishment. This curry in a retort pouch format can be eaten at home and is popular as a souvenir.

Best before: 1 year
Available in department stores and supermarkets, etc. in Osaka.

■Kuidaore Taro no Sauce Senbei

Kuidaore Taro no Sauce Senbei are rice crackers typical of the Dotonbori area of Osaka and are famous all over Japan. They have a mascot called Kuidaore Taro. The cute packaging is decorated with the mascot and includes squid-flavoured rice crackers, a sachet of sauce and a mini brush. You can enjoy the taste of Osaka okonomiyaki savoury pancakes by brushing the sauce on to the rice crackers.
Best before: please check the package
Shin-Osaka Station, Osaka Station, Kansai International Airport, souvenir shops, etc.


Souvenirs from Kyoto region

■Nippon Origami (Origami of Japan)

This is a 48-sheet set of origami of the 47 prefectures of Japan plus Mt. Fuji, sold by Suzuki Shofudo which deals in paper products from well-established stores in Kyoto. You can learn about Japan with the origami paper with the features of each prefecture of Japan as designs. It can be used for other purposes such as writing paper as well as for origami.

This site gives instructions in English on how to do origami.
origami club

■Uji Sencha (Green Tea)

These are teabags from Tsujiri, a shop of long standing in Kyoto which was at the center of the tea culture of Japan. You can easily brew green tea with an authentic taste. You can also easily enjoy matcha green tea lattes by adding hot water to matcha mixed with milk.

This site gives instructions in English on how to brew green tea.
How to Prepare Japanese Green Tea in 11 Languages

■Yojiya

This is oil-absorbent paper which is used to absorb excess oil from facial skin from the famous and popular store, Yojiya. It is made from Japanese paper that has been used since time immemorial in Japan and is gentle on the skin. The face of the traditional lady reflected in the hand-mirror drawn on the package is typically Japanese. Other items such as small hand-mirrors are also popular.

There are also branches in Kyoto and Osaka stations as well as Kansai International, Haneda and Narita airports. The airport stores are all duty-free.
The Yojiya website offers an English translation of some of its Japanese pages which provide information on the history of Yojiya and on Aburatori-gami facial oil blotting paper and other products.


Souvenirs in Kansai region

■Japanese candles

Japanese candles are a traditional Shiga Prefecture craft. They give off very little smoke and have a stable flame so they last for a long time. They are made individually and carefully by hand by skilled craftsmen. This rice candle is a Japanese candle that is also environmentally-friendly as it is made of 100% rice bran with no artificial aromas or colourings. These candles have been awarded the Japan Good Design Award.

■Nara handkerchiefs

Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten sells handkerchiefs printed with famous places in Nara such as the large statue of Buddha, the deer in Nara Park, Shosoin treasure house and the various temples of Nara. Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten is a well-established company with a 300 year history of creating Nara Sarashi-style hemp fabric products. These can be used as handkerchiefs but as they have lovely patterns, they could also be framed and used to decorate your house.

Available in the main branch of Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten in Nara as well as department stores nationwide and Terminal 2 at Haneda Airport.

■Awaji Island onion soup

Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture has the largest harvest of onions in Japan. The most prominent feature of Awaji Island onions is that they are sweet. Awaji Island onion soup is made from these onions and sold in sticks of powdered soup. This powder can be used either to make soup or as a seasoning so it is very convenient.

Best before: 1 year
Available in souvenir shops in Hyogo Prefecture.


Souvenirs from Chuugoku region

■Kibi Dango

Okayama Prefecture is the stage for the Japanese folk tale Momotaro and the Kibi Dango that feature in this story are sold in the region. Yamawaki Sangetsudo’s Kibi Dango are slightly sweet with a mild flavour and they are a confection of established name that was presented to the Meiji and Showa Emperors.

Best before: please check the package
Available at many different locations including Okayama Station, Kurashiki Station and service stations on expressways in Okayama Prefecture and the surrounding area.

■Miyajima Bamboo Ladles

Miyajima Island, home to the famous national treasure Itsukushima Shrine, is an area that produces bamboo ladles. The world’s largest ladle is exhibited there. In addition to ladles for everyday use, there are decorative ladles with wishes for prosperous business, the well-being of the family or the preferred message of the purchaser.

Available at craft shops on Miyajima Island.

■Torafugu Globe Fish Rice Porridge Ingredients

These are extravagant rice porridge ingredients containing torafugu globe fish which is said to be the most delicious kind of globe fish caught in Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, famous for its globe fish. Stock is taken from the fish bones and it also contains large pieces of fish. You can enjoy an authentic flavour at a reasonable price by putting the torafugu globe fish rice porridge ingredients into a pot, bringing them to a boil and then adding rice and simmering to produce a rice porridge.

Best before: 1 year


Souvenirs from Shikoku region

■Naruto Uzuimo

Naruto uzuimo is a Japanese sweet made from Naruto kintoki sweet potatoes which have been marinated in honey and dried. They have a light bite and have retained their original flavour so they are popular with a wide age range. Naruto kintoki are a high-grade product called the queen of the sweet potato and the brand represents Tokushima Prefecture. The sweet potatoes are known for their high sugar content as they are cultivated in the mineral-rich soil in the salty sea breeze of the Naruto Strait.

Sales period: limited from October to May
Best before: approx. 2 weeks
Also available at Tokyo Station.

■Imabari Towels

When you mention towels in Japan, most people think of Imabari towels as Imabari City is the largest domestic towel producer. The special characteristics of the towels are that they retain their original softness even if you do not use fabric softener as they have excellent water absorbency and they are also nice to use.

In addition to ordinary towels, the store also sells baby supplies and towel scarves such as those shown below.

There is a company store in Minami-Aoyama in Tokyo.
The official Imabari Towel website offers an English translation of some of its Japanese pages which provide information on the Imabari Towel brand and the high quality of these towels which are the best known of all Japanese towels.

■Umajimura Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu kosho is a citrus condiment made by mixing the peel of the yuzu citrus fruit, chilli pepper and salt. Koichi Prefecture is the number one producer of yuzu in Japan and Umajimura is famous for yuzu all over Japan. Umajimura yuzu are grown naturally using almost no agrochemicals and this yuzu kosho has no artificial additives or colourings so you can enjoy the original taste of the ingredients.
Best before: 4 months
Takamatsu Airport, etc.


Souvenirs in Kyushu region

■Nagasaki Castella

The famous cake, Castella, is said to have been brought to the Port of Nagasaki by the Portuguese and has been made in Nagasaki ever since. The special feature of Nagasaki Castella is its bed of granulated sugar. Syououken is one of the well-established Castella shops with many local fans. Its Castella is not baked on a bed of granulated sugar. Instead, the sugar is baked into the cake so it melts slightly.

Best before: 15 - 17 days Available at many company stores in Nagasaki and Fukuoka.

■Mustard Lotus Root Chips

Kumamoto Prefecture is famous for its mustard lotus root which is lotus root stuffed with mustard and deep-fried. This is the snack version of this delicacy which lasts for a longer time. It consists of deep-fried slices of lotus root sprinkled with mustard powder. The spicy flavour is great simply as a snack or as an accompaniment to a drink.

Best before: 90 days
Available at Kumamoto Airport and major department stores.

■Hakata Ningyo Dolls

Hakata Ningyo are traditional craft items typical of Japan ? unglazed dolls made from clay from Fukuoka and the surrounding area. The firing gives colour and you can feel the warmth of the clay and the detailed sculpting is characteristic. Typical Hakata Ningyo are made in the female form but there is also a wide range of other forms such as traditional performance arts (Noh or Kabuki), military commanders, the 12-year Chinese zodiac and seasonal festivals. This is a doll of a young girl playing cat’s cradle and sitting on a cushion, giving a sweet atmosphere with a hint of the innocence of a young girl.

Available at the many Hakata Ningyo shops in the vicinity of Hakata Station.


Souvenirs in Okinawa region

■Purple Potato Tart

This is a tart made of purple potatoes from Okashi Goten which is said to be the originator the purple potato tart. The purple potatoes that are the filling of the tart are a product of Okinawa Prefecture and are bright purple in colour with a mild flavour. This product has been awarded many prizes. It does not contain any artificial preservatives or coloring so you can buy these as souvenirs with peace of mind.

These last for 30 days.
There is also a branch at Naha airport.

■Yukishio Chinsuko

Chinsuko is a traditional Okinawan cookie which has been passed down over the generations and Yukishio Chinsuko is made with Yukishio salt, giving it a salty and not too sweet flavour. Yukishio salt is mild-flavored powdered salt found on Miyakojima Island and has the highest mineral content in the world according to Guinness World Records.

These last for 70 days.

■Okinawa T-shirts

Okinawa is the hottest place in Japan for t-shirt sales. Various stores sell t-shirts with Okinawan words, traditional things such as Minsah weave or Eisah dance, trees such as Gajumaru or creatures native to Okinawa such as the Okinawa rail bird. It’s fun to find the perfect Okinawan t-shirt for you! There are also many t-shirts with cartoon characters on them, typical of Japan