INSIDE: Roam the Gnome’s™ Guide to the Best Place to Buy Traditional Japanese Souvenirs in Tokyo. Updated 2019.
I hope you paid for luggage when you bought your airfare because Tokyo is the ultimate shopping dream zone and you are going home with extra kilos in your suitcase.
Whether you love to shop for Japanese fashion, technology and gadgets, fun & quirky Japanese products for home organisation, Japanese stationery, Japanese food, Japanese snacks, Japanese candy or shoes, you’ll find a shop to buy it in Japan.
Somewhat surprisingly, visiting Japan with kids is an awesome adventure too.
Except for the trains.
SO. MANY. TRAINS.
And quiet, hushed train platforms where everyone is suitably restrained and well-mannered. My rowdy wrestle-mad Australian boys in amongst those polite, quiet passengers = a form of unbearable torture. But more on that another time…
Tokyo is a place that blows your mind, and there’s zillions of mind-blowing things to spend your money on, including authentic traditional Japanese souvenirs that reflect Japanese culture.
Shopping in Tokyo for traditional Japanese gifts and authentic Japanese souvenirs for your family and friends is just as fun as shopping for yourself. But you need to know where to go.
- 1 Where are the authentic Japanese souvenirs?
- 2 What to buy in Japan? Tourist Souvenir Ideas
- 3 Popular Japan Souvenirs we love
- 4 What to buy in Japan for kids – Games and toys
- 5 Best Japanese souvenirs for women
- 6 Typical Japanese souvenirs for men
- 7 The best souvenirs in Japan for everyone else
- 8 The Inside Scoop – The Best Souvenirs from Japan at Oriental Bazaar
- 9 Map of Oriental Bazaar Souvenirs Japan
- 10 More ideas of where to buy Japanese souvenirs in Tokyo?
- 11 Subscribe
- 12 Bookmark Roam the Gnome
Where are the authentic Japanese souvenirs?
When it comes to finding beautiful, artistic, or traditional Japanese souvenirs in classic Japanese textiles, patterns and prints, and things made with Japanese craftsmanship and style, there’s limited choices in the city, and you really have to hunt to find them.
Stop what you are doing right now.
We know THE best place for finding charming and authentic Japanese souvenirs in Tokyo.
It’s called Oriental Bazaar, and it’s on the main road – Omotesando shopping street- that runs parallel to the pedestrian friendly Takeshita street in Harajuku.
Take a look what’s inside.
What to buy in Japan? Tourist Souvenir Ideas
Oriental Bazaar is a funny choice of name for this elegant, refined, and orderly Japanese souvenirs store. I first visited as a 15 year old, back in 1988, while on a school trip.
30 years later, this Japanese souvenirs shop retains its crown as the premiere world-class location for Japanese souvenirs to take home for friends, family, and colleagues.
In fact, it’s nickname is Chamber of Handicrafts.
It has everything – a one-stop shop for Japanese souvenirs including:
- samurai swords
- armour and helmets
- ceramic lamps
- antique kimonos
- cotton yukatas
- quirky Japanese knick knacks
- Japanese towels
- Japanese handkerchiefs
- Japanese kitchenware
- Japanese t-shirts
- Japanese folding fans
- Japanese face masks
You don’t have to go anywhere else for souvenir shopping, except to stock up on your favourite Harajuku souvenirs weird blue wigs, sky high platform shoes, tasty Japanese snacks and fun Japanese DIY candy kits and Japanese candy.
If you want to continue Shopping in Harajuku for souvenirs…
If you do want to keep shopping for authentic and traditional souvenirs, we’d also definitely recommend a visit to the souvenir shop at Meiji Jingu shrine nearby.
It’s another unexpectedly good spot for traditional Japanese souvenirs shopping with plenty of traditional Japanese sweets in pretty packages in stock.
Also, on Harajuku main street, visit the Harajuku Daiso 100 yen store to pick up Crunky Chocolate Balls, Matcha Green Tea Kit Kats, Milky Hard Candy, and lots of Pocky Japanese Chocolate stick varieties. It’s a bit clique but Pocky and KitKats are the things everyone will ask you for!
Popular Japan Souvenirs we love
These is a list of our most recommended Japanese souvenirs. Our family can never leave Japan without these popular souvenirs from Japan.
A new Daruma Doll (or three).
These are top of the list of must have souvenirs from Japan.
A Daruma, according to the folk at We Love Daruma, is a “traditional handmade Japanese wishing doll (charmingly referred to as a “GOAL DOLL”) that keeps you focused on achieving your goal!
Darumas are modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism, 1500 years ago, and represent the silhouette of Bodhidharma in deep meditation, sitting in the customary zazen position.
Daruma is closely associated with a beloved Japanese proverb, Nana korobi yaoki, which states, Fall down seven times, get up eight. The Daruma doll’s unique rounded shape allows it to return to its original position even if knocked over, representing such persistence.”
This centuries-old tradition begins by choosing a goal.
When you’ve done this, you lock in your commitment to this goal by colouring in one of the Daruma’s white eyes, and placing him in a prominent spot in your home, where you’ll see him daily, narrowing his focus to the goal and reminding you to do the same.
When your goal is achieved, after all your hard work and effort, you colour in the other eye on the Daruma to thank him for his support.
Miniature ones cost less than 300 yen each, while a large one hovers around the 1000 mark ($10 AUD)
More Lucky Cat ornaments.
Japanese Lucky Cats, or Maneki Neko, are believed to be a lucky charm by the Japanese people, to bring good fortune and happiness.
We’ve heard a rumour that if the cat’s right arm is raised, it invites and beckons money. If the cat’s left arm is raised, it invites people and community.
They make super cute Japanese souvenirs too.
Japanese Tableware & Japanese ceramics
I just cannot resist a teeny-tiny blue and white soy sauce dish, or a ceramic rice bowl, and continually add to our collection.
Japanese Kokeshi Dolls
The top souvenirs from Japan for anyone who collects dolls are the Kokeshi doll. The most adorable of all the cute Japanese souvenirs we know.
What to buy in Japan for kids – Games and toys
If you are looking for cool souvenirs from Japan for the kids, look no further.
- Ninja Costume Dress Up for boys
- Movable Toys – they stock the “Going Down the Tracks Walking Ninja Doll” and a “Rolling Daruma” toy
- Japanese Paper Balloons
- Spinning Tops
- Koi no Bori flags or carp-shaped wind socks that are traditionally flown to mark Children’s Day, but are just cute any day of the year
- A kendama is a cup and ball string toy that came to Japan in the 1700s and is popular with children
- A yukata summer kimono, with an obi waistband, tabi toe socks, and geta (the wooden clog-like shoes).
- Japanese erasers. Even the eraser gets a cute makeover in Japan. You can buy rubber erasers shaped as pieces of sushi, daruma dolls, a traditional obentoo lunch box, japanese sweets, and koi fish too. Kids love them, even if they don’t make much sense to us.
Best Japanese souvenirs for women
Find some of the best Tokyo souvenirs for women at Oriental Bazaar. Good Japanese souvenirs are beautiful in design and make you smile.
- Foldable Sensu fans. Invented in Japan, and made of Japanese paper or cloth fixed to a collapsible frame of bamboo or wood, Oriental Bazaar has quite a selection. They also stock Uchiwa hand-held fans, perfect for anyone who feels the heat.
- A traditional kimono or summer yukata
- Japanese Hair accessories – made from a combination of resin and/or traditional Japanese fabric, they stock pretty flower-centric hair pins known as Kanzashi, plus hair clips, hair ties, hair bands, and hair slides.
- Japanese ceramics – dishes, mugs, tea services, and cutlery featuring Japanese sakura cherry blossoms
- Japanese hand towels, and handkerchiefs
- Pretty fabric bags
- Delicate purses in all shapes and sizes, made from patterned Japanese textiles and linen
- Japanese Letter sets
- Japanese stationery items
Typical Japanese souvenirs for men
Here’s some ideas for cool Japanese souvenirs for men.
- A traditional kimono or summer yukata
- For a laugh, and a soft clean complexion, the man of the house might like a kabuki face mask
- Nunogoyomi towels – for use in the bath, or to drape around the neck to collect sweat as you work. Failing that, they make fabulous kitchen cleaning cloths being so absorbent.
- Unique T-shirts with prints of large kanji characters.
The best souvenirs in Japan for everyone else
These are ideas for souvenirs to buy in Tokyo for those who might be hard to buy for.
- Japanese key chains
- Japanese phone charms make cute souvenirs from Japan. They are also cheap things to buy in Japan for the neighbourhood kids or the kid’s school friends.
- Onamori are Japanese amulets, charms or talismans (commonly sold at religious sites) that Japanese people buy as a request for luck or protection.
- A Tenugui towel is a thin Japanese hand towel made of cotton.It is typically about 35 by 90 centimeters in size, plain woven and is almost always dyed with some pattern. Tenugui can be used as a decorative placemat or hall table runner, placed under a vase of fresh flowers, turned into artwork by hanging it as a scroll, or wrapped around wine bottles when serving. Traditionally, Japanese men have often wrapped these cloths around the head as a headband to keep hair and sweat out of their eyes, and they are still used as a head covering in kendo, where it functions as a sweatband, as extra padding beneath the headgear, and to identify the participants by team colour.
- Visit the book corner at Oriental Bazaar to find books about Japanese history and culture.
- If you get stuck, traditional Japanese chopsticks are your backstop.
One more thing.
While you can’t take home a Japanese vending machine, you can purchase Japanese drinks as souvenirs too. Someone will be chuffed with an unusual flavor of Japanese Fanta or a unique Peach Tea in a pretty bottle.
The Inside Scoop – The Best Souvenirs from Japan at Oriental Bazaar
Address: 9-13 5-chome Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001 Japan.
- Oriental Bazaar is located directly opposite Omotesando Hills shopping centre, and just a hundred metres down to the left from Kiddyland as you face it from Harajuku’s main shopping area.
Opening hours: 10:00A.M.-7:00P.M daily. Closed Every Thursday
How to get to Oriental Bazaar Souvenir Shop in Tokyo
- By Train – JR Yamanote Line Harajuku Station – approx. 5-min. walk from the Omotesando Exit
- By Metro – Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (Omotesando Station) – approx. 4-min. walk from Exit B4 or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (Meiji-jingumae Station) – approx. 3-min. walk from Exit 4
Map of Oriental Bazaar Souvenirs Japan
More ideas of where to buy Japanese souvenirs in Tokyo?
Don’t forget Kappabashi Kitchenware Street between Asakusa and Ueno Park for Japanese knives & plastic food displays.
Wondering what to buy in Japan Electronics? Visit Akihabara Electric Town for the best Japanese gadgets including bizarre alarm clocks that scream at you to wake up, all in Japanese of course. Ask the staff here about buying Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch games to ensure they are a match and can be used at home.
Bic Camera has cool things to get from Japan in the way of photography and camera equipment.
Don Quijote or Donki is the biggest discount store in Japan and has all the cool things from Japan. They have the best things to buy in Japan for nerds and pranksters too.
Tokyu Hands is the place to get unusual gifts from Japan for craft lovers, cyclists, knitters, model airplane makers, world travellers, and book lovers. Check out our complete guide to shopping in Tokyu Hands.
You can also click the links in blue below fo find more ideas of where to buy souvenirs in Japan.
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