SOUVENIRS FROM JAPAN. WHAT CAN YOU BRING BACK HOME?
Whether exotic or fairly local, travel often results in our suitcases being heavier upon return than before departure. Many people cannot resist the temptation of exciting souvenirs to remind them about the nice time they had on holidays.
Omiyage – Japanese souvenirs
The culture of souvenirs is well developed in Japan. It is a country where we can buy them basically everywhere. Omiyage is Japanese for an object characteristic for a particular region. Even Japanese bring back items connected with a specific place to which they travel. This may be food, handicraft, jewellery, textiles, ceramics etc. The tourists coming to Japan have wide range of souvenirs to choose from, including ones that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Souvenirs from Japan
Japan's most popular souvenirs are chopsticks, traditional fans, parasols, kimonos and other elements of classic Japanese outfit (e.g. sandals, shawls), towels, Furoshiki (traditional cloths), various textiles or stationery items. Tourists particularly enjoy wooden products, such as dolls, figurines or bento boxes. Souvenirs may be bought in dedicated souvenir shops, in flea markets or in regular supermarkets, especially if you want to buy original sweets or food and beverages of flavours unknown in the west.
What to bring from Japan?
A number of characteristic Japanese souvenirs are worth recommending. The first example is Omamori – a good luck amulet to be worn around your neck. At least that is how it used to be; today, the straps attached to the handmade amulets are slightly shorter and as such they may be fastened to a handbag, a rucksack or a bunch of keys. Katana, that is Japanese sword, is a very unique souvenir. However, you may encounter such problems as the ban on cross-border transport of weapon and the size of blade, so it is best to consider ordering a katana online. Another popular souvenir is maneki-neko – a figurine of a cat waving its paw, which supposedly brings good luck, wealth, happiness, health and love.
Manga and the related items are definitely examples of flagship Japanese souvenirs worth investing in. Fans of such comic books are bound to be satisfied both with second-hand items and with new, original issues. They tend to return home with a whole set of books rather than one volume.
Japanese souvenir shops offer special handmade dolls wearing classic clothes. They come in various sizes so we can have a whole collection. It is definitely a unique gift, not encountered anywhere else in the world.
Sarubobo (Japanese for “monkey baby”) is yet another original souvenir. It is a small handmade textile figurine with human shapes but without a face. The figurines come in various colours: golden elements are to bring money and career success, red – marriage, blue – work and academic success, pink – love, silver – friendship, yellow – good luck in gambling and wealth, green – health and peace, purple – longevity, orange – travel, friendship and children, and black – protection against evil. Sarubobo used to be given to daughters who were getting married as a good luck amulet. Nowadays, the serve as exciting souvenirs from the Country of Cherry Blossoms.
Souvenirs from Tokyo
Special souvenirs can be bought in Tokyo in the shopping district – Akihabara, known as the Electric Town. It offers a wide range of electronic goods that cannot be bought anywhere but in Japan (for instance telephones, cameras, musical equipment etc.).
Omiyage represent a unique culture of Japanese souvenirs. They are abundant both in major cities and in smaller towns. The Japanese are well prepared for the annual flood of tourists from the west so if you are going to Japan, you are bound to bring home a number of wonderful memories, some locked forever in original souvenirs.