Translated by Lester Somera
7 Tokyo Shops Where You Can Purchase Japanese Souvenirs!
Written by Kobayashi
Are you looking for souvenirs in Tokyo but don't know where to go? We introduce you to seven convenient spots where you can buy Japanese souvenirs and gifts as keepsakes of your trip!
Buy Japanese Trinkets Here in Tokyo!
Many visitors will want to find gifts and keepsakes to bring back home when they come to Japan. In Tokyo, you can find many Japanese items that have been handmade by craftsmen, which reflect the great care taken by the businesses and artisans. These Japan-designed items are very popular as presents.
This article introduces seven stores in Tokyo where you can purchase Japanese goods! Buy some as keepsakes or to give out as souvenirs for your family and friends to continue your enjoyment even after your trip is over.
1. Asakusa: Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten for Bento Boxes
Located five minutes away from Asakusa on foot, Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten specializes in Odate magewappa (*1), which are traditional products from Akita. The shop is known for using natural wood from cedar trees over 150 years old. An artisan then creates each magewappa by hand. The finished products' look and feel cannot be replicated by a machine.
*1: Odate magewappa, made in Odate, Akita, are crafted by taking thin sheets of wood, like cedar or Japanese cypress, and fashioning them into cylindrical containers.
The unlacquered bento box is the shop's best-selling item. Cedarwood has exceptional moisture-absorbing qualities and breathability. The uncoated wood allows for the boxes to carry these same characteristics. If you use this bento box, you can retain moisture in rice and side dishes for a delicious meal, even after some time has passed.
In addition, the shop sells items like tumblers, which will stay cold or retain heat, and unlacquered bread plates. You can choose a magewappa item that best suits your lifestyle.
Magewappa goods need to be washed differently than other tableware. After a light rinse with cold or hot water, clean it out using a dishwashing brush (tawashi) and dish soap before drying it. If you look after magewappa, you can use it for over a decade.
If you keep using your magewappa item for a long time, you’ll always feel a closer connection to Japan.
2. Asakusa: Find The Perfect Geta and Zori Sandles at Tsujiya
Tsujiya is another store in Asakusa and carries footwear. It is around 3 minutes from Tobu Asakusa Station or Toei Asakusa Station on foot, Tsujiya sells traditional Japanese footwear known as zori and geta.
Tsujiya’s shelves are lined with all sorts of footwear, including geta sandals with modern hanao (*1) designs and waterproof zori sandals for rainy days. All the footwear is made specially to look good on your feet. An artisan is usually at in the shop, so if you choose a strap and sandal sole, you can have your geta or zori sandals made right there!
Asakusa has a wonderful traditional atmosphere, so why not slip on a pair of geta or zori sandals from Tsujiya and stroll around town in a kimono?
*1: Hanao: The strap of a geta or zori sandal that goes in between one's toes.
3. Kagurazaka: Modern Japanese Items at Noren Kagurazaka
The streets of Kagurazaka are lined with stylish cafes, restaurants, and shops. There are also temples and shrines here. Kagurazaka is a bustling neighborhood, receiving many visitors. Noren Kagurazaka is a store located on the main Kagurazaka-dori Street.
Various everyday-items and Japanese trinkets are for sale inside the shop. The kimono bottle wear (pictured), in particular, is very popular. Cover a wine bottle with this to give your home Japanese vibe! The white kimono is a great choice, and the store has also other stylish designs with attached red ribbons.
There are also ballpoint pens available at reasonable prices, which are popular with kids. Kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, geisha and other characters that evoke images of traditional Japan are transformed into these cute pens.
Other items include hand-woven earrings made with Japanese paper, and furoshiki cloth bags, making Noren Kagurazaka the perfect place to look for souvenirs. Noren Kagurazaka is right by Tokyo Metro Iidabashi Station.
You can enjoy the surrounding Kagurazaka area with a stroll after you’re done shopping.
4. Shinjuku: Adorable Coin Purses at Nippon CHACHACHA!
Take the western exit of the JR or Odakyu Shinjuku Station. Between the Odakyu and Keio department stores on Mosaic Street is Nippon CHACHACHA. This is a store trying to liven up basic Japanese souvenirs! The shelves are packed with trinkets that would be ideal souvenirs to give your family and friends as you tell them about your adventures in Japan.
The most popular trinkets at the Shinjuku store are the motif coin purses. These round pouches have designs like daruma, ninjas and sumo wrestlers. The coin purses are popular with many customers of all ages from children to adults.
There are plenty of Japanese-style coin purses as well! There are also various sizes of pouches for coins, pens, and makeup. In addition, there are also towels, folding fans, and other items, so make sure to Nippon CHACHACHA to look for souvenirs.
5. Omotesando: Nakagawa Masashichi, a Lifestyle Goods Shop
The next shop we’d like to introduce is Nakagawa Masashichi. Founded in 1716 as a hemp textile wholesaler in Nara Prefecture, it now also carries kitchen items, cosmetics, accessories, and many other goods.
The cloths in the picture are made from the fabric used for mosquito netting. Although the cloth is thin, it is durable and long-lasting and becomes softer when washed. You can choose from a hemp or cotton version. They are popular to give as gifts.
The store also sells other cloth items like pouches and coin purses. Each time you take one out of your bag will be a reminder of Japan.
6. Shibuya: A Huge Selection at Maruara Watanabe
Maruara Watanabe is five minutes away from the Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station. This souvenir shop carries high-quality, Japanese-made items and accessories. The owner himself selects cool-looking and impactful items goods customers will want to take back with them. You can tell how thoughtful his choices are when you visit.
The store’s most popular item is this set of origami crane earrings. Each one has a different color and pattern, so it’s fun to choose your favorite design. It would make a great gift! The store also has fun souvenir items like yukata and kimono, and straw zori sandals.
In addition, there are products in the shop with English explanations, as well as English-speaking staff, so ask them if you need help. Maruara Watanabe is a stop you can’t miss if you’re going to Shibuya!
7. Try a 100-Yen Shop if You're Stumped!
Finally, let’s take a look at 100-yen shops where you can buy Japanese trinkets. At 100-yen shop chains like The Daiso, Seria and Can☆Do, nearly all products are 108 yen (tax included).
There are a lot of interesting things you can buy for so little!
This is a goldfish-patterned drawstring purse that is available in two sizes. The large one will accommodate handkerchiefs or tissues, while the small one is perfect as a coin pouch.
At Seria, you can find Japanese-style hand towels. In addition to classic designs like Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms, you can get towels with adorable animals patterns on them. There are lots of other items too, like folding fans and stationery. Almost everything in the store will be 100 yen, so if you’re worried about not having enough souvenirs or you want to get rid of your loose change, you can easily take care of your shopping needs at a 100-yen store.
Take Back Plenty of Japanese Trinkets
There are many different Japanese trinket shops in Tokyo, ranging from stores with inexpensively-priced goods to ones specializing in high-quality items. You can find a plethora of different products, like mage-wappa bento boxes, zori, earrings, and towels.
Remember your time in Japan and do some shopping for souvenirs for your friends, family. Don't forget to get something for yourself, too!