What would you get if you crossed the ancient capital of Japan with the massively successful Dragon Quest series of video games? Nope, it’s not a silly question, since this collaboration has already been realized in the form of “Nara Quest,” the funny title for a handful of amusing souvenirs from Nara Prefecture that parody the famous game franchise. Read on for a look at the clever goods!
If you’re lucky enough to take a trip over to Tokyo, it’s best to bring a little slice of Japan’s capital back home for those who missed out on your trip. But with all the delectable sweets and beautifully packaged treats, it can be a little overwhelming to choose the right one. So before you leave, be sure to take a look at this list of the top 10 omiyage you can only buy at Tokyo Station.
Mar 24, 2014
Earlier in the year we brought you Japanese people’s best souvenir recommendations for foreigners, in which items like folding fans, Japanese wagashi sweets, and even traditional swords were featured. But what do visitors to Japan themselves choose as the best things to buy as a memento of their trip, or take back for their friends at home? The answers may surprise you!
If you’re looking for a unique Japanese gift that’s light in your luggage but heavy in tradition, then this is the item for you. It’s called the KD Daruma (Knock-Down Daruma) and it’s modelled on the centuries-old, round, good-luck talisman which symbolises Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. This modern take on the daruma features a flat-pack design and clever assembly so unusual it’s just been awarded first prize as Japan’s most fascinating souvenir in a competition held by the Japan Tourism Agency. We take a closer look at the details to see what makes this little novelty so charming.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Sep 6, 2013
Shimane Prefecture, ever heard of it? If your answer is a resounding “no,” you’re not alone. The oddly shaped prefecture stretching along the western coast of Japan is barely known within its own country, let alone abroad. But one disgruntled mascot is out to bring Shimane’s shortcomings to light, making fun of the prefecture’s lack of popularity and population, and giving the area a little boost in positive publicity online.
Jun 8, 2013
Who doesn’t like to kick back and enjoy a chocolate chip cookie every once in a while? Every country has a go-to brand of prepackaged chewy chocolate chip cookies. You know, the kind that you can put in the toaster over and make all warm and gooey… ahh yes.
In Japan the leading brand of these cookies has got to be Country Ma’am. Although they’re eternally available in plain (called vanilla), chocolate chip, and double chocolate chip flavors, this line of cookies is well known for its countless limited-time-only specialty flavors such as strawberry, cheesecake, iced tea, pancake, pumpkin, and green tea to name but a few.
However, this time they are coming out with two specialty flavors based on a pair of traditional Japanese desserts, to create a truly Japanese chocolate chip cookie experience.
Tourist shops everywhere in Japan are filled with colorful boxes of local sweets that are perfectly portioned for sharing. These are omiyage. At work, it’s almost expected that you bring back a box of omiyage filled with a specialty product from the area your business trip took place in, and friends and family often purchase omiyage for those who weren’t able to make the trip. Many argue that giving omiyage is a distinctly Japanese custom; Yuichiro Suzuki, author of Omiyage and the Railway, explains in an interview with Yahoo! Japan.
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so1
- Over half of Japanese adults do this in the shower – How about you?2
- Visit Japan without ever leaving home with these eight beautiful videos3
- Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile4
- Japan’s prince of tennis gets his own Prince of Tennis manga portrait5
- Anime-loving mum takes kyara-ben to a new level with these well-drawn anime bentos6
- Bonsai treehouses look like something out of Howl’s Moving Castle 【Photos】7
- Women at World Wushu Championships attack each other at the speed of light8
- How to cook miso soup (the right way) in a few simple steps【RocketKitchen】9
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick10
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer2
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute3
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters4
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world5
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick6
- Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence7
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?8
- Our Japanese reporter visits an American sushi restaurant in Japan9
- Question reveals how foreigners feel about speaking Japanese, getting English in return10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】9
- Just a bunch of adorable cats riding on trains in Japan10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea10
- Anime-loving mum takes kyara-ben to a new level with these well-drawn anime bentos
- Bonsai treehouses look like something out of Howl’s Moving Castle 【Photos】
- Women at World Wushu Championships attack each other at the speed of light
- How to cook miso soup (the right way) in a few simple steps【RocketKitchen】
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick
- Online survey reveals the types of guys elementary school girls DON’T want to date
- Rare ghost-white tuna caught off Bali — we go to see it on display in Shibuya!
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute
- Enjoy a relaxing bowl of tea with these beautiful goldfish-shaped teabags from Taiwan
- What the hell is this monster?? 【Updated】
- Make sure to visit this historical onsen once before you die, or just do it right now with Google
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters