souvenirs

Top 10 souvenirs from Japan, as chosen by foreign visitors (and not a folding fan in sight!)

Top 10 souvenirs from Japan, as chosen by foreign visitors (and not a folding fan in sight!)

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!

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10 of the best gift shops in Kyoto

10 of the best gift shops in Kyoto

There are thousands of interesting shops selling traditional goods in Kyoto. But now there are a few that are standing head and shoulders above the rest, offering unique goods that even Japanese customers can’t wait to get their hands on. By combining traditional techniques with modern, contemporary designs, these businesses represent the best of the changing face of Kyoto, a vibrant city in the traditional capital.

In this article, we take a look at ten unique stores and their adorable products. The only trouble will be deciding what to buy!

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The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

If you’ve ever visited the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, there’s a good chance that you went through New Chitose Airport. Being the largest airport on the island, it serves as the gateway to Hokkaido for the numerous tourists that visit both from within and outside of Japan. Yes, when it comes to Hokkaido, we Japanese are just as enthusiastic about the beautiful snow, fresh seafood, tasty ramen, delectable sweets, relaxing hot springs and scenes of vast natural beauty as visitors from abroad.

But did you know that New Chitose Airport, which you may only briefly pass through as a traveler on a tour, could be a destination all on its own? After undergoing some expansion work in recent years between 2010 to 2012, the airport is now a seriously impressive shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Here’s a look at just some of the things you can enjoy at this airport that looks and feels like a theme park. If you thought that airports were nightmarish places where you want to spend as little time as possible, this may change your mind!

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UNESCO declares Mt. Fuji a World Heritage site, we celebrate with unique Fuji-related gifts!

UNESCO declares Mt. Fuji a World Heritage site, we celebrate with unique Fuji-related gifts!

After years of waiting in the wings, Mt. Fuji is now basking in UNESCO’s privileged spotlight, finally receiving recognition for its cultural contribution to the art and spirit of Japan. What better way to celebrate than with a look at some of the modern designs inspired by the sacred mountain? From dishes to beer glasses to wind chimes and umbrellas, we’ve got some of the cutest and most unique finds for you to enjoy.

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47 Prefectures, 47 Unique Japanese Souvenirs: Which One Will Win?

47 Prefectures, 47 Unique Japanese Souvenirs: Which One Will Win?

Omiyage, local, often food-based souvenirs, are a big thing in Japan. Each of the country’s 47 prefectures takes pride in producing a well-known representative that speaks for their area and reflects their unique terroir. But which region and what delicacy would come out on top if put to the test in a general election? A recent television programme in Japan thought to do just that, conducting a national tournament of omiyage vs omiyage, sifting through the delegates to bring us the top 20 areas and their delicious representatives.

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Cute Kyoto! We Taste Hidden Delights From a Traditional Sweet House in Pontocho

Cute Kyoto! We Taste Hidden Delights From a Traditional Sweet House in Pontocho

Pontocho is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful geisha districts. With traditional tea houses, restaurants and bars all crowded together along atmospheric, stone-paved narrow lanes, this area breathes the air of an old, timeless Kyoto. Within its maze of weaving, intersecting alleyways, there are plenty of secrets to discover and hidden areas to explore. Walking through Pontocho, you might notice one of its many mysteries: the area is dotted with Japanese paper lanterns, all bearing the mark of the chidori, the plover bird. They’re incredibly beautiful, but why would a cute chidori design come to be on such traditional products?

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It’s Not a Souvenir, It’s Omiyage: Japanese Omiyage Culture

It’s Not a Souvenir, It’s Omiyage: Japanese Omiyage Culture

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.

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Man Tries his Attempts at Evading Excess Luggage Charges at the Airport by Wearing Over 60 Layers of Clothing!

Man Tries his Attempts at Evading Excess Luggage Charges at the Airport by Wearing Over 60 Layers of Clothing!

As with many trips abroad, the purchasing of souvenirs for your friends and family and admittedly, the occasional gift for yourself is a routine common to most. The time and effort invested in making sure you have something for everyone can take its toll not only mentally, but also on the weight of your luggage upon arrival at the airport. “Just how can I get all this stuff through without being charged a fortune?” is I’m sure a fear that goes through the minds of many. When it comes to airport excess luggage costs, the excess cost itself can sometimes even exceed the actual value of the goods being brought back. Whatever is the case, nobody wants be charged excessively for something they’ve already paid for. Whether it be disposing of the gift’s packaging and then diligently placing it in your hand luggage, or if it happen to be a fashion accessory or item of clothing, wearing it as if it were your own, having some form of strategy is arguably better than being completely defenseless against the wrath that is the custom and excise department.

The other day, a man passing though China’s Kantan airport took this idea of ‘wearing your luggage’ to the extreme. Admittedly wrapping yourself in a couple of extra layers isn’t really any reason to warrant criticism and I’m sure it’s something many of us have considered at some point. What we’re talking about here is the act of piling on countless number of layers of clothing at once! Without question, such outrageousness cannot help but raise the suspicion of the airport staff.

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