Not sure what to get for your friends and family this year? We’ve got the coolest Japanese present recommendations to surprise and delight them all!
Doing the Holidays the Japanese Way
‘Tis the season, and after having so many holiday celebrations canceled in recent years, Japan is getting ready to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s, and all the other winter celebrations with the rest of the world this year! Of course, an impromptu trip to Japan might not be your family’s go-to way to celebrate the holidays, but Japanese Christmas has grown to encompass gift-giving traditions and much more in the past few decades. Why not try adding some unique Japanese touches to your winter get-togethers this year, and finding the perfect gift from an unexpected source across the ocean? It’s easier than ever to order gifts from Japan these days, meaning you can quickly get your hands on everything from one-of-a-kind toys for the kids, to chic fashion from Japan’s trendiest brands. So get your bucket of fried chicken ready, and check out some of our favorite Japanese holiday gift ideas!
Presents for the Foodie
From the luxurious flavor of a fresh piece of maguro sushi, to the satisfying crunch of piping hot tempura straight from the oil, there’s a lot to like about Japanese food. Japan is full of unique delicacies, local flavors found nowhere else, and cookware perfected over centuries of use. Is it really any surprise that the country of carefully forged and polished katana swords is now renowned for making exquisitely beautiful and high-quality chef’s knives? Whether the foodie in your life likes to cook, or just likes to eat good food, Japan has a lot to offer.
- These traditional octopus crackers made with whole octopuses, from Echizen Kaisen Club. (They also make plenty of tasty Japanese-style crackers with less intimidating seafood!)
- This little Japanese tea set modeled after sets used by peasants of the Edo-era (1603-1868), from Maruhiro.
- A meticulously crafted santoku knife from Jikko (a fairly all-purpose knife), or a long, graceful sashimi knife from Ehamono.
- These traditional Japanese tabletop accessories, for keeping exciting new condiments and sauces within easy reach, made by Shobido Honten.
- This simple handmade grinding bowl (textured mortar and pestle), for grinding sesame seeds or mixing up fresh dressings, from Uchill.
Presents for the Music Lover
Looking for a gift for a music listener? Maybe even a musician? We’ve got suggestions for both!
For centuries on end, Japan has been creating its own traditional music with instruments borrowed from foreign cultures and made purely Japanese over time, leaving the country with a rich musical culture that continues today. You’re less likely to find modern J-pop artists playing the Japanese shamisen or a traditional flute, but Japan has still developed its own sound within the genres of pop and rock. Japanese bands have fans all over the world, who would love to get their hands on the latest releases, but anyone who loves listening to new music won’t regret giving Japan’s unique music a listen!
- The best-selling J-pop hits currently available from Tower Records.
- An undeniably stylish and minimalist Japanese CD player to keep that CD collection in rotation, from Tsutaya Books. (Of course, it comes with built-in Bluetooth capabilities as well!)
- This traditional shamisen for beginners (or this cheaper shamisen learning set) from Digimart.
Presents for the Anime Enthusiast
These days, anime (AKA Japanese animation) has found its way around the world, and it’s so common outside of Japan that it’s not unusual to see English-speaking kids chattering about the latest episode of Pokemon, or Hollywood celebrities discussing their love for Ghibli movies. But for big anime lovers, there’s no doubting that Japan is the best place on Earth to find rare anime goods, and the coolest merchandise from each and every show.
- Silly Crayon Shin-chan underpants mugs and more from Futabasha.
- Elegant gold and silver accessories with themes from Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Madoka Magica, made by U-Treasure.
- Sleek Pokemon hoodies with holographic Charizards from Baby Faze Shop.
- Just about every style of Attack on Titan merchandise from CharaOn.
- Anime figures galore and adorable My Neighbor Totoro merchandise from Hobby Stock.
Presents for the Fashionista
Japan is known for a range of fashion encompassing Tokyo street style, Harajuku girls, and even ultra-minimalist, androgynous styles, but no matter what trends are in for the season, tourists are often impressed by how carefully styled people get for everyday outings. Whether the fashion-lovers seem to vibe with Japan’s kawaii aesthetic, or their look leans more towards the timelessly simple, they’re bound to love the creativity of Japanese fashion and cosmetics brands. Why not add a piece to their wardrobe they could never get back home?
- A handmade cardigan from a small-scale Japanese knitter to keep cozy and warm over the holidays, available from Minne.
- The practical and stylish bags from Yoshida. This year’s line of Studio Ghibli My Neighbor Totoro accessories is especially popular!
- The latest 2022 outerwear in a variety of styles, from Pal Closet.
- Comfortable loungewear and sweats in unique Japanese designs you won’t find anywhere else, perfect for lounging around with the family, made by Graniph.
- A cool, casual Japanese denim jacket from the Japanese fashion and lifestyle brand Beams. (Check out their whole Holiday Gift Guide, too!)
Presents for the Toy & Game Fan
Looking for the cutest toys for kids? How about retro video games and trading cards that would be the crown jewel of any grown-up’s vintage collection? When it comes to anything falling under the umbrella of “play,” Japan is the place to get it. Surprise your little ones with adorable characters and colorful kids’ games, or treat a video game lover with the latest tech and the coolest retro titles. Then grab a Japanese board game or two, part of a blossoming local industry, to play with friends and family over the holidays!
- A kaleidoscope projector covered in cute characters, this jenga-like sushi game that can be played with chopsticks, or lots more unique toys and games from Eye Up!
- Japanese packs of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards from Bee Honpo.
- Adorable and durable wooden toys in traditional-Japanese-meets-modern designs, from Poletoko.
- The latest video games from Japan, or a mini tabletop retro arcade machine, to revel in the nostalgia, all from Sofmap.
- A wide variety of board and card games designed and produced in Japan, many of which come with English instructions, available at Bodogema.
This Year, Give a Gift Like None Other!
No matter what your friends and family are interested in, there’s bound to be a special gift from Japan that will make their holiday season this year! So take a look at our recommendations, which range from Japanese snacks and cookware, to this year’s fashion trends and pop hits, plus everything to be found in the world of toys, games, anime, and more. And for even more ideas, be sure to check out all our other shopping recommendations from the past year!
10 February 2024
07 February 2024
06 February 2024
Sumida Aquarium in 2024: What’s New at the Aquarium Next to Tokyo Skytree, From Penguin Politics to Dreamy Jellyfish
05 February 2024
04 February 2024
Ginza Shopping | Try Japanese Style on for Size in Tokyo with Japanese Fashion & Lifestyle Brand BEAMS (Coupon Included!)
30 January 2024
The Artizon Museum: Impressionist Masterpieces, Thoughtful Exhibitions, and More Great Art Near Tokyo Station
29 January 2024
A Quick Trip to Saitama: Bonsai, Japanese Eats, Railway History, and Other Fun Near the Shinkansen Station
22 January 2024
New Attractions at Suzuka Circuit & Park – A Racing Theme Park Near Nagoya at the Track of the F1 Japan Grand Prix
14 January 2024
14 January 2024