Buying Omiyage from Japan

By Kyle Yates

Ever have a problem deciding what souvenir to buy from Japan? The hardest thing about buying souvenirs in Japan is not deciding what, but which. Japan has an abundance of souvenirs to choose from.

Some of the more popular items people choose are:

green teas
dried seafood items
Japanese candies
fashion accessories
kimonos and yukatas
tea cups and/or sets
Japanese cloth
Japanese shoes, slippers or sandals

Most of these items can be found just about anywhere in Japan, especially in touristy areas. Where are the touristy areas? In Japan, just about anywhere you go. Why? Because Japanese people buy many of these same things and take them back home as souvenirs for their friends and family members, too.

Souvenir shops are everywhere! However, the better quality ones are sometimes hard to find. But have no fear because most souvenir shops in Japan carry quality merchandise. It’s Japanese way!

Souvenir goods are sold in street malls, department stores, underground, along roads, highways and freeways, market areas, and at train stations and airports. Most are good quality and cheap, which is good if you are looking for cheap souvenirs that don’t have to have a high standard of quality behind them to be enjoyed. The better quality things will carry a higher price tag, typical in Japan. Most shops that carry the same item will also have a similar price tag. It’s not like shopping for souvenirs in Mexico or tourist traps where prices are marked way high for tourists and lower for residents. The main reason behind this is because Japanese do a lot of traveling within Japan and buy so many souvenirs that there is no need to mark the good high. It’s basic supply and demand…sell a lot and the price stays low.

So remember, the next time you are in Japan shopping for souvenirs, you can buy pretty much anything everything at around the same price no matter where you go. Sure, sometimes this might not be true or the price may vary a few yen, but in general it will not vary much.

Now that you have an idea of what there is available to buy as a souvenir from Japan, prepare yourself to decide what and which to buy. Even with a list of souvenirs available, choosing will never be easy. So learn to junken – do rock paper scissors – and deciding what to buy will become a bit easier. It’s how many Japanese make their decisions!

Read more about the author of this post:  Kyle Yates is an American English teacher living and working in the Kansai area since 1996. Read more from this author

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Tags: family, friends, japanese goods, omiyage, , souvenirs, travel

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