Cool Affordable & Convenient Gifts

For you beginners who can only imagine buying ninja T-shirts or Ukiyoe printed cloth (Tenugui) as presents for your friends and family, look below for our recommendations.   There’s just so much Japan has to offer in terms of gifts, so check the below for some alternative ideas. The suggestions are based on these 4 criterias: 


  1. - Chances of it being well received.
  2. - Easily found and bought.
  3. -Buying in bulk is affordable.
  4. - Not heavy.

The products mentioned are also beloved by frequent visitors.  

※3 stars = highest mark.  

[caption id="attachment_13829" align="aligncenter" width="4032"]Seven Eleven convenience store Sweets at a Seven-Eleven Convenience Store[/caption]
  • Sweets:


① Chocolate ★★★

You can’t go wrong with a combo of  biscuit and chocolate, we guarantee it.   Japanese chocolate is not too sweet, but full of flavor that matches perfectly to the crisp biscuits that has its own refined taste. Most people around the world are no doubt enthusiastic about eating them. There are a lot of chocolates that use matcha, a.k.a green tea flavored, which makes it a prime present from Japan. Below is a list of products that are long-time best sellers. They can be found everywhere.


Kinoko no Yama [きのこの山 & Takenoko no Sato [たけのこの里] 



KitKat - Sells a ton of flavors not available in other countries, including the Green Tea flavor, seasonal, and regional flavors.


Where to Buy: Convenience stores, supermarkets, drug stores

Price: 100〜400 yen

The chocolate biscuits below are sold only at airports and go from ¥700〜¥1,200 a box, a little expensive, but worth it.   Using quality ingredients from Hokkaido, the taste ranks higher than average goodies you'll find at stores.  

Shiroi Koibito [白い恋人]

Royce Chocolate 


  • Food Products:


① Japanese soup stock [だしの素] ★★★  

The stock is a powdery substance made from boiling dried kelp or bonito. Its light, compact packaging makes it easy to carry with you while taking up little space. Just having this will yield you powers to cook like a true Japanese!   Most famous are Ajimoto’s Hondashi [味の素のほんだし] and Shimaya Dashinomoto [シマヤだしの素].  


Where to Buy: Convenience stores, supermarkets.

Price: ¥300〜¥700  


② Pre-packaged/Instant food [レトルト/インスタント食品] ★★★  

You can’t imagine the insurmountable number of pre-packaged/Instant food at your fingertips. And their quality is no laughing matter, they are great!   For example, an instant ramen produced in collaboration between a convenience store and a famous shop, will taste overwhelmingly better than the local ramen shop in your country.   Whatever you buy, you won’t be left feeling cheated or that it’s horribly disgusting. But, pre-packaged curry and ramen are the most fiercely fought battles among makers, so products are cheap and darn good as a result.  


Where to Buy: Convenience stores, supermarkets.

Price: ¥100〜¥1000  


③ Ochazuke stock [お茶漬けの素] ★★☆  

A dish as simple as pouring tea or Japanese soup over rice, but Japanese people love it.   It’s often served as a last dish at traditional Japanese restaurants, or when you have little appetite when at home.   The stock is essentially a powder of soup, seaweed, and other ingredients.   The most famous brand is Nagatanien [永谷園].

Where to Buy: Supermarkets, convenience stores.

Price: ¥200〜¥400  


④ Furikake [ふりかけ] ★☆☆  

A magical mix of several ingredients made into tiny flakes and mixed together is Furikake.   Shake the mix on top of a fresh batch of warm rice, and you won’t be able to put your chopsticks down. It’s like a drug for Japanese.   Most well-known brands: Marumiya [丸美屋] and Nagatanien [永谷園]    


Where to Buy: Supermarkets, convenience stores.

Price: ¥200〜¥400  


⑤ Curry Powder [カレーのルー] ★★☆

Japanese curry is vastly different to Indian and Thai curry, not as spicy, but rich in flavor and “umami” - savory.     The curry powder is solidified into cube shapes and melts in hot temperature. A simple summary of some of the ingredients are wheat flour, oil, variety of spices, and all kinds of seasonings.   All you really need is meat, potatoes, onions, and carrots to make a tasty, yet simple Japanese curry dish.   The household brand names are: House Shokuhin [ハウス食品]  and Glico [グリコ] 


Where to Buy: Supermarkets, convenience stores

Price: ¥150〜¥300  

[caption id="attachment_13877" align="aligncenter" width="494"]comfortable socks Photo Credit: comfortable socks[/caption]


  • Clothes:


① Socks ★★☆  

Japanese socks are crazy in color and variety yet so comfortable and durable.   Tabio is a specialty store for socks made in Japan, so we recommend it of course.    


Where to Buy: Supermarkets, department stores, apparel shops.

Price: ¥500〜¥1,500  


② Yukata ★☆☆  

Japanese Kimono’s are gorgeous and cool, but if you buy the “real thing” it’ll cost you tens of thousands of dollars, and those are not even the highest quality ones which go for hundreds of thousands of dollars (gasp).   Yukatas, on the other hand, are the cheapest type of Kimono.   The fabric of yukatas are light so it’s best to wear them when temperatures exceed 25 degrees Celsius. Just wearing one will double your cuteness, at least it should.  


Where to Buy: Uniqlo (larger stores)

Price: About ¥6,000  

[caption id="attachment_13828" align="aligncenter" width="2592"]General stationary items General stationary items[/caption]


  • General Goods:


① Ballpoint Pen ★★★  

Japanese stationery goods clear 3 important requisites; they are sophisticated, high quality, and low in cost. They are also light and take up very little space to make it a perfect gift.   Particularly worth checking is the erasable ball pen Frixion series. The rubber end of the pen uses heat friction to erase what you’ve written.   PILOT manufactures the pen which comes in a convenient wide range of colors.  Also worth mentioning are PILOTS other products and Mitsubishi Pencil [三菱鉛筆] products.


Where to Buy: Convenience stores, drug stores, general goods stores, bookstores, stationery stores.

Price: ¥100〜¥500  


② Eraser ★★★   No denying Japanese erasers erase well and cleanly.   Tombow’s [トンボ] MONO eraser is especially highly recommended.  


Where to Buy: Convenience stores, 100 yen shops, drug stores, general goods stores, bookstores, stationery stores Price: ¥50〜¥200.

[caption id="attachment_13876" align="aligncenter" width="760"]Japanese Nail Clippers Photo Credit: Kai nai Nail Clippers[/caption]


  • Edged tool [刃物]


Nail Clippers [爪切り] ★★☆  

This is the country that has a tradition of making samurai swords. There is no way edged tools could be bad, in fact just thinking it is disrespectful!   The large maker, Kaijirushi [貝印], costs around ¥1,000 and is comparably cheap, as well as sold everywhere.  


The sharpness of GREEN BELL is quite nice. Their products fall in the reasonable price range from ¥1,000〜¥2,000, but sold only at drug stores, Tokyu Hands [東急ハンズ], and Loft [ロフト].  


Lastly, known as the Rolls Royce of nail clippers, SUWADA’s design and cutting smoothness is on a level of its own and is often used by celebrities. However, it’ll cost you ¥6,000〜¥8,000 and the only place you’ll probably find it is at Tokyu Hands [東急ハンズ].  


Where to Buy: Any drug store, convenience store, or specialty store (Tokyu Hands/Loft).

Price: ¥1000〜¥8,000


[caption id="attachment_13820" align="aligncenter" width="4032"]health and treatment products Matsumoto Kiyoshi health and treatment products at Matsumoto Kiyoshi[/caption]


  • Treatment & Beauty [Body and Beauty Treatment]


① All sorts of medicine [各種薬]★☆☆  

Asians, especially Chinese people, enthusiastically purchase Japanese medicine and beauty products that are known for their effectiveness and wellness.   Among Chinese lore, 12 “God’s Medicine” or Kamiyaku, exists.   Below is a list of the more popular products of the 12 “medicines” people go binge shopping for.  


Eye Drops  (目薬)

Product Name: Sante Beauteye (サンテボーティエ)

Maker: Santen Pharmaceutical [参天製薬]  


Anti-inflammmitory Painkiller (消炎鎮痛剤)

Product Name: Ammeltz Yokoyoko (アンメルツヨコヨコ)

Maker: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical(小林製薬)  


Anti-inflammmitory Painkiller (消炎鎮痛剤)

Product Name: Salonpas (サロンパス)

Maker: Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical(久光製薬)


Adhesive bandage (液体絆創膏)

Product Name: Sakamu (サカムケア)

Maker: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical (小林製薬)  


Coolant for head (冷却材)

Product Name: Netsusama Sheet (熱さまシート)

Maker: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical(小林製薬)  


Headache Medicine (頭痛薬) 

Product Name: Eve quick (イブクイック)

Maker: SS Pharmaceutical (エスエス製薬)  


Skin Medicine (外皮用薬)

Product Name: Nino-cure (ニノキュア)

Maker: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical(小林製薬)  


L-Cysteine Medicine (L-システイン製剤)

Product Name: Hythiol-C (ハイチオールC)

Maker: SS Pharmaceutical (エスエス製薬)  


Constipation Medicine (便秘薬)

Product Name: Viewlac-A (ビューラックA)

Maker: Kokando Pharmaceutical (皇漢堂製薬)  


Mouth Ulcer Medicine (口内炎治療薬)

Product Name: Kounaien patch Taisho A (口内炎パッチ大正A) 

Maker: Taisho Pharmaceutical (大正製薬)  


Menopausal Disorder Medicine (更年期障害薬)

Product Name: Inochi No Haha A (命の母A)  

Maker: Kobayashi (小林製薬)  


Throat Medicine (のど薬)

Product Name: Ryukakusan (龍角散)

Maker: Ryukakusan (龍角散)  

  • Where to Buy: Any drug store
  • Cost: 500 yen〜2,000 yen


② Hot Spring Mineral Bath Pack [温泉の素] ★☆☆  

The pack is a bathing powder substance from hot springs. All you need to do is add some of the powder into a hot bath and you can have your own relaxing hot spring bath at home.   Japan’s well-known hot spring set from Bathclin [日本の名湯シリーズ] is a set that allows you to choose the mineral powders from hot springs all over Japan. Onso [温素], with its alkali substance, gives your skin a silky smooth touch.


Where to Buy: Any drug store

Price: About ¥1000  

[caption id="attachment_13879" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]Plastic Food Display Tokyo Photo Credit: Plastic food display[/caption]


  • Plastic Food Display Goods★★★

Goods (key holders, magnets, straps) made to look like real food are fun to look at and draws attention, a great gift for sure. Particularly fun are the sushi goods, so many in variety and very Japanese.   It’s not a bad idea to buy them at 100 yen shops and give them out like candy to friends and family.   If you want high-quality, realistic ones, look nowhere else than Kappabashi [合羽橋] area. There are a lot of shops selling sample food goods.  


Where to Buy: 100 yen shop

Price: ¥100〜¥1,000