The 11 Best Places to Shop for Souvenirs in Tokyo

Looking for the best things to buy in Tokyo? From chopsticks to cosmetics, we’ve got you covered.

Shoppers on crosswalk in central Tokyo

Go with room in your suitcase.

Courtesy of Jezael Melgoza/Unsplash

Gift-giving is an integral part of Japanese culture. Traditionally, gifts are sent in the summer and at the end of the year to people like business partners, close relatives, and friends to express gratitude. As a result, the presentation, packaging, and gifts themselves are incredibly important. What’s one of the best places in Japan to look for gifts and souvenirs to bring home to friends and family? Tokyo, which is a shoppers’ paradise.

Plus, there are enticing incentives to shop local in Tokyo: Most stores offer complimentary gift-wrapping (which means your souvenirs look their best), and many are duty free—simply bring your passport to save 10 percent on taxes.

This where to find the 12 best souvenirs in Tokyo (and tips on where to buy them online if you can’t make it to the stores in-person.)

Clothing and textiles

Large, low wood cabinet of drawers displaying merchandise at the Bunzaburo store

Bunzaburo has been selling clothes and accessories in Kyoto for more than 100 years.

Courtesy of Bunzaburo

1. Bunzaburo

Shibori is a traditional dyeing technique created by winding string onto cloth to create unique artistic patterns. Although it was historically applied to kimonos, its use has since expanded. Modern creations at Bunzaburo—which started in Kyoto in 1915—include scarves, bags, dresses, and accessories.

2. Okura

Aizome, or indigo dyeing, was originally used to give color to clothes for samurai warriors; the hue—developed from dried and fermented indigo leaves—eventually became known as “Japan blue” due to its popularity. Today, Okura produces an array of blue shades for clothes such as jeans, jackets, dresses, scarves, and T-shirts using a technique that dates back more than 1,000 years.

Eating, drinking, and dining

Two hands slicing into a shrimp with a Japanese knife

Modern Japanese knives draw on traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques.

Courtesy of Beth Macdonald/Unsplash

3. Kiya

There’s a reason lots of professional chefs travel to Japan to shop for knives—the blades made in Japan can last for decades, thanks to the country’s rich sword-making history. If you don’t want to spring for a knife, with prices starting at $100, try a turtle-shaped copper oroshigane (grater) with two sides: the rough side is for grating daikon radish and onions, the fine side for ginger and citrus.

4. Natsuno

The selection of chopsticks at Natsuno is dizzying, ranging from simple bamboo to colorful lacquerware. Sizes, too, vary from small for children to extra-large for sumo wrestlers, and the staff can help pick a size that is right for your hands. Don’t leave without a hashioki (chopstick rest), either in a traditional pattern or a whimsical design like edamame.

5. Loft

Bringing lunch to the office or to a picnic is more fun when packed in a bento box, which is designed to hold rice and several small dishes. At Loft, you can buy them in a variety of materials (sturdy plastic or elegant lacquerware) and sizes. Playful designs for kids include popular characters like Hello Kitty, while modern, thin metal boxes are constructed to fit into a briefcase.

6. Jugetsudo

At Jugetsudo, Japanese tea aficionados can stock up on matcha (powdered green tea) for whisking or sencha green tea for steeping. Other tea styles that aren’t as commonly found outside of Japan are worth exploring: Toasted green tea, hojicha, is low in caffeine and has lightly smoky notes. Genmaicha, or roasted brown rice tea, is often blended with green tea and has a slightly nutty flavor. The shop also stocks everything from tetsubin iron teapots to loose-leaf tea bottles.

7. Yamamoto Noriten

Yamamoto Noriten, located in the heart of the historic Nihonbashi Muromachi district, has been selling nori since 1849. Known for its ajitsuke (toasted) nori, which is often served at traditional Japanese breakfasts, Yamamoto Noriten also serves snackable nori sticks in flavors including wasabi and sesame seed, uni, or spicy mentaiko roe. (Of course, it’s all packaged in kawaii—or cute—tins.) Home cooks who love to make sushi at home will want to stock their home pantry with the traditional yakinori (roasted seasweed).

Pens and paper

Closeup view of a row of colorful inks at Itoya in Ginza

For all things related to stationary, paper, and pens, head to Ito-ya in Ginza.

Courtesy of Leo Okuyama/Unsplash

8. Ito-ya

On the main shopping street in Ginza, Ito-ya covers an impressive 12 floors, with each floor primarily devoted to one element or experience of writing: think pens (floor 1), office supplies (3), and fine paper (7). On floor 8, visitors can learn about the traditional art of making washi, or Japanese paper, which is the base for beautiful stationery and notebooks. The selection here is expansive—and no wonder: The art of calligraphy and sending seasonal greetings to friends and colleagues are traditional parts of the culture.

9. 100-Yen stores

Seria, Daiso, and Can Do are three popular 100-yen shop chains with branches throughout Tokyo. And while dollar stores in the United States may get a bad rap, 100-yen shops are perfect acceptable in Japan and are great places to find only-in-Japan items that make fun small gifts or stocking stuffers—think sushi erasers, sumo stickers, traditional cloths, and stationery. Make sure to spend time in the food section, where you can find deals on tea, furikake rice sprinkles, and seaweed.

Health and beauty

9. Tokyu Hands

Japan is an island nation rich with natural hot springs, and soaking in an onsen to relax is a national pastime. Even though you may not be able to find hot springs as readily at home, it’s fun to at least take home part of the experience: Visit the bath section at Tokyu Hands for super-absorbent towels, hot spring bath salts, body scrubbing towels, and brushes.

10. Matsumoto Kiyoshi

Japanese pharmacies like Matsumoto Kiyoshi are renowned for their wide selection of face and body products, which are significantly more expensive in the United States. A few of the items on offer: face masks in cute animal shapes, sunscreen, foot peels, regenerative hand lotions, and smooth sunscreens. Matsumoto Kiyoshi locations can be found all around the city.

11. Muji

The name Muji is short for the Japanese phrase “mujirushi ryōhin,” which means “No-Brand Quality Goods"—and that’s exactly what Muji prides itself on. Muji sells a wide-range of high-quality, minimalist, affordable goods that range from stationery to clothing to household goods. In Ginza, travelers can find Muji’s flagship store, which is spread over 11 floors; 4 of those floors are dedicated to Muji Hotel Ginza, which offers a stylish place to stay in the heart of the city.

One of the most exciting sections to peruse at Muji (if you can pry yourself from its gorgeously arranged pantry and dried good sections on the first floor) is the beauty department. Here, buyers will find a wide array of beauty products tools from lip glosses to mirrors to eyebrow brushes. One of the most popular products is its sensitive skin cleansing oil, which is perfect for keeping pores sparkling clean through deep oil cleansing.

This article originally appeared online in 2022; it was most recently updated on February 7, 2024, to include current information.

Yukari Sakamoto immersed herself in the food and beverage world in Tokyo working at Takashimaya department store’s sake section and at the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Grill and Bar as a sommelier. She is the author of Food Sake Tokyo and offers tours to markets in Tokyo.
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