Best Places to Find Japanese Souvenirs

Bring back Japanese tapestries, sake, and kimonos as reminders of your time in the land of the rising sun.

15−8 3 Chome
Tokyo is replete with tiny, cool boutiques specializing in everything from rare toys to carved owl figurines (to be honest, I still haven’t quite figured out how the latter stays in business, but it must have an established customer base since the shop’s been open for over 20 years—that, however, is the topic of a future Highlight). Likewise, some of these retail establishments offer items created by traditional craftsmen in stunningly beautiful and refined modern form, which embody a fusion of the past and present that so clearly defines the city as a whole. One such shop is Horigin, a small shop on an unassuming backstreet of Harajuku that sells absolutely stunning Japanese and Buddhist mythology-influenced jewelry and accessories forged using precious metals such as silver, gold, and titanium by a family of master craftsmen whose lineage extends all the way back to 1727. Merging ancient Japanese engraving and metalworking techniques with modern interpretations of traditional patterns and themes, Horigin (whose owner’s ancestors used to specialize in making tsuba, the ornately embellished hand guards that adorned Japanese samurai swords, before the latter were banned by Emperor Meiji in 1868) is a purveyor of modern pieces of Japan’s past of the highest quality that make for unique mementos of one’s trip to this ancient country (not to mention really cool gifts as well!).
Japan, 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 5 Chome−9−13 喜多重ビル
Shopping at Oriental Bazaar in Omote-sando is something of a guilty pleasure—you know you’ve just been sucked into one of the biggest tourist traps in town, but at the same time the convenience afforded by being able to purchase souvenirs representing most major Japanese cultural traditions all in one place is undeniable. Although most of the stuff on offer are mass-produced, run-of-the-mill products, the store does have departments selling genuine antique kimonos and furniture. Enjoy.
3-chōme-2-9 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to 160-8336, Japan
In the outer market of Tsukiji, I bought a knife at this amazing shop and the experience stuck with me. Any cook knows a great knife makes all the difference, and here they have such a vast variety of knives, at various prices, that anyone can find something here. After selecting my purchase, the third generation owner put my name on the knife by hand. Who knew knives could be so personal? Keep in mind that this is a cash only shop. Tsukiji Masamoto Tsukiji 4-9-9
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks