If you want to purchase traditional Japanese souvenirs to give to your family and friends back home, check out the following spots in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto:
Being home to the 7th century Buddhist temple, Sensoji, as well as numerous old houses and buildings, Asakusa is known for its traditional atmosphere. When souvenir shopping in this part of Tokyo, make sure to explore the following streets to find various uniquely Japanese items:
- Nakamise-dori – This street leads to the Sensoji Temple and is home to numerous shops that bake and sell rice crackers, doll cakes and other traditional snacks.
- Kappabashi – A few minutes’ walk from Iriya Station and Tawaramachi Station, Kappabashi has an abundance of shops that offer food samples of various Japanese cuisines, as well as plastic miniature replicas of these delicious dishes which you can purchase as souvenirs.
- Ekimise – Found close to Asakusa Station, Emikise features shops that have all sorts of weird, bizarre and extraordinary items, including fake metal swords, ninja throwing knives, and more.
Found between Ueno and Okachimachi Stations, Ameyoko is a market street that is usually busy with tourists in search of different kinds of traditional Japanese souvenirs. From 10 am the street starts to fill with curious and interested visitors, browsing stores that sell bags, clothes, cosmetics, arts and crafts, dried food, spices, octopus, sea urchin, salmon, fish eggs and fresh fish.
- Oriental Bazaar – A popular gift shop in the heart of Harajuku, the Oriental Bazaar has a wide selection of goods and products, from dolls, kimonos, yukata and china, to books, furniture and antiques.
- Takeshita Dori – A pedestrian street lined with cafes, restaurants and fashion boutiques, Takeshita Dori is the hub for those looking to purchase the latest items trending among Japanese youth.
- Omotesando – Often compared to Paris’ Champs-Elysees, Omotesando is the perfect place for those who are looking for high-end and luxury clothing, footwear and electronics brands.
Japanese lanterns as a souvenirs are sold at Asakusa’s streets.
Located in Kyoto’s commercial centre, Shijo Street is often filled with shopping enthusiasts who are on the hunt for items such as specialty arts and crafts, local foods and delicacies. You can start walking from its eastern end at the Yasaka Shrine, and explore its many large stores and small shops until you reach its western end, where you will find the Matsunoo Shrine.
Not too far from Shijo Street is the shopping arcade called Teramachi Dori. Populated with restaurants that serve various Kyoto specialty snacks and dishes, and shops that offer all sorts of goods (from cheap souvenirs to upscale brands), it is also close to the Nishiki Market, where you can feast on delicious Kyoto cuisine.
The Higashiyama district of Kyoto is also a good shopping option for traditional Japanese souvenirs. It is situated close to Kiyomizudera Temple and its cafes, shops and restaurants provide a relaxing and refreshing place to rest after exploring the temple. You can find shops and stalls that sell Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, crafts, pickles and sweets.
Porta at Kyoto Station
Porta at Kyoto Station comprises numerous cafes, restaurants, specialty shops, clothing stores and other establishments that offer both locals and foreigners an opportunity to experience some of the city’s culture and lifestyle. After souvenir shopping for boxwood combs, folding fans, Japanese dolls, chopsticks and other locally made crafts, you can sit down and enjoy udon, soba, ramen, obanzai and other dishes.
A shopping arcade with almost 200 stores, Shinsaibashi is one of the oldest and busiest shopping centres in Osaka. It is approximately 600 metres long, and is lined with small boutiques, popular brand shops and upscale stores. You can purchase Japanese arts and crafts, snacks, electronics, clothes, shoes, bags, etc. at this Edo Period shopping destination.
Situated in downtown Osaka, along the Dotonbori-gawa Canal, Dotonbori is a haven of restaurants and entertainment establishments. It is almost always crowded with people, especially those looking to try different Osaka foods and snacks. Moreover, it also houses a number of theatres where you can watch Bunraku, which is a traditional puppet show. At night, the area is bright and bustling, as neon advertisement signboards and lamps illuminate the surroundings.
Sonezaki Ohatsutenjin-dori Shotengai
A shopping street situated close to Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine, also known as Tsuyuno Tenjinshina Shrine, the Sonezaki Ohatsutenjin-dori Shotengai has about 100 dining and shopping options that lure both locals and foreigners day in and day out. It is the location of the popular “Sonezaki Shinju” or “Love Suicide in Sonezaki”. You can easily spend an entire day there, whether shopping for clothes and other goods, eating takoyaki or okonomiyaki, or playing at pachinko establishments.