In Japan, gift-giving is an art with the most beautiful cultural traits. Even though the price of the present doesn’t need to be high, the most important factors are in the preparation process! So, what should you get for a Japanese friend or a person who’s passionate about the nation? Check this list of Japanese gifts out right now!
Tips about Japanese Gifts
First of all, which category does your recipient fall in? If they are simply in love with this beautiful country, you can skip the notices below and discover the list of chosen gifts. But if they have a Japanese origin, it might be more complicated!
You heard it right! Japanese people value the way you give the gift to them more than the actual price of it. If you research it, you will see no matter what the occasion is, they always put a lot of effort into wrapping and decorating the present. I have been told that the standard wrapper for Japanese gifts includes SIX layers in total and a touch-up with paper or silk bows.
However, the bows are not like anything we will find in a normal gift shop! For example, you should use a combination of white and red for congratulation or white and black for condolence. Thus, it shows how sensitive and sensible the sender is.
You think that’s all? Japanese will use a piece of cloth (called Furoshiki) to embrace the elegant gift box and carry it with them. Furoshiki has a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns to express exactly what you would want to say.
Bad Gifts Alert!
If the recipient is Japanese and not only an enthusiast for the culture, you need to avoid certain items if you don’t want to get on their bad side!
– Never pick anything related to the numbers 4 and 9. According to Japanese pronunciation, ‘4’ is similar to death and ‘9’ resembles sufferance.
– Almost the same with number 9, ‘comb’ will remind them of tragedy and agony. If you give them this seemingly harmless object, they might be sensitive and think you want bad lucks to happen to them.
– Foxes are precious and the patterns based on the said animal are lovely, though Japanese people believe foxes symbolize mischief and greed.
– Do you think tea is a good oriental gift? It’s not like that in Japan. To them, tea means purification, thus giving them tea for a gift means you consider them dirty and unclean.
– Glass and porcelain are so beautiful as materials, yet we all can agree they are also fragile. The same principle applies to vase-like objects. They reflect broken and fickle things in life, which means nothing good.
– Another metaphorical rule to obey is never buying knives, scissors, and other sharp tools, as they might stand for separation and unhappiness.
– Necklaces and ties are only suitable if the recipient has a romantic relationship with you because these items are considered intimate and bond-like.
The Best Japanese Gifts
Japanese Gifts for Her
Women’s Charmeuse Yukata
This traditional robe is extremely elegant with intricate features and botanical prints sketched by hand. Its lightweight will give her so much comfort.
The folding fan is one of the most popular Japanese souvenirs. Instead of providing cool breezes during hot days, these fans usually serve aesthetic purposes and traditional arts.
Adult Coloring Book
For both people who love Japanese arts and coloring activities, Shiawase no Minuet is a precious collection of animals and flowers only seen in fairytales. Plus, the finished pictures can be pretty ornaments!
Japanese Presents for Men
Men will always enjoy the comfort these slippers bring to them. It absorbs moisture on summer days and supports the sensitive soles during winter.
Haku Mizunara Whisky Barrel Aged Shoyu
Whether he is a wine lover or not, the soy sauce filling this beautiful jar up will never fail to surprise. He can have a sweet cooking session with his family at weekend!
Sake Kit Kat Bars
Enough trolling, let’s send our men some real Japanese gifts! Out of all Kit Kat flavors, this must be the most special!
Japanese Gifts for Kids
Tokaido Board Game
The children will learn about the country in the most fun way through the magnificent road named ‘East Sea’. It’s great for adults who love traveling and discovering new places as well as fine meals!
Illustrated with the famous Kokeshi dolls, the sheets are promising if you want to create unique origami products at home! It includes 200 sheets divided into 10 patterns.
Rabbit Blossom Bento Box
Bento boxes make one of the best Japanese gifts as well as encourage children to have their meal with appetite. The item comes with a floral bag for easy delivery and storage.
Japanese Cuisine Gifts
Japanese Snack Samplers
The country is popular for its delicious sweets and treats, and a variety of 15 snacks with different flavors (salty, spicy, savory, sour, sugary) will satisfy the curious eater!
Sushi Making Kit
Sushi is never so simple to make with a rice spreader, rolling mats, and more useful tools. It’s a wonderful gift for anyone who loves Japanese cuisine.
Matcha Tea Set
Full of antioxidants and rich with flavors, matcha tea is yet another beauty introduced to us by the Japanese. You need this item for a proper frothy beverage!
You can hang koi fish chimes anywhere you like and enjoy the relaxing tones whenever the winds rush by. Also, the fish represents loyalty, friendship, and love, which gives your house a symbolic look as well.
Mini Zen Garden
This little garden is incredibly peaceful and lovely to look at after intense working hours. It enhances our concentration ability too, therefore it is a brilliant gift for both students and office workers.
Bonsai Starter Kit
Is the thought of having a miniature arboretum tempting to you? Let’s start from the seed and nurture the bonsai trees with your love!
Useful Japanese Gifts
Usually, they give children ‘randoseru’ before they enter elementary school, and this backpack is made to last the whole six years with sturdy straps and durable materials.
Karuta Card Game
Language learners will love it more than other Japanese gifts! The set consists of cards for you to snatch after catching the hints from the audio recording (which is attached to the package!).
More Japanese Gifts
Tales of Japan
FAQs about Japanese Gifts
What is an Omiyage?
It is translated to ‘souvenir’, but it generally refers to gifts you buy for family, friends, and coworkers after a trip. Most of the time, Omiyage is something edible like snacks or regional specialties.
Why do the Japanese give gifts?
Gift-giving in Japan means more than shopping for items and wrapping them up for quick delivery. You will maintain and strengthen relationships through the gifts, as they show gratitude and appreciation for the recipient. If you are interested in the art of Ochugen, read more about it in this interesting article!
What types of gifts do Japanese traditionally give as thanks?
There are three kinds of gifts you can send as a token of gratitude: Okaeshi, Ochugen, and Oseibo.
– You will give ‘Okaeshi’ in return for a present given to you previously, and it should only be half the price of what you have received. Usually, they use hand towels, sweets, and alcohol.
– ‘Ochugen’ is usually given mid-year to whom you are indebted such as parents, grandparents, teachers, or seniors at work.
– At the end of the year, we will prepare ‘Oseibo’.
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As for me, even when I buy Japanese gifts in a mass, I still spend time decorating them with different wrappers and handwritten sentiments. After all, it’s Japan’s thing to give more than you receive, and the price doesn’t matter. The time and effort you put into your present are what will make them happy!