Be it birthdays, graduations, Christmas, or other holidays, deciding on gifts for your loved ones can be a time-consuming and even frustrating task.
If the special someone you're buying for has a love of Japanese culture or pop-culture, this list has got you covered.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the best Japanese gift ideas for the Japanohile in your life. From anime and games to snacks and clothing, this list has a little something for everyone.
Japanese Gift Ideas
1. Japanese Tea
When people think of Japan, green tea is likely one of the first things that come to mind.
If you’re unsure of what gift to buy for a certain someone, you can almost never go wrong with some delicious Japanese green tea (as long as they’re a tea drinker).
There are many brands to choose from, but some famous Japanese tea brands you can consider are Itoen and Lupicia.
Itoen teas are usually on the cheaper side, whereas Lupicia is one of the more expensive tea brands in Japan.
2. Themed Masks
Even before COVID-19, Japan had a widely accepted mask-wearing culture.
In Japan, you can find some of the coolest and cutest themed masks to help you stay stylish while maintaining healthy hygiene.
Even before COVID-19, Japan had a widely accepted mask-wearing culture. In Japan, you can find some of the coolest and cutest themed masks to help you stay stylish while maintaining healthy hygiene.
On Amazon Japan alone, you can find Demon Slayer masks and other anime-themed masks, and more. You can find themed masks for men, women, and children, and they could be a great way to get your kids excited about wearing masks (rather than dreading the discomfort).
3. Anime Box Sets
For the anime otaku in your life, there is no better Japanese gift than the DVD or Blu-ray box set of their favorite anime.
If you’re looking for newer box sets released in 2020, one option could be Makoto Shinkai’s blockbuster hit Weathering With You. The box set comes with the film, bonus documentary disc, a custom sticker and poster, as well as a 104-page book.
If your special someone isn’t into Shinkai anime or you don't know exactly what their favorite anime are, you can’t go wrong with a title from Studio Ghibli’s expansive library. The equivalent of Japan’s Disney, Studio Ghibli has titles both children and adults will enjoy.
Some of Ghibli’s most popular titles are:
- Spirited Away
- Princess Mononoke
- My Neighbour Totoro
- Howl’s Moving Castle
4. Japanese Snacks, Chocolates, and Confectionaries
When people think of Japanese snacks, they often think of Pocky and matcha green tea Kit-Kat.
However, Japan has so many more delicious snacks and sweets to offer. Many of these snacks make for perfect stocking stuffers and Japanese gift add-ons for any holiday season.
At Zenmarket, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Japanese snacks. This list will have something for everyone, whether you have a sweet tooth, or prefer the salty and savory.
Some highlights from the list to consider:
If you’re down to the wire and don’t know what to get, matcha green tea Kit-Kats are generally a crowd favorite. However, it could be fun to surprise the Japanophile in your life with a tasty snack they’ve never tried before.
5. Hanko Stamps
If you’re looking for a more unique Japanese gift idea, you should consider buying a Japanese Hanko.
What is a Hanko?
A relic of the past, the Japanese Hanko is a stamp that holds a person’s family name and is used to sign official documents in Japan. The government just announced in 2020 that they are beginning to phase out the use of Hanko, so they might not be that easy to find in the near future.
Some companies are used by non-Japanese to create custom Hanko with foreign names. While there won’t be a kanji to match your surname, the custom Hanko company can create one that says your name in katakana (Japanese characters used for foreign words and names).
For an extra special Hanko, I highly recommend the Pokémon Hanko. There is a website where you can order custom Hanko with both your name in Katakana and your favorite Pokémon next to it.
Not only are these incredibly unique and fun, they are also legally accepted at most institutions in Japan.
For example, I’ve signed work contracts and bank contracts with my Pokémon Hanko.
Can you imagine Pikachu’s face next to your signature on your employment contract? Well, in Japan that dream is a reality (until they do away with Hankos altogether in the future).
6. Japanese Textbooks
Do you have someone on your shopping list that has expressed a desire to learn Japanese, but just needs some motivation or a nudge in the right direction?
If so, a beginner Japanese textbook could be a great Japanese gift option.
I know getting a textbook for Christmas might sound more like a chore and less like a gift to some people.
There is no better time than now to start learning a new language.
And who knows? This gift could be the first step towards complete Japanese fluency for your friend or loved one.
While there are many textbooks out there, the two most common beginner textbooks floating around these days are:
- Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese - Vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation
- Nihongo Challenge: N4 & N5 Kanji - Kanji, vocabulary
7. Japanese Game Consoles
For the video game lovers on your list, an exclusive video game console can be the perfect Japanese gift this holiday season.
It’s no secret that Japan is privy to many exclusive games and Japanese exclusive video game consoles that never make it to other countries. While many of these systems aren’t sold outside of Japan, many of them are region-free and can be used in any country.
For example, the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita are all region free, meaning you can use a Japanese console with English games and vice versa. Before buying, be sure to do your research and make extra sure that the console is indeed region-free and can be used in your country.
Check out this article on Wikipedia to learn more about which Japanese consoles are region-free.
8. Japanese Yukata
One of the best things about Japan is the prominence of traditional clothing at festivals, events, and ceremonies. To this day, it’s still common to see people dressed up in kimonos or yukatas when going to a festival, at religious ceremonies, or even just for fun.
Some people have kimono social clubs that meet up just to go out in a kimono. While kimonos are likely out of most people’s price range (some kimonos can cost over $10,000 USD), Yukatas are a whole different story.
Difference between yukata and kimono
While the kimono is very formal attire, the yukata is much more casual and has even been referred to as “Japanese style pajamas”. When you go to a Japanese hotel, you’ll most likely see a yukata on the bed for you to wear, instead of the bathrobe you see in Western hotels.
At the same time, yukatas are much cheaper than kimonos. You can find many options for under $50 USD. While these will be of lower quality, they are perfect as a fun Japanese gift for people to wear at home in place of regular PJs.
We hope this list of Japanese gift ideas will help you decide on the perfect presents for your friends and family.
Remember, if one of these items doesn’t ship to your country, don’t worry. That situation is precisely why ZenMarket exists! Check out our guide to learn how you can use ZenMarket as your solution to get all the cool items that don’t ship outside the country.
If you need more information on how to shop with ZenMarket you can click the image below to check out our full in-depth guide on how to shop using ZenMarket, which will teach you everything you need to know about how to buy ANYTHING you want, directly from Japan and have it shipped to your front door anywhere in the world.