Top 15 Souvenirs to Buy in Tokyo
When it was my first time to travel to Tokyo in the summer of 2014, I brought only one luggage, enough to fit in a couple of jeans, a few fancy clothes, a pair of shoes, and enough toiletries to last me for a week. I made sure I had some space for gifts I wanted to bring to my family, and toys for my niece and nephew.
Two days later, I ended up buying Delsey’s Helium Expandable luggage to fit all my loot since I couldn’t stop buying stuff that filled my luggage. (And old clothes. I know. Dead weight.)
Since then, I had a single piece of advice to those going to Tokyo for the first time: Bring an extra luggage.
I had a friend who came home from Tokyo, and she bought one suitcase full of whitening soap from Don Quijote.
You don’t have to buy everything you can see in the city, but when you see these interesting things sitting on the shelves, you’ll want to grab one for yourself.
1. Portable CapAce Sake
Where to buy: Don Quijote
It’s the first on my list, because it’s the best find EVER. The cap won’t just pop for you, but your eyes will pop out of their sockets too when I tell you there’s such a thing as portable sake. I love the super portable container, and the cap doubles as a cup too! It’s refreshing, light, and incredibly smooth to drink ~ but not enough to make you buzzed!
2. Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Cookies
Where to buy: Daimaru Ginza
Forget Pablo’s cookies and buy these ridiculously amazing cookies that come in two flavors: Salt & Camembert and Honey & Gorgonzola. Salt & Camembert is my personal favorite but the sweetness of Honey & Gorgonzola makes me want to convert. This is the perfect souvenir to buy for your friends to snack on, and regret later on for finishing in less than a day!
3. Tokyo Disneyland Shirts
Where to buy: Tokyo Disneyland
You won’t be able to find “Tokyo Disneyland” shirts, but you won’t find these unique shirts anywhere else in the world, but in Tokyo. Some wear them on the spot to get into character.
4. Popcorn Buckets
Where to buy: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea’s popcorn buckets put the fun in what you’re snacking on while walking around the park. They come in different shapes and characters! Their stocks run out really fast but it depends on the flavor of the popcorn. You’ll find that salt and cheese flavors have longer lines, while banana chocolate and caramel flavors have shorter lines. The good thing about these popcorn buckets is that you can bring them on your next trip to Disneyland or DisneySea (and even to Universal Studios Japan). But who wants to bring them when you want to collect them?!
5. Do-It-Yourself Ramen
Where to buy: Ramen Street, Tokyo Marunouchi Brick Building, 7-Eleven Stores
It’s a challenge to find frozen Takoyaki in Tokyo compared to Osaka because of the scarcity of supermarkets, but Tokyo is best known for ramen to-go. If you missed eating at Santouka Ramen or Ippudo Ramen because of their long lines, come to Tokyo Marunouchi Brick Building’s Ramen Alley and bring yourself their ramen! It tastes equally rich and warming to your stomach and great for dinners at home. Beware though, these boxes could put some serious weight to your luggage.
6. Home Appliances
Where to buy: BIC Camera or Yodobashi Camera
For rock-bottom deals, try BIC Camera or Yodobashi Camera. They don’t only sell cameras but virtually anything and everything you can possibly think of. Their 128 GB SD cards are outrageously priced but sometimes you can snag deals with home appliances. Just keep in mind the voltage requirements in your home country. My friend bought home a Nespresso machine once for only 5000 yen. He ended up paying more for his voltage transformer.
(He’s now thinking of buying a rice cooker. He has this theory that Japanese rice are fluffier because of their rice cooker.)
Better yet, you can probably buy yourself a cast-iron Takoyaki hot plate for only 300 yen.
7. Kaminarimon Omamori
Where to buy: Nakamise Shopping Street, Asakusa Senso-ji Temple
I’m a huge fan of Japanese amulets that you can often buy in temples. You most definitely cannot take photos of them, but buy one because they bring you good luck and they’re pretty cheap too. Omamori’s at Asakusa Senso-ji Temple are unique and you can choose whatever talisman that will help you in your everyday life.
8. Bikkle – The Giant Yakult
Where to buy: Vendo machines
Who doesn’t love Yakult, but complain of its small size? While the small size has really made us crave more of the drink, this pro-biotic drink keeps our stomach happy and hoping for a bigger successor. And since the 1-Liter Yakult isn’t happening, meet Bikkle, the giant Japanese pro-biotic milk that is one of my favorite items in my stash whenever I go to Tokyo. Manufactured by Suntory, this 100g drink is available in most vendo machines selling 100-yen drinks and on a hot summer day, this drink keeps my stomach happy.
9. Food-Shaped Keychains
Where to buy: Tokyo Marunouchi Brick Building
Since everyone loves food, you can’t go wrong with buying food-shaped keychains as souvenirs to your friends. From ramen-shaped keychains, to collect them all sashimi’s, these tiny trinkets are excellent souvenirs not to be missed.
10. Mainstream Manga
Where to buy: GAMERS Store, 1-14-7 Soto-Kanda Takarada building, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (10 second walk from Denkigaiguichi Exit, Akihabara Station)
Akihabara isn’t the only strip for electronics, but the area is slowly being gentrified as the ultimate center for all things manga, a really convenient place to satisfy your anime indulgence. Along with anime merchandises, Akihabara is littered with so many magazines, you might find yourself looking for your favorite character like a needle in a haystack.
11. Indie Manga a.k.a. “Doujin-shi”
Where to buy: Toranoana Store, 101-0021 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (3 minute walk from Denkigaiguchi Exit, Akihabara Station)
For those looking for some pure talent, the manga industry is also fond of indie artists who create amazing art just with their imagination. Doujin-shi is more popular at Toranoana Store where they also sell DVDs and Blu-ray CD collection.
12. Origami Paper
Where to Buy: Tokyu Hands, Takashimaya Department Store, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Who isn’t fond of Origami puzzles? No place does it better than Tokyo, especially at Tokyu Hands, a shopper’s dangerous paradise when it comes to literally looting the place. From herbal shampoos, to massage chairs, Tokyu Hands is your one-stop store for anything you want to buy. And of course, Origami Papers of different themes make this all worthwhile. My personal recommendation? Origami paper flags.
13. Japanese Snacks
Where to buy: Daiso 100 Store, Harajuku
Beyond the cracker nuts and nori biscuits, you can score lots of Japanese snacks to take home with you. While they can definitely make your suitcase bulky, you won’t regret buying these cheap thrills. It’s time to let go of Kitkat chocolates.
Where to buy: Drug stores, Daiso 100, Don Quijote
Tokyo is the place to be to prettify yourself. Ladies will want to loot hand creams, eyebrow pencils and hair dyes. Throw in great deals from certified Shiseido retailers even at nearby drugstores ~ you’ll find yourself making two to three stops in every damn store at the Shibuya center gai.
15. Fruits (and Seafood, if you can)
Where to buy: Ota Central Wholesale Market, 3-2-1 Tokai, Ota-ku, Tokyo (15 minutes walk from Ryutsu Center Station on Tokyo Monorail)
Opening Hours: 5:00am – 3:00pm
Did you know that there’s another wholesale market that’s 30 minutes away from central Tokyo aside from Tsukiji? There are stores who sell seafood at jaw-dropping prices. If you can fill in one entire plastic bag with as much salmon’s and tuna head’s as you can, it’s all yours for only 500 yen. That is if you can take them home. Depending on how strict the customs officers are at your local country, your best bet is saving one luggage just for these stuff and checking them in. (Unless you live on the other side of the world, don’t do it!) But think all kinds of exotic deals from escargots to huge daikon radishes and the freshest strawberries, and you’ll find that Japan’s largest flower and vegetable market offers the best there is to see in Tokyo.
Tip: Buy a pair of shoes, and stuff those fruits in the shoebox on your last day. They’ll last until you come home.
You wish you can bring home the entire market with you.
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