Cool Things to Buy When You’re in Japan

It is not often for most people to travel from one place to another, let alone overseas. Usually, there are occasions or long vacations that urge people to travel long distances. When one gets to travel to a foreign place, it would be typical to take a piece of that place with one when one leaves for home. It is also typical for people to purchase specific products that are only available in a certain country. These can be souvenirs of any sort that may hold some significance to that country.

Should one wish to travel to any country in Asia, it would be highly recommended to travel to Japan. Not only does it offer beautiful scenery and extraordinary experiences, the Land of the Sun also produces different kinds of goods and items that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Some people even fly to Japan on purpose just to get access to some of the items that only this country can offer. Besides the delicious Japanese cuisine that many people drool over, Japan also offers must-buy cool things that one should definitely get when in Japan.

Cool Things You Can Only Purchase in Japan

By sakura_chihaya+ [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

While there are typical souvenirs that one can get when visiting Japan, there are other cool things that one can opt to buy that only Japan produces. Among the many things that one can buy only in Japan would be omamori. This item is highly popular among Japanese students who believe in Shintoism. Omamori are basically charms that are believed to bring good luck to the owner. Usually sold at Shinto shrines, this good luck charm is usually used hanging from the bags of students and is considered a staple for some people.

Another cool and sought-after item that can only be found in Japan is Gotochi goods. Gotochi sells not just foods and delicacies, but also various items like charms. Fans of Hello Kitty would sure love to buy the Hello Kitty Gotochi Series charms though these are not readily available all over Japan. Sadly, these charms can also be found in certain cities and prefectures in the country. Even the locals themselves sometimes find it hard to look for these charms.

For lovers of liquor, there are various liquor choices that they would find cool in Japan. Because some of these brands and types of liquor are not sold outside of Japan, people who love alcohol would see these finds as cool stuff that they just have to bring with them to their homeland. Once considered as the best whiskey in the world, one should opt to buy Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt.

For the women who are highly into fashion, cool pieces of clothing can also be found in Japan. Things like a haori or a kanzashi are among the cool items that a girl cannot find anywhere else besides Japan. These pieces among others are exclusive to certain shops in the Land of the Sun alone. As for textile, one can opt to purchase furoshiki. People who are into gift-wrapping and other art crafting, furoshiki would definitely be a cool find in Japan.

Another cool item that people who love crafts would probably opt to purchase in Japan is kami and washi papers. These are specialty Japanese papers that can be utilized for all sorts of things such as origami, paper crafts, wall art, and placemats. While other places outside Japan nowadays also sell washi paper, only the best ones would be found and purchased within the country.

Other cool items that one can get in Japan are handmade ceramics. While there are definitely other places in the world that produce handmade ceramics, fine Japanese ceramics are something else altogether. Found typically only in specialty boutiques, these ceramics usually come in chopstick rests, teacups, and shallow dishes. These products are also easy to transport when flying out of Japan due to their small size. 

By Midori (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp (], via Wikimedia Commons

For the musicians or just people who love music, there are various musical instruments that the Japanese people are specialized in making. Especially for the collectors of musical instruments, these items are definitely a cool find. Musical instruments such as the Japanese shamisen and the flute are among the top items that a collector would find cool. Other options include the koto, which is a zither, and the kugo, which is a harp, though these would certainly take up more space.

Because Japan is among the pioneers of online video gaming, it should not come as a surprise that there are various cool video games that can only be found in the Land of the Sun. While there are several video games that are released worldwide, there are also some that are only released on the Japanese market. A classic example of this is the Pokemon: Green Version intended for Nintendo Gameboy. As for a newer example, it would probably be the Tingle’s Balloon Fight, which is a Zelda spinoff, intended for the Nintendo DS. It is important to note though that while one may be able to purchase them in Japan, it may not work on systems that were bought outside the country.

Some Cool Things to Buy While in Tokyo

Among the most populated places in the land of Japan is Tokyo. Being a metropolitan area, it is packed not just with people but with shops. Due to the high population in the area, it is not a surprise that many cool things are sold in the metropolis. Among the must-see places when in Tokyo is the Asakusa’s Kaminarimon. This is also the place to be if one is looking for some cool stuff to buy. Figures, socks, tote bags, and lanterns are only some of the items that are sold here with Kaminarimon designs. This should certainly be a stop when one opts to visit and walk around Tokyo.

An unusual place to get cool items but is highly popular among the youth in Japan is a vending machine. When one finds him or herself in Shibuya, one may opt to try to get some souvenirs from Shibuya vending machines. Items like tenugui handkerchiefs, earrings, and phone straps are available in vending machines.

Another example of a cool find in Tokyo is Japanese food samples. These are basically dishes made of plastic but look like they are real. They usually come in keychains and earrings. Not only are they cute, they are also a cool find especially for people who want to trick others into thinking that these things are real. Several tourists buy these as souvenirs because of how cool and unusual these are.

For those people who want a personal but cool piece of item that would remind them of their visit to Japan, getting Senjafuda straps are highly recommended. These are basically names in kanji etched into a piece of wood. Worry not for people who only have English names as most sellers of these usually help one translate English names into kanji characters. This would definitely be a cool memento of one’s trip to Japan.

If one is feeling adventurous in terms of food, a definite cool find would be the various flavors of KitKat. Only Japan produces the many flavors, albeit unusual or weird, of KitKat that some people may love or hate. Flavors like sake, rum raisin, cheesecake are only among the cool KitKat finds that one can purchase when in Japan. Among the most popular flavors are the green tea and sakura green tea flavor. The country even has a KitKat variant that can be baked in an electric oven.

Where to Get Anime Goods in Japan that You Can’t Buy Here or Anywhere Else

Because Japan is the homeland of manga and anime, it is, of course, also the best place to buy anime goods. Due to the fact that the country produces most of the anime items around the world, there are definitely a lot of cool anime finds that one cannot find anywhere else aside from Japan. The country itself has a lot of anime and manga stores that offer various items that one may find interesting. However, due to the sheer amount of stores there are nationwide, it would be best to go to the best anime stores instead.

Among the best places to get cool character items in Tokyo is the Tokyo Character Street. Located at 1-9-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, this place houses more than 20 stores that sell exclusive goods such as Hello Kitty and Snoopy merchandise. Also known as Ichiban Plaza, this place also offers manga and anime-themed products that are only available for a certain time.

For those looking for rare manga and anime-related items, Nakano Broadway is the place to be. Located at 5-52-15 Nakano, Tokyo 164-0001, Japan, this shopping center is known to some people are a “collector’s haven.” Nakano Broadway houses more than 25 shops of Mandarake that some people would go nuts for. There are also other things that one can buy in this shopping center as it also has a grocery store and clothing shops.

Another popular place to go to for anime and manga wares is the JUMP SHOP. Highly popular among the anime fanatics, this place is heaven for people who love anything and everything anime. Among the many items that they sell are those from anime shows like Naruto, One Piece, and Dragonball. Located at B1F Tokyo Station Ichi-bangai 1-9-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, this store also has other branches situated in Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Dome City.

For the fanatics of the anime series One Piece, a place called One Piece Mugiwara Store would be considered a One Piece haven. Located at 1 Chome-22-6 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, manga and anime merchandise related to One Piece can be found in this store. One of its bestsellers is figurines of favorite characters from the anime series and a lot of its fans can be seen frequenting this place.

On the other hand, if one is looking for an anime and manga place that not only sells but also buys products, then head on over to K-Books. Located at 1 Chome-15-16 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, this anime and manga store sells various products that have any relation to anime and manga. With branches in Ikebukuro and Akihabara, K-Books is among the most popular places to go to if one is looking for anime and manga merchandise. If one has anime or manga item that is considered rare and high-quality, selling them to K-Books would be a great option as they offer good prices in yen.

Last but certainly not the least is Mandarake. Located at Sotokanda 3-11-12, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, this is the spot for manga and anime lovers. Most tourist guides recommend this place to fans of anime and manga. Established in the year 1987, it is one of the most popular anime and manga stores in Tokyo. Just their branch in Akihabara houses eight floors, selling anime and manga related products such as cosplay, toys, doujinshi, and game consoles. One could really give this store credit because of the vast array of anime and manga products that they offer.

What are Other Cool Things to Buy in Japan?

There are still other cool things that a person can buy when visiting Japan. Aside from going to restaurants and visiting tourist destinations, buying some incredible stuff that can only be bought in Japan is also a must. USB sticks in the form of food plastics, indoor cherry blossoms, pot noodle humidifiers, dog to-shirts, shinkansen chopsticks, and ASIMO robots are only some other cool finds that one can get when in Japan.

No matter where one is staying in, whether it is in Kyoto, Osaka, or any other place, looking and walking around the city is highly recommended to tourists in Japan. Instead of just staying in the hotel when night falls, walking along the streets of Japan would be a great option in order to find some really cool stuff. Tourists flock to the country in the months of February, March, and April just to be able to find some cool Japanese items that they could bring back home.