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Recommended buys in Japan

The currency conversion to yen has been pretty favorable lately and many people have been going to Japan for their holidays! Here are some items I'd recommend you to pick up as souvenirs or gifts, as well as things you should try while there!

1) Japan-exclusive anime keychains

One of my favourite things to purchase as souvenirs are the Japan-exclusive anime keychains! Why so? Well, firstly because there are several popular anime to choose from. One Piece is a given and I have seen Naruto a few years ago, but lately there has been Kuroko no Basuke as well as Gintama. Shingeki no Kyojin's popularity has been rising (and still is) so there is a plethora for us to choose from!

Secondly, the designs vary from region to region. For example, in Kyoto, you'll see characters dressed in the Shinsengumi uniform. In Osaka, there are takoyaki eating characters! While not particularly cheap (a single keychain can set one back about $5), I like them for their different designs and regional specialties!

2) Instant food

If you think that instant noodles are the only thing you can count on when you're hungry at midnight in Japan, check again! Other than 24 hour eateries, konbini (convenience stores) are stocked up with cooked food! Yup, other than sushi and onigiri, you can grab yourself a bento, rice bowl, spaghetti and even oden! They will also heat your food up for you. Of course, these meals are great for those on a budget as well. And if you're too tired after bringing your shopping back to the hotel? Grab a quick meal from the nearby konbini (there's always one within a 5 minutes walk) and have dinner in the hotel room while watching anime! Don't forget to get ice-cream for dessert!

3) Purikura

Japan is a really photogenic country. Tokyo in particular has a lot of flashy buildings, while Kyoto is full of beautiful scenery. If you're more into street snaps, I'm pretty sure a lot of fashion-forward young people will be pleased to oblige! However, these all rely on your own camera. For something quintessentially Japanese, I recommend you try out the purikura (photo booths)! When in Japan, do as the Japanese do, right? For approximately 400yen, you get to pose like a model and edit your own photos into cutesy souvenirs!

4) Figurines (and anime merchandise)

Ask any otaku what is one place they cannot miss in Japan and all of them will tell you Akihabara with a maniacal gleam in their eyes. I am here to tell you they are right. While also equally well-known for tax-free electronics shopping, there are stores after stores of figurines! Brand new figurines, secondhand figurines, even gachapons... They have it all! Secondhand figurines are stored in rows and rows of glass display shelves. These do not come in boxes and are definitely not in pristine condition, but they're all well-cared for and if you're searching for old figurines, these shops are your best bet!

For other anime merchandise, I definitely recommend you keep a lookout for Animate. Animate has official anime merchandise such as keychains, mugs, notepads etc etc, as well as non-official merchandise such as doujins (fan-drawn manga) and also figurines. There are also cosplay shops that sell wigs, costumes and even makeup! As long as you have an interest in anime culture, you will be sure to find something that tickles your fancy!

Of course, one shouldn't be limited to Akihabara. If you're a big fan of Weekly Shonen Jump's manga, remember to check out Jump Shop! Other shops you shouldn't miss: Pokemon Centre and Kiddyland.

5) Cosmetics

From big doe eyes to colourful hair, Japan is full of people who utilise makeup to achieve their ideal look. Coloured and enlarging contact lenses as well as false eyelashes are the most common. Cosmetics in Japan are pretty cheap, especially Japanese brands. If you're a cosplayer or female in general, you can't help but be taken by the beauty products. Do stock up on makeup, although be careful about the contact lenses! Choose carefully and make sure they're optician approved!

6) More food

The most popular souvenir from Japan is most definitely the food! The most popular ones are definitely Tokyo Banana, Shiroi Koibito and Royce chocolates. Of course, don't forget the multitude of oddly-flavoured KitKats! My tip: unless you're planning on eating them during the trip, only buy them at the airport when you're leaving. Plus, you get to save on tax! Things like Tokyo Banana can last for only a week. If you buy too many of them too early, you'll be left with none to bring back as they'll all have expired.

For me, these are the basics of what to buy in Japan. It's shopping paradise, so make sure you bring enough money! If you've any questions or suggestions, leave a comment!

Written by Nana

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