Things I Want To Buy In Japan

3 Feb

Let’s be honest… I wish I had a TON of money to spend in Japan! I just love everything there– the food, electronics, toys, accessories, clothing– aaahhh! I wish I had a “dokodemo door (どこでもドアー)” so  I can go shopping in Japan whenever I want :). Keeping in mind our budget and limited luggage space, here are my tentative shopping lists:

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1.  Snacks and activities for the plane ride back to the States.

2. My daughter wants a Rikka-chan or Mell-chan doll.

3. Little diecast Japanese cars and trains for my son to play with.

4. Coloring books and colored pencils.

5. Some Anpanman toys (both my kids love him!).

6. Furikake.

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FOR ME (I feel ashamed that my list is much longer than my list for the kids…)

1. Sunglasses. I have spent years looking for sunglasses that will stay on my little/short nose. I am hoping Japan will have some that will stay on my face.

2. A haircut. All my friends get haircuts in Japan and they come back looking so cute! If I had the money, I would also love to get a complete makeover and makeup lesson there too. Oh, and a manicure and pedicure :).

3. Makeup. I love the color palettes they have in Japan! Maybe I will finally find the perfect foundation, blush, and lipgloss there?

4. Bento boxes and bento accessories (for when I’m an awesome mom who makes cute bento lunches someday).

5. Sakura tea and sakura essence– you can’t buy them in the United States (nowhere that I know of).

6. Nice pens (like the Pilot Frixion).

7. New chopsticks and chopstick holders.

8. Fabric (you know they make the cutest fabric there right?). And sewing pattern books.

9. I would love to be able to bring back a pretty yukata.

10. Hina-ningyou set (a small one) for Girls’ Day.

11. Stuff related to other Japanese holidays, like Kodomo no Hi, Tanabata, Setsubun, Oshougatsu, etc. I don’t know what the likelihood of me finding all those things off-season are though.

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FOR OMIYAGE (gifts for friends and family)

1. Candy/Snacks.

2. Phone Accessories.

3. Chopsticks.

4. Stickers.

5. Stuff from the 100-yen shop.

6. Fake eyelashes (by request… for one of my stylish sisters).

7. Origami.


What’s on your wish list? What are the stores you recommend I hit up in Japan?

P.S. Happy SETSUBUN! Will you be throwing beans today? Or maybe eating an eho-maki?

JULY 2012 UPDATE: We’ve been back from Japan for a few months now, and here are some things I wish I had bought, or bought MORE of:

1) Japanese “very-short” socks! They are the! All of my girlfriends are always asking me where I got my socks. I wish I had bought dozens of them to give to my friends. They are higher-quality and better-designed than short socks you can find in America. AND they look super-cute peeking out of your shoes. Not to mention, they are very affordable. You can buy them at any sock store in Japan– UNIQLO is known to have great ones. (2013 update: You can buy Uniqlo’s short socks online now! I just received my order and they are just like the ones from Japan.)

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2) Dried fish. I’m not sure if you are a fan, but I really wish I would have bought more to snack on!

3) Hair ties. I bought a set of hair ties at a 100-yen store, and wish I would have gotten more! The hair ties I buy in America (from Target or Sally’s) just don’t cut it for me… they stretch out and lose elasticity easily, and don’t keep my thick hair in a tight ponytail. The ties from Japan are AWESOME.

4) More “interesting-flavored” kit-kats. We bought several boxes at the Haneda Airport duty-free shop to give to our friends. They were a huge hit!! We gave them to all of our American friends and didn’t have any left for ourselves. Unique “Pocky” flavors were a hit too.

20 Responses to “Things I Want To Buy In Japan”

  1. Ai Sakura February 3, 2012 at 11:28 PM #

    Definitely go to LOFT and Tokyo Hands! Should have in the major cities you go. They will have a lot of things on your list and many many obento stuff. I got a lot of my stuff there too 🙂

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  2. Az February 3, 2012 at 11:44 PM #

    This is just my thought. But I want your kids to go through ” shoten gai”. That is the street with so many stores. Each store is small but there is different fun from big super-market. I tried to sing ‘Yaoya-song’ in the class on Sat. but half of the kids can not imagine ‘Yaoya’ because they only have been big store like Giant Eagle or Target.
    Shoten-gai is so cool!!

    • Hiragana Mama February 4, 2012 at 9:25 AM #

      Good thought, I really want to go to shoten-gai too! I wish we had those here.

  3. Sharon February 4, 2012 at 9:52 AM #

    DH & I really want a Japanese toilet! Lol. I don’t know if it would work in the US and I’m sure it would cost a fortune to get home but you can dream, right?

    We bought miniature doll & food sets for my niece at Yodobashi Camera that she LOVED and we got my nephew a matchbox size fire engine (opening doors & kanji) and kindergarten bus (complete with cat ears). He still plays with them years later. For my son, a baby, we got talking toys (e.g. Keitai).

    If I were going now, much of my list would be the same as yours (except beauty products as I’m Caucasian) but I would also get tons of children’s books and DVDs.

    • Hiragana Mama February 5, 2012 at 7:16 AM #

      One of my Japanese friends in America has a Japanese toilet seat (they didn’t bring an entire toilet, but just the seat part… it gets warm and stuff). That’s funny you want a Japanese toilet 🙂

      • Sharon February 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM #

        Oh good! We hoped that would be an option. It will go on our list, then, for our next trip. Japanese toilets are the best thing ever!

        • Mayu February 26, 2013 at 3:15 AM #

          We have one. You can buy them online. I think amazon sells them too. Worth every penny!

  4. Mary @ The World Is A Book February 24, 2012 at 2:37 AM #

    I had to laugh at the Japanese toilets because my kids wanted to take one home. I wish I had a lot of money too because I also love everything Japanese. We brought a few Kokeshi dolls there. Totally agree on the 100 yen shops – loved them. For the Omiyage, friends and family could not get enough of the different flavored KitKats and the Tokyo Banana. I loved this store called Motherways in the Ginza area where they sold kimono pajamas – totally adorable.

    • Hiragana Mama February 24, 2012 at 8:14 AM #

      Yes, can’t wait to try the different kit kats! And I’ve never heard of the Tokyo Banana, I’ll have to keep my eye out for them.

      • Gracie February 26, 2013 at 2:55 AM #

        You really must try the Tokyo Banana. My favorite is the regular flavor, but it comes in a variety of flavors. And of course the packaging is very nice as well. This is a great gift to bring back.

  5. Guamlocalxxx July 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM #

    Very cool list 🙂

  6. ROSA August 12, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

    Love your blog! I am thinking of throwing my daughter a Japanese themed birthday party for her next party. We lived in Okinawa for 4 years and we absolutely LOVED it!!! My daughter was only 3 months old when we first arrived in Oki and it was everything she knew – and her favorite cartoon characters were HELLO KITTY and ANPANMAN. We were all so sad leaving in Jan 2011 : ( But i sure do remember SAN-A, JUSCO, and 100 yen stores! But more than that, the people, the culture and just feeling at home. (I also wish I had brought back so many more things that i miss dearly now), I keep hoping we get orders back to Oki…thanks for the memories ; )

    • Hiragana Mama August 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM #

      ROSA, thanks so much for commenting! Japan is such a lovable country! Hope we both get to return one day.

  7. Blue Means Go November 22, 2012 at 4:57 AM #

    A must for guys in Japan is a haircut/shave. They may be a little intimidated at the barber shop, but they really give full service, with a hot towel, proper shave… it’s so relaxing.

    Another thing I recommend bringing back is onsen salts from one of the onsens. Definitely agree on the multi-flavored kit-kats!


    Umbrellas are great in Japan. Very compact and usually inexpensive. I particularly like the look of the 16本 (spoke) ones.

    Neckties are inexpensive and plentiful.

    Dress shirts have far more variety (though American men may find the arms a bit short… and overweight guys will have trouble).

    Cordless Irons. The best idea ever. Why don’t we have these here? It makes so much sense to put a heavy battery into an iron.

    Chopsticks. I know you can get them here, but nowhere near the variety. Also, the 100¥ shop has some nice ones if you want to get a dozen or so sets to give out when you get home.

    Tomika makes some great toy cars.

    Japanese metal puzzle games are notoriously challenging and available at more department stores for 1000¥.

    A kendama

    Japanese iTunes gift cards (to buy things in the Japanese iTunes store)

    UNIQLO had Selvedge Denim jeans for ~5000¥. Fantastic Deal! Not sure if they still have them.

    Some nice Lacquerware.

    Anything Yuzu flavored.

    And from any department store:
    Lupicia Tea

  8. vicky February 26, 2018 at 11:35 PM #

    hi! may i know where to buy mell-chan doll in tokyo?

    • Hiragana Mama March 18, 2018 at 10:02 PM #

      You should be able to find it at any major toy store! They are also sold on Amazon Japan.


  1. Omiyage (Souvenirs) to Take to Japan « Hiragana Mama - February 23, 2012

    […] love to receive from overseas? Don’t forget to check out my post about what to buy in Japan, here. Share this:EmailDiggShare on TumblrLike this:LikeOne blogger likes this […]

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