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18 of The Best, Super-Japanese Gift Ideas to Look Forward to in Tokyo!

Asakusa Other Shopping

The tradition of gift giving is deeply ingrained in Japanese society, where wrapped presents are not reserved for birthdays and holidays but given after practically every vacation trip, weekend getaway and even day trips. The term Omiyage means a souvenir you give to someone (rather than keep for yourself) and you are bound to find at least one ‘Omiyage’ store at every train station, airport and probably street corner around Japan selling pre-wrapped local specialties (at times the packing is almost as good as what’s inside!). This means as far as the hunt for a great souvenir goes, you are spoilt for choice in Japan. (Don’t worry - the gift giving aspect of the omiyage expires once you leave the country and you can keep it all for yourself!) We asked 4 local tour guides for their personal recommendations on unique only-in-Japan souvenirs. Here’s what they shared!

[MOVIE] A Japanese Drum Experience at TAIKO-LAB

Shibuya Other Sightseeing

Have you always wanted to learn a traditional Japanese instrument? How about one that makes you exercise in the process? If the deep sound and rhythms of the traditional Japanese taiko drums have always spoken to you, why not try your hand at taiko drumming with a dynamic class? As I learned at TAIKO-LAB in Aoyama, taiko is more than just making sound; it’s about feeling the rhythm through your entire being!

Japanese Foodies Recommend: Top Restaurants Around Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle, Tenmabashi, Kyobashi Izakaya

Osaka Castle is often bustling with international tourists. When you’re walking around the castle park and the castle’s tenshu tower, you’re going to get hungry and thirsty. There are plenty of restaurants in the area, but you’ve come all the way to Japan to go sightseeing. You want the best restaurant, one where you can eat all sorts of great food and enjoy beer and sake, don’t you? Well, let’s hear what a local writer has to say about these two great restaurants, with one being for daytime excursions and the other being perfect for dinner.

'Way Too Sweet!' What 5 Japanese Living Abroad Really Think About Green Tea Culture

Harajuku Tea Ceremonies

Japanese culture is one thoroughly steeped in rich history and tradition. One such tradition that seemingly pervades every aspect of Japanese society is a love affair with green tea. By and large the most popular beverage in the country, the Japanese relationship with green tea extends beyond mere drink preference and takes on an almost spiritual reverence. While gradually gaining popularity abroad due to its numerous health benefits, green tea has yet to reach the same level of ubiquity found here in Japan. Having grown up with green tea being an essential part of their daily lives, we asked five Japanese natives about their tea experiences and how it translated during their time living abroad.

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