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'Wicked Awesome!' Foreign Tourists Love These 5 Quirky 'Made in Japan' Items

'Wicked Awesome!' Foreign Tourists Love These 5 Quirky 'Made in Japan' Items

Date published: 18 February 2020
Last updated: 7 October 2020

Goods manufactured in Japan are often considered to be of high quality. Labelled “Made in Japan”, these goods are popular with foreigners. Perhaps you’ve felt the same way too, hoping to bring back some of these “Made in Japan” products you had your eye on?

This time, we’ve interviewed some foreigners on what types of products they think are “must-buys”, and the reasons behind their answers. (The responses below are the respondents’ opinions based on their personal experience.)

The Most Popular of Them All: Japanese Sweets

The Most Popular of Them All: Japanese Sweets

“Japanese candies make wonderful souvenirs. It’s fun to choose from the wide range available. Even though the sweets are surprisingly cheap, they’re extremely delicious and are well-received as souvenirs. It really helps that they’re cheap.” (Woman in her 20s, America)

“Matcha-flavored sweets. You can’t get them anywhere else besides in Japan, and there’s a wide variety here.” (Man in his 30s, China)

“Children really like Anpanman sweets, because they think that character is cute. It can lift their spirits when they’re in a bad mood, so I even ask my Japanese friends to help me buy some. All Japanese sweets are yummy.” (Man in his 30s, Egypt)

First, we have candies. The price of cheap candies can go as low as 10 yen per piece, which is probably a rare sight in other countries. In Japan, it’s typical for children to rack their brains over the best combination of candies to buy with their limited allowance on school excursions. Since candy stores are not typical sights outside Japan to begin with, they are unique to Japan and interesting to many.

In recent years, matcha-flavored candies have been consistently popular as Japanese souvenirs, to the point that matcha chocolates are becoming the mainstays of candy stores. In addition, character-themed candies are also indispensable. They are popular with children thanks to their yummy taste and the power to cheer them up.

Anime Goods That You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Anime Goods That You Can’t Get Anywhere Else
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“Merchandise from the anime series I like. I can shop online but the range is limited. There are many goods here that I can’t get in America, so I end up buying a lot of them... I know I overbuy but I just can’t stop. I always go to Ikebukuro on my trips!” (Woman in her 20s, America)

Anime is a prominent aspect of Japan: there are many who have learnt about Japan or began studying the Japanese language through anime. While anime has become easily accessible from anywhere thanks to online streaming services, Japan itself may still be the best place to buy anime goods. In fact, it seems that some visitors end up buying so much they get told off by their friends living in Japan!

The Outstanding Design and Functionality of Japanese Stationery

The Outstanding Design and Functionality of Japanese Stationery
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“Japanese stationery! They have simple designs and are easy to use, yet cheap. It’s rare that you can get so many kinds of stationery at affordable prices. Personally, I like MUJI stationery.” (Man in his 30s, France)

“It’s enjoyable just browsing the stationery. There’s lots of stationery aimed at children and many affordable options. America does have its range of stationery but the quality isn’t as great.” (Woman in her 20s, America)

With a diverse range and great designs, stationery has been lauded as a “must buy”. Despite everything gradually going digital in our current society, the popularity of stationery seems to be increasing thanks to social media platforms. Be it pens or tape, the wide variety in Japan comes as a surprise to foreigners.

A particular respondent had remarked, “I was shocked that there were such tiny staplers available.” Perhaps the attention paid to user-friendliness, including aspects like size and functionality, could be said to be reminiscent of Japan.

Apparel from Japan’s Fast Fashion Brands

Apparel from Japan’s Fast Fashion Brands
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“I prefer to buy clothes and shoes rather than food as personal souvenirs! Especially since we don’t have Uniqlo in Egypt. These are good quality at an affordable price so I’m really envious!” (Man in his 30s, Egypt)

Even though few of these clothes are actually manufactured in Japan, the “Made in Japan” image generated by Japanese fashion brands make apparel “must-buys” for some respondents. Furthermore, what makes these clothes sold by Japanese fast fashion brands like Uniqlo so appealing is that they offer pleasant designs and high functionality for affordable prices.

Unbridled Creativity in the Kitchen Goods at 100 Yen Shops!

Unbridled Creativity in the Kitchen Goods at 100 Yen Shops!
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“I think the kitchen tools in 100 yen shops are amazing! There’re all sorts of items there, like jar openers and disposable sink filter nets for food waste. Earlier I bought a tool that, simply upon shaking, could produce fresh cream. And the designs are cute too. There’s the patterned aluminum foil and Ziploc bags...I just end up buying them.” (Woman in her 20s, America)

100-yen stores are no doubt treasure troves of interesting ideas and concepts that have many Japanese hooked on as well. Owing to their outstanding convenience, the kitchen goods in these stores have emerged as one of the top “must-buys”. By the way, the next item on this American lady’s list of souvenirs that have caught her eye, is a butter knife that improves the ease of spreading butter.

Stay Tuned for Technologies and Ideas Made-in-Japan!

This time, we’ve seen how tourists have nominated their “must-buy” products not simply based on the concept of “Made in Japan”, but based on criteria like functionality, manufacturing techniques, quality and creativity that are reminiscent of Japan. Additionally, even though it was acknowledged that electronics were unsuitable candidates as souvenirs, there had also been responses that spoke of the popularity and good brand image of Japanese consumer electronics.

Moving forward, it would be great if more people continue to praise the wonder of Japanese products. As obvious as it seems, Japanese products are, in fact, filled with the beauty and ideas of Japan. You are most welcome to search for different types of Japanese products overseas to purchase for your own satisfaction.

Written by Miyuki Yajima

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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