20 Must-Buy Items in Japan While Visiting For Americans

Japan offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity, and its vibrant markets are a treasure trove for curious shoppers. From exquisite Japanese knives to quirky anime merchandise, this article highlights the top 20 items that Americans should consider bringing home as delightful souvenirs from Japan.

CopicCopic Sketch, Alcohol-Based Markers, 12pc Set, BasicCheck Price on Amazon
KaiMade in Japan Kai X Seki Mago Roku Finger Nail Clipper with Nail Cutter TypeCheck Price on Amazon
HABAHABA Whitening Squalane - 30mlCheck Price on Amazon
TAMASHII NATIONSTAMASHII NATIONS - Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie - Satoru Gojo, Bandai Spirits S.H.FiguartsCheck Price on Amazon
i2 HomeTraditional Japanese Tea Set - Ceramic Tea Set with Teapot, 6 Tea Cups, 1 Bamboo Tea Tray & Storage Gift Bag for Travel, Home or Outdoor, Tea Sets for Adults with Teapot and Tray, Men or Women | ??Check Price on Amazon
Kit KatJapanese Kit Kat 16 pcsCheck Price on Amazon
KOMESICHIKOMESICHI irodori Japanese Traditional Towel TenuguiCheck Price on Amazon
BepuzzledTWIST Hanayama Cast Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle (Level 4)Check Price on Amazon
GreatamzorMetal Chopsticks Reusable 18/8 Stainless Steel Chopsticks Multipack Dishwasher Safe Chop Sticks Cute Laser Engraved Non-slip Japanese Korean Chopstick for Cooking Eating 9 1/4 Inches 5 Pairs Gift SetCheck Price on Amazon
SonySony a7 III (ILCEM3K/B) Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens CameraCheck Price on Amazon
YESNOYESNO Women Casual Loose Cropped Denim Jumpsuits Rompers 90s Jeans Overalls Distressed Ripped Fringed/Pockets M P49 BlueCheck Price on Amazon
SEIKOSeiko Prospex Turtle Diver 200m Automatic Turquoise Dial WatchCheck Price on Amazon
ShunShun Cutlery Classic Chef\'s Knife 8” Professional Chef KnifeCheck Price on Amazon

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Japanese whiskey is significantly cheaper in Japan compared to the United States. For example, a bottle of Hibiki 12-year can cost around $80 in Japan, while it would be $150 or more in the U.S.

Due to the weaker yen, Japanese whiskey brands like Nikka and Suntory offer excellent value for money. Whiskey enthusiasts will appreciate the ability to purchase high-quality, hard-to-find Japanese expressions that may not be readily available back home.

Anime/character goods

Anime/character goods: Japan is the epicenter of anime and manga culture, and the country offers a vast array of merchandise and collectibles related to popular characters and franchises.

Currently, series like Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Spy x Family are immensely popular, with a wide range of associated merchandise available. Fans can find figurines, such as Nendoroids and Figma, which are highly detailed and articulated collectibles that typically cost around ¥5,000-¥10,000 ($35-$70 USD) in Japan, compared to $60-$100 or more in the United States.

Other popular items include plushies, keychains, and acrylic stands featuring beloved characters, which can be found at specialty shops like Animate, Mandarake, and Jump Shop for prices ranging from ¥500-¥3,000 ($3-$20 USD).

Limited edition items, such as collaboration café goods and event-exclusive merchandise, are also highly sought after by collectors and can often only be found in Japan.

In addition to physical stores, anime fans can also visit theme parks like Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, which features attractions and shops dedicated to popular series like Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon. These parks offer exclusive merchandise that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Anime enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant Japanese pop culture scene and bring home unique, often Japan-exclusive souvenirs at prices that are generally more affordable than what they would find in the United States.

Japanese cosmetics and skincare

Japanese skincare and cosmetic brands are renowned for their high-quality formulations and innovative products. Items like Biore UV sunscreen, Hada Labo moisturizers, and Cezanne foundation can be purchased for significantly less in Japan compared to the United States, where they often carry a premium price tag.

Beauty enthusiasts will appreciate the chance to stock up on cult-favorite Japanese brands that may be hard to find or more expensive back home.

Brands like Shiseido, HABA, and Kose offer products that cater to specific skin concerns. For instance:

  • Medicated Sekkisei Cream by Kose helps maintain a blemish-free, fair complexion without bleaching the skin.
  • Clear Turn Vitamin C Sheet Masks by Kose brighten the complexion and hydrate the skin.
  • HABA Medicated Whitening Serum targets age spots and discoloration using a Vitamin C derivative. Anyone seeking effective skincare solutions, especially those interested in maintaining healthy, radiant skin, would appreciate these products. Prices vary, but you can find affordable options .

Instant ramen/snacks

Japan is a snack lover’s paradise, and no trip is complete without stocking up on the country’s iconic instant ramen and unique snack offerings.

Don Quijote, a discount store chain with locations throughout Japan, is your one-stop-shop for all things delicious and quirky. Peruse the aisles and fill your basket with classic instant ramen brands like Nissin, Maruchan, and Sapporo Ichiban, which can be purchased for as little as ¥100-¥200 ($0.75-$1.50 USD) per pack.

Don’t forget to grab some Japan-exclusive flavors of Kit Kat, like matcha green tea and sake, or the ever-popular Pocky sticks in flavors like strawberry and chocolate banana. With prices ranging from ¥100-¥300 ($0.75-$2.25 USD) per box, you’ll be able to create a snack stash that will be the envy of all your friends back in the States.

Copic markers

For artists and designers, Japan is a treasure trove of high-quality art supplies, and Copic markers are at the top of the list. These alcohol-based markers are beloved for their vibrant colors, smooth blending capabilities, and durability.

Head to Sekaido in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the largest art supply store in Japan, where you’ll find an extensive selection of Copic markers, including the popular Copic Sketch and Copic Ciao sets.

A 12-piece Copic Sketch set, which typically retails for around $80-$100 in the United States, can be purchased for approximately ¥6,000-¥7,500 ($45-$55 USD) at Sekaido. With the money you save, you can expand your collection and experiment with new techniques, elevating your artwork to new heights.


Experience the softness and absorbency of Japanese towels and tenugui, the traditional multipurpose cloth that has been a staple of Japanese households for centuries.

Visit Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, a 300-year-old specialty store known for its high-quality tenugui and towels. Choose from a vast array of designs, ranging from classic patterns like cherry blossoms and koi fish to modern pop art-inspired prints.

Prices for tenugui start at around ¥500-¥1,000 ($3.75-$7.50 USD), while a luxurious Imabari towel set, famous for its softness and durability, can be purchased for ¥3,000-¥5,000 ($22-$37 USD).

These functional and beautiful textiles make perfect gifts for your loved ones back home or a treat for yourself to add a touch of Japanese elegance to your daily life.


Elevate your dining experience with a pair of handcrafted Japanese chopsticks, the perfect souvenir to bring a touch of Japanese culture to your table back home.

In Kyoto, make your way to Chopstick Specialty Store Ichihara, a shop dedicated to the art of chopstick making. Here, you’ll find an incredible selection of chopsticks made from various materials, such as bamboo, lacquered wood, and even precious metals. Prices range from ¥500-¥3,000 ($3.75-$22 USD) for a single pair, with some high-end, artisan-crafted sets reaching upwards of ¥10,000 ($75 USD).

Choose from a variety of designs, from sleek and minimalist to intricately patterned, and find the perfect pair to suit your style and enhance your enjoyment of Japanese cuisine long after your trip has ended.

Japanese denim

Japan is renowned for its exceptional quality denim, sought after by fashion enthusiasts worldwide for its unique texture, superior craftsmanship, and attention to detail.

Head to the trendy neighborhood of Kojima in Okayama Prefecture, often called the “Denim Capital of Japan,” where you’ll find a concentration of prestigious denim brands and specialty shops.

Visit the Momotaro Jeans flagship store, where you can browse a wide selection of meticulously crafted jeans made from premium Japanese denim. A pair of Momotaro’s “Copper Label” selvedge jeans, known for their distinctive battle stripes and heavyweight denim, can be yours for around ¥25,000-¥35,000 ($185-$260 USD), a significant saving compared to the $300-$400 price tags found in the United States.

With the guidance of knowledgeable staff and the opportunity to try on various fits and styles, you’re sure to find the perfect pair of Japanese denim that will become a staple in your wardrobe for years to come.

Japanese electronics (cameras, headphones, etc.)

Japan is a tech lover’s dream, with a wide array of innovative and high-quality electronics that are often more affordable than in the United States. Make your way to Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, a massive electronics store that offers an unparalleled selection of cameras, headphones, and other gadgets.

For photography enthusiasts, consider the Sony Alpha A7 III, a full-frame mirrorless camera renowned for its exceptional image quality and low-light performance. In Japan, this camera can be purchased for around ¥230,000 ($1,700 USD), a significant saving compared to the $2,000-$2,200 price tag in the States.

If you’re in the market for high-end headphones, check out the Sony WH-1000XM4, widely regarded as one of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. At Yodobashi Camera, these headphones can be yours for approximately ¥33,000 ($245 USD), a bargain compared to the $350 retail price in the United States. With the knowledgeable staff and the opportunity to test products before you buy, you’re sure to find the perfect electronics to suit your needs and budget.

Japanese puzzles

Challenge your mind and delight your senses with the intricate and beautiful world of Japanese puzzles.

In Tokyo’s Ginza district, visit Hakuhinkan Toy Park, a five-story wonderland of toys, games, and puzzles. Here, you’ll find an extensive selection of Japanese puzzles, from classic wooden kumiki puzzles to modern, brain-teasing designs.

One of the most popular and visually striking puzzles is the Hanayama Cast series, a collection of intricately designed metal puzzles that double as art pieces. Prices for these puzzles range from ¥1,500-¥3,000 ($11-$22 USD), a small investment for hours of enjoyment and the satisfaction of conquering a challenging puzzle.

For a more traditional option, consider a Kumiki 3D wooden puzzle, which can be found for around ¥2,000-¥4,000 ($15-$30 USD). These puzzles make excellent gifts for the intellectually curious or a unique addition to your own collection, serving as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Japanese puzzle makers.

Watches (Seiko, Casio, etc.)

Japan is home to some of the most respected and innovative watchmakers in the world, offering a wide range of timepieces that combine precision, durability, and style.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, head to the Yodobashi Camera Watch Floor, where you’ll find an impressive selection of Japanese watches from brands like Seiko, Casio, and Citizen.

For a classic and versatile option, consider the Seiko Prospex “Turtle” diver watch, a timepiece that combines rugged durability with timeless design. In Japan, this watch can be purchased for around ¥50,000-¥60,000 ($370-$445 USD), a significant saving compared to the $500-$600 price tag in the United States.

If you’re looking for a more high-tech option, check out the Casio G-Shock MTG-B1000, a tough and feature-packed watch that combines analog and digital displays.

At Yodobashi Camera, this watch can be yours for approximately ¥100,000-¥120,000 ($740-$890 USD), a bargain compared to the $900-$1,100 retail price in the States.

With the knowledgeable staff and the opportunity to try on various styles, you’re sure to find the perfect Japanese watch to suit your taste and budget, a timepiece that will serve as a lasting reminder of your trip to Japan.

MUJI products

MUJI products, known for their minimalist design and quality, are much more affordable in Japan. In the U.S., MUJI items can have a 50-100% markup compared to the prices in Japan.

Items such as clothing, home goods, and stationery are prime examples of where shoppers can save significantly. MUJI’s wide range of well-designed, functional products appeals to those who value simplicity and practicality.

Uniqlo/GU clothing

Uniqlo and its more affordable sister brand, GU, offer significant savings for American shoppers in Japan. Due to the favorable exchange rate and lower base prices, a t-shirt that might cost $15-20 in the U.S. can be purchased for as low as $5-8 in Japan. These fast-fashion retailers provide high-quality, stylish basics that are perfect for updating one’s wardrobe on a budget.

Nail clippers

Japanese nail clippers, particularly the Kai brand, are renowned for their superior quality and sharpness. These nail clippers can be purchased for around $3-5 at stores like Don Quixote or MUJI, whereas comparable products in the U.S. can cost upwards of $10-15.

The precision and durability of these Japanese-made nail clippers make them a must-buy for anyone who wants a long-lasting, high-performance grooming tool.

Daiso/3 Coins store items

Daiso and 3 Coins are Japanese 100-yen stores (equivalent to around $0.75-$1 USD) that offer an endless array of unique and practical household items, stationery, and knick-knacks. These stores provide an opportunity for American shoppers to discover affordable, Japan-exclusive products that are difficult to find or more expensive back home.

From kitchen gadgets to quirky novelty items, these stores appeal to those who enjoy discovering unexpected treasures.

Japanese stationery

Japan is a stationery lover’s paradise, with an abundance of high-quality, visually appealing pens, pencils, notebooks, and other writing supplies that are often more affordable than in the U.S.

Brands like Pilot, Uni, and Zebra offer a wide selection of pens and mechanical pencils at lower prices, while specialty notebooks and paper goods can be found at stores like Itoya and Tokyu Hands.

Stationery aficionados will delight in the opportunity to expand their collection with unique Japanese-made products.


In Tokyo’s Ginza district, make your way to Meishu Center, a haven for sake enthusiasts. Here, you’ll find an extensive selection of premium sakes from renowned breweries across Japan, such as Dassai, Kubota, and Hakkaisan.

A 720ml bottle of Dassai 23, a highly sought-after junmai daiginjo sake, can be purchased for approximately ¥3,500 ($25 USD), a bargain compared to the $50-$60 price tag you’d find in the United States.

With the guidance of knowledgeable staff and the opportunity to taste before you buy, you’re sure to find the perfect sake to suit your palate and impress your friends back home.

Japanese knives and kitchenware

For those who appreciate the art of cooking, Japan is a veritable treasure trove of exceptional knives and kitchenware that will elevate your culinary game to new heights. Renowned for their craftsmanship, precision, and durability, Japanese knives are a must-have for any serious home chef or aspiring professional.

Head to Kappabashi Street in Tokyo, a mecca for chefs and food enthusiasts, where you’ll find an array of specialized shops offering top-notch Japanese knives at prices that will make your jaw drop.

Brands like Shun, Global, and MAC are known for their superior quality and are coveted by chefs worldwide. A Shun Classic 8-inch chef’s knife, which typically retails for around $150-$200 in the United States, can be found for as little as ¥10,000-¥15,000 ($70-$110 USD) in Japan.

For those on a tighter budget, Kappabashi also offers excellent value with lesser-known but equally impressive brands like Tojiro and Misono. A Tojiro DP Gyutou 8.2-inch chef’s knife, praised for its exceptional sharpness and balance, can be yours for just ¥5,000-¥7,000 ($35-$50 USD), a fraction of what you’d pay for a comparable knife in the States.

But it’s not just knives that will catch your eye in Japan. Kitchenware stores like Tokyu Hands and Loft offer a plethora of unique and ingenious cooking tools, from beautiful handcrafted wooden cutting boards to sleek and modern titanium chopsticks.

These stores are a treasure hunt for the culinarily curious, with prices that will leave you plenty of room in your suitcase for all your newfound kitchen essentials.


Japan is renowned for its beautifully designed and functional umbrellas, which can be found at stores across the country. These umbrellas often feature unique patterns, prints, and collapsible designs that are difficult to find outside of Japan.

Compared to the U.S., where umbrellas can be relatively expensive, shoppers in Japan can purchase high-quality, stylish umbrellas for a fraction of the cost. Umbrella aficionados will delight in the chance to bring home a piece of Japanese rainy-day culture.

Japanese Tea Sets

Immerse yourself in the ancient art of Japanese tea ceremony with an exquisite tea set from the renowned pottery regions of Japan.

In Kyoto, head to the historic Kiyomizu-yaki district, where you’ll find the iconic Kiyomizu-yaki pottery style, known for its vibrant colors and intricate designs.

A stunning Kiyomizu-yaki tea set, complete with a teapot and four cups, can be yours for around ¥8,000-¥15,000 ($60-$110 USD), a small price to pay for a piece of Japanese cultural heritage that will transport you to a world of tranquility and refinement with every sip.

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