We’ve done the research and carefully curated a list of unique gifts that will be ideal for the Japan-obsessed person in your life. It isn’t all quirky and innovative tech either – we’ve selected traditional sweets, fine jewelry from the coast and lacquerware fit for the Emperor himself. Some of the items are so beautiful, you may just want to pick out something for yourself as well!
With Snakku, the Japanophile on your list gets a carefully curated box of authentic Japanese sweets. Each month has its own seasonal theme. Snakku focuses on traditional treats and supports small and local businesses, setting it apart from the competition. A single-month plan starts at $38.95.
From tableware to stationery, Japanese lacquerware adds a touch of class to any home. YAMADA HEIANDO’s lacquerware has been the choice of the Imperial Family for years. Their decorative accessory boxes would look great on a vanity or as the vessel for other gifts. Palm-sized lacquer cases cost $34.47 USD (3,700 JPY).
For the artsy one on your list, origami paper is perfect. This traditional Japanese craft isn’t a difficult hobby, but it is immensely rewarding. All you need to get started is sturdy yet beautiful paper, like these damask-patterned sheets from Aitoh. A pack of 24 sheets starts at $6.02 USD.
Going to Tokyo anytime soon? Splurge on a kaiseki dinner with a trained geisha. These skilled entertainers will serve your meal with practiced composure and treat you to a traditional geisha dance with music. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and a must for lovers of Japanese culture.
A ceramic chopstick rest brings a subtle touch of Japan to the table. They make great gifts for hosts and hostesses, and can often do double-duty as decorative ornaments. These origami crane chopstick rests by Miya Company are a great choice at $19.99 USD per piece.
Elecom is putting the style back in stylus with their Quill Stylus Pen for tablets, and they have the market cornered. This makes a great gift for business partners and colleagues, and makes using their tablet at a desk a breeze. The Quill Stylus Pen comes in silver or black for $55 USD from Japan Trend Shop.
Mikimoto was Japan’s first pearl specialty boutique, and its founder, Kōkichi Mikimoto, was the first person in the world to culture a semi-spherical pearl. Their quality and design continues to be a leader in the industry. Mikimoto’s classic post-back pearl earrings start at $300 at Nordstrom.
Nothing invites a conversation your way like talking into a gravity-defying platter of sushi. This unique phone case from iMeshi will let you bring your cellphone and your love of Japanese cuisine together at last. For iPhone 5 or iPhone 6, $47.99 from Hamee.
What better way to round out the holiday season than with a little luck for the new year? These maneki neko, or lucky cats, from Tokyo Smart are hand-painted ceramic, made in Japan. Traditional styles start at $28.61 USD.
Practicality meets Japanese quality and style with these special edition Kleenex. The red-and-black kasumi packaging is inspired by traditional gold-leaf lacquer designs. The perfect winter gift for the culture buff on your list, you can get a set of three for $62 USD from Japan Trend Shop.
Few Japanese anime films are as critically acclaimed as those of Studio Ghibli. Their latest release, When Marnie Was There, could be the last film for the legendary movie producers. For the anime-lover on your list, pick up some of the classics, or get your hands on the latest – When Marnie Was There Blu-ray prices start at $18.61 USD on Amazon.
Do you know someone who just can’t keep their vanity organized? This chubby bird makes a nest of those pesky bobby pins by using a magnet and keeping them in one safe place. Your friend will never waste time looking for a pin to tame those flyaways ever again. Prices start at $11.90 USD (1,260 JPY).
Kanzashi are hairpins and ornaments used with traditional Japanese hairstyles. Today, they can be worn not only with yukata and kimono, but to add a unique flare to any updo.
The Just Bento Cookbook by Makiko Itoh is the definitive English-language guide to quick and healthy Japanese bento, or boxed lunches. Great for the health-conscious and Japanese foodies alike, you can find it for $16.01 USD on Amazon.