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.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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.
Dinner with a geisha
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 Quill Stylus Pen
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 pearl earrings
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.
iMeshi Phone Case
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.
Hair pin holder
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.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.