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What gifts etc do you like to buy in Japan?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Lucky Pete, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    With the sale of Lucky Petes earlier this year, rather than just focus solely on our accommodation business we are now going to open a new shop down by the Railway Station. Its called Hakuba Gallery and Gifts, as up to now there hasn't really been anywhere to buy quality souvenirs etc you find traditionally in ski towns, although the Nagano apple products are OK :) . Even with the shop fitout going to schedule and quite a few of our product lines sorted I just wanted to throw it out to you guys and ask what do you normally buy as gifts or for yourselves when traveling to Japan and what if any suggestions you may have for items we should carry. Cheers for any and all help you can offer.
     
  2. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’ll give you the run down on my friends souvenir spree and you can draw your own conclusions from that.

    Yesterday my first time to Japan South Africans who live in Perth mates went home. I drove them to shop after shop looking for souvenirs.

    It was her, not him.

    She wanted a baby/toddler safe toy/teddy that reflected the region. Ended up with a stuffed Jagata-kun - the Kutchan skiing potato mascot.

    At Noboribetsu bear park she wanted to buy a stuffed bear, but they were mostly bearlike characters with glitter and sparkles, and the ones that actually looked like the bears didn’t have Hokkaidō or Noboribetsu on them anywhere. A high quality teddy with Hokkaido embroidered on the paw would’ve been perfect.

    She found some great kids skiing potato t shirts for the 4yr old. But was confused by the sizes and there were no examples of the size out of packets. Have a conversion chart and some size samples available. She chose not to buy.

    He wanted a bottle of Nikka Whiskey, but also wanted it to LOOK Japanese, so searched the shelves for one with a decent amount of Japanese on the label.

    Myself?
    I bought a couple of small stickers to go on my new suitcase (to replace my old sticker filled one - best way to spot your case on the carousel), and I’ll be buying a large amount of assorted chocolates Meiji/Royce etc that I’ll give with cash in Christmas cards to nieces and nephews who have never visited Japan (many have never left the country).

    Other things that would’ve appealed to my friend or me...
    Cherry blossom themed stuff (wine with bloom inside, perfume, scented soap)
    Delicate and beautiful silk or paper fan. The only ones we spotted in the Hokkaido gift shops were hello kitty or ugly.
    Small Christmas tree decoration that suits the area with place name, or place name and year on it. (Skis, Snowboard, snowflake, Mountain etc)
     
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  3. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    You can get various Kit Kat flavours, some in the supermarket in multi mini pack bags. These are generally between 198-238yen per bag, but many are seasonal. You can also get the special boxed ones that are 800yen, which I think are greatly overpriced. There are also 1500yen boxes with 10 sub-boxes (with 3 minis in each, which are reasonable value, @ 50 yen each)

    So I was thinking, buy some seasonal Kit Kats over the whole year, keep them in a fridge, then open the packs in winter time, so you have a variety of flavours, so people can mix and match single Kit Kat minis. 198-238yen bags have about 10 minis, you could probably sell them for 50-60yen each.
     
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  4. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Stuff for the dinner table. Ceramics, bowls, plates, sake glasses/sets, tea sets, chopsticks etc etc.
    Quality knives for the kitchen.
     
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  5. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nothing. Occasional t shirt or hoodie.
     
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  6. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Definitely regional products and quirky knick knacks:

    Stickers
    Ceramics
    Fabrics e.g onsen towels, tea towels
    Lollies and local foods
    Local sake in quirky 'bottles'
    Soft toys
    Small photo books
    Regional beer
    Tea
     
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  7. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Real antiques. These can be cheap, and bought at local markets in the summer. You can call it "Antique corner".
    You can get amazing deals for just a few hundred yen, and sell for much more.
     
  8. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hakuba snow globes
     
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  9. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Also stock up at recycle shops for sake server sets, tea sets, lacquerware, that kind of thing.
     
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  10. zarik

    zarik Hard Yards

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    Local sake, Nagano made apple cider. Local Honey and jam

    Some made in Japan ski balaclava or face mask maybe some local small business makes face mask with something like rising sun on them or Sakura or something else Japanese. Pearl Izumi makes sick looking cycling Jerseys made in Japan with very Japanese theme, I have one and got one for my dad as well.

    Those Japanese onsen town flip flops whatever they are called the comfortable kind not the break your legs kind.
     
  11. Any

    Any One of Us

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    have you noticed how impossible it is to find a simple skiing potato sticker?
    my suitcases never last long enough tho. but i do have a new expensive hard-sided one this year, so we'll see.

    ive had lots of friends buy stylized hiragana/katakana prints. that just say konayuki or something simple.
    of course kimono / yukata are always popular too.

    the stupid adult-sized onsies that sell in kutchan town will probably sell too.
    pikachu onsie with the hood and ears, etc.

    i think trail maps are interesting. more interesting that cat photos that people hang on their walls. IF i ever grow up, my house will have trail maps instead. getting them without all the creasing n stuff might be cool.

    there are microfibre goggle cases with the niseko trail map that sell out as fast as they can stock them. probably already exists for hakuba too.

    the A4 topo maps at NAC seem popular too.
    but personally i want a huge, like 2 meters, super high detail, topographical map of the local area. ill draw on it, mark it where ive skiied, attach polaroids, etc.
     
  12. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Anything to do with snow monkeys.
     
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  13. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wish you all the very best and hope you are successful and I don't want to be Neville Negatory but ugh- souvenirs
    I do have a Rimowa encased in stickers from around the globe, but that's simply a form of boastful travel snobbery so all the other plebs doing their commute between Melbourne and the Gold Coast can see how fab and important I am
    And good stickers are hard to find
    I cannot remember the last time I bought a souvenir other than a sticker

    edit: Oh wait!What am I saying.Replica soccer jerseys for the kids.But unlike Hungary or former USSR vassal states you might get nabbed for knocking off Blue Samurai gear.At the very least it has to be useful.I think the World has reached peak "useless stuff" -well I hope so anyway
     
  14. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Reusable shopping bags of "artisan " raw cotton. With some picture of the Japanese alps.

    Like this.
     
  15. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  17. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  18. Cheese Mountain

    Cheese Mountain Hard Yards

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    This is why I buy souvenirs that are actually useful rather than just novelty dust collectors. So textiles (tea towels, pot holders, table cloths, serviettes, cushion covers), ceramics (serving bowls & plates), beeswax wraps made from local fabric, kitchen gadgets, cool t-shirts that my kid or husband will actually wear etc.

    Also posters & prints. Vintage (or faux-vintage) travel posters are trendy right now. I reckon if you stocked a range of 1950s looking "Ski Hakuba" type of posters they would be popular. The trail map idea is also a good one. And landscape photography of the area - you could look at stocking a range of prints from a local photographer.

    Cards and games are good for holiday makers. We have a Totoro themed deck of cards that we bought in Hakuba a few years ago. I don't know how many times we've bought decks of cards on holiday. I'd be interested in travel sized board games with a Japanese theme.
     
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  19. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    I’m always on the lookout for (adult sized) T-shirts, either from the region with the city or area name in pretty (calligraphy) kanji, or with funny mistranslated English.

    Other things I like to buy:
    - kids or adult socks with japanese prints (preferably the regular ones, not with the big toe separated)
    - sharp kitchen knifes
    - tea/rice/udon bowls (with extra bubble wrap for transportation)
    - fancy post cards (e.g. foldouts)
    - chopsticks with nice decoration
    - lifelike plastic food (key chain/fridge magnet) from Kappabashi
    - iron-on embroidered patches from the city/region for on my backpack

    Also: out-of-season seasonal stuff! The japanese wouldn’t dream of selling summer or autumn themed things in winter/spring, but hey I can’t go there 4 times a year. So things decorated with cherry blossoms, maple leaves, goldfish, etc.
     
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  20. Cheese Mountain

    Cheese Mountain Hard Yards

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    A few more thoughts.

    Nice stationery. Notebooks with traditional art/patterns or photography on the covers, pens with the same, packs of blank cards & envelopes etc.

    Coasters made from fabric and or the usual cork kind with designs as for stationery. Coasters also lend themselves to novelty designs too.

    Foldable shopping bags (the light kind that fold into their own pouch).

    Umbrellas. Might sound a bit random, but we have bought some with cool designs on our travels.

    Sharing packs of local food treats (the kind you would take to work to share with colleagues).

    Local food in nice packaging that can be reused (like a biscuit tin or similar).

    Traditional toys like kendama, preferably at a price point that children themselves could afford with their pocket money (under Y1000).
     
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  21. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    Not so much gifts but I've been to resorts (a while ago) where the souvenir/gift shops have an embroidery machine to embroider the resorts' logo(s) on your own ski gear. For example, having this embroided on your favourite North Face fleecy:
    [​IMG]
    Have no idea how much such machines cost and presumably you would need some licensing arrangement with the resorts.
     
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  22. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    ooh - where was that one?
     
  23. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    knives, ceramics, paper, anything kawai but tasteful (!)
    I collect pins but others may not
    precious few in Hakuba the two times I’ve been there
     
  24. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    Might have misled you using the Happo One logo (used it given the context of the OP). Was actually at Steamboat, Colorado.
     
  25. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cool, Ive never seen that.
     
  26. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    :(
     
  27. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ika? But may be the local supermarket has that as well.
    Kunsei is my favourite.
     
  28. Jonkl

    Jonkl Early Days

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    Love my strawberry KtKat, buy them everytime, but looks like they don't make them anymore?
     
  29. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    They are seasonal, so they appear every years. They are currently available.
     
  30. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst, cup ramen devotee Ski Pass: Gold

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    The only thing gifts I tend to buy in japan are things that are region specific like senbei, sweets or a soft toy of the regional mascot.

    I’d imagine ohashi would sell well as would stickers and fridge magnets with some sort of Hakuba reference.

    One thing I’ve always thought would export well (though not as a gift) are kotatsu. I literally spent my entire winter childhood under one. So good in cold weather :love:
     
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  31. silva

    silva One of Us

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    I usually buy things for kids:
    Small high quality stickers - great for helmets, snow gear and decorating all manner of school gear.
    Things to hang off school bags to identify them. My son currently has a snowboarding bear from Whitefish and a sparkly snowboard from Iwatake.
    Last time we were in Japan we bought TShirts from Macpac. They are awesome - tech fabric, 3 years old and worn a lot as they are favourites - still going strong (but pretty close to being grown out of), have not faded, no stitching problems etc.

    The other thing I would buy if I had ever been able to find them is TShirts for larger sized adults with nice, tasteful designs. A ladies XL in Japan fits your average 16 year old aussie girl - catering for you average size 14 lady and XL man (and larger - hubby always buys a lot of stuff in the US as it actually fits) would be great.
     
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  32. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    Each year, we come home with a suitcase stuffed with packaged food (and some alcohol).
    99% of it is for our own consumption.
     
  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    The clothing thing is a real issue for many.
    I understand local shops not stocking larger clothing. However for tourism purposes and souvenirs it would be smart to stock some larger items.

    My SA mate was looking for a Japan Jersey and a Japan World Cup SA Jersey for his son, but the only few they could find were Japan S and M sizes. Might have fitted the lad when he was 8. We even had a concierge call all the sports shops in Sapporo - all sold out.
     
  34. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So now it seems @Lucky Pete is opening a Meg Don Quixote at Hakuba
     
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  35. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    wooden photo frame with "Hakuba" etched on it

    couldn't find one anywhere
     
  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    This
    [​IMG]

    And, in my opinion, it's better the shop has some Australian items too in that the majority of the tourists to Hakuba are non Australian. And Australian items are something new and interesting for Japanese people and non Australian tourists from abroard. Most Japanese friends of mine who have been to Australia actually bought Vegemite and Macadamia nut chocolates in Australia. Vegemite is to Japanese what Natto is to Australian(both are acquired tastes) , and Vegemite is notorious among Japanese, but notoriety is better than obscurity;)
     
  37. TheFake

    TheFake One of Us

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    Do chu-hi's count as souvenirs?
     
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  38. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I don’t know if it has been covered but the souvenirs my family buy are ‘location’ magnets, stickers, beer glasses, drink coasters - and the odd T shirt or hoodie.
    It’s a collection type thing - we couldn’t not buy a Hakuba magnet or sticker.
     
  39. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree about the Vegemite - maybe the single serve packs - cover tourist missing Vegemite from home and also Japanese wanting to try. I had that exact discussion about Vegemite and Natto last night with new friends (the girl that worked in the little bar we went to and her husband who was drinking with us). She likes Vegemite, but I couldn’t say the same about Natto so she won!

    Ohh and just a side note:
    Went to the Rugby superstore in Shinjuku this morning. Lots sold out, but between there and the department store across the road specialising in sportswear brands we got a lot of stuff! They even had 3XLs available. The XL was too big for PB.
    I got a fan for my friend. It’s just what she wanted. Something like this without RWC on it would be a good item to stock.
     
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  40. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Thanks so much everybody. We really appreciate the input and advice. Getting pretty excited about making this happen :)
     
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  41. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    With the clothes , have one of each size out to try, I'm 6-1 and 90 kg and are either a 2xl or 3xl, if I could find it in Hakuba last year, there was not a lot of choice :( didn't think I was that big but all the hoodies and tee shirts seemed to cater for the Japanese size not western tourists.
     
  42. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bought this Storm Glass online from Japan for our Jindy home years ago. Much enjoyed by all.

    [​IMG]
     
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  43. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Female family members agree as they are everywhere in their houses. Oh the Menopause. :oops:
     
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  44. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    How did she go past melon kuma?



     
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  45. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Thanks all for your great suggestions - We are progressing well.

     
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