Japanese culture has always seemed exotic to Americans, but nowadays many Americans embrace everything from the latest Japanese technology to the calming practices of zen. Teens and young adults are infatuated with manga and anime, adopting clothing styles and colorful hair. Sushi has become a commonplace choice for takeout. Some older people put their patience into practice tending bonsai trees.
For those of any age who seek adventure from across the globe, these cool Japanese gifts are a must. These presents will fuel their adventurous spirit without having to spend an entire day in a plane.
1. Virtual Travel
Best Japanese gifts
If actual travel to Japan is out of the question due to time or money, give them the next best thing, a virtual tour. Send them to the old town of Takayama, travel through Tokyo on a rickshaw, or learn the history of Kyoto, the old capital. They just need an Internet connection. This will make a great family gift to do together.
If this inspires them to actually go to Japan, give them a guide book to help plan their trip. You can also give them a book on Japanese myths and legends to gain some insight into the history and culture.
2. Traditional Tea Set
Japanese gift ideas
For those who are fascinated with tradition and rituals, a Japanese tea set will satisfy their yearning, along with some Japanese tea.
Give them a book about Japanese tea ceremonies so they can practice their own at home, while learning about the part tea plays in Japanese society.
For an unusual Japanese gift, give them some flowering tea.
3. Japanese Building Blocks
Japanese gifts for Christmas
These building block sets depict scenes from typical shops found on Japanese streets. While some of these are for kids, some are meant for an older crowd as well. We recently got one for our 15 year old who is into manga. He enjoyed putting it together and proudly displays it on his shelf. These are smaller than typical building sets so they don’t take up much space.
Kids who like Dragon Ball Z or Naruto will love receiving anime action figures for a holiday gift. While older kids may like them as collectibles, younger kids will enjoy acting out scenes from their favorite series.
Take family game night to a whole new level by introducing some Japanese board games. You will find traditional games such as Mahjong, but anime lovers will find new games they will love too.
4. Peaceful Tabletop Fountain
Zen gifts for Japanese lovers
Some people are attracted to Japanese culture for the mind-body experience. These folks will enjoy a peaceful tabletop fountain to bring harmony to the home or office.
Similarly, a desktop garden will provide a focus for meditation when they need a break at work. Or give them a mini Shinto shrine. Books on Zen will help them learn more about this mindful practice.
5. Japanese Snack Box
Japanese gift boxes
Japanese snack boxes will leave tasty treats at their fingertips while playing video games or watching their favorite anime series.
So they don’t run out of snacks, you can give them a Japanese snack subscription box with monthly delivery.
While you are at it, give them some unique Japanese soda to wash down the snacks.
If they are more adventurous, they may want to create their own delights with a DIY candy making kit.
6. Anime Bucket List
Cool Japanese gifts
Give fans of anime this bucket list to complete. They can scratch off each show as they watch it.
You can also give them an anime box set of their favorite series or a manga box set if they prefer to read the books.
For those obsessed with anime, add some anime themed clothing to their wardrobe or get them an anime phone case.
7. Cherry Blossom Spa Set
Japanese gifts for her
To relax after a long day, give her a spa gift set full of bath products with the sweet smelling scent of Japanese cherry blossoms.
What would be more fitting than to step out of the bath and put on an elegant Japanese kimono?
You can even get a traditional hand fan for her to cool off on warm days or to use as wall decor.
For a cute Japanese gift give her sushi socks. These adorable socks are rolled up to look like pieces of sushi. Leave it to the Japanese. It’s all about the presentation.
For those who like to be up on the latest trends, give her a cool Japanese purse.
8. Sushi Making Set
Gifts for Japanese lovers
My husband and I love sushi, but we have difficulty finding time to go out to our favorite restaurant. We ended up getting a sushi making kit. While we still enjoy going out to eat, we also enjoy creating sushi at home together as a date night.
To simplify things, you can get them a rice cooker. Then they can just focus on preparing the sushi.
Get an “A” for presentation, by giving them a sushi serving set.
Kids and adults can pack their lunch in a bento box. The sections allow for many small portions of a variety of foods such as sushi, vegetables, or mini sandwiches. Buy them some sandwich cutters to make cute designs. This is a great way to get kids to eat healthy foods.
9. Desk Gong
Japanese gifts for him
These gongs can be used for zen meditation or just to get someone’s attention. (They are loud!)
My neighbor continually recommends we read his favorite book, The Art of War, (it’s a guy thing).
Men will also love displaying traditional Japanese weapons in their home.
For lounging around the house, give him a kimono for men.
As a funny gift, get him some lightsaber light up chopsticks to use when he eats sushi.
10. Origami Kit
Japanese gift ideas for hobbyists
Start them on the traditional art of paper folding with an origami kit. These are great for kids, but adults will enjoy them too.
Calligraphy was brought to Japan from China over a millennium ago. Since then the Japanese have developed their own style. Start someone on a new hobby with a calligraphy set for beginners.
Similarly, they can develop their own artistic style with a Zen art board.
11. Udemy Language Course
Japanese gifts for language learning
I am an avid learner of foreign languages, but I have yet to learn Japanese. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to learn the language. An online course can be taken at their own pace from the comfort of their own home.
I also enjoy using language books. Some come with audio visual materials or access to a web page, while others are in a workbook form. The best way to learn is by both speaking and writing.
While books often help with reading and writing a language, Japanese flash cards will be a great way to practice pronouncing vocabulary. They can pair up with a friend and quiz each other.
12. Sake Set
Japanese gifts for adults
Traditional sake can be served warm, so some sake sets will come with a warmer under the carafe. Other sets just come with cups, carafe, and serving tray. Don’t forget to give the gift with a bottle of Sake.
Another popular item in recent years is Japanese whiskey. To be honest, I didn’t even know they made whiskey in Japan until recently. Whiskey lovers will enjoy a book on Japanese whiskey to learn more about this popular libation. Make sure to buy a bottle of Japanese whiskey to go with the book, so they can actually taste some.
13. Bonsai Kit
Japanese themed gifts
The art of bonsai requires care and patience to prune a tree, maintaining its miniature form. This can be a relaxing hobby for some. A beginner kit will have everything they need to get started.
If they enjoy this hobby and want to take it to the next level, you can give them a set of Bonsai tools. They will also need a bonsai gardening book for tips and techniques.
14. Takoyaki Maker
Unique Japanese gifts for cooking
Takoyaki are traditional dough balls made with octopus, but they can get creative and use this gadget to create their own fusion of Japanese and American cuisine.
There are many books out there on Japanese cooking depending on their preference. I have seen books on cooking ramen, sushi, as well as how to make foods from their favorite manga, anime, or video games.
I have dabbled in Japanese cooking myself. One cool thing they do is to make omelets and roll them up to serve in slices. A good omelet pan will make this easier to do, since it is rectangular in shape instead of round. This way, the sides remain even when they roll it up.
Do you know someone who loves ramen? Then they will love receiving decorative ramen bowls to eat their noodles from.
15. Noren Curtain
Japanese gifts for the home
Maybe they would like to add some Japanese decor to the home. Noren curtains are used as decorative room dividers instead of doors.
I have a fantasy of having a Japanese dining room where the table is on the floor and everyone has to sit on cushions. They can create their own Japanese dining experience by using a large ottoman as a table and getting some zabuton cushions to sit on. These can also be used for meditation or yoga.
For a Japanese sleeping experience, give them a Japanese futon mat. These are easily stored when not being used.
For the patio, get them some delicate cherry blossom string lights to create a peaceful garden out back.