Japan is a country with a rich cultural heritage, boasting delicious food and a refined aesthetic that is revealed in its art and design products. Here are five quintessentially Japanese souvenirs to take home to enjoy yourself or share with friends.
Sake and Sake Cups
Sake is a strong rice liquor that is considered the national alcohol of Japan. The quality of the sake depends on how much the grains of rice are polished (the process that removes the starch from the exterior of the rice grain). Sake can be served warm or cold (depending on the quality) in a wide variety of cups, including: a sakazuki (a flat, saucer-like cup), an ochoko (a small, round cup), a masu (a wooden, box-like cup). These also make great souvenirs!
Washi tape is colorful, decorative tape that can be used for a variety of purposes. It makes a great, affordable gift for design enthusiasts and crafters of all ages. Washi tape can also add a special flare to holiday gifts.
Japan is known for its beautiful paper products. Origami paper comes in a variety of sizes and patterns. If you’re not an origami master, don’t worry. The paper can be used for many other purposes as well. Like washi tape, it makes a great gift for design enthusiasts and crafters (and it’s light to pack in your suitcase).
Bean Curd Confections
Bean curd is used in many Japanese recipes. One of its most brilliant uses, in my opinion, is in the gelatinous bean curd candies that you can buy throughout the country. They have just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture is lovely. This would make a unique gift for the foodies in your life (or a great snack on the plane ride home).
Damascene is a metal art form that has been practiced in Japan for many years. It involves etching or inlay, typically using sterling silver and 14k gold. Japanese damascene often depicts traditional scenes (temples, ginko trees, etc.) and can be found in the form of earrings, broaches, bracelets and pendants. It makes a wonderful, classic gift for someone special.
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