Japan is a dreamland for cute and interesting stuff, so finding nice things to buy shouldn`t be a problem. Before travelling to Japan I was already fascinated by traditional Japanese wooden toys etc. so I tried to keep my eyes peeled for such things during my trip there last summer. In the end finding old traditional toys turned out to be harder than I thought! Maybe I looked from the wrong places… Anyway, instead I managed to find some kind of traditional and really fun souvenirs. Besides all these things were pretty affordable! All of the items I got were under 2000 yen, most of them were actually under 1000 yen (per item).
Here are my favourite souvenir kind of things from the trip:
“Souvenirs from Japan” -figurines
Japan has lots of interesting vending machines but my favourites were these “Souvenirs from Japan” -vending machines. I think there were at least three different kinds of vending machines and each of them included several different toys. The toys are based on traditional Japanese toys and even though they are made of plastic the quality is really nice! Me and my boyfriend just had to get several of them! For once we got super lucky and managed to get different toys every time expect once. These toys are slightly more expensive (400 yen) than most of vending machine toys, but still not too pricey I think. : )
I think I have found world`s cutest matchbooks… When we were visiting Okayama`s Aeon shopping centre I came across with a shop that sold all kind of local crafts. I immediately noticed these matchbooks! The packaging is simple, but so unique and creative. I can`t remember the exact price anymore, but it was definitely under 1000 yen, maybe 200-500 yen/per package? There were also several different animals to choose from but for some reason I ended up getting only these two sets (big regret…). I know for sure that I can`t bring myself to use these ever haha…
When visiting a flea market that took place at the garden of a temple in Kyoto we came across with a man who made traditional Japanese paper toys called hariko. The man had made several kinds of paper toys but I ended up buying only this small brooch. I think it was only about 800 yen and later I started to regret that I didn`t buy more things from him. His style to paint the figurines was really nice!
Traditional style dog plush
This soft toy was also bought from Okayama`s Aeon from a lovely design/crafts shop (which name I can`t unfortunately remember anymore). I have no idea what they call this type of toys or if it even is traditional style but I thought the dog was very sympathetic looking! I liked the crafty feeling on it. ; ) This toy was around 1500-1800 yen, I think.
I am not 100 % sure how you are supposed to use these towels but if I understood right maybe like dishcloth/teatowel? Feel free to correct me! In any case, these towels were super affordable! I think they cost only about 200-400 yen each and you were able to buy different kinds of towels from different places. Me and my boyfriend ended up getting one from Nara (towel with deers) and another from Okayama (with folklore hero Momotaro). Both towels were bought from pretty regular kind of souvenir shop. Again, Japanese packaging is just too beautiful to be opened…
Second hand kokeshi doll
One of my main missions during my trip was to find a perfect, possibly a bit older kokeshi doll. I did see lots of kokeshi dolls in several places but somehow none of them gave me this “ooh, this is the one“-feeling. I sometimes came across with a wooden box full of kokeshi dolls and they were all nice, but “just nice”. I couldn`t decide which of them was my favourite so I couldn`t bring myself to pick one… In the end of the trip I had already given up with kokeshi dolls until we went to Kamarakura for a day trip. There while walking on a small street, I noticed a wooden box in the front of a tiny shop. Inside it there were several kokeshi but one caught my eye immediately. Most kokeshi dolls I had seen were painted with red and black with maybe a pinch of green. Unlike the others, this one was painted with black and grey tones and I really liked the painting style! I saw that the doll was 1800 yen and I rushed to buy it! I believe that you can find even better kokeshi deals from flea markets and such but this kokeshi felt special to me so I didn`t mind. I must say I have become really attached to this doll during a short time. It is definitely one of my favourite things I got from Japan!