Is there someone in your life who adores the culture and country of Japan? It’s a magnificent place with unique traditions, artwork, food, and more. I’m not surprised that the Japan-aficionado in your life is obsessed with all things Japan. However, if you’re not as hip with the culture, history, and country, it can be challenging to find the perfect item from the wide selection of Japanese gifts.
It’s an interesting fact that American Christmas falls around the same time as Japanese Oseibo. This word describes both the season and month of December. In Japan, the holidays that take place during Oseibo, or the year-end, typically involve gift-giving. It’s customary for gifts to be given to those who have graciously supported you throughout the year. Because of that, you would like to show gratitude.
Whether you’re looking for an American holiday or celebration gift, or one for Oseibo, we’re here to help! This thoughtfully curated list of Japanese-inspired gift ideas is bursting with cuisine, culture, and art objects that they’re sure to love. Who knows, while perusing our picks, you might just fall in love with Japan too!
1. Japanese Alphabet Prints or Icons Print
It doesn’t matter if they’re fluent or a lover of the language and culture; you can’t pass up these gorgeous prints.
A bold, black and white print features Hiragana and Katakana charts with the characters, the English translation, and the English pronunciation. It’s ideal for the beginning speaker who wants to learn or the expert who wants to display the unique and beautiful Japanese alphabet. Alternatively, the colorful icon print contains lovely watercolor illustrations of all Japan’s most significant icons, perfectly encapsulating the culture.
2. Japanese Snack Subscription Box
Oseibo gifts often are gifts of food or household goods. This snack subscription box will remind them of your thankfulness all year round!
It includes delectable Japanese treats to satisfy sweet, salty, and every flavor craving in between. Authentic candies, snacks, and teas can be delivered to their doorstep, fresh from a centuries-old family business. Choose from three, six, or twelve-month subscriptions.
3. Sake Subscription Box
They’ll love this sake subscription if they prefer Japanese beverages to snack boxes.
For those not “in the know,” sake is an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting rice. There are many varieties of sake, from punchy and fruity to dry and mellow. A subscription is a fantastic way to sample all the flavors without having to fly to Japan to do so!
4. Sake Kasu Soap
Hey, maybe they love sake so much they just want to lather up with it all over their body; who are we to judge?
If that’s the case, treat them to this indulgent sake kasu soap. It turns out that the fermented rice mash used to make sake has a lot more benefits than just brewing up a good cup of wine. This gorgeous bar is packed with enzymes and nutrients that support the skin’s microbiome. They’ll feel soft, refreshed, and ready to take on the day.
5. Sushi Making Kit
Sushi isn’t like making meatloaf or chicken noodle soup at home. While you can find a recipe, you’ll need special tools.
This is why this sushi-making kit is the bomb! It includes everything they’ll need to stuff, wrap, and roll glorious sushi creations. It even contains a professional knife for preparing all of their fresh ingredients. The handy and stylish bag makes it effortless to store.
6. Sake Making Kit
Americans love brewing beer at home, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that making sake at home is a typical Japanese pastime.
Now, your Japan-culture-loving friend can try their hand at this ancient art. The methods were developed in the 8th century CE and aren’t any easier today than back then. Still, this kit does a great job of simplifying the steps. It includes everything they’ll need, right down to the rice.
7. Sake Bottle & Cups
by Etsy: MelangeMarche
Whether brewing or sampling a box of sake, they’ll need something to pour their traditional wine into.
We love this stunning sake bottle and cup set. Made of porcelain and quoted with a reactive glaze for varied coloration, this set will look great and last a long time. Certified commercial grade, it’s excellent for hot or cold sake and for serving your partner or up to four guests. The design may be ancient, but this set is microwave and dishwasher safe!
8. Japanese Tea Set
by Etsy: MelangeMarche
We’ve talked a lot about sake, but that’s not the only Japanese beverage.
Check out this lovely tea set. It has a modern and stylish marble theme that doesn’t detract from the classic teapot and teacup design. The bamboo handle completes the beautiful ode to Japanese culture. This set is dishwasher safe, but it’s recommended that you hand wash it. Alternatively, you could keep it out of service and simply display it in your home.
I did not know that Japanese black currant was a scent, but now I’m very intrigued!
This bold candle features a traditional glass vessel with a contemporary pinstripe design. Refined and soft cosmetic-grade wax burns for up to 60 hours and has a superior scent diffusion. Speaking of scent, the black currant is complemented by Mirabelle plum, Kadota fig, and sandalwood for a rich sensory experience.
10. Origami Kit
I may not have as strong an affinity for Japan as others. Still, I wholeheartedly appreciate the beauty and skill of origami.
The ancient art of paper folding is genuinely timeless. This kit includes a fantastic step-by-step guide that will allow them to practice this piece of history at home and take them from novice to expert patterns. The gorgeous illustrations and clear diagrams are a must when you’re just learning. Highly detailed, contrasting, and metallic embellished folding papers ensure even if your piece lacks a few folds, it will still look gorgeous.
11. Cherry Blossom Necklace
by Etsy: LeBuaJewelrytoo
Cherry blossoms or trees in Japan are known as Sakura, and Japan is world-renowned for its awe-inspiring blooms.
In fact, the cherry blossom is Japan’s unofficial national flower. Those who adore the country would be thrilled with this cherry blossom necklace. A natural, perfectly preserved flower is encapsulated in clear glass and surrounded by 18k gold. It’s the prettiest way to always carry a piece of Japan with them.
12. Koi Fish Cufflinks
by Etsy: CuffDaddyCufflinks
Looking for a Japanese culture gift for him? These Koi fish cufflinks are charming.
The Koi fish hails from Japan, where colorful, ornamental carp were kept and bred for their beauty. They symbolize spiritual and material abundance; however, this gift will be the only present he’ll need. It’s the perfect finishing touch to any outfit.
13. Shibori Kitchen Towels
by Etsy: ClassicNContemporary
What’s shibori? A unique and captivating manual tie-dying technique from Japan.
These amazing flour sack towels are a pretty and practical way for anyone to show their love of traditional Japanese culture. The durable yet soft 100% cotton fabric is hand-dyed with a rich indigo dye using the shibori method. Ideal for cleaning or entertaining, there’s nothing these towels can’t do.
14. Japanese Zen Garden
Every time they tend to this miniature Japanese Zen Garden, they’ll be transported to the country they love.
This cute kit contains twelve Asian-inspired features, including the well-known sakura blossom trees and a ceramic Pagoda. The soft sand that lines the bottom allows them to create zen designs, providing a nice mental break should they choose to leave it on their desk.
15. Fine Matcha Powder plus Matcha Tea Kit
Matcha is positively delicious and purely good for you!
This refreshing green matcha powder is so versatile. You can use it to make smoothies, lattes, or teas. Its caffeine properties provide a steady boost with no crash. Pair the powder with a tea kit containing everything they need for scooping, stirring, and preparing a classic cup of matcha.
16. Unimpressed Frog Sweatshirt
True Japan fans will probably be familiar with the ” Toad ” art piece by Matsumoto Hoji.
Fellow lovers will be able to spot each other on the street with the gift of this unimpressed frog sweatshirt. This cozy yet charming sweatshirt features a bold print of the original artwork. Inside, the 50% polyester 50% cotton blend is soft and comfy.
17. Sushi Socks
It doesn’t matter if you’re a raw fish fan or not; these sushi socks are absolutely adorable. Plus, you don’t even need any gift wrapping!
Thoughtfully packaged to appear as colorful sushi in a leaf-filled take-out box, this gift is a treat for the eyes as it is for the toes. Each sock is perfectly stretchy and ultra-comfy and printed with its own unique pattern.
18. Secret Tokyo Coloring Book
Give them the gift of this beautiful stress reliever that allows them to color their way through the culture of Japan.
Each page features an intricate and one-of-a-kind design, including koi fish, florals, and other icon symbols. High-quality stock lets them use whatever medium they choose without worrying about bleed-through. If they’re looking for a creative way to channel their stress, this is it.
19. Machi Koro Game
A fun game for adults and kids alike, this is a little like Japan’s version of Monopoly.
Using the fun and colorful characters, you can collect money and build your own city. It’s fast-paced and quick, making it ideal for those who loathe the monopoly marathon. Elect them the mayor of Machi Koro and test their building skills with this cute board game.
20. Bonsai Tree Kit
Bonsai Trees symbolize many things, each one of them perfect for an Oseibo gift.
Traditionally, these trees represent balance, harmony, luck, and of course, patience. The latter they’ll undoubtedly need if they’re going to grow this iconic plant. This gift can last them decades with love, care, and skill; some bonsai can live for centuries!
21. Japanese Chef’s Knife
Spoil them with this deliciously good-looking knife sharp enough to cut anything in its way.
Renowned for their high standards and extreme precision, Miyabi makes knives that last a lifetime. The super steel blade is paired with a stunning pakkawood handle and many chef-friendly features. It will inevitably become their go-to for slicing, dicing, chopping, and more.
This kimono is perfect for any season, a contemporary spin on a traditional design.
23. Signature Collection Mochi
If you haven’t tried Mochi, you’re missing out.
This box is the ideal way to let them experience all the tantalizing flavors Japan offers. The signature collection includes two Mochi’s of each of their twelve most popular flavors, such as red bean, black sesame, and ube. It’s a cool gift that they’ll rave about for months.
24. Japanese Lantern
We adore these round lanterns with a stunning cherry blossom design.
They’re super easy to assemble and store, so they can hang them up for the holidays, a particular season, or keep them up year-round. Each one can hold a LED puck light and produces a gentle glow as a result. Give them the gift of zen with these cute decor pieces.
Suppose you’re looking to be authentic and respectful in your Japanese gift-giving. In that case, you’ll want to avoid lilies, lotus blossoms, and camellias, as these flowers are often associated with funerals and death. Any white flower or potted plant, in general, should be avoided due to the somewhat common belief that they can cause sickness.
There are three types of traditional Japanese gifts, okaeshi, ochugen, and oseibo. These are thank-you gifts and are given in return for certain favors, at events, or during specific times of the year. Popular choices include foods, alcohol, home goods, or cooking items.
The items mentioned above, such as packaged sweets, home goods, and cooking ingredients, are popular traditional Japanese gifts. However, much of the population may have tastes similar to the rest of the world regarding gift-giving, including things like clothing, tech items, and mainstream items.
The Perfect Purezento
You can’t pass up these thoughtful and creative gifts if you know someone who adores Japanese culture, tradition, and the country itself. They’re gorgeous and tasteful, and many of them are authentic, hailing from Japanese artists and creators. We hope we made picking the perfect purezento (Japanese for present) for the holidays, as a showing of gratitude, or as a birthday gift, a little less stressful.