Best Souvenir Items from Japan and South Korea

I have traveled around the world many times over. Each time I’ve brought for myself, and for my loved ones at home, mementos from the beautiful cities I have visited and have fallen in love with. There’s just so much to love about the varying and unique cultures of each city and country that I have had the privilege to come upon. The process of finding a great souvenir to remember them by is already an exciting experience in and of itself. I’d like to share my favorite souvenirs from two of my most favorite countries – Japan and South Korea.

Japan

I’m sure anyone who has visited Japan would feel for the country the same way I did – full of respect and adoration. What’s not to love really? The people are just so warm and friendly. The food is exquisite. The sceneries are just breath-taking and the vibrant culture is simply awe-inspiring. To go to Japan and not bring home a memento is just a grave sin, in my opinion. Honestly, my personal collection of Japanese souvenirs increases in a staggering degree every time I visit Japan. My picks for the best Japanese souvenir items would be:

Chopsticks

Japanese chopsticks are pieces of art themselves, and they’re quite different from Chinese chopsticks.

Tenugui

This colorful and durable rectangular piece of cloth is truly amazing. It can be used for just about anything. It can be a handkerchief, parcel bag, worn as an accessory, used as decoration, and wrapped around gifts. The options are endless.

Yukata

Japan = kimono. It’s that simple. The yukata is the light kimono Japanese wear during summer festivals and such. The elaborate and intricate designs in the yukata are just stunning to look at.

Slippers

Japanese wooden slippers called Geta or Zōri complement the yukata. The former type has more outrageous designs than the latter one. The Zōri are the more conventional and comfortable slippers to wear.

 Umbrella

The Wagasa or Japanese traditional umbrellas can be seen in many Japanese classical artworks. It’s a complementary backdrop to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It’s also used in kabuki theatrical shows.

Knife and sword

Japanese knives are some of the best knives in the world. Chefs everywhere say these knives preserve the freshness of the food they cut. The Japanese sword nowadays is more of a sign of prestige than a functional item. Its quality is still undeniably excellent though.

South Korea

South Korea is a very lively and energetic country. So many things will captivate one’s attention.

Silverware

Metal chopsticks are uniquely South Korean. Yes, you can find some in Japan or China, but there greatly predominant and common here. The same goes for spoons with long stems.

Hanji

These beautiful art pieces made of Korean paper are great decorative pieces.

Embroidered items

South Korea is also known for its embroidery. The art of embroidery in the country dates back to the imperial times. The quality of their pieces is simply superb.

Korean Tea

That uniquely Korean blend of tea is unmistakable.

Cosmetics

Something has to be said for the reason behind the Koreans’ almost fanatical obsession for makeup and other cosmetic products; maybe because they actually work. Known for their made up appearances, Koreans surely know their way to a more beautiful you.

Photo by akaitori on Flickr

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