What to Buy in Japan – Souvenirs, Cosmetics, etc…

As a Japanese national who has been living in NYC and visiting Japan once a year for the last decade, I have amassed a list of practical items I must buy!

Anything from 100 Yen Shops ?

Move over Doller Tree, the Japanese 100 yen shop kicks your butt when it comes to diversity of products and quality. You’ve probably heard of Daiso which has stores worldwide (including the United States). I was so excited when I saw Daiso popping up in NYC but I was shocked to find that everything was $2 instead of $1. I guess it’s still great in that, you don’t have to fly all the way to Japan and it’s still cheaper than shopping at Amazon, Target, or Walmart. There are a couple of different 100 yen stores in Japan: Daiso, CanDo, Seria, etc… All stores are similar but different in the products that they sell. If you have time, I highly recommend you visit multiple 100 yen shops while you are in Japan.

Japanese Sunscreen ?

I use sunscreen every day! It is important for me that the sunscreen be lightweight and affordable. Japanese drug store sunscreens are very good. I could get some of the Japanese sunscreens on Amazon.com, but it usually costs more so I always buy sunscreen when I’m in Japan. Below are my favorite drug store sunscreens in Japan:

Skin Essence ?

You’ve probably heard of SK-II. That is an essence. I personally think SK-II is too expensive, but I enjoy using an essence that is affordable to prep my skin. I stock up on drug store essence when I visit Japan. Below are my go-to brands. You can also purchase them from Amazon.com.

Uniqlo ?

You can find Uniqlo all over the world, but I try to stock up while in Japan to take advantage of cheaper costs. They promote a lot of sales throughout the year. If you can wait, many items go on sale at the end of the season. My mom rarely pays full price at Uniqlo.

If you’re a fan of Uniqlo, check out a brand called GU. They are similar to Uniqlo but cheaper and target a younger demographic.


Are you a MUJI fan? If so please go to the MUJI store in Japan. They are cheaper and they carry items that are not available in MUJI stores outside of Japan. My favorite things to buy there are treats like Baumkuchen and cookies.


Baumbuchen (many seasonal flavors) from Muji Website
Cookies From Muji Website

Sake / Japanese Whisky ??

Do you love sake? When you travel throughout Japan, you will find sakes that you’ve never heard of. It is because there are so many local sake breweries in Japan and they usually only sell their sake in a specific region. Tenzin’s favorite sake in Japan is called Tenryo from Gifu. Sake will make a wonderful souvenir. If you are a whisky lover, you can get rare Japanese whisky in Japan. *Please check how much alcoholic beverage you can bring to your home country without paying duty tax.*

Tenzin’s favorite Sake called Tenryo.

Roach Trap (Trap A Roach Hoi Hoi) ??

I live in NYC and Roach Trap comes in handy during the warmer months. Trap A Roach Hoi Hoi is a Japanese Roach Trap and I like them. I’ve tried many American Roach Traps, but none of them work like Trap A Roach Hoi Hoi. You can buy them on Amazon, but they are way cheaper in Japan. *It is called Gokiburi Hoi Hoi in Japan.*

Mosquito Repeller ? ?

During the summer months, I wake up to the sound of mosquitos. This Japanese Mosquito Repeller can save your sleep! It is called Earth No Matt. You can just plug it in and it works wonders. Many types of mosquito-repelling devices are available (battery operated, Outlet, or USB) This is not sold in the United States, so I found some traditional alternatives.

My list of “Must Buy Items” in Japan is kind of weird, but it is practical and I love it. Let us know what is your “Must Buy Items”. I am always expanding my list as long as there is some space in my luggage ?

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