Super Secret store that will save you 75% on AUTHENTIC souvenirs

Why settle for those expensive and yet cheesy touristy souvenirs?  

Ditch those tourist-trap souvenir stores!  If I tell you that there is a chain of stores throughout Japan where you can get authentic souvenirs for a quarter of a price, would you go?  Do not go to any other souvenir store without first reading this article.

Aside from being one of the most technologically advance country in the world, Japan is also very Eco-friendly where they recycle pretty much everything  from plastic bottle and cans, to housewares, clothes and even electronics and toys so they do not end up in landfills and take up precious land.  You would probably ask, "How do they recycle these items such as clothes and toys?"  In this article, I will show you where you can find great treasures and how much you will be saving compared to buying the same items at a regular souvenir shops out in town.  Welcome to HARD OFF and OFF HOUSE!

My Photo. Hard Off and Off House "Eco Reuse Factory"

I know what you're going to say.... "That's just a thrift store!"  Well, it is, but it's more than just a thrift store.  You might think thrift stores only sell second hand items or used goods.  Here, you will also find brand new items from dinnerware, pottery, toys, furniture, arts and crafts and authentic kimonos.... and they all scream JAPANESE.  These stores can be found in just about any major city in Japan.  Just google map where ever you are and I'm sure there will be one close by.  Even though there's so many different items in this store, I will only be talking about items most people would buy as souvenirs from Japan.  So grab your skimpy wallets, make room in your luggage,  and bring an open mind for you are about to have a new perspective on thrift stores.


First, let's start of with Kitchen/Dinnerware.  Yeah kitchen/dinnerware is probably not something you have in mind when it comes to souvenirs.  These ones are just like the tacky touristy ones you see at souvenir shops, you can put them on display to enhance your decor or brag about your wonderful trip to Japan.  The big difference though is that these are actually functional.  If you want to use them to serve food or drinks, you can take them from your display cabinet, serve sushi or any food on them, wash them and put them back on your display case when done.  And they still look elegant as they are  authentic .  And they don't have those cheesy "Japan" or "Tokyo" writings on them.  If that's what you want though, buy a magnet.  You would probably pay close to $30-$100 for something similar at a souvenirs shop out in town, but here they only range from $5-$20.  Still don't believe me?  See if these pictures I took will change your mind.

My Photo: Japanese serving platters $5-$10.
You'll be serving sushi and other Japanese food like a real Iron Chef with these bad boys.  These serving platters are solid and very well made. 
My photo. Miso/soup bowls for Y100.... that's $1!!!!

My Photo. Japanese sake cups for Y50..... that's 50 cents! Go, go, go shorty, it's your birthday. We're gonna drink sake like it's your birthday! (get it?)
You can actually mix and match any number of different sake cups and place them in a multi-layer case to make an awesome display.  Just like shot glasses, but these are way cooler.  Look up sake display on pinterest or google for ideas.

My Photo. Tea sets for $5. What a deal! Great for display or for you English folks.... Tea Time!

More tea sets... this one is about $15, but it comes with a really cool wooden caddy with drawer. And look at the sake dispenser next to it... that one's $10.

My Photo. Japanese clay pot... $5.
Japanese clay pots or "donabe" as they are called, are essential in many Japanese households.  They are so versatile that they can be used to cook stew, stir fry, steam, roast, deep fry,  any food or cuisine.  The lids are very functional that not only are they used to insulate and retain heat, but when turned upside down, it also serves as a dish or serving bowl.  Try doing that with your slow cooker.

My Photo. Japanese ceramic cups/glasses. About $2-$3 each.

My Photo. Japanese layered bento box.
These multi-layered bento boxes or "jubako" are lacquered food boxes used to serve food on special occasions or parties.  If Japanese people would go to such pot locks, they would bring their share of food in these.  They go for about $20 even up to $80 and over $100 on souvenir shops or online, but a new one like this one would cost about less than $10.

Chopsticks. $1-$3 for sets.
If you are into collecting chopsticks or know someone who does, they have an assortment of chopsticks in here too and they even sell chopstick cases.

My Photos. Japanese dish/plate sets. $5-$10. They come in wooden boxes.

Japanese cup sets in wood boxes. $5-$10.
Many items in here are brand new and for many of them, they also come in really neat wooden boxes.  They add to its aesthetic  and appeal when displayed.  They make perfect gifts too for weddings, showers, Christmas or birthdays.  Come on, wouldn't you be so happy and think you've been given a really expensive gift when you see one of these Japanese plate or cup sets as pictured above?  You never would have know it was actually from a Japanese "thrift shop" unless you've gone to Odigo and read this article.


Got your attention now?  Next, Japanese  pottery are very distinct and very well known.  They are considered one of Japan's oldest art form.  Their simplicity in design makes them very desirable to exhibit in any household or office.  They are very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and compliments any contemporary, vintage or modern interior design.  How much do you think vases and jars like these would cost at your typical souvenir shops or even specialty stores specializing in pottery?  Here, you can find them for about $20-$40.  You think that's expensive?  Looking at stores online, pottery that looks similar to the ones below go from $200 to even thousands of dollars. 
My Photo. Japanese pottery.

My Photos. Japanese pottery.


Yeah you might think who would really get toiletries as souvenirs or give them as gifts.  These towels may not be culturally from Japan, but they do have a subtle and yet very discernible  Japanese signature to them.  These could go from $30 up to hundreds online, but you could find them for $10-20 here and they even come in these nice wooden or cardboard boxes.  These are great to give someone as a gift.


You can also get Japanese arts and crafts here.  If you're into origami or making your own "oshie" paper dolls, you can find all the materials you need here.

My Photos. Japanese arts and crafts materials.


You can find all sorts of handicrafts at the store including lacquered  jewelry boxes and make up boxes like this.  A simple design like this can go from $20-$40 online.  I bought this for just Y800 which is less than $8.  Another perfect gift.... that's if you can actually make yourself not keep it for yourself. 

My Photos. Lacquered Make up box with drawer. $8.


We are now moving into the NERDY section.  Japan is the mecca of all things trendy and nerdy.  It is the only place too where you can easily find toys based on popular anime and TV shows such as Gundam, Super Sentai (the OG power rangers), to Samurai Star Wars and many others.  This would be a great place to find a gift for  kids you know back home, and for the little kid named YOU.  Kids would not care at all if any of these toys are from a thrift shop, all they know is that now they the coolest kid on the block because they have that one toy nobody else can get.  Although these toys here may still be a little pricey, they are still cheaper that those you can get at places like Akihabara or Shinjuku.  They are still worth the price considering you can get them pretty easily here in Japan than any other place.  Feed the inner "otaku" (nerd) in you.

My Photos. Gundam models you can build.

My photos. Super Sentai action figures and robots. If you can name every Super Sentai groups they have in Japanese television, you get bonus otaku points.

My Photos. Anime busts and action figures.

My Photos. Samurai Spiderman and Samurai Star Wars figures.
Yes these are Samurai Spiderman, Samurai Darth Vader, and Samurai Stormtrooper.  Yes they are about $50 and $100.... but they are just so awesome.  Nothing can be any cooler than a mix of Star Wars and Japanese.  Anything Star Wars or pretty much superheros that are "Japanized" (is that even a word?) just becomes a few steps above on the nerdy coolness level.


My Photos. Vintage Famicom games.
If you're an 80's or 90's or even Y2K kid, this place is for you.  They have stacks and stacks of vintage game systems and games from the original Nintendo Famicom to PS4, they have it all.  Sure this really is not a typical Japanese souvenir, but hey, these all started here in Japan and where else can you get them nowadays?


Okay so I take that back, Star Wars mixed with Japanese is not the only coolest thing, but anything Disney mixed with Japanese is just as awesome.   If you are a Star Wars and a Disney fan like I am, you would love the stuff you could find in this store.  Besides, Disney owns Star Wars now anyway.  If you plan on going to Tokyo Disneyland or Disney Sea, you can probably skip on the souvenirs there unless you really want the Disneyland and Disney Sea logo on them, then that's cools still.  
My Photos. Disney bath set.

It's Disney.  It's Japanese and it's Tea themed.  How cool is that?  Tell me you wouldn't want someone to give you a gift like this. And best of all, it's less than $10!
My Photos. Minnie Mouse miso soup bowl.
This is one I bought for myself for only $3.  Now I just have to find the Mickey one and the set is complete.
My Photos. Children's Disney bento box.

My Photos. Disney tea set and cup set.


If you are thinking about getting one of those popular Japanese Samurai or Geisha dolls in a case, look no further.  These dolls can easily run you from $80 and higher anywhere else.  Here, they have the same dolls as low as $16... some around $20-$30.  Still a great bargain.

My Photos. Japanese dolls.


Last but not the least, I will show you where to get authentic yukata and kimonos.  Why buy these kimono robes you see everywhere else?  They look cheesy and cheap.  It's just what tourist trap souvenir shops will sell you.
PC: (cheesy and cheap kimono robes)
You can also go to kimono shops around Japan and you can rent a kimono or yukata at $25 minimum for a few hours.  Why rent when you can buy your own for less than the rental price.  You can even display it with pride in your own home.  The kimono below is one of many I bought for myself that I have displayed in my house.  This only cost me $15.

My Photos. Authentic wearable kimono for a very affordable price of $15.

You can also buy beautiful accessories that you can actually use as well or give as a gift.
My Photos. Kimono accesory bag or also called "kinchaku". Very elegant and eye catching.

My Photos. Kimono ribbon or also called "obi" sash.

IN SUMMARY:  There you go folks.  I hope after seeing the items you can buy at an Off House or Hard Off, you'd think twice about going for those expensive souvenirs in those tourist-trap shops.  You can now get a better quality souvenir at a real affordable price.  Don't you wish you have "thrift" stores like this where you're from?

Please LIKE and SHARE this article to spread the word to everyone else.  Have fun shopping and hope you have a much more enjoyable time in Japan now that you've saved more money on souvenirs.



Miko Ting