10 souvenirs under 1000 yen that you never knew you needed

Souvenir shopping is one of the most fun things to do on a vacation. It’s significantly harder to enjoy though when you have several people to buy for, or limitations on the amount of money you’re able to spend - it can go from fun to stressful incredibly quickly. 

If you're like me, even if you're on a budget with souvenir shopping there are a few key criteria that come to mind.

  • You want the souvenir to look like some thought went into it, and not like it was a last-minute purchase of a magnet or a keychain at the airport.
  • You don’t want what you buy to cost the Earth, but at the same time you don’t want it to look cheap either.
  • You want it to be something that will be used or cherished, rather than something that ends up shoved in a drawer somewhere - never to see the light of day again.

Thankfully, Japan has plenty of options that will delight both you and your loved ones, and the ones below are all priced at ¥1000 or less. Best of all, they won't take up a ton of your luggage space - even if you’re not on a budget you’ll find these suggestions fun!
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Chopstick Rests

One of the most lovely little trinkets that you can get for foodies are chopstick rests. They're small and inexpensive, but really do have a classy element to them. They often sell these at places like Daiso and other 100 yen stores (just look in the kitchenwares section), and souvenir spots like Oriental Bazaar in Tokyo (which is a great place to visit for various Japanese inspired gifts). Combine them with an inexpensive pair of chopsticks too, and it makes for a gift that won't set you back a fortune -- but will have the receiver feeling like you put some thought in.
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Face Masks

Japan definitely has some unusual beauty products - and for some reason, these face masks (the wackier, the better) are huge hits with my loved ones. The PureSmile brand is one of my favorites - they have masks of all varieties, from cats and dogs, to Hello Kitty and more. They weigh next to nothing, and they're a fun way to revitalize your skin after you've just arrived in Japan after that long haul flight, or once you get home. Check Don Quijote or drug stores for these!


Socks may ordinarily be a gift that has you groaning - they tend to be dull and boring. Not in Japan, though! You'll find novelty socks all over the place, emblazoned with everything from various Pokemon to Hello Kitty, to beer and green tea logos, sushi and more. One of my favorite spots to shop for fun novelty socks is at Don Quijote - they usually have racks and racks of them in their stores. Best of all, they usually have deals where you can get one pair for 398 yen, or 3 pairs for 998 yen - cheap, cute, and unique! 

Bento Boxes

If you've got school-aged kids that you're buying for, or if you just like packing your own lunch to take to university or work, bento boxes are a great buy. They have them everywhere, from 100 yen stores to places like Tokyu Hands, Don Quijote or Loft - there are varying price points for these, but plenty of options throughout Japan for under 1000 yen. In my opinion, the more adorable the better, but there are grown-up versions too without characters all over them if you're more of a minimalist.
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Washi Paper

Washi is a style of paper that was originally made in Japan, and it's actually UNESCO registered as a piece of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Washi can be used in various different ways - you can use it for origami, for collages, or even frame different pieces of it and use it as wall art. If you're in Tokyo and want to get your hands on some washi (or even learn more about how it's made), a great place to check out is Ozu Washi - they're located in Nihonbashi and they offer hands on washi making classes as well as having a great store that has plenty of ready made items to buy.

Nori punchers

If picking up an adorable bento box wasn't enough, there are plenty of ways to amp up the cuteness of the contents of your lunch, too. Nori punchers are a fun addition to any souvenir stash - especially if you've got kids in your life that are fussy eaters. Somehow, putting a face on food makes it all the more interesting to little ones! You'll find nori punchers and other fun and inexpensive ways to make your lunchboxes less drab at places like 100 yen stores, Tokyu Hands, Don Quijote and more.
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Cute coin purses

If you're traveling in Japan, you'll know how quickly your coins accumulate every time you break a note - especially those high value 500 yen coins! Naturally you'll want a way to keep those coins in check, since coins that are worth about $5 US aren't things you want to go misplacing! A cute coin purse does the trick, and I particularly like the ones from the Pochi Brand. They have all manner of character inspired ones, from Hello Kitty, to various animals. You'll see them on sale at places like Kiddyland (am amazing chain of toy stores that sell more than just toys!) but they're available online at Amazon Japan too.

Kracie DIY food kits

If you know someone who would love to experience the quirky side of Japan, these Kracie DIY food kits have been a big hit for people in my life. The kits are usually priced between 250-400 yen + tax, and allow you to make candy that looks like Japanese food! I've made the sushi kit before, which tastes like grape gummy candy - a bit of a mind trip when you're looking at what seems to be real sushi. It's fun for the kids and kids at heart, and you can find these at many supermarkets and Don Quijote stores amongst other spots.

Fun cosmetics and beauty products

Japan has plenty of things that are packaged adorably - and cosmetics are no different. If you check just about any of Japan's drug stores, you'll find souvenir-worthy goodies that won't give you buyer's remorse. These super cute Sailor Moon multi purpose balms are not just cute but functional too - and they're just a touch over 1000 yen when you include the sales tax. These were at my local Welcia drug store, but they should be elsewhere, too!

Desk Calendars

You're going to need something on your office desk once you return from your vacation to remind you of your trip - and what better than a fun desk calendar? Check stores like Loft, who tend to have a good range of calendars (and a ton of cute stationery, too). I've currently got my eyes on this one on Amazon Japan - I love all things Sanrio!
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Hopefully these suggestions give you a bit of inspiration for things to buy for yourself or others that aren't perhaps the typical last minute airport souvenirs - although let's be honest, it wouldn't be a trip to Japan without picking up some Pocky or unique Kit Kat flavors before you fly out!

Enjoy Japan, and Safe Travels!

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