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What Omiyage to buy from Japan?

On my latest adventure, I set out to discover the most distinctive souvenirs from corners far and wide across Japan. Like many, I've always had a soft spot for omiyage, the Japanese tradition of gift-giving that feels so deeply personal and heartfelt. Often, I catch myself, along with others, rushing to Don Quijote(Store) for those last-minute treasures. They're not only easy on the wallet but also surprisingly diverse. Yet, as I ventured off the beaten path, I realized there was so much more to uncover.

Within the pages of famous book "Cheerful Local Package Designs," I've handpicked packaging that caught my eye. Join me in celebrating the art of giving, reimagined through the lens of travel and discovery.

As a starter we have The Kansai region of Japan which includes: Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Mie, Osaka, Wakayama, and Shiga.

  • ハムスターもなか in Kyoto
    The "Hamster Monaka," a collaboration between the historic Kyoto confectionery "Aoki Koetsudo" and the innovative planning company "2ji Co., Ltd.. Combining the salty nuts, sweet Hokkaido bean paste, and crispy monaka wafers, it offers a delightful taste experience. The design features a concave hamster belly, creating the illusion of a hamster holding a nut when the nuts are placed on it, blending visual charm with culinary excellence.

    Fukiyose-uchu wagashi Kyoto

    UCHU wagashi's Rakugan features premium Wasanbon sugar—a traditional, handcrafted Japanese sugar known for its mellow flavor, smooth texture, and lightness, rich in minerals. The colors are super cute and it reminds me of childhood.

  • Koe donuts-Kyoto
    This shop developed donuts by selecting ingredients based on three keywords: "organic," "naturally derived," and "locally produced for local consumption." Now is the sakura season and they combined flavors of cherries and strawberries too.

  • Norimomo in Mie
    Nori or seaweed, a natural sea gift, is a common food here in Japan. However, its future presence isn't certain due to declining producers and changing marine ecosystems, along with fading consumer awareness. The Norimomo company has dedicated to promoting nori and preserving its legacy for the next century and beyond. Usually nori packages are more simple in plastic transparent bottles but this one has a beautiful pink design.

    Takayamado Amatsugi 1887 in Osaka
    Committed to creating sweets that spark joy, they prioritize both the confectionery craft and their valued customers. Importantly, this stands as one of the oldest confectionery shops utilizing traditional wood molds in their creations. This dessert is cookies with butter rum raisin, very tasty!

Now let's go to Tokai region which includes: Aichi, Gifu and Shizuoka

  • Cherotozzo cream cheese & lemon
    A blend of fresh cream and cream cheese, paired with strained red bean paste, is layered between delicate dough. Lemon juice adds a moist texture and a balanced sweetness, crafting a dessert that harmoniously melds Japanese and Western flavors. Just by looking at it, I feel is so cute 😋

    Atami Butter Anko Pan in Atami, Shizuoka
    Encased in a soft yet crisp crust, a lavish filling of Mataichian sweet bean paste meets rich, retro-style buttercream, melding as the butter melts.

    Gifu みずのいろ

    Tsuchiya, utilizing the abundant spring water of Ogaki, the city of water, introduces Mizu no Iro, a confection resembling a water droplet that captures the essence of each season. I feel this is a work of art, trully the design is next level of simplicity and beaty!

    Nagoya Kochin Eggs Castella (名古屋コーチン卵カステラ)
    Kasoan's Nagoya Cochin egg sweets began with the introduction of this castella in 2000. By 2013, they were recognized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's Tourism Agency as the ultimate souvenir to buy.

Finally, KANTO region which includes: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa.

  • Sonae Ume in Tokyo: This company specializes in producing ume pickles, known as plum pickles, distinguished by their beautiful red and white design. Their outstanding design earned them the Good Design Award in 2017.

    Panda Baumkuchen パンダバウム in Tokyo:
    Who doesn't love the combination of pandas and baumkuchen, a cake known for its many layers? This company has infused creativity into this product, making it beloved by many.

  • おちぼ栗 in Ibaraki
    Japanese Kasama chestnuts are powdered and blended with chocolate to bake chestnut chocolate cookies, offering a novel, melt-in-your-mouth texture.


    Cheerful Local Package Designs to Make Souvenirs Stand Out:

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