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Cool Japan Guide / 30 must-have souvenirs from Japan (3)

Have you ever happened to be in a foreign country, to wish to bring home some souvenir and to be unable to decide what to buy? In Japan, this may be an interesting topic, since there are so many options.

(Paper Lanterns)
11/30 Paper Lanterns

(Paper Lanterns in the restaurant)

The paper lanterns are made of washi (traditional Japanese paper), glued on a bamboo frame and are a traditional form of illumination in Japan. They are used at festivals, in parks, at restaurants or hotels and as home decorations. The most popular version is called chōchin and it has a frame of split bamboo wound up in a spiral. You can find them at tourist areas, often decorated with the name of the place written in kanji.

12/30 Tanuki Statue

(Tanuki Statue)

Tanuki is the name used for the Japanese raccoon dog, but it also represents a magical imaginary being from Japanese folklore. It is said that the tanuki are pranksters, tricking sellers with magic leaves that look like money, masters of disguise and even shape-shifters.

Statues representing tanuki are everywhere in Japan, in front of the bars and restaurants (especially noodle shops), with the role of inviting the customers in, beckoning in a way similar to Maneki Neko. A tanuki statue is a good luck charm, and even if you don’t believe in its powers, it remains a fun souvenir, especially because they are often represented with disproportionately large testicles.

13/30 Japanese Traditional Dolls

(Japanese Traditional Dolls)

A huge variety of traditional Japanese dolls is available, from those used at the Hina Matsuri festival to the musha ningyo (warrior dolls), used for Tango no sekku festival and the Ichimatsu dolls.

14/30 Japanese Food Replica Samples (Sampuru)

(Japanese Food Replica Samples)

Sampuru, Japanese food plastic replicas, are displayed at many Japanese restaurants. They are handmade, carefully sculpted, amazingly painted and customized to look exactly like the real dish.

Travel tip:
You can buy sampuru on Tokyo’s Kappabashi Street, where besides the life-size replicas (my favorites are the beer glasses), you can also find sampuru souvenirs made as fridge magnets or key-chains.

15/30 Noh Mask Replicas

A Noh mask is smaller than the actor’s face, measures approx. 21x13cm in size and is sculpted from wood, Japanese cypress and paulownia. At souvenir shops you can find full scale or smaller replicas, made of wood or ceramics, some of them even framed for display.

All the Noh masks have names and currently there are about over 200 masks, categorized by classification.
Visit the Link: http://www.japantoday.com/category/travel/view/30-must-have-souvenirs-from-japan

By TS on Jun 16, 2012
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