How good is your souvenir game? If you only bring back T-shirts and snow globes, then get prepared to be amazed. Tokyo is known for its crazy fashions and unique style, and the wacky souvenirs you can find in this city might make your friends back home raise an eyebrow. So without further ado, here are 10 crazy souvenirs you might end up keeping for yourself.
The most amazing phone accessories ever
Tokyo denizens love their phones and use them as expressions of their own individuality. In fact, a section called Personal Style at the Shibuya neighborhood branch of the lifestyle store Tokyu Hands is about 80 percent phone accessories. There, you can get hundreds of smartphone covers, including this 3D fancy cat graphic (about $35); sushi earbuds (about $16); or home button stickers ($5-$8). Because let’s face it, your phone is never fully dressed without a home button sticker.
Cell phone cuisine
If the Tokyu Hands accessories are too tame for you, head to the Harajuku-area branch of Kiddyland for these phone covers that resemble the local cuisine — perhaps a little too closely. Their rice phone covers (about $40) are definitely crowd pleasers.
If you want to horrify any of your bagel-loving friends, bring them one of these. They come in other dubious flavors, such as double cheese, cocoa with white chocolate, and apricot with white chocolate. They cost about a dollar, which buys you more shock value than actual delicious flavor.
Clothing that gets lost in translation
Tokyo is full of some of the hippest clothing stores in the world. Shibuya 109 is possibly the trendiest store in the whole city, attracting throngs of the teens who look as if they had gotten dressed in the future. But part of the trend is clothing emblazoned with nonsensical English — for example, a hat that says “Stupidly,” a shirt that says “Upsetter,” or, more cryptically, a dress that reads “Sperb.”
Continuing on your bad-grammar T-shirt binge at Shibuya 109, a creepier T-shirt reads “Baby Lips Woman.” However, the best T-shirt for sale makes perfect sense. It clearly states, “I wish I was an Olsen Twin.”
Dress your dog
Sure, you can get a dog outfit at most PetSmart stores here in the U.S., but what about this doggie muscle shirt with a Shiba Inu on it? Or this kimono for a cat? Sure, you may die of blood loss if you try to put it on a cat, but look how pretty it is! These awesome duds are from the Nakamise street market in Asakusa, and you can usually get something for around $20.
Charms for traffic safety
At any Shinto shrine, you can buy charms meant to help you with many of life’s little problems. Here’s one from the Imperial Meiji shrine that can help your friend who’s a terrible driver. At about $7, it’s way cheaper than a traffic ticket.
Quirky plush toys
The Japanese are amazing at turning anything into a stuffed animal. Here, for example, is Fuji-San, an adorable plush version of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji. He comes in a variety of sizes, from a microscopically small phone charm (about $4) on up. You can find him at any souvenir store.
Highly personalized electronics
The Akihabara electronics district is a techie’s dream, but you don’t have to be an electronics geek to find something useful. A few minutes of mild browsing along Chuo Dori street can yield such treasures as this pollen blocking mask for allergy sufferers. Or, try out this USB vibration helmet for — well, let them figure it out.
Hello Kitty snacks
Finally, for proof that the Japanese will put Hello Kitty on anything, check out this dried-squid snack. You can find beautiful kimonos, chopsticks, and wall hangings at the souvenir shops in Narita airport’s Terminal 1. But walk right past them and head for this delicious-looking item. Your friends at home will thank you. To your face, at least.