Troll the ancient yuletide carol with these traditional gifts.
Consider an assortment of traditional Japanese paper for the craft inclined, or simply use it to jazz up your gifts with ornate wrapping. (various prices at Loft).
Tea and Sake Sets
Tradition and elegance cannot be ignored in holiday shopping. And nothing shows off Japanese craftsmanship and design like pottery ware for sake or tea. These sets from Meili come in a variety of colors and motifs. (¥4,00 to 6,000 at Meili)
Here bathing is a highly evolved art form. Until there is a way to send home an authentic onsen experience, the plethora of bath salts available is the next best thing. Certain to make a fun and welcome stocking stuffer for those in need of a relaxing dip. (¥100-¥398 at Loft)
Chakourou Tea Burner Set
Green tea is not only for drinking. These elegant stoneware burners known as chakourou offer a distinctly Japanese take on the incense burner. A modest but stylish design and mild fragrance makes this a top pick for moms. (¥2,520 at Meili)
With Asimo as an ambassador, Japan’s face to the world is often robotic. These two mechanical men are gifts from the future.
Karakuri Ningyo Set
This toy is a fully functioning model of the original Japanese mechanical “robots” of the Edo period. Featuring several styles such as the Bow-Shooting Boy and Somersault Doll they’re the perfect gift for any Japanophile in the family. (¥5,980-¥8,190 at Tokyu Hands)
This self-described funky and cool guy is a programmable robot from Takara that walks, wiggles, and gyrates at your command. (¥15,750 at Tokyu Hands)
Tokyu Hands, Shinjuku Store, Times Square Bldg, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5361-3111. www.tokyu-hands.co.jp
Sho-Chu Authority, Caretta Shiodome B213, 1-8-2 Higashi Shinbashi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5537-2105. www.rakuten.co.jp/authority
Loft, Shibuya Store, 21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3462-3807. www.loft.co.jp
Warm Studio, Tel: 03-3249-9672.
Meili, Shimokitazawa Store, Daishinyashiki Bldg 1F, 2-35-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-5709-5546.
KiddyLand, Harajuku Store, 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-3431. www.kiddyland.co.jp
Gallery 22, Shibuya Store, Parco Quattro 4F, Udagawacho 32-13, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3464-5111.
Tezuka Osamu World, Sunken Garden, Tokyo Opera City, Nishi Shinjuku 3-20-2 Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-3379-8564. http://en.tezuka.co.jp
It you’re not heading home for the holidays and sending your gifts is just too expensive, there are online alternatives beyond Amazon.com. Here are a few interesting sites that that will still give your gifts a Japanese twist!
www.esake.com A great site for nihonshu in the United States.
www.mountfuji.co.uk Tea, foods, beer, and sake along with a great deal of other items.
www.JBOX.com As well as the t-shirts listed above, this site also sells everything from Japanese magazine subscriptions and study aids to chewing gum and Hello Kitty tea cups.
www.japan-shop.com A source for all things Japanese, ranging from artwork to yukata.
www.japanesegifts.com As the name implies, this is the site for finding anything and everything anime and manga related.
www.japanesegifts.com More Japanese gifts in all styles.