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Japan lucky cat souvenir beckoning

My Favorite Good Luck Souvenir: Japan’s Maneki-Neko “Lucky” Cat

As I’ve said many times here before, I can’t resist any souvenir that brings good luck. I’ve collected many lucky souvenirs over my travels, but my favorite symbol of good luck is the Maneki-neko cat from Japan. The maneki-neko (‘beckoning cat’) is a popular Japanese lucky charm, originating in the Edo period. The Maneki-neko cat […]

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Shopping for Kawaii Souvenirs, the Japanese Culture of Cute

In Japan, there is a culture of cute known as “kawaii” (critical note: the “i” is pronounced like “Hawaii” not “Kauai”–which means the opposite of cute– dreadful. Trust me once you make this mistake once your Japanese friends will never let you live it down). Symbols of kawaii are absolutely everywhere in Japan. While you would […]

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Best Japanese Souvenirs to Buy at Asakusa Market in Tokyo

If you are visiting Tokyo on a short trip and need one-stop shopping for Japanese souvenirs, Asakusa market is the place to go. For one, Asakusa is not just a shopping destination– it’s also home to Tokyo’s oldest shrine, Sensoji, which is absolutely worth a visit in its own right. Second, by shopping the centuries […]

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Crazy Shopping and Cosplay in Tokyo’s Harajuku District

Before I visited Japan, I imagined the entire country to be filled with crazy fashions and cosplay, maid cafes and trendsetters. On arrival in Tokyo I quickly learned this was not the case. Salary men in near identical suits and briefcases walked the streets at a clipped pace. Elegantly but somewhat conservatively dressed women were […]

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