Omiyage is very serious business here in Japan. Stores selling omiyage are found in every train station, airport and famous site. The tradition of giving omiyage, or souvenirs in English, is strong. Although these gifts are usually in the form of foods famous to the area, you can find other small trinkets like keychains as well. The most popular choice is food that is meticulously wrapped and individually packaged to be shared. Whether it be a business trip or just vacation, you can almost guarantee that you will receive omiyage when a coworker returns.
I ate my fair share of omiyage when I was in Japan from various coworkers who went on business trips or took time off. It was so nice to try new things! It’s almost like saying sorry for being gone and offering a token of appreciation for your extra work. Since I didn’t travel… I never bought any myself. They weren’t cheap, because they are packaged so nicely and are intended to be gifted to people.
When I went back to Japan for vacation a few weeks ago… I decided to change that. 😀 I went a little crazy in the duty free section of the airport and stocked up on some things of my own! Except I broke the rules and got them for myself and not other people… woops! 😉
Hello, impulse buy. I got sucked in by the looks of this Frantz Freeze Dried Strawberries in White Chocolate. They just looked so good and the box was adorable! The strawberry ended up being a little too sour for me, but it was OK. I probably wouldn’t pick it up again if I had the choice. They were very expensive and you get very little in the box.
Is any visit to Japan complete without picking up some odd flavored KitKats? I really wish we had something like this back home instead of sticking with one flavor. I picked up a jumbo box of the Green Tea Sakura flavor. It definitely has a distinct taste that I can’t really describe… I’m not sure what cherry blossom is supposed to taste like but it was good! The novelty is strong here so this was pretty expensive… around $15 for a box of ten. I just told myself that I can’t usually buy this and just bought it anyhow, haha.
I think these Hokkaido Milk Soft Candies were the cheapest omiyage that I bought. I have to admit, when I first came to Japan and saw that milk was a flavor used in sweets, I was really confused and it didn’t appeal to me at all. After living there for three months I jumped on the bandwagon! Milk is a delicious flavor. I love milk flavored soft chews the best, so I grabbed a jumbo bag. Hokkaido is famous for dairy products, hence the name.
I knew I had to pick up a box of Royce chocolate when I saw it because well… it’s chocolate. How can I say no to chocolate? 😉 There were so many flavors. I ended up choosing the maccha flavor because green tea flavored things are pretty much the bomb so why not? A lot of people in the airport were buying this too and they even sold little cooler bags to keep it cold on the plane. I’ve been slowly eating this piece by piece… savoring the goodness. So yummy! It’s almost like a fudge consistency and is extremely creamy. Definitely worth every penny.
Funny story about this one… I originally was never going to buy the Osaka Petit Banana. I was searching for the popular Tokyo Banana in the airport but I couldn’t find it (more on that in a second) so I picked up this one in the shop because it was similar and I wanted to see what the hype was about for these banana cakes that were so popular.
These are really tiny… but oh so delicious! My husband and I practically inhaled them over a few days, which was easy to do since they are so small. The filling is sooo good, and I’m not even that crazy for bananas!
I’ve heard a lot about Tokyo Banana. When I left Japan, the omiyage stores inside of the airport were always busy and everyone had a package of Tokyo Banana. Naturally, I was curious and that meant it had to be good, right? When I was in Osaka Airport, I finally picked it up along with a whole bunch of other people. The package is super cute and retro looking!
Talk about being thrown a curve ball! I was not a fan of this banana cake at all. The banana filling had some kind of odd taste that I can’t exactly describe… other than I didn’t like it! Since the Osaka Petit Banana ended up being a surprise favorite for me, I was really let down by Tokyo Banana.