April 25, 2016

What to buy in Japan

Having lived in Japan before, I often get asked what are some of the things I'd recommend visitors to buy when in Japan. Below are some products I'd buy when I revisit Japan these days (the necessities, not referring to branded goods/alcohol), mostly because they are much more expensive in my country. They may not be new/useful to everyone though~ (Of course, I do not benefit from writing about these products.)

1. Pasta sauce


I really like Japanese pasta sauces, as they are delicious and fuss-free. (Just pour over cooked pasta.) From Japanese flavors like Yuzu Pepper & Mentaiko, to traditional flavors like Peperoncino/Aglio Olio & Carbonara, most of them taste great! And it is about 50% cheaper for me to purchase these in supermarkets in Japan. Make great souvenirs too as they last long and are pretty light-weight!

2. Furikake


Furikake is a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on cooked rice, and sometimes vegetables and fish dishes. Just like pasta sauces, there are many different flavors and some of them can be as cute as the one in the picture! They can be found in supermarkets, and also make perfect souvenirs~

3. Skin care products like Biore


I like how most of the Japanese make-up removers do not leave my face greasy/tight after cleansing. For some of them, it is about 50% cheaper for me to buy in Japan.

4. Mouth ulcer patch



Pretty effective for healing mouth ulcers. Just paste over the spot like a sticker. Can be found in drug stores.

5. Medicated gargle solution


Being prone to getting sore throat, I'm really thankful to get to know about this gargle solution during my stay in Japan. I'd use it to gargle whenever the slightest throat infection symptom develops, and so far it has been pretty effective.

There are a few brands and they can be found in drug stores, about 70% cheaper than in my country. I have tried similar products by non-Japanese companies sold in my country, hoping to find substitutes so that I do not need to carry them from Japan every time I visit, but the solutions are not as strong.

6. Hair care products like L'Occitane


I rely on L'Occitane's shampoo and conditioner for my dry hair. Considering yen's depreciation in recent years and tax free, I have yet to find another cheaper place to stock up, not even airports. Though it is not exactly the lightest thing to carry :P

7. Steam eye mask


Other than facial masks, I know of quite a few female friends who always stock up this product when they visit Japan. It is slightly cheaper and has more variety (Yuzu, Lavender, Rose, Jasmine) in Japan. I enjoyed using it during the winter months of my stay there.

8. Patch to relieve tired legs


A fairly well-known product too. Cheaper to buy in Japan. Though I usually only buy enough to use during my trip, after long hours of sight-seeing and standing at concerts :P

9. Zakka from 300 yen shops


There are only 100 yen shops in my country, so I enjoy checking out 300 yen shops for cute and useful products. Some of the things I usually buy include country-style home decorations and hair accessories.

Other shops I frequent include Uniqlo & Kinokuniya, because it is cheaper to shop there than in my country. Also Loft and G.U., because they aren't in my country, yet. Many visitors to Japan buy electronics as well. These days I don't, though I did purchase electronic dictionary, digital camera, earphones etc during my stay in Japan.

Do you have a list of must-buys when you visit Japan too? Please share with me :)

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