So you’re in Japan on a holiday with your significant other. Looking for the perfect gift? Not for your parents or co-worker, but for yourselves, of course. There’s many things you can easily buy, but you’re looking for that special something. Something you won’t forget and will make your memories last forever. You’ll find exactly what you want in the area around Shibuya and Harajuku.
Start at Hikarie
Shibuya Hikarie is a special kind of department store, with some things familiar and some things unique. It’s built on top of the Metro Subway station, so it’s easy to find. You’ll find there some great stores for cosmetics, clothing, and food, as well as an event hall and theatre on the top floors. But on the 8th floor, you will find a unique area that features items from around Japan, including crafts, art, and specialty items.
At 8/ you won’t know exactly what you might find, as many of the shops and spaces are event and themed spaces. But one constant is “d.” There are three “d” stores, a museum, a restaurant, and the “design travel store.” The items sold in this store change, but here you can be sure to find a variety of great products from around Japan, including kitchen items, health and beauty, stationary, toiletries, food, and more. His and hers towels, cups, chopsticks, or lacquerware bowls just might be perfect, not only for the memory, but to keep it alive in your daily activities back home.
LINE Friends Flagship Store
From Hikarie, it is around a 15 minute walk to Harajuku and to the LINE Friends Flagship Store. If you LINE, you’ll already know many of the LINE characters. If you don’t, you can probably still understand. LINE is Japan and much of Asia’s premier social networking and communications app. Here, most people don’t Skype, they LINE.
At the LINE Friends store, you’ll find all of the famous characters, including the bear, Brown, his girlfriend, Choco, the rabbit, Koni, the bird, Sally, and the round rabbit, Usamaru. You’ll find bags, stationary, umbrellas, slippers, cups, dishes, phone accessories, and a great many things for every need. Not only will your gifts be cute and useful, but they will be sure to seal your friendship!
From the LINE Friends Store, you can walk through the famous Takeshita Street, with the crowds of high school girls and others looking for the latest fashions, to the Meiji Jingu Shrine. The shrine is one of the most famous in Japan. It may be a surprise, but the shrine has only been around for 100 years, nothing compared to the many shrines throughout Japan that have been around for more than 1000 years.
So why would you go to Meiji Shrine to buy a souvenir for a couple? It’s not just to pray for a great relationship with your pair, but because Meiji Jingu Shrine has an extensive collection of omamori – good luck charms!
Here, you will find lucky charms for a great many occasions. There are charms for success, to ward away evil, to make money, pass exams and do well in school, for traffic safety, happiness, and, of course, for love! In fact, there are several different kinds of love charms. There is one for a single person looking for love, a different one for an unmarried couple, and, for married couples, one for without children, with children, and one for whole families and multi-generations!
There are also a variety of stamps and seals that you can get at the shrine. These can be stamped in a book or on other objects and they have the date on it. By stamping something you have as a couple, you can make it a personalized memory of your visit to Meiji Shrine. Finally, there are omikuji fortune scrolls, small scrolls that have on them short poems that tell you your current fortune. While most shrines only have them in Japanese, Meiji Jingu Shrine has English omikuji, too.
While these are three highly recommended places for a special memento of your visit, there are many other places to find the perfect pair of souvenirs. In the Harajuku area, you can’t go wrong looking in Omotesando Hills Mall, or in Kiddyland. There are many great shops along Cat Street, which runs along an old river – now gone – between Shibuya and Harajuku.
In Shibuya, you’ll find many department stores and boutiques, but one place you can’t miss is Tokyu Hands. Here, you’ll find great things for travel, crafts, beauty, stationary, and sports. Of course, the most obvious memento for couples just might be found at Harajuku’s famous shop, Condomania. They sell basically one product. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble guessing what it is. LOL