I was in Tokyo, Japan for two blissful weeks and I’m back with a pretty big haul to show you! I went in with a small list of most recommended products because I really didn’t need to buy anything but still came back with a table full of kawaii (cute) makeup, skincare and random cat items! When shopping for cosmetics in Japan, look for the “#1” stickers that are usually in shiny foil right on the plastic packaging. It’s a safe bet if you want “the best” thing to buy. I generally stuck to popular drugstore items because they’re reasonably priced and they’ve been vouched for by millions of users through Cosme, a Japanese beauty community who rank products. I like to think of it like a Japanese Yelp but for beauty products. The haul below is probably what a lot of first-timers in Japan would also buy so check out to see if anything interests you! You can find most of these in the Matsumoto Kyoshi, Don Quiote, Loft (in Shibuya), and Ainz & Tuple. I plan to do a must-go shopping post in Tokyo too. Click below to see my 50+ items! Damn, I did that much damage.
Since 50+ items is a lot, I tried to categorize my haul below. Most of these items are shoppable through Amazon with minimal markups! I’ve linked each product that I could find in each heading; these are affiliate links so please purchase through it if you find my information helpful. 100 Yen is pretty close to 1 USD conversion as a loose rule of thumb. If you’re shopping as a foreigner with valid passport, there are clearly marked signs that your items are duty-free if you buy at least 5,500 Yen (around $55 USD) worth of items in one transaction. Some pharmacy items that are considered as medicine will not be duty-free. Also make sure that the counter you’re lining up to pay is for duty-free.
- Asian Sunscreens
- Japanese Skincare
- Sheet Masks
- Hair, Bath, Pharmacy, etc.
- Random: Nails, Cat Items, Stationery, Kitchen, & Character Items
- Japanese Cookies/Treats (Right Inside Narita Airport!)
Japanese girls love to make their eyes cute, big and doll-like so eyeliners, mascara and fake lashes are overwhelming in Tokyo. There were generally the most recommended eyeliners I’ve found online. The only one I decided to hold off on was the Moté eyeliners because I thought I had enough to test for a bit. I didn’t pick up any eyeshadows because I just didn’t need any but the shadows in Japan are generally more sparkly but the Kate brand that seemed to have a nice blend of mattes, shimmers and satins.
Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara, Super Waterproof
This is maybe THE MOST popular Japanese mascara mentioned online. The original is in a pink tube but it’s been updated in a sleek black and silver look. There’s a Volume and Curl version but the Long and Curl is most recommended. I love my volume but I decided to go with what millions have recommended. It supposedly gives great separation, keeps the curl, makes lashes long and ultra long-lasting. Plus, it’s at a great price! The price on Amazon is only at $10.46 when it’s 1,010 Yen in Japan!
Shiseido Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Edge Meister Mascara
I’ve been wanting this mascara for a while because of its flat comb design and lash fiber technology. Majolica Majorca is a Shiseido brand so I trust it a little more than I would any other brand. This specific mascara is not a #1 Cosme ranked item but watevs, I wanted it. I’ve used it regularly now and it definitely needs 2-3 coats in order to separate and coat lashes thoroughly. Sometimes the fibers can get a little wonky and not stick on straight but you can fix it with the wand. You’ll start to get spider legs after the third coat so I usually stop there. It’s an overall okay mascara. Not going to be a repurchase but I won’t cry over the 1,200 Yen (about $10.25 USD) it cost me.
MSH Love Liner Liquid Eyeliner Rich Black
This liquid eyeliner was on the more expensive side at 1,600 Yen (~$13.75 USD) but it has the #1 Cosme sticker as well as a #1 Ichiba sticker. I got this in Rich Black and I can vouch that it’s definitely a RICH BLACK that dries in seconds and does not budge. It’s a brush tip (not felt tip) so it’s easier drawing lines without that draggy line felt tips sometimes deliver. Bonus, this comes in a pretty metallic pink tube and has a nice weight when you hold it.
Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner, Deep Black
This does not have a Cosme #1 sticker but it was recommended by word of mouth a lot and had some decent reviews. This was on the Ainz & Tulpe wall of most recommended products so I went for it. It’s one of the cheaper liquid eyeliners priced at around 1,200 Yen (~$10.25 USD). I have to say that it’s not the blackest black and comes out a smidge sheer but two coats of it takes care of that. I used an oil cleanser to get rid of the Love Liner and the Dolly Wink off my hand and the Dolly Wink started to melt away faster than the Love Liner. If you want to spend $5 more for a bit more lasting power, the Love Liner is the way to go but the Dolly Wink is fine for everyday makeup and if you’re on a budget.
K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo, Super Black
This was highly recommended on the Internet, on Reddit, YouTubers and other blogs and it has a #1 sticker from Customer Communications Inc., which seems like another Japanese product review company, for four straight years in a row. In other stores, it also has the #1 Cosme sticker. This is Super Waterproof and Super Black and I can vouch that it is! Compared to my Club Clio Kill Black Brush Liner, it’s blacker and stays on longer after oil cleansing it off. This was maybe the best bang for your buck because it’s 1,296 Yen (~$11 USD) and beats out the Dolly Wink but it’s still comparable to the Love Liner.
Miche Bloomin’ False Eyelashes, No. 03 Pure Sweet
Usually when I think of Japanese false lashes, I think of Dolly Wink falsies but this time I decided to forgo these because I saw that Miche Bloomin’ was a much better deal. It also had the #1 Cosme sticker too! For a pack of 8 lashes (4 pairs) these give you double the quantity in lashes and are only 1,000 Yen (~$8.50 USD). The No. 03 in Pure Sweet seems to be the most loved version because it looks most natural while still giving definition to your eyes. When I was ready to buy my beauty products in bulk to qualify for duty-free, the No. 03 style was actually sold out! To mend my heart, I bought cheaper lashes from RiPi (880 Yen) and 3D Diamond Lash (1,400 Yen). The RiPi ones are definitely more plastic looking and with a slightly more obvious band so you’re going to get what you pay for. The Diamond Lashes are great because you get 5 pairs and they can look pretty natural depending on which style you pick up. I eventually found more Miche Bloomin’ lashes in another store!
DUP Eyelashes Fixer EX (Eyelash Glue)
Of course when you buy fake eyelashes, you need to get eyelash glue! Buying eyelash glue from Japan is a no-brainer since this country sells a ton of falsies to its consumers. Hands down, this is the most recommended online and backed up by Cosme. It’s only 1,000 Yen (~$8.50 USD) and easy to find in all drugstores. I bought the clear type but there is also a black color too; I prefer to buy clear so you can see where the band is sticking on your lash line.
I read that SUQQU brushes were THE brushes to buy but once I found the prices were in the hundreds for ONE brush, I was turned off. Another well-known brand is Hakuhodo where they hand-make all their brushes with quite affordable price points. They were originally a calligraphy brush company and was founded over 30 years ago. Their website has not been updated since 2007 but they use animal hairs and provide a guide in how each type of animal hair is purposed. I only needed a fluffy brush meant to blend out harsh lines so I went with an all-goat haired brush because I didn’t think spending extra on the blue squirrel hair was worth it for a blending brush. Natural hairs are better at picking up powders and packing on color for eyeshadows so I’d probably get a squirrel/goat combo next time I’m looking for a new eyeshadow brush. I got the “J5522” brush for I believe 1,800 Yen (~$15.40 USD). Sephora recently did a collaboration with Hakuhodo, currently on sale!
Secondary to eye makeup, it’s lip makeup! I think bright lip color livens up a face instantly and I cannot go anywhere without it. These were all super affordable in drugstores and recommended by a ton of bloggers and friends.
OPERA Sheer Lip Color
I picked up two of these lippies from the Ainz & Tulpe and there was a variety of colors to choose from. Since these are sheer, you can safely get a pop of color on your face without feeling like you’ll stand out too much. I used to be very shy and didn’t wear makeup; wearing a sheer color was a nice beginner product to start building confidence in myself. These say “gloss” on the package but it’s nothing like the sticky, tacky finish a typical lip gloss gives you. It stays comfortably on lips, melts as it glides on and gives a slight gloss sheen. I got No. 23 Salmon Pink and No. 01 in Pure Red to satisfy my innocent girl and sassy firecracker personalities. These are $1,200 Yen (~$10.25 USD) each. The Salmon Pink looks way too close to my natural lips so I would pick something with a bigger coral punch next time.
Lips and Hips Oil Lip in Adamant Orange
This was on the Ainz & Tulpe most recommended/#1 wall. I love a good moisturized lip so I splurged a bit on this one because it was 1,900 Yen (~$16.25 USD). Since I already got a red and a soft coral from OPERA, I decided to get this in a bold orange. This is infused with rice bran oil and rice germ oil. Hopefully these will make a difference this winter or I’ll be out $16.
CANMAKE Lip Tint Syrups
I love lip tints. It’s a lightweight way to keep color on your lips but it’s always hard to find one that’s not drying and accentuate dry flakes on lips. An added bonus is that it has SPF 15 PA+! Your lips need sun protection too and even the Chapstick brand only offers SPF 4 which seems like nothing to me. These tints look like a gloss but go on sheer and have a slight glossy finish when you first apply but it will start to disappear and leave behind a tinted look. They are comfortable to wear and don’t have a sticky finish. At only 650 Yen (~$5.50 USD) it’s an amazing purchase! These only come in 4 colors; I bought No. 03 (a candy pink) and No. 04 (a bright coral).
CANMAKE Your Lip Only Balm
This is a color changing lip balm that changes a different shade of pink according to the pH level of your lips. I was drawn to it because of its packaging. It has a transparent purple cover with a black and white floral inner tube and the product itself was a clear PURPLE balm. It’s so girly and feminine, it’s mine. The other color it comes in is No. 01 Clear but that’s so boring! Both colors will ultimately change to a shade of pink according to your lips anyway so you might as well get a pretty purple balm. 650 Yen (~$5.50 USD).
CANMAKE Cream Cheek and Lip Color
This is one of the most popular recommendations on the web and it’s no surprise that it’s because it’s cheap and because it works. This is a 2 in 1 product that can be used on cheeks and lips. It has a melting gel texture that delivers pigmentation while staying airy and lightweight. Testing it in the stores multiple times, it has a mouse-like feel without feeling dry. I got No. 05 in Clear Peach Sugar and on the website it’s described as a “translucent pink peach-like.” 580 Yen (~$5 USD). I would also check out this new gel version that came out too.
Asia is obsessed with shielding their skin from the sun so you better believe that they also manufacture the most wearable sunscreens that America is loving right now too. Since sunscreen will eventually expire, I didn’t buy to my heart’s content. I would’ve liked to try Skin Aqua, Anessa, Nivea, Solanoveil but thankfully these are all shoppable on Amazon so I can really get these anytime I want. I’m just going through a Bioré phase so the haul is 95% Bioré! Most of the below were for friends so it’s not all for me.
Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence, 50g
This is probably the most talked about Japanese sunscreen on the Internet. The Watery Essence is the second row of 5 tubes (with the Cosme sticker) and the Watery Gel are the two tubes on the upper left hand side. The Essence is a 100% chemical sunscreen and has a thicker consistency than the Gel. It’s only 652 Yen in Tokyo but won’t break the bank if you were to order it from Amazon too. Asian women won’t buy sunscreen any lower than SPF 50 and PA++++ and this sunscreen applies without the dreaded white cast. It dries down matte and actually creates a great moisturized surface for makeup. The Essence satisfies most criteria of what makes a great sunscreen except there’s a lot of alcohol in it which aids it drying down to that perfect finish. I don’t mind the alcohol so just know if your skin will be able to take it. Both the Essence and Gel contain hyaluronic acid and citrus essence to soften skin as well as Aqua Micro Capsules that release a UV blocking ingredient. Friends who tried this for the first time have said that it feels very much like a serum and not just sunscreen! It’s actually cheaper to order these babies online through Amazon instead of going to a brick and mortar store because I’ve seen these priced at $16 USD in Chinatown, NYC.
Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Gel, 90g
Even though this version has “gel” in the name it’s actually runnier than the Essence. The Aqua Micro Capsules are more noticeable in this version as little white lumps but they dissolve away completely after application. The main difference between the two versions is that the Watery Gel is a combination of physical (titanium dioxide) and chemical UVA/UVB blockers. Because this version is thinner than the Essence it absorbs just a bit faster than the Gel. Deciding which version will be a personal choice and the Gel also runs cheap at 684 Yen. This also contains Hyaluronic Acid & Citrus essence to soften skin.
Bioré Aqua Rich Gel Lotion, 90g
As if it’s not confusing enough with all these Bioré versions! There was also a NEW Gel Lotion type in a bright lime green bottle (as of Oct. 2016). This only has an SPF 33 PA+++ but I grabbed the last two bottles in the Don Quiote anyway. I live in NYC where we have a distinct four seasons so I don’t think it’s necessary to wear SPF 50 during the winter time. I’ll lower the SPF amount to a minimum of 30 as the incremental amount of protection past SPF 30 is only 1 – 2%. It’s a personal choice and it a good way to switch to something lighter since the higher the SPF for a physical sunscreen, the thicker and whiter it will be. This version is also a quick-dry powder formula and makes your skin feel cool and refreshed. This was 693 Yen.
CANMAKE Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50 PA++++, 40g
This has the name “mermaid” in it so I must get it. Unlike the Bioré series, this Mermaid Skin Gel does not have alcohol in it! It also acts as a dual makeup base/primer because it provides a silky, dry finish. It also has a pearly, illuminating look to it which will reflect light and make you glow. The outer plastic packaging touts having 85% of beneficial skin ingredients that include hyaluronic acid, job’s tears, cherry leaf extract and other botanical extracts! The consistency is a creamy dreamy gel texture that also applies with no white cast even though it contains physical and chemical sun blockers. Phenomenal price at 700 Yen and still worth the slight Amazon markup.
I didn’t go too crazy with buying Japanese skincare because I simply didn’t need any more bottles if you’ve seen my Instagram Stories touring my closet #skincarehoarding #stashporn. I couldn’t help but to pick up a few cult Hada Labo favorites as well as a few Koh Gen Do items that were recently curated by Peach & Lily.
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Solution Lotion and Milk
If you’re familiar with Hada Labo already, you might already know their popular white line of Hyaluronic Acid or otherwise known as Gokujun that has three types of hyaluronic acid. This skincare ingredient has an enormous capacity to hold up to 10x its weight in water which means it can really plump up your fine lines by retaining more water in your skin. I got the gold version which is the Premium Gokujun Lotion and Milk! This has five types of hyaluronic acids: 3D hyaluronic acid, adsorption type hyaluronic acid, hyaluronic acid, super hyaluronic acid and nano hyaluronic acid. I’m super excited to try this out! It’s ultra jacked up on my favorite skincare ingredient and ultra cheap priced at 970 Yen for the Lotion and 900 for the Milk. The Lotion is what we know as a Toner in the States and the Milk is what we know as an Emulsion. If you’re wondering how much more expensive the Premium is in comparison to the white line, the Gokujun Lotion and Milk were on sale for 698 Yen each.
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Bubble Face Wash
I’ve read about how this gentle face wash has the magical pH level of 5.5 or in American terms, “pH balanced”. pH level is a measurement of how acidic or basic a solution is and our skin sits naturally around a 4.5 – 5.5 pH (slightly acidic). Anything below or above the skin’s natural pH will disrupt this harmony and cause breakouts/dryness/havoc. For reference our tap water is at a neutral pH level of 7 but having water on our skin is making it rise towards the basic pH level. This Hada Labo foamy facial wash won’t disrupt your skin’s natural pH and adds in moisture with hyaluronic acid. It’s a steal at 497 Yen at the time I went to Tokyo.
Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Mask, 4 Pieces
This got some great reviews on Reddit and other bloggers so I got one pack to try since it’s one of the pricier items. It contains extra concentration of hyaluronic acid so it will help plump and hydrate your face within wearing the mask for 10 – 15 minutes it recommends on the website. After looking at the ingredient list, the formula doesn’t have anything extra besides the extra dose of HA. I like multi-functional masks so this will really need to wow me for a repurchase. A pack of 4 masks was 839 Yen at Don Quiote.
Koh Gen Do Moisture Spa Gel and Cleansing Water
Of course Peach & Lily just added some Koh Gen Do additions to their website and it was the perfect time to buy right in the brand’s motherland. The markup when sold in the United States is $14 – $18 so it was enough for me to just buy these famous red bottles. Koh Gen Do is known for its incredibly non-irritating and natural looking foundation however I don’t prefer to wear foundation so it would’ve been a wasteful purchase. Instead the Spa Gel moisturizer and Cleansing Spa Water were items that I’d use normally in my routine. Both of these products contain onsen (hot spring) water with loads of extracts to make skin supple again. The Spa Gel uses a proprietary “T3 Oil” which is a blend of 3 pure botanical emollients (Jojoba Seed Oil, Olive Squalane & Shea Butter). The Cleansing Water also contains Birch Sap which contributes to skin revitalization. The Spa Gel is $55 USD at fine US retailers and the Cleansing Water is $39 USD (taxes not included) but they were 4,536 Yen (~$38.78 USD) and 3,024 Yen (~$25.80 USD) at the Ainz & Tulpe duty-free with valid foreign passport.
Kanebo SuiSai Clear Beauty Powder Facial Cleanser, 32 pods
This is an enzyme powder face wash that is favored by the Japanese because of it’s gentleness in exfoliating and cleansing. It’s mild and won’t dry out your skin. This is suitable for sensitive skin. This was definitely NOT CHEAP but it’s such a cult product in drugstore-land that I just wanted to try it out. I bought the smallest packet of 15 pods I believe, at around 900 Yen. Supposedly you don’t have to use the entire pod at once. (The photo of this product is shown under the Random category.)
Thankfully the selection in Japan is not as overwhelming as Korea which made my decision-making faster. If you ever go to Japan, you’ll notice cutely packaged LuLuLun sheet masks in a bulk zip bag or in a small box that houses 32 masks. I already have a huge box of that so I decided to pass on LuLuLun this time. I think it’s better to get a smaller pack of 7 sheet masks rather than the big box of 40 but you’ll need to commit to finish that entire box before it dries out. Another Japanese mask that I already bought in the states was the Kracie 3D mask which I like because the cotton sheet isn’t flat but instead like the box says, it’s 3D to fit all the contours of your face better. Japan also makes a ton of other masks in addition to face as well as other accessories to masking.
KinoMegumu Natural Foot Detox Relax Sheet Pads, Lavender
This box is easy to spot on a shelf but I can’t even tell you if this is the right name for this brand! Everything is in Japanese so its hard to tell if my Googling captured this brand name correctly. This is a mega sized box is full of 30 foot detox patches that supposedly draw out toxins from your the bottom of your foot after wearing them overnight. Packs of 10 are sold in Asian Beauty stores here the States but I only saw packs of 30 sold in Japan so this isn’t exactly “just trying” out a small batch since a pack of 30 is pretty much a Cost Co. size commitment. The claim is that their “distilled bamboo vinegar” aborbs toxins from the body but there hasn’t been hard proof which lead to several US-based investigations from the FDA and NPR. Apparently the black/grey splotches that look like “toxins” are made when your feet sweat from having a non-breathable adhesive sticker over the pad. More likely there’s a placebo effect making you feel healed after seeing evil blackness entrapped in a pad. Knowing all this, I still bought it to try so I can just see for myself. You can also use this on your calves, shoulders and neck. Box of 30 was 990 Yen.
Kosé Clear Turn White Vitamin C Sheet Masks
Something not as controversial! This was recommended by an Instagrammer and it’s known for great brightening results (written as whitening on Asian packaging). Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) looks quite high in concentration and it other beneficial ingredients such as vine leaf extract, hop extract, pine tree extract, lemon extract, rosemary extract and Mimasaki hot spring water. Make sure you use a toner to make the pH of your skin lower closer to 5.0 – 5.5 otherwise this active ingredient won’t be as effective. This was an affordable 498 Yen.
Keana Nadeshiko Facial Treatment Rice Masks, 10 Sheets
This was something I had not seen before but I found it on display in almost every store so I had to Google why it was a 2016 Cosme winner. This is a pack of 10 sheet masks is pumped with a blend of rice ingredients like sake (which is Japanese rice liquor), rice bran oil, rice ceramide and rice bran extract. Rice is an awesome multi-beneficial ingredient that will neutralize free radicals, soothe, nourish, and rice bran oil will even simulate the production of collagen. Keana Nadeshiko also makes a toner that I wanted but I couldn’t buy another toner so soon after the Peach & Lily sample sale from the summer. The masks were at a great price of 650 Yen.
Compressed Facial Sheet Mask Coins/Disks
The bottom row are all dry compressed sheet masks shaped into “coins” so that you can pour your favorite essence or toner over it and it’ll expand as it soaks it all up. This is a customizable way to make your own sheet masks or to use your favorite essence in a new way. I got most of these at Daiso, the popular Japanese 100 Yen store, The Rosy Rosa one comes packed in a little “cup” so you can pour your essence right in the packaging! And while I didn’t buy a pack from MUJI, I’ll recommend getting a pack there too.
- Daiso regular sheet masks, 100 Yen for 15 coins
- Daiso 3D sheet masks, 100 Yen for 4 coins
- Rosy Rosa individually wrapped sheet masks w/ capsules to pour your essence in, I believe I paid no more than 219 Yen for 12 coins
- MUJI, Not sure how much in Yen it is for 20 coins but my guess is no more than 500 Yen
Hair, Bath, Pharmacy Items, etc.
Didn’t know how to categorize the rest of the haul but I got one thing for hair, a bunch of bath salts and some cool drugstore items that you can only find in Japan.
Oshima Tsubaki Hair Oil, 60mL
Tsubaki oil, or better known in English as the Camellia flower oil, is rich in fatty acids that absorb quickly and works effectively in retaining moisture. Not only can this be used on dry ends for hair, but you can use directly on your face and body for hydration and smoothness without clogging our pores. Huge bottle and great buy at 830 Yen.
Bison Japan Bakkanto Hot & Sweat Bath Salt Packs
Following on the same theme of detoxing, these bath salts are made to make you sweat as if you were in a traditional Japanese onsen. They come in very fiesty looking packaging and in different aromas like rose, geranium, ginger, and more. These were 209 Yen per packet. I had a hard time tracking these down online and it’s overpriced on Amazon (4 packets for $27 USD? NO.) There are other great alternatives (read the comments for helpful insights and pictures):
- TABINO YADO Hot Springs Clear Bath Salts Assortment Pack, $11.19 or Hot Springs ”Milky” Bath Salts Assortment Pack, $11.99
- Bath Roman Yakusen Japanese Bath Salts in different colors/varieties. I’m not exactly sure what the differences are with the colors but these seemed to have gone through a reformulation where it’s smells more “piney” than floral.
Japanese Mini Food Making Kits
These are a cheap thrill if you ever watched YouTuber Minature Space make super cute, mini meals. You can get these at Don Quiote or Japanese toy stores for around 250 – 350 Yen. And yes, they ARE edible but I won’t recommend it because it’s probably full of chemicals and preservatives. This one is Popin’ Cookin’ by Kracie.
MUJI Peelable Cotton Pads, 60 pads
Japanese women love to use peeling cotton pads in order to strategically get more mileage out of their favorite lotion (AKA toner) by soaking the cottons with it and placing it over your face like a multi-part sheet mask. It’s also a great way to get a DIY mask to penetrate deeper. These were only 210 Yen.
MUHI Japan ANPANMAN Anti-Itch/Rash Patches, 38 sheets
There are tons of mosquito repellent patches to prevent mosquito bites in the states but I hardly see anything that treats mosquito bite itches in patch-form so I felt compelled to pick up a box of these MUHI patches that help with itching and rashes in an Anpanman pattern. If you’re lucky, you may come across Hello Kitty or Pikachu ones but I didn’t see any special patterns come out when I was in Tokyo. You can always use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream but I like how these provide a physical barrier to keep me from scratching. I actually needed to use these right away in Japan because we got bite like crazy touring the gorgeous parks. I believe these were around 897 Yen.
ROHTO Lychee Eyedrops for Contact Lens Users, 8ml
There’s quite a market for eyedrops in Japan and its probably because of the popularity of circle lens. The ROHTO Lychee Eyedrops are specifically formulated for contact lens users and they come in the CUTEST pink, square packaging. This will provide relief from itchy, dry eyes, eye mucus and blurry eyes. There’s also a slight refreshing sensation once it makes contact with your orbs. These were around 698 Yen. Make sure you read the packaging and see “contact” written in English before buying as there are quite a few varieties.
Random: Nails, Cat Items, Stationery, Kitchen, & Character Items
Very quickly I’ll round up the rest of the haul here. I wanted to buy so much more stuff but if I had any bit of sanity left, I knew where I needed to stop.
I didn’t pick up any bottles of nail polish as I had enough at home but check out all the glitzy bottles and new formulas that Japan has to offer! Figure out what your nail priorities are because it wasn’t all that cheap. I would rather buy nail stuff in Korea where good bottles of polishes would only set you back $3 USD.
- B.N. Miracle Pick Upper, in a white or pink pencil (there’s no difference between the two. I think these were only 200 Yen inside the Dor store in Harukuju. I watched a slew of YouTubers and their Japan Hauls and one of them mentioned that this pencil was THE best in picking up small gems for nail decoration.
- Nail Stickers. These were actually quite expensive in Japan so I only bought one packet (a small elaborate sheet could cost 500 Yen) so I only got a simple rose one from PA for about 300 Yen.
- Nail Decoration Brushes. Japan is known for making the best brushes for calligraphy, makeup and art so I had to pick up this detailing brush from Dor for about 1,200 Yen. Not exactly cheap but it better be the best deco brush I own!
- Daiso Nail Seal Art Press-Ons. If you’re on a budget, the Daiso branch at Harujuku is the best and biggest place to hit up first! Everything is priced at 100 Yen (about $1 USD) unless otherwise marked. I got two of these cute looking sweater knit texture press-on designs.
Japan is a stationery/planner fanatics’ dream! Japan, although one of the leaders in technology, still very much uses and appreciates paper. There are very old stationery shops still in operation as well as trendier looking stores inside touristy malls. I’m not on the bullet journaling train at all so I didn’t buy any pretty papers but I appreciate cool gel pens. Test them out on scratch papers in store and buy the whole rainbow as these are cheap! The two pens I got were only 200 Yen each I believe. Not pictured, I bought some cute Japanese foil stickers at Daiso for 100 Yen that I’ll use to decorate photo frames from our trip later. Japan also has the most delicate cards for cheap. I bought a few “Happy Wedding” cards knowing that I have a few weddings to attend this year. They are handmade and only cost 400 – 500 Yen.
The Harujuky Daiso has the largest selection of $1 stuff and I definitely encourage you to look at every floor. I got a cute, trendy hair tie, oven mitts, and other inventive Japanese gadgets that you’ll have a hard time finding in the states.
Not only are there plenty of cat printed items for humans for there are cat-printed items for cats. There are several pet stores that sell pet snacks, clothing, toys for your furry loved ones. I got several snacks for my Cinnabon >.<
I dare you to leave Japan without picking up a few character items! Cats, lazy eggs, cute poops on all my shit. There are several great $1 character items at Daiso (I stress going here first). The Helly Kitty and Little Twin Stars bubble maker and shower caps were cheap thrills. My Gudetama socks were at the Ainz & Tulpe (though there are several different versions at the Don Quiote) and my makeup bag was found in a 300 Yen shop inside the shopping complex at Harajuku. Also visit the Japanese toy stores where you can find several more items with your favorite characters on it.
If there’s only one kitchen item you have room to take with you, it’s a cool ass bento box for your lunches. I bought two pictured above, both purchased at Franc Franc. One is a two layered box so you can separate your saucy foods away from your rice or dry foods and the other is a single compartment box that has a plastic separator inside. These looked contemporary and fit in my bag so much better than American food containers where it will always flip to one side because it’s too wide.
Another item to consider are tea kettles, sets or diffusers. Japan is a tea-loving country so there are so many cool tea brewing contraptions. I bought green tea infused with roasted brown rice and dissolvable matcha powder. Ever wonder how Starbucks makes their iced green tea lattes without the clumps? The powder is already in dissolvable form! Otherwise you’ll need a bamboo whisk and go through the arduous process of smoothing it out. I also bought coffee spoons that latch onto the sides of your cup; a flat, lightweight umbrella and a cute face towel with a nail polish print.
Your last shopping opportunity is probably at the Narita Airport where everything is duty-free and you can unload the rest of your Japanese Yen at the Fa- So-La TAX-FREE store. Their cash registers are equipped with a built-in change counter so you can literally dump all your annoying coins to pay for all these cookies I’m about to recommend that you buy.
- Tokyo Milk Cheese in Salt and Camembert or Honey and Gorgonzola. These delicate, buttery cookies (in French known as the langue de chat, “tongue of the cat”) sandwich a solid slice of milky cheese that melts in your mouth. It’s not an actual slice of cheese which is what makes it so magical; it looks and feels like a white chocolate bar. If you love cheese, pick up the combo box that houses both types. These were around 1,200 Yen a box of 20 packets I think.
- ISHIYA Shiroi Kobito White and/or Milk Chocolate Cookies, 18 individually wrapped cookies. I hope you’re lactose intolerant because these are made with famous, rich Hokkaido milk which makes the chocolate so dreamy creamy and delicious! These also use the French “langue de chat” cookies, prepare for a heart attack. I actually forgot to get these cookies during my trip and another friend had picked these up for me! You should be able to find these at the Fa-So-La Tax-Free store and they seem reasonably priced on Amazon. Get the white and chocolate mix for variety (pictured below). Also try to stop by a Hokkaido milk cafe while you’re in Shibuya.
- Tokyo Banana. The name says it all, Tokyo Banana makes an assorted variety of banana flavored cookies and custard-filled mini cakes. They’re famous for their cute giraffe print right on the treats. I’m not exactly a banana fan but I wanted to try it. These make cool gifts, just make sure your giftee doesn’t mind banana. I’ve linked to the official site because Amazon had astronomical prices. These shouldn’t cost more than $10 – $15 a box depending on the variety.
- Kikyo Shingen Mochi. I didn’t buy these in Tokyo but I had these as desserts at an authentic Japanese restaurant in NYC and OH-MY-GOD this was the BEST mochi I’ve EVER had. There are three pieces of mochi packed in soybean flour with a teeny bottle of black sugar syrup. It’s sold at Sakura (Narita T1, 4F)/ (T2, 3F) or at the terminal 1 departure area. Look for it in a cutely packaged red, white our blue floral wrapped box. 4,770 yen ($45 USD) for a set of 5. Pricey but do it just once!
- ROYCE Nama Chocolates. These melt in your mouth and it makes such a great gift for your friends back home at only 660 Yen a box! Sure, ROYCE has expanded internationally but the same box in NYC costs $18 USD!!! WTF. My favorite flavors are milk chocolate and green tea (matcha) but check out the other varieties. I decided to skip buying these for this trip because I had enough new snacks to sample! Consider getting the chocolate dipped potato chips too.
Let me know what you think of my Tokyo Haul! Questions? I’ll try to answer them as thoroughly as I can! What’s your favorite pick? What have you hauled back that you must tell people about! Let know below!