All About Japan

'Omiyage' You Can't Buy Anywhere Else in Japan

Sweets Alcohol Handicrafts Souvenirs Tokyo

Furoshiki with an Imperial Seal for ¥1,000 ($9). A furoshiki is a cloth often with a decorative pattern that is used to carry things like clothes, bottles, and presents.

Castella (sponge cake) with the Imperial Seal

Manju with the Imperial Seal. Manju is a sweet snack, kind of like a gelatinous cake with a filling often consisting of sweet bean paste.

The bottom of the manju box was also lined with a map of the Imperial Palace.

If you like the look or the price of any of these items, unfortunately you can’t just waltz in and pick them up. The only way to get into the Kunaicho Seikatsu Kyokumiai is to reserve a tour of the Imperial Palace. By visiting the Imperial Household Agency website, you can get a tour permit which will get you access to this shop. However there are two things to note if you want to visit:

First, the tour is very popular, so you will want to book well in advance. The Palace website says they can accept reservations up to two months before, depending on the situation. Also, since this is a guided tour, you only have a limited time to shop. Give into your shopping impulses, because you only have about 15 to 20 minutes to get something before the opportunity is gone for good—or at least until you make another reservation.

If you’re visiting Japan, or even if you live here, Kunaicho Seikatsu Kyokumiai is a fantastic place to get some truly unique souvenirs for very reasonable prices.

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