All About Japan

Navigating Souvenir Culture in Japan


The word omiyage is often translated as "souvenir." But while the concept is similar, the idea of omiyage goes much deeper than the coffee mugs, T-shirts and key chains most people from North America would imagine bringing back from a vacation.

First of all, the term is literally written お土産, combining the kanji for "earth" and "product" with the honorific "o." So omiyage is meant to be a local product from the region you visited. However, instead of buying something for yourself as a memory of the trip (the English term is even drawn from the French "to remember"), omiyage are meant for others. In fact, omiyage are generally expected to be presented to co-workers upon your return from vacation as a way of thanking them for covering extra work while you were away.

Want to know more? Read on at Zooming Japan below!

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