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Cool Japan

Sushi for Souvenirs?

Photo: Sushi wall clock

Think of Japanese cuisine and sushi is likely to be the first thing that comes to mind. But wouldn’t you be surprised if someone told you that you can take sushi home as a souvenir? Well, in case you’re wondering, we’re talking here about all kinds of products shaped to look exactly like sushi.

Just a stone’s throw from Asakusa is Kappabashi, Tokyo’s kitchen and cookware wholesaler district. Maizuru, one of the businesses here, specializes in producing realistic wax models of food that many restaurants in Japan display in their show windows. It also sells all kinds of food-shaped souvenir items. One of Maizuru’s most popular products among Asian tourists is a wall clock shaped like sushi (18,900 yen and up).

Photo: Sushi charms

Other sushi-shaped items include charms on straps for mobile phones (892 yen and up), key chains (892 yen and up), magnets (892 yen and up) and so on which are popular as unusual souvenirs from Japan. All these small sushi models are individually hand-molded from special plastic. Small and light sushi-shaped erasers (50 yen and up each), available at stores like Tokyu Hands in Tokyo or Osaka, or Hakuhinkan in Ginza, are also a recommended item.

The Japan Tourism Agency has been running a Best Japanese Souvenir Contest since 2005, and in 2010, sushi-shaped magnets won a prize in the “Cool Japan” category. They’re on sale at Haneda, Narita, Kansai, Centrair and other Japanese airports. If you’re wondering what souvenirs to buy for the folks back home, check out these websites.

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