It is time to get your holiday shopping done, but don’t worry, Japan Culture•NYC has great suggestions for everyone. For our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide, we have ideas for all ages and even suggestions for the toughest person on your list. Please check out our curated list of local stores, establishments, and gift ideas. We hope it inspires you and eases the pain of holiday shopping this season.
Tired of buying the standard toys for the kids in your life? Here are some suggestions for finding great Japanese gifts for the youngest on your list:
Manhattan’s beloved Kyotoya may have closed this year, but don’t worry, you can still purchase some of the items on their Amazon page. For a traditional Japanese New Year gift, we recommend a daruma doll. As the New Year approaches, the child is to make a wish or goal for 2017 and paint the left eye. Once the wish or goal is met, paint in the right eye. Kyotoya offers a few different sizes of daruma dolls.
- Bit’z Kids Upper West Side
410 Columbus Avenue
- Bit’z Kids Tribeca
275 Greenwich Street
- Bit’z Kids SOHO
73 W. Houston Street
Founded by F.O. International in Japan in 1988, Bit’z Kids became one the largest baby and children’s clothing company in Japan. NYC offers the only Bit’z Kids boutiques in the United States, and there are 3 locations throughout the city. How great is this Mt. Fuji cotton t-shirt that is currently on sale? We wish it came in our size!
Online or Miki House shop at Bloomingdales 59th St on bKids section on 5th Floor – 1000 Third Ave (59th Street and Lexington Avenue)
Miki House, renowned for its irresistibly cute designs, uncompromising quality, and Japanese craftsmanship, believes that all children should smile, dream, and grow up healthy. Founded in Osaka in 1971, the brand is now available worldwide. We adore these snow boots for surviving the NYC snow this winter.
331 Riverside Drive
With world-class instruction by the Higashi family, the Kokushi Budo Institute offers you authentic, traditional martial arts instruction with modern day practical applications. Offering kids classes; please check out their schedule for more info.
From tweens and teens who love all things kawaii to the 20-somethings who are into cosplay or anime, here are some suggestions for your young person who gets the fun and cool aspects of modern Japan:
158 Allen St. New York, NY 10002
New York’s only fully authorized, directly imported store, Tokyo Rebel is our suggestion for gifts for those into alternative Japanese fashion. Specializing in real Harajuku street fashion, Tokyo Rebel carries popular Japanese brands like Sex Pot Revenge, Atelier-Pierrot, Putumayo, and Q-Pot to name a few. They carry punk, gothic, and Lolita looks. We recommend giving a gift certificate because anyone who is into alternative Japanese fashion loves building the look of her coordinates.
242 West 30th Street
Image Anime is the ultimate source for Japanese anime collectibles, models, and toys in NYC, offering a variety of selections of today’s hottest Japanese novelties. Great gift ideas range from anime DVDs to plushies to DIY plastic model kits. Image Anime also offers pre-orders, which would make a perfect gift for the avid collector of Japanese toys.
My Plastic Heart
210 Forsyth Street
myplasticheart is a toy store and gallery dedicated to bringing the best in both the designer toy and contemporary art world together in one place. It offers one of the largest selections of designer art toys in New York, including a wide selection of Kaiju and Japanese vinyl toys. myplasticheart also has a vast collection of minis and blind boxes, which make unique stocking stuffers.
Cool Japan Guide
Online or check your local bookstore, too
Abby Denson’s graphic Japan travel guide explores Japanese culture from a cartoonist’s perspective. Cool Japan Guide takes you on a fun tour from the high-energy urban streets of Tokyo to the peaceful Zen gardens and Shinto shrines of Kyoto. It is the perfect gift for someone who is preparing for their first visit to Japan. The illustrations and travel tips will be very helpful when navigating Japan.
Looking for a gift for your mom, sister, aunt, wife, girlfriend, or any lady in your life? Check out these ideas ranging from beauty, housewares, and fashion:
Inspired by the bathing rituals in Japan, Amayori was created as a way to help women “easily bring inner peace and beauty into their lives through relaxing bathing rituals, gorgeous fragrance, and sumptuous body care.” Amayori makes shopping easy for you by offering various gift sets at different price points.
The Cover Nippon
Blue in Green – 8 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
The Cover Nippon is a Japanese handiwork company that launched in SoHo to connect Japan to the world with an exclusive selection of lifestyle products made by contemporary Japanese master artisans. The Tokyo-based Japanese company promotes and sells traditional and artisan craftworks featuring products such as pottery and lacquerware from different regions of Japan.
2 Extra Place
Nalata Nalata is a retail experience founded on promoting awareness of the people and stories behind their curated lifestyle products. The shop features multiple Japanese brands of craftsmanship ranging from wood, brass, washi paper, luxurious fabrics, and more.
476 Broome Street
In the fall of 2015, Japanese brand Tomorrowland opened its first store in the United States right here in SoHo. Paying tribute to Japanese sensitivity and craftsmanship, this high-end boutique offers jewelry, accessories such as handbags, and clothing from Japanese brands. The list of brands includes JEANPAULKNOTT, Knott, Shihara, Satomi Kawakita, Sirisiri, Hum, and Kimoto Glass to name a few.
It is often said that men are difficult to shop for. We hope these suggestions can help ease that this holiday season:
57 Warren Street (between W. Broadway and Church Street)
Does your husband, father, brother, or cousin take pride in cooking? Perhaps he enjoys the aesthetic of Japanese cooking but doesn’t have the right tools? Korin has Manhattan’s largest selection of Japanese knives that are sure to make any at-home chef thrilled. Korin also offers in-house traditional Japanese knife sharpening on a wet stone Monday thru Friday. In addition to knives, Korin has a great selection of Japanese cookbooks, housewares, and break-resistant glassware. Korin also has beautiful gift-wrapping options, so you can make this a one-stop shop this holiday season.
400 Madison Avenue (between 47th and 48th Streets)
If you need a gift for a professional man this holiday season, we highly recommend Kamakura for a made-to-measure shirt. JapanCulture•NYC attended the store’s first anniversary party and learned first-hand about the owners’ commitment to quality and customer service.
- 1248 Madison Avenue (between 89th and 90th Streets)
- 762 Third Avenue (at 47th Street)
- 1034 Lexington Avenue (at 74th Street)
If you are looking for the perfect gift to go with a Kamakura shirt from above or just a perfect stand-alone gift, we suggest Seigo Neckwear. The boutique offers bold, colorful, and unique fabrics woven in small mills in Kyoto and hand-blocked silk-screened ties produced in Niigata. Seigo Neckwear makes for an exclusive holiday present, as each of their designs is limited edition; only eight of each tie is made!
R by 45rpm
169 Mercer Street (Between Houston and Prince Streets)
45rpm is a Japanese brand that creates clothing in harmony with the Japanese seasons. Following a Japanese aesthetic they create items that are gentle, sturdy, long lasting, and ingenious. 45rpm wants to share the power of Japanese style with the world with a simple philosophy of “We want people from around the world to wear our garments happily.” Offering a wide selection of luxurious Japanese denim and clothing made from high-quality natural fabrics, we recommend this shop for the fashionable man in your life who appreciates well made Japanese clothing.
For the Japanese foodies in your life, we offer these suggestions that will inspire them in the kitchen or satisfy their sweet tooth:
711 3rd Ave. (on 45th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
MTC Kitchen is a one-stop shop for professionals and culinary enthusiasts with an interest in Japanese culinary culture. Offering everything from Japanese knives to sharpening stones, kitchenware to barware, you’ll be sure to find a gift for the chef in your life. In December you can receive 20% off your purchase both online and in-store (exceptions may apply).
290 Graham Avenue – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Osakana is a Japanese-style fish retailer located in Brooklyn that not only offers the high-quality, local and seasonal seafood, but also offers classes. With classes ranging from Japanese Preparations of Fish to Sushi making parties for groups, you’ll be sure to find a class that would make an unforgettable gift. Please check online to see the class schedule and book your experience.
509 Madison Avenue
For luxurious wagashi, traditional Japanese confectionery, head to Minamoto Kitchoan. Great for special gifts and seasonal sweets, they are one of the most prestigious Japanese confectionery brands. Please visit the only East Coast store in the United States for a perfect gift for the sweets lover.
Sake School of America
New York Mutual Trading Inc. – 77 Metro Way, Secaucus, NJ
Give the gift of sake knowledge this Christmas. Japanese and English classes are available for certification as Sake Adviser or Sake Sommelier. Please check the schedule for upcoming courses.
If that is out of your price range, you can never go wrong with giving a nice bottle of sake from Sakaya.
FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING:
We’ve all been stuck on what type of gift to give that person who seems to have everything or perhaps is just hard to shop for. Instead of giving a psychical gift, we suggest the gift of a lesson or a class:
Location varies; check website for address/more info
Established to introduce the beauty of Japanese Tea Ceremony to New York, Tea-Whisk offers an hour experience with a bowl of matcha green tea and a tea sweet. Please contact them to set one up.
1133 Broadway, Suite 230
A second-generation Ikebana master, Junko is one of New York’s most acclaimed Ikebana artists. She offers drop-in workshops, a professional development course, a master course, and intensive courses. Contact email@example.com for more info.
117 Grattan St, Unit 101 – Brooklyn
Buaisou was founded in 2012 by two Japanese indigo farmers who aim to preserve the tradition of Japanese indigo. In 2014 Bauisou Brooklyn was founded and holds various workshops for anyone interested in experiencing their fermenting indigo vat. They provide classes in basic pattern making such as Shibori (tie-dye), Itajime (wood cramping), Katazome (stencil resist), and Bassen (discharge). Please check the schedule for upcoming workshops. This gift would be a truly unique experience for the DIYer in your life.
5 W. 30th Street
A Japanese ceramics studio in the center of New York, Togei Kyoshitsu offers classes that teach traditional techniques widely used in Japan. Classes in both Tebineri (hand-building technique) and Rokuro (wheel-throwing technique) are offered as well as a one-day trial course before committing to the 4-6 week courses. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We hope this helps to make the holiday shopping season a little merrier. Happy Holidays!
*All photos are not Japan-Culture NYC’s and have been collected from the various websites or social media accounts linked to above recommendations.