If you’ve been to Japan, you would have noticed enticing boxes of local sweets that are pre-wrapped to look pretty. These are the omiyage.
The tradition of gift-giving runs in the veins of Japanese culture, with different types of gifts usually associated with a specific region, such as the Yubari melon from Hokkaido or green tea products from Kyoto. It is not very difficult to choose one, even on a short notice. You will find shops at every corner of the city selling omiyage, tastefully wrapped, and ready to be presented as a gift.
According to Japanese tradition, unlike souvenirs, the omiyage cannot be kept for one’s own self. You have no choice as to whether you’d like to bring something back for others or not – it is an obligation. Here are the top five quirky Japanese omiyage that you can select while in Japan.
Everyone loves receiving a box of chocolates, especially when it comes wrapped in more than a chocolate wrapper. And the Japanese are experts in making chocolates that both look and taste great with beautifully crafted chocolates.
This cake actually finds its roots in Germany (as one can probably tell from its name). But it has become immensely popular in Japan. There is rarely a traveller who won’t pick up one these cakes for the loved ones back home.
If you’ve got someone special in mind, someone who loves a bit of history behind their food, get them some Nagamochi from Japan. It’s a rice cake sweet that’s filled with red bean paste. What’s fascinating is that examples of this sweet were first made roughly 400 years ago!
These little sweets remind you of crips or crackers or even chips. But they’re actually sweet and salty overbaked sweets.
This pounded rice cake is named after a 16th-century Japanese warlord. But it’s a lot more cheerful than its origin. What sets this mochi apart is covered in fried soybean flour, which gives it an extra texture to complement the mochi’s chewy sensation and is best served with a drizzle of brown sugar syrup on top.
The tradition of omiyage is another unique aspect of Japanese culture and mannerisms, which many outsiders might not be aware of. If you are planning a visit to Japan, keep an eye out for the do’s and don’ts and you should be ready to go.
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