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Shopping in Narita

by Arun Victor

· Japan,Layover

The desire to bring something back from a place we visit eventually tends to creep up on us as the trip nears its end. It’s one way to prolong the inevitable end of a visit, a desperate attempt at maintaining its pulse even after we return. Or maybe it’s none of this and merely a way to quench our occasional thirst for some good old retail therapy. Whichever one it is, Narita has something to offer you.

I must admit, I am guilty of both of the above. But in my quest to bring a piece of my destination back with me, it is equally important to me that the piece be truly authentic. For instance, our island vacations usually end with a scoop of beach sand occupying a little space in our luggage.

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Beach sand can be about as authentic as a souvenir gets

What I liked about shopping in Narita was that everything I saw there was actually made in Japan. In fact, I explicitly verified this with the shopkeepers. This was not the case at the airport shops, where you’d find Chinese-made hand fans masquerading among their more authentic Japanese counterparts as local souvenirs. Not that I have anything against Chinese hand fans. I would love to pick one up - if I were visiting China.

Between snack shops and eel restaurants on Omotesando street, you’ll find a few traditional Japanese craft stores, selling anything from choptsticks, to wooden shoes, to cast iron kettles and scarves.

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Pop into a handmade craft store on Omotesando street like this one

It would be a shame to call these items ‘souvenirs’ because they’re much more than simple ornaments - you can actually use them. Here are a few things I picked up that made great gifts.

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Scarves and chopsticks

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Japanese bamboo coaster

Let me say one thing about choptsticks. You can spend anywhere from ¥400 to over ¥3000 and buy them at any of the friendly shops along the street. But there is one shop I chose due to sheer reason of vanity - you can get yours personally engraved!

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Personalize your chopsticks

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Get your chopsticks personally engraved for free here

I didn’t quite get the name of the store, but it is located toward the Shinshō-ji temple end of Omotesando street.

One thing I particularly liked about shopping here was the no-pressure environment and attitude of the shopkeepers, despite the area being somewhat touristy. I hope you have a good time find your mementos on this street.

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