A recent browse on Present and Correct led us to a deep dive on the tradition of omiyage, which is essentially a formality in Japan where work colleagues bring each other edible souvenirs back from places they've traveled to (I suppose as a way to prove you didn't just play hooky?). An experience described on GaijinPot reaffirms the peril of not bringing omiyage back to coworkers as incredibly awkward. The writer details a trip with a friend to a Kamakura giftshop, saying "she couldn't relax until we made a pit-stop at an omiyage shop so she could pick out gifts for her coworkers. We ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time in that shop, as she browsed through endless boxes, trying to find the perfect omiyage with just the amount of sweets, the correct portion size and price for her office."
Stress aside, from our own research the hunt for the perfect omiyage seems like a worthwhile endeavor as there are tons of entertaining varieties. We've collected a number of examples to browse (all sourced from Haconi-wa Mag's interactive omiyage map):
Starting with a souvenir that caters to your industrial designer co-workers, these nut and bolt chocolate morsels with functional threads from the Neiji Chocolate Factory in Kitakyushu City are bound to be a hit.
This sugar crystal treat is infused with a boysenberry flavor, a fruit found when traveling around the Azumi River in Shiga Prefecture.
This cookie from a famous confectionary Iseya in Ota City has a fun backstory, as their shop is coincidentally right in front of the city's Subaru factory. So this omiyage is a great souvenir for car lovers, and even includes a pamphlet of different Subaru models.
Who wouldn't want a cookie depicting the subject of Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream? If you have a craving, you can find this sweet at the Tokushima Otsuka Museum of Art.
These fun gummies can be found in Kyoto and are in the shape of different monuments and iconography native to the area.
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This lollipop is a surprisingly detailed illustration of the Great Buddha of Kamakura just outside of Tokyo.
Nagano Prefecture is famous for its unique strains of apples with beautiful marble-like patterns on the insides, so I was happy to discover these candy treats for co-workers who need a sugar fix that an apple can't satisfy. I also love the details included on the apple box packaging.
I would love to see an American version of these amazing intricate snacks. A cookie depicting Mount Rushmore? A Space Needle lollipop? A wound-up ball of licorice at the World's Largest Ball of Twine rest stop? Comment below with your best ideas.
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