While omiyage originated in Japan, it’s also common practice in Hawaii, too. The Japanese word means “souvenirs” or “gifts” and is observed by giving souvenirs to friends and family after a trip. While it’s a fun way to show your loved ones you were thinking of them while away, it’s a cultural custom in Japan. You might think you understand the rules of omiyage, but these fun facts could change your mind.
4 Fun Facts About Omiyage
1. Packaging Matters as Much as the Gift Itself
Omiyage packaging is known for being elaborate and beautiful, and much of the enjoyment comes from seeing the wrapping. Even snacks should be neatly and thoughtfully packaged. You should never give an unwrapped gift.
2. Your Gift Should Represent the Place It Came From
The recipient will expect the gift to come from the location of your travels. Every place has something unique to that area, such as specialty foods or products. It doesn’t matter if you buy it at an airport or tourist shop, but it should be a souvenir of your travels.
3. It’s Rude Not to Give Omiyage to Everyone
In Japanese culture, omiyage is expected by anyone who has noticed your absence, and it’s common for travelers to load up on gifts for family and friends. Many also offer gifts to neighbors and coworkers. It’s recommended that you bring a few extras so you don’t accidentally offend someone.
4. You Can Expect Omiyage in Return
The Japanese believe the practice of gifting someone a souvenir from your travels strengthens your friendships and familial relationships. If you give a souvenir to someone, it’s customary for them to return the gesture when they travel.
Travelers to or residents of Hilo, HI, will find tasty omiyage at the Kawamoto Store. Serving authentic Asian and local cuisine for over 70 years, the store offers a wide selection of Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese food. Call (808) 935-8209 to ask about daily availability, or view their menu online.