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What are appropriate gifts in Japan?


Japan is a country rich in culture and tradition, and gift-giving is an integral part of Japanese customs. The Japanese people attach great importance to gift-giving, and they believe that gifts should be carefully chosen and presented with the utmost respect. In this article, we will discuss the appropriate gifts to give in Japan, the dos and don’ts of gift-giving, and the reasons why it is essential to follow these customs.

The Meaning of Gift-Giving in Japan

Gift-giving in Japan is not just about the physical act of giving a present; it is also about demonstrating respect, gratitude, and appreciation for the recipient. It is a way to strengthen relationships and show your sincerity. It is essential to choose gifts that reflect your relationship with the recipient and the occasion for which you are giving the gift.

Japanese Snack Box

Appropriate Gifts for Different Occasions

In Japan, there are specific gifts that are suitable for particular occasions. For example, during New Year’s celebrations, it is customary to give a gift of money called “Otoshidama.” During weddings, it is appropriate to give cash in a special envelope called “Shugi-bukuro.” When visiting someone’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift such as sweets or fruit.

The Dos of Gift-Giving in Japan

When giving a gift in Japan, there are specific customs that you should follow to show respect to the recipient. For example, it is essential to wrap your gift in beautiful paper and bow it neatly. You should also present the gift with both hands and bow slightly when handing it over.

The Don’ts of Gift-Giving in Japan

There are also specific things that you should avoid when giving a gift in Japan. For example, it is considered rude to give items that are too expensive or flashy. It is also inappropriate to give gifts in sets of four as the word “four” sounds like the word for death in Japanese.

Gifts for Business Partners

When giving gifts to business partners in Japan, it is essential to choose an appropriate gift that reflects your relationship with them. It is also important to consider their position within the company and their interests. Gifts such as high-quality pens or branded stationery are popular choices.

Gifts for Family Members

When giving gifts to family members in Japan, it is important to choose a gift that reflects your relationship with them. For example, parents may appreciate practical gifts such as kitchenware or household items, while children may prefer toys or video games.

Gifts for Friends

When giving gifts to friends in Japan, it is important to choose something that reflects your shared interests or hobbies. Gifts such as books, music CDs or DVDs can be good choices. It is also important to consider their preferences and tastes before selecting a gift.

Gifts for Children

When giving gifts to children in Japan, it is important to choose age-appropriate presents that will stimulate their curiosity and imagination. Educational toys such as puzzles or building blocks can be good choices. It is also important to consider their interests before selecting a gift.

Gift Wrapping in Japan

In Japan, gift wrapping is considered an art form. It is essential to wrap your gift carefully using beautiful paper and ribbons. The wrapping should be neat and presentable, and it should reflect the occasion for which you are giving the gift.


In conclusion, gift-giving in Japan is a beautiful tradition that reflects respect, appreciation and gratitude towards others. It is essential to choose an appropriate gift based on your relationship with the recipient and the occasion for which you are giving the present. By following these customs and traditions, you can strengthen relationships and show sincerity towards others.

What do Japanese like to receive as gifts?

In Japan, food and drink is a popular gift choice, particularly for small occasions like Oseibo and Okaeshi. Common food and drink gifts include confectionery, cakes, tea, and spirits.

Do Japanese people like receiving gifts?

In Japanese business culture, the emphasis is on the ceremonial aspect of gift-giving, rather than the actual present. Therefore, you may receive gifts that appear either too small or overly generous. Nonetheless, it is normal to receive lavish gifts. You need not be concerned, as expensive gifts are not viewed as bribes.

When giving a gift to a Japanese associate you should?

In Japan, it is customary to show respect when giving or receiving a gift by using both hands. Additionally, it is considered impolite to open a gift in front of a group, so it is best to wait until you are in private. Showing restraint when receiving gifts is an important aspect of demonstrating respect in Japanese culture.

What do Japanese value most?

Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on values such as consideration for others, perseverance, respect for elders, understanding one’s role, and working collaboratively. These values are taught and reinforced from a young age, and are carried into the professional world.

How do you show appreciation to a Japanese person?

To express your gratitude in Japanese, you can say “hontoni arigato gozaimasu” to really emphasize your appreciation. If you want to be less formal, you can simply say “hontoni arigato” [honto:ni arigato:].

Is it rude to decline gifts in Japan?

In Japan, it is considered polite and humble to initially refuse a gift multiple times before eventually accepting it. It is important to refuse graciously as well.

The Importance of Gift-Giving in Japanese Culture

Gift-giving is an integral part of Japanese culture, and it is deeply rooted in their traditions and customs. It is a way to show respect for others, build strong relationships, and maintain harmony within the community. In Japan, gift-giving is not just about the present itself, but the way it is presented and the thought behind it. The act of gift-giving is considered an expression of gratitude and appreciation towards others.

The Role of Gift-Giving in Business Culture

In Japan, gift-giving plays an essential role in business culture. It is customary to exchange gifts with business partners as a way to build relationships and establish trust. The act of gift-giving is seen as a gesture of good faith and a way to express appreciation for the business relationship. It is important to choose an appropriate gift that reflects your intentions and relationship with the recipient.

The Etiquette of Receiving Gifts

In Japan, receiving a gift is just as important as giving one. When receiving a gift, it is essential to show appreciation and gratitude towards the giver. One should open the gift carefully, without tearing the wrapping paper, and express their thanks for the present. It is also customary to reciprocate the gesture by giving a gift in return or sending a thank-you note.

The Significance of Gift Wrapping in Japanese Culture

In Japan, gift wrapping is considered an essential part of gift-giving. The wrapping paper used should be high-quality and appropriate for the occasion. The color of the wrapping paper should be chosen carefully as each color has its own significance in Japanese culture. For example, red symbolizes happiness and celebration, while white symbolizes purity and innocence.


In conclusion, gift-giving is an important part of Japanese culture that reflects respect, appreciation, and gratitude towards others. It plays an essential role in building relationships, maintaining harmony within the community, and establishing trust in business relationships. By following the customs and traditions of gift-giving in Japan, we can show our sincerity towards others and strengthen our connections within society.

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