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Giving Gifts in Japan

Gift-giving is a common practice in Japan. Generally speaking, there are four types of gifts that Japanese people give out under different circumstances. It is important to know what they are and what occasion they are best for before you gift your host family or colleagues next time in Japan.

お中元 (Ochuugen) and お歳暮 (Oseibo) are  “thank-you gifts” given once in July and another time in December or the end of the year. Japanese people give these gifts to their boss to show their gratitude toward the person in charge of their well-being in a company. They can be as simple as a box of chocolate to a nice bottle of champaign.

お土産 (Omiyage) can be translated as “Souvenir” or “local produce”. When traveling, Japanese people like to buy local お菓子 (Okash), Japanese-styled cakes or snacks, and other unique locally produced products. They bring these back from the trip and share them with their colleagues and friends.

手土産 (Temiyage) is similar to Omiyage but with a slight difference in its terminology. “Te” literally means hand. An “Omiyage” becomes a “Temiyaga” or Hand Souvenir when Japanese people visit someone else’s homes. They often present it to the host to thank them for having them in their private space before they step into the door.