[Part 1] Boasting of the Coolest Souvenirs I Bought While Traveling Around the World – East Asia-

When you go on a trip, do you buy souvenirs?

“Many people buy souvenirs for their family and friends, but surprisingly few people buy souvenirs for themselves.

On the other hand, backpackers may not have enough space in their bags and money to buy souvenirs, and may have to give up.

If you want to buy a souvenir for yourself, you may be paying for something that is not tangible, such as an experience or a dish.

However, I believe that keeping the memories of your trip in the form of a “souvenir” will increase the value of your trip later on.

It is said that traveling is the most cost-effective hobby. This is because you can enjoy it not only when you are traveling, but also many years later when you come back from your trip, you can look back on those memories and enjoy them again and again. Then, as the years go by, the memories become more and more brilliant.

Souvenirs are a great way to look back on such travel memories. If you are traveling, I think it would be a good idea to find and buy “souvenirs” that are worth buying even if you have to use a delivery service.

In this article, I will introduce the “souvenirs” that I have bought in different parts of the world, why I bought them, and where I bought them, as far as I can remember. It’s a long story, but I’m really just trying to show off.

This first installment is on East Asia!


Two kinds of hand-carved seals made of natural stone

Price: USD $5 (per piece)

China is one of the few countries in the world that still has a seal culture like Japan. If you buy a stone at a stamp shop and order a design, they will carve it by hand on the spot. As long as you can write the design on a piece of paper, they can carve anything, not only Chinese characters but also other country’s characters.

[Why I bought it]

The oldest seal in Japan was a gift from the emperor of the Han Dynasty with the inscription “King of the Han Dynasty”, which I learned about in school. So, I had an image of China = Seal. Also, when I thought about the value of something made in China, I decided to buy a seal because I wanted something related to China’s long history and “Chinese characters”. So I decided to buy a seal. In the end, I had one carved with Chinese characters and one with hiragana which is Japanese character.

[Where I bought it]

I bought it in Old Street near the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, which is an area where historical streets remain.


Shaolin Temple Amulet

Price: USD $5

This is a familiar talisman in Japan. It is covered with plastic.

[Why I bought it]

I bought this when I went to the Shaolin Temple. I think it is the most famous temple in the world. I had somehow thought that I would definitely go to the Shaolin Temple when I went to China, but when I actually went there, I had a strange feeling. It seems that monks practicing Shaolin kung fu often get injured, and there was even something like a Shaolin Temple Pharmacy inside. 

[The place where I bought it]

It’s in the Temple. There are many buildings on the site, but they were sold in the precincts of the Shaolin Temple.

Prayer wheel

Price: USD $15

This is a Tibetan Buddhist tool called Prayer wheel, which has sutras inside. It is said that if you turn it clockwise once, you will gain the same amount of merit as if you had read a sutra once. It is said to have become widespread because it allows people who cannot read sutras to accumulate merit.

[Why I bought it]

When I was in junior high school student, a teacher who had been to Tibet on vacation brought a mani wheel to school and showed it to the class. When I heard his explanation, I was shocked at how convenient it was. I was shocked and wanted to buy one even though I was not a particularly devoted Buddhist. I wanted to go to the Tibetan Autonomous Region to buy one, but it is not easy to enter nowadays, and the procedures are very time-consuming, so I bought one when I went to Shangri-la, a city with Tibetan culture and no entry procedures.

[Where I bought it]

This is a Buddhist altar store located on a souvenir street near the Great Buddha Temple, the center of Shangri-la’s tourist attractions. I don’t remember the name of the store or the specific location. Incidentally, the Great Buddha Temple has a huge maniwheel that once held the Guinness World Record for the largest maniwheel in the world.



Price: USD $15

This harness is attached to the face of a horse when riding. You attach the reins to it and ride.

[Why I bought it]

I traveled around the steppes of Mongolia for 15 days on horseback. I wanted to buy something related to horses as a memory of my trip. When I was looking for a souvenir in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, I found this one, and I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate as a Mongolian souvenir than this or the ger itself, so I chose the Bridle, which I could realistically take home with me.

[Where I bought it]

I bought it at the State Department Store located in the center of Ulaanbaatar. It is a very large department store, so it is easy to find. I don’t remember the number of floors, but the entire floor was a souvenir shop. Another souvenir I was interested in was camel socks, but I didn’t buy them because I didn’t ride a camel. It would be a good souvenir for people traveling in the Gobi Desert.




Price: USD $10

This is an ocarina in the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle. It can be played properly.

[Why I bought it]

Jiufen, which is probably the most famous sightseeing spot in Taiwan, is said to have been the model for the Ghibli movie “Spirited Away”. I’ve seen Spirited Away about a thousand times, so as I walked through the streets of Jiufen, thinking about the movie, I heard the sound of an ocarina. I walked into a store as if I were being sucked in, and found that they were selling ocarinas in the shape of Coca-Cola bottles, which I love. Every time I see this souvenir, it reminds me of my trip to Taiwan.

[Where I bought it]

I don’t remember the exact place, but I think it was somewhere along the main street of Jiufen.


Hong Kong

Nunchucks (toy)

Price: USD $5

A nunchuck toy. It’s made of plastic, so it’s not a weapon.

[Why I bought it]

When I think Hong Kong is famous for Bruce Lee, so I was looking for the familiar nunchucks, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I even went to a nunchaku dojo, but unfortunately it was closed. I spent the whole day asking around, “Do you have any nunchucks?” But first of all, most people didn’t know the word “nunchaku”. Even when I used a translation app to show them the words, it didn’t seem to help, and I was surprised to find out that Bruce Lee is now a thing of the past in Hong Kong. Finally, when night fell, I asked at a night stall, “Do you have any nunchucks?” I finally found out why I couldn’t find any. One shopkeeper said, “We don’t sell nunchucks because they are weapons. It’s illegal to have them.” I see! That made sense to me. In other words, I was a dangerous person who was looking for a weapon. The owner of the store was very kind and brought me a nunchuck toy that was for sale at another store, so I bought it. The color is of course Bruce Lee’s yellow.

[Where I bought it]

The night market in Temple Street. I recorded the location of the store with pinpoint accuracy. Here it is.



Ponte16 (left) and LISBOA (right) casino chips

Price: USD $0 (equivalent to USD $14 in total for the two chips at the rate at the time)

These are the lowest denomination chips at the casinos, equivalent to about USD $7 each, since it was about USD $0.14 to a pataca.

[Why I bought it]

(Left) I went to Ponte 16 for the first time in my life few years ago, and I wanted to make a lot of money on this trip around the world, so I went there every day. Many dramas were born in this casino.

(Right) Kotaro Sawaki, the author of “Midnight Express”, the bible for travelers, visited LISBOA Casino in his book.

I took the chips as a souvenir as a reminder of the time I lost in this city, the pleasure I gained, and the tension I will never forget. I asked permission to take them home.

[Where I bought it]



Chapter Summary

What did you think?

Personally, the casino chips from Macau and Bridle from Mongolia are the top two souvenirs from East Asia that I am proud to say I brought back with me.

After all, even as I write this article, I am enjoying remembering my trip. I know that backpackers in particular don’t generally buy souvenirs, but I highly recommend it, so please try it next time.

The problem is that it’s been more than a year since I returned home and I still haven’t decorated any of them, but anyway, the article on souvenirs will continue in the next article.

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シャイな僕が世界一周の旅へ。諸事情により緊急でお金が必要だったので一部上場企業のキーエンスへ就職。27歳で退職し、夢だった世界一周をすることに。やりたいことを全部やっている最中です。まずは死なずに帰ってきます。皆が憧れる世界一周だと思いますが、良いところも悪いところも全てそのままお伝えして、一緒に旅している感覚になっていただければ嬉しいです。座右の銘はPLUS ULTRA。「もっと向こうへ」という意味です。好奇心の赴くままにもっと向こうへ行ってきます。好きなコーラはコカ・コーラ。スカッとさわやかコカ・コーラ。LOVE&PEACE。





シャイな僕が世界一周の旅へ。諸事情により緊急でお金が必要だったので一部上場企業のキーエンスへ就職。27歳で退職し、夢だった世界一周をすることに。やりたいことを全部やっている最中です。まずは死なずに帰ってきます。皆が憧れる世界一周だと思いますが、良いところも悪いところも全てそのままお伝えして、一緒に旅している感覚になっていただければ嬉しいです。座右の銘はPLUS ULTRA。「もっと向こうへ」という意味です。好奇心の赴くままにもっと向こうへ行ってきます。好きなコーラはコカ・コーラ。スカッとさわやかコカ・コーラ。LOVE&PEACE。