Must Have Japanese Souvenirs: Gachapon
Spend any amount of time in Japan and you'll inevitably run into one. Whether it's at your local supermarket, drug store, or Yodabashi Camera, gachapon machines are practically everywhere.
"Gachapon" or "gashapon" are vending machine-dispensed capsule toys that are extremely popular in Japan.They are similar to any coin-operated toy vending machines but differ in that Japanese gachapon toys are usually of higher quality and price (although still relatively cheap, which is one of the reasons that make them such great souvenirs).
The toys, most often made from high-grade PVC plastic, are often licensed popular characters from Japanese manga, video games, anime, or the American entertainment industry. Some even become collector's items.
They make fantastic souvenirs because:
1. They're small!
2. They come in colourful plastic capsules that can be used for a variety of things once opened.
3. They're cheap, usually between 1-500 yen.
4. You don't have to go to lengths to find one, they're everywhere! (Personally, I'd recommend the 6th floor of Yodobashi Camera Multimedia shop in Yokohama: http://www.deepjapan.org/a/3988)
5. Kids love them, of course, but adults do too!
Former Deep Japan Writer