While not a public holiday, chichi no hi, or Father’s Day, is celebrated in Japan and it’s not much different from the rest of the world. It’s that special day just for dads when their family can give a little something back to say “thanks.” It’s also not a bad way to get in your father-in-law’s good graces, hint-hint.
The question is: What does dad want? According to surveys, dads in Japan expect everything from beer and good cheese and meat for the barbecue to nice clothes and gift vouchers. However, probably the best gift you can get dear-old-dad is the gift of simplicity because many dads (and moms) just can’t be bothered and consider the whole day a burden.
That said, here is a quick list of easy Father’s Day gift ideas and where to find them.
Beer, wine and sake
Unsurprisingly, the number one gift people typically buy dad is alcohol. Dassai and Kubota nihonshu (Japanese rice wine) from Asahi Shuzo. You can’t go wrong with Japanese single malt whiskies like Yamazaki, Hakushu and Nikka as well as famous blends like the 12- and 17-year-old Hibiki (if you can find them). All are great choices—though certainly not as reasonable or easy to get as Suntory’s Kaku whisky sold in almost every convenience store or supermarket.
While it’s hard to beat Japanese whisky, if dads prefer foreign flavors, check out Yamaya. They have a huge selection of imported booze snacks to go with it. They also have a simple “click and pickup” option on their website. Aeon and even Bic Camera (you can use your point card) are also quick and easy choices.
Online beer and sake shopping:
- Kurand: Wide selection of sake, umeshu, rum and whiskey
- Enoteca: Popular wine shop with a selection of over 700
- Kakuyasu: Cheap and fast home delivery for beer, sake, whisky, wine and snacks
- Shinanoya: The “the good stuff.” Offers plenty of top-shelf spirits
- Rakuten: Father’s Day beer and sake specials
Meat and seafood
Dads (unless they’re vegan or eat halal) love good niku (meat). While you probably can’t go wrong taking dad out to a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant, you can’t beat that feeling of a home-cooked meal or bringing the family together grilling over the binchotan (charcoal) of a back lawn (or park) barbecue.
Online meat and seafood shopping:
- The Meat Guy: Popular meat shop with a variety of choices, even crocodile legs!
- Horizon Farms: Ethical, open-range grass-fed beef
- Meat Express: Simple, Osaka-based meat store
- Whole Meat: Western-style meats and BBQ
- Next Meats: Vegan and plant-based meats
- Rakuten: Father’s Day meat and seafood specials
Wallets, ties and loungewear
A well-made wallet is something dad will use every day. Tokyu Hands and Loft department stores have cool selections of wallets for any style. A wallet is a good choice since it is something he is likely to use every day. But with Japan’s hot and humid summer coming up, dad will definitely appreciate a breezy jinbei, yukata or samue (traditional Japanese summer wear) to beat the heat.
- Kimono no Machi: Father’s Day special yukata and fans
- Rakuten: Father’s Day loungewear, yukata, jinbei and samue
- Ganzo: High-quality wallets, bags, satchels and more made in Japan
Fathers’ Day cards
If you want to keep it really simple, a thoughtful card is a classic. But don’t just give them something with “Happy Father’s Day” on it and a nice design–it’s the inside that counts. Write a heartfelt and personal message.
It’s actually common to give personal message cards as a gift on Father’s Day in Japan. In fact, the “can’t be bothered” types probably prefer it. Common places to buy message cards in Japan are ¥100 shops, Bunbogu-ya (stationery store) and some bookstores. You’ll probably have more luck with Father’s Day cards at Tokyu Hands and Loft department stores
Online Father’s day Card shopping:
- Amazon Japan: Father’s Day-specific greeting cards
- Rakuten: If you can’t find a card you like on Amazon, you’ll find it here
- Loft: Tons of cute traditional and Japanese-style cards
Travel and hotel vouchers
Sometimes what dad wants most of all is just to get away from the family. Unfortunately, making all the preparations and reservations can be pretty annoying. Why not take care of all the hard stuff and send dad (and probably mom) on an all-inclusive trip to a nice ryokan (traditional inn) away from the city? It’s a lot harder for them to hate their new son or daughter-in-law once they’re soaking in an onsen (hot spring).
Father’s Day discount trips and deals
- JTB: Yealy Father’s Day special from Japan’s largest travel agency
- Rakuten Travel (English): Tons of discounted destinations and packages
So, there you have it. A bite-sized list of popular Father’s Day gifts in Japan to help you weed through all the options. It’s really not that different from your home country. The most important thing to remember is that it truly is the thought that counts the most.
What are your favorite go-to gifts for dads in Japan? Let us know in the comments below!