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Home - Living in Japan - Etiquette
Giving Gifts

In Japan, gifts are given on many occasions:

Oseibo and Ochugen
Twice a year, in December and in June, it is common for co-workers, friends and relatives to exchange gifts. The gifts are called Oseibo and Ochugen respectively. On average, they are worth about 5000 yen and may be food, alcohol, household items or something similar. The gift giving seasons coincide with company employees receiving a special bonus in addition to their monthly salaries.

Temiyage and Omiyage
In order to thank somebody, one often presents a gift (temiyage), such as Japanese sweets or sake. Similarly, when a Japanese person returns from a trip, he or she bring home souvenirs (omiyage) to friends, co-workers and relatives. In Japan, tourist sites are generally surrounded by many omiyage shops specializing in souvenir gifts, often in the form of beautifully wrapped and packaged foods.

Birthday and Christmas
Gift giving on birthdays and Christmas is not originally a Japanese tradition. Due to the strong influence from the West, however, some families and friends exchange gifts also on these occasions.

Gifts are given and received with both hands. There are a few rules about what not to give, since certain gifts in certain circumstances or a certain number of gifts are believed to cause bad luck.

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