Japanese Wedding Gifts

In Japan there is a tradition of “hikidemono” at weddings.

Basically, the bride and groom give a gift to everyone who attends their wedding after party. This “after party” I am referring to is called the 披露宴 (ひろうえん) in Japanese. The gift is called 引き出物 (hikidemono), and usually it comes in the form of fancy silverware, or expensive desserts.

In the past few years however, people have started giving catalogs as hikidemono.

Many companies offer these wedding specific catalogs, and they are an easy way for the bride and groom to ensure that no one is disappointed by the gift!

Inside the catalog are a wide variety of gift options…

You got your standard meat and fish…

Neckties and too expensive ball point pens… Pocket watches…

Even Saran Wrap, Ziploc containers, and dust busters…

Yay, gifts.

– Harvey


  • How can they afford to put on a wedding and then buy gifts for everyone who attends the party afterwards?? I can’t imagine. (But then I shelled out a little over a hundred I think it was for the “deluxe” wedding at the Little White Chapel in Vegas. So perhaps I’m a bit thrifty when it comes to the big day.)

  • Good question!

    There is one Japanese wedding tradition that explains it.

    When attending a Japanese wedding party (hirouen) the guests are expected to give a cash gift. The cash gift is usually given in 10,000 yen bills (about 100USD). It is considered bad luck to give number of bills that can be divided by 2. So people do not give 20,000 yen usually. Just giving 10,000 yen is kinda cheap.

    So I would say on average people give 30,000 yen to the bride and groom when attending these parties.

    Of course, at Japanese weddings company managers and co-workers are also invited. These types tend to give a little more.

    I have heard that some weddings can end up breaking even… though this is tricky to work out.

    Fun fact, Nagoya is famous for having the most elaborate and expensive weddings in Japan.

  • Thanks, that explains it! :)

  • Thanks for the explanation in the comments! (and the original post as well)

  • Thanks for this. I always found giving money at Japanese weddings difficult but between your info and the other info here I figured out it out

  • when I buy these high price gifts such as Pocket watches,how can i afford it?

  • Hi, I live in northern california and am attending a wedding in Osaka Japan. It is for a couple in their early thirties and first marraige for both of them. Our relationship to the bride is close as she was an exchange student in our home many years ago and we have kept in touch. My question is what would be a item or gift that would be much appreciated in Japan? I have no idea, any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As for a cash gift, what would be considered a generous amount in US dollars? I understand our US dollar doesn’t go very far abroad.


  • Hello Art,

    Actually in Japan it is not customary to give gifts to married couples. People traditionally give cash money in a very fancy envelope. You won’t be able to buy the envelope until you get to Japan, but you can buy them in any convenience store. The envelope is called “SHUUGIBUKURO” 祝儀袋 and it looks like this.



    Also, the money given should be new Japanese bills (SHINSATSU 新札). You can get them from a Japanese bank. You should give in dominations of 10,000 yen (about 100 USD). It is considered bad luck to give a number of bills that are divisible by two, so two 10,000 bills is out, as is four 10,000 bills. It’s because if it is divisible by two… then the couple might divide into two as well…. Giving just one bill 10,000 yen is considered kinda cheap and only acceptable if you’re a student or something… so most people give 30,000 yen. Really close family or company bosses or something often give 50,000 or more though.

    Having said all that… you’re not Japanese, so they probably wouldn’t be too surprised if you didn’t follow tradition and got them a gift instead. People often get very nice crystal glasses, or plates, or something like that as an extra special gift. Just be sure it is wrapped very nicely, appearance is everything, and I’m sure you’ll be fine!

    Osaka is great, have fun!

    – Harvey

  • I am Yonsei and am thinking of attempting a ‘somewhat’ japanese wedding. What are some good ‘wedding favor’ -type of gifts?

  • I am Yonsei and am thinking of attempting a ‘somewhat’ japanese wedding in california. What are some good ‘wedding favor’ -type of gifts?

  • @Donna Extremely fancy cakes are a common one. Those Baum Kouhen’s come out in Japan a lot.

    This kinda thing.

  • Harvey,
    I am attending a wedding in MI for a Japanesse couple in theie 30. Would it be appropriate to give a pair of wine glasses?
    What would be appropriate design to mean love and long life?

  • In Michigan? If they’re Japanese used to American culture just give an American gift. In Japan people do not normally give gifts to the bride and groom at a wedding, they usually give cash! Three hundred dollars is about the norm.

  • hey, nice article! btw, what kanji is usually written in the hikidemono? i found out it is “御礼” (onrei) but what are the others alternatives? thx

  • Hi,I live in Tottori,Japan.I am from Bagladesh.I teach English in a cram school here.I live here with my husband.He is a postdoc student.In my cram school I have a student.I guess she is below 30.She is getting married this August.She invited me n my husband.The above articles really helped.but I wanna know 2 more things.What is the tradition for a couple to give gifts?I mean can me n my husabd give cash in one envelop?How much should be the amount then?If I give her Bangladeshi traditional cloths(saree),will that be effective enough to make her happy?

    I want a quick reply ,please.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Hi There! This article is very helpful. We had our civil ceremony last month and now will have a chapel ceremony in June. Is there one hikidemono from the groom and another from the bride? If it is a mixed couple, me American and her Japanese, are American things better?