“OSEIBO(お歳暮)” is probably the most important annual gift custom in Japan, especially for businesses. “OSEIBO” is basically a gift to show the appreciation of relationships during the year. We will tell you about this custom and market size in this article, in the view of “How you can apply this custom to YOUR BUSINESS”.

  1. What OSEIBO is. When to send it.
  2. How to send them. What to send.
  3. How you can apply this custom to your business.

What Is OSEIBO? When to Send?


OSEIBO is a token of appreciation for the people/businesses that have been good to you. So, you usually send them to your clients or business partners. WHEN? This is very important. If you miss the timing, the gifts do not be considered as OSEIBO or give a good impression. Although it really depends on which part of Japan you are sending the gift to, we’ll tell you the safest time of the year.


December 13th ~ December 20th


1) The special paper called “NOSHI-GAMI (のし紙):
You put “occasion” above the ribbon and the sender’s name (your name) below. In this case, the above should say “御歳暮 (oseibo)”. 

2) Sending Them by post: 

Wrap the gift in the order as shown in the photo. Then send it.

Make sure it arrives during December 13th ~ 20th.

3) Bring them by yourself (more formal):  

Wrap the gift the way shown in the photo. If possible, wrap it with “FUROSHIKI”. To take an appointment is recommended or/and appreciated. But either way, visit them 10-11 AM or 2-4 PM. 

4) What To Send?

Consumable items are preferred. Such as wine, ham, sweets, coffee and so on. Also, consider if the gift is sharable among staff. OSEIBO being shared at work is one of the fun times at work. 

How you can apply this custom to your business.

1) Japanese people do not expect foreigners to behave the Japanese way.

Although we have a similar saying as “Do what Romans do”. We, Japanese, are too busy trying to do things in YOUR WAY to expect you to be the Japanese way, especially in business scenes. So, if someone who is not Japanese sends OSEIBO in the right way, it stands out among your competitors. You will be remembered probably forever. 

2) OSEIBO market size is USD 8,000,000,000 !!

Japanese Christmas market size is USD 5,000,000,000. So, you can see how large and important the OSEIBO market could be to you. By any chance, are your products something consumable? Have you approached buyers of department stores in Japan, yet?

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