A visit to Kyoto offers not only a chance to immerse yourself in Japan’s rich history and culture, but also to discover unique, locally crafted souvenirs. Here’s a beginner’s guide to making the most out of your Kyoto trip, including the best stores to find quintessential Kyoto keepsakes.
Where to Shop
Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, Nishiki Market is a bustling shopping street with hundreds of shops and food stands. Here you can buy local specialties like Yatsuhashi (a sweet cinnamon-filled treat), pickles, and fresh seafood. You’ll also find kitchenware, tea, and other uniquely Japanese items.
Located near Gion, Kyukyodo is an iconic stationery shop founded in 1663. It offers an array of Japanese paper products (washi), including beautiful calligraphy tools, letter sets, and traditional Japanese incense.
Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades
These parallel shopping streets in downtown Kyoto offer a wide variety of stores selling everything from traditional Japanese crafts to modern fashion and manga. You’ll find plenty of souvenir options, as well as delightful cafes where you can take a break from shopping.
What to Buy
This traditional Kyoto ceramic ware is perfect for those who appreciate tea culture, featuring colorful patterns and designs that reflect nature and seasons.
Matcha Green Tea and Sweets
Kyoto is famous for its matcha (powdered green tea), which is used in tea ceremonies and to flavor local sweets. Consider picking up high-quality matcha or matcha-flavored sweets as gifts.
Noren are traditional Japanese fabric dividers, hung in doorways or windows. They often feature beautiful designs and make for unique souvenirs.
Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths, used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. They come in various sizes and patterns, making them versatile and eco-friendly souvenirs.
Remember, the best souvenirs are those that resonate with you and capture the essence of your journey. Kyoto’s shopping scene provides a window into its culture, offering everything from edible delights to artistic creations. Take your time to explore, sample, and discover the perfect keepsakes from your trip to this enchanting city.