Souvenir Shopping Part 1 (Self Guided), Kyoto

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Part 1 Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping Part 1
Guide Location: Japan » Kyoto (See other walking tours in Kyoto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 Km or 4.3 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Kyoto Handicraft Center
  • Ippodo
  • Zohiko
  • Rokkaku
  • Kyoto International Manga Museum Shop
  • Shoyeido Main Store
  • Nishijin Textile Center
  • Hiyoshiya
Kyoto Handicraft Center

1) Kyoto Handicraft Center

What to buy here: Geta (Japanese clogs ) | Kimekomi dolls | Kyo Sensu (Folding Fan) | Kyo Yaki and Kyomizu Yaki | Kyo-shikki (Kyoto lacquerware) | Kyoto Damascene jewelry | Kyoto Handmade Washi Paper | Nishijin Traditional Textiles | Ukiyo-e.

Kyo Yaki and Kyomizu Yaki. The pottery/porcelain made in Kyoto is called Kyo Yaki and Kyomizu Yaki. The origins of Kyoto pottery can be traced to the 5th century in the area around Kyomizu-dera temple in the Higashiyama hills in the eastern part of Kyoto. In the Muromachi Period (in the 14th century) a new technology was imported from China and colors were added to the pottery. A few years later overglazing techniques were introduced. In the late Edo Period potters shifted from earthenware to Chinese-style porcelain.

Nowadays Kyoto pottery can be found in a wide variety of tableware, tea utensils, and ornamental objects that come in elegant shapes, graceful design, and pure, intense colors. A good place to buy Kyo Yaki and Kyomizu Yaki is the Kyoto Handicraft Center located in 21 Entomi-cho Shogo-in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. All kinds of traditional handicrafts can be found here and more, everything you buy there is duty-free. The Center is open from 10:00 to 19:00.

2) Ippodo

What to buy here: Uji-cha.

Uji-cha is a rich and aromatic loose green tea originating from Uji, a city on the southern outskirts of Kyoto. It is said that the history of tea in Japan began with master Zen Eisai who brought tea seeds to Kyoto from a trip to China. He shared some of the seeds he brought with the High Priest Myoe of Kozanji Temple at Toganoo. It was Myoe who chose Uji to grow tea trees and manufacture tea. After several innovations in the production of Uji-cha it became nationwide known and Uji became the most important region of green tea manufacture.

Some of the best Uji-cha in Kyoto is sold at Ippodo. The shop owners encourage customers to taste the tea before buying it. They can do so at the Kaboku Tearoom, which belongs to the shop. Here one can find the highest class of Uji-cha such as Matcha and Gyokuro. The shop is open from 9:00 to 19:00 from Monday to Saturday and from 9:00 to 18:00 on Sundays and holidays. The Tearoom is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00.

3) Zohiko

What to buy here: Kyo-shikki (Kyoto lacquerware).

Shikki (lacquerware) is a hallmark craft of Japan. Lacquerware has been an art for Japanese tableware for a very long time. Nowadays it is no longer used for the household and it is more of a luxury item. Kyoto lacquerware is known as Kyo-shikki and its history is closely related to the tea ceremonies. Kyoto is recognized as the center of the lacquer industry, because Kyo-shikki has a high quality and is elegant, sophisticated in design and simply beautiful. There is a wide variety of boxes and dining ware as well as decorations made from lacquer.

Zohiko deals with Kyo-shikki for over 300 years, in the 18th century the president of the company was given the title of “special artist of gold decoration” by the emperor. The store is located at 10 Okazaki Saishojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto and has a wide selection of fine kyo-shikki. Prices for Kyo-shikki are between ¥1000 ($12) and ¥40000 ($490).
Opening hours: Thursday-Tuesday: 10am to 6pm

4) Rokkaku

What to buy here: Kyoto Handmade Washi Paper.

Washi is one of the finest papers in the world in terms of quality and durability - for more than 1,000 years. Washi paper is made with fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, mitsumata shrub, or the paper mulberry. It may also be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat. Washi is made in a similar way to that of ordinary paper, but the process involves less chemicals. The Japanese used and still use washi for all kinds of things: window, door and lantern coverings, wrapping paper to keep kimono dry, candy wrappers, writing paper, art work, and money.

Washi paper and articles made of it can be bought at Rokkaku where you can find a very colorful and graphic range of paper items. Here you will be able to get personalized stationery and various pretty paper products. Rokkaku is located at 109 Rokkaku-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto.

The prices for objects made of washi paper start with ¥315 ($4).
Kyoto International Manga Museum Shop

5) Kyoto International Manga Museum Shop

What to buy here: Manga is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons. In the West the term manga refers to Japanese comics created by Japanese artists in the Japanese language according to the style developped in the late 19th century. Modern manga appeared shortly after World War II and has been increasingly popular both in Japan and the rest of the world. Manga include a broad range of genres from historical dramas to business and commerce. There are millions of manga fans all over the world. Manga have become so popular that there's even a Faculty of Manga in Kyoto.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is equal to heaven for manga aficionados. The museum was open in the former building of a primary school. The museum has the largest collection of Japanese and some non-Japanese manga. The main feature of the museum is the Wall of Manga which is actually composed of several walls on two floors. It contains thousands of manga books that can be read for free. At the entrance of the museum there is a gift shop packed with collections of manga books and books about manga. The admission fee is ¥800 (around $10). The museum's address is Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. It is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 except on Wednesdays. Manga books cost from ¥150 ($2) to ¥600 ($8)
Shoyeido Main Store

6) Shoyeido Main Store

What to buy here: Shoyeido incense.

According to the legend, about 1400 years ago a piece of fragrant wood drifted ashore the Japanese island of Awaji. The locals realized the unique fragrance coming from the wood and made it a present to empress Suiko. This is how the history of fragrance making began. The first incense available to the masses was made in the early 18th century by Rokubei Moritsune Hata. Twelve generations later the incense produced by Shoyeido is considered the most natural in the world and is preferred by most temples in Japan. The unique blends made by Shoyeido are the modern natural solution to create a fragrant natural atmosphere in homes and not only. In imperial Kyoto if you were from the privileged classes your scent was as much your trademark as your garments. Nowadays there are many different aromas of Shoyeido incense that come in different forms.

You can find Shoeido incense at the company's main store in the center of Kyoto at Karasuma Nijo Nakagyo-ku. Besides browsing their considerable array of incense and related items you can also experience an incense ceremony. The store is open on weekdays from 9:00 to 19:00 (18:00 on Saturdays and 17:00 on Sundays). You can also visit their Sanneizaka store located on Kiyomizu street. Shoyeido incense prices are from $3 and up.
Nishijin Textile Center

7) Nishijin Textile Center

What to buy here: Nishijin Traditional Textiles.

Nishijin weaving was created approximately 1200 years ago in Kyoto. After Kyoto became the capital in 794 productivity of Nishijin increased in order to provide the Imperial court and aristocracy with the needed materials. Then the need for materials began to decrease reducing productivity. In the Muromachi Period production of Nishijin textiles was at a minimum due to war and the demolition of almost the entire city of Kyoto. After the war production increased again, now the weavers provided materials to both the Imperial court and the samurai lords. In the 19th century, because of unproductive crops and the change of capital to Tokyo there was a sudden stop in Nishijin trade, but thanks to new technology it is now once again florishing. Nowadays there are many types of articles produced through Nishijin weaving such as kimono, kimono sashes, ties, belts, woven small goods, items for decorating the home and many different types of cloths.

You can find out more about Nishijin Traditional Textiles from the Nishijin Textile Center located in Horikawa-Imadegawa Minami-iru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto. Also there you can see weaving demonstrations and certainly purchase items. There you may try on the ceremonial kimonos once worn by court ladies and have your picture taken. The Center is open from 9:00 to 17:00.

8) Hiyoshiya

What to buy here: Kyo Wagasa (Traditional Kyoto umbrellas).

Wagasa (Japanese umbrellas) were first introduced to Japan from China at the beginning of the Heian period. Then they were quite different from the ones from today and looked more like a straw hat and cape and were used to protect against the sunlight and evil spirits. The early Wagasa could not be folded. By the second half of the 14th century Japanese umbrellas had changed their appearance up to the way they look like nowadays. Made of washi paper Kyoto umbrellas are simple and delicately beautiful. They have been a fashion accessory for a very long time so besides protecting from sun and rain they had to be attractive and stylish. They have also become essential accessories for ceremonies and traditions. In the old imperial capital Kyo Wagasa were part of daily life, nowadays however people prefer the cheaper Western umbrellas and the need for Japanese umbrellas has decreased dramatically. There are only a few shops selling traditional Japanese umbrellas that are still operating.

In Kyoto the only shop dealing in Kyo Wagasa is Hiyoshiya. The shop has been in business for over 100 years. They manufacture and sell all kinds of Japanese umbrellas. The shop is located at 546 Dodo-cho, Horikawa, Higashiiru, Teranouchi, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto. It is open Monday through Friday: 10am until 5pm.

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Philosopher's Path Area Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Higashiyama Area Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
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Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku is one of the eleven wards of Kyoto and it comprises the northwestern corner of the city. This area contains a large number of important religious complexes, some of them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous attractions of Ukyo-ku in Kyoto are selected and described in the next walking tour. So check it out and enjoy your Kyoto adventure.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 Km or 5.4 Miles
Walking Tour in Shimogyo Ward

Walking Tour in Shimogyo Ward

The ancient capital Kyoto embraces several aspects of Japanese culture, being packed with shrines, temples, museums and other interesting spots. Each ward of this city boasts its own cultural heritage, as does the Shimogyo area, located right in the heart of Kyoto. Discover Shimogyo's most popular attractions in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

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The old capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto has once again been the talk of the world lately, thanks to the bestselling "Memoirs of a Geisha" book and the namesake Hollywood blockbuster movie. Renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship, Japan has so much to amaze a foreign eye with. Many of...