Souvenir Shopping Part 2 (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 2 Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping Part 2
Guide Location: Japan » Kyoto (See other walking tours in Kyoto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Kyoto Craft Mart
  • Ohnishi Tsune Shoten
  • Shinkyogoku Shopping Street
  • Yojiya Main Store
  • Kyoto Nishiki Food Market
  • Daishodo
Kyoto Craft Mart

1) Kyoto Craft Mart

What to buy here: Kyoto Damascene jewelry.

Damascene jewelry is finely handcrafted jewelry with designs composed of gold and silver embedded into base metal, like steel. Damascene-style work is believed to have been practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, but it was brought to a high form of art by the craftsmen from Damascus more than 2000 years ago. From there it got carried along the Silk Road to Japan during the Nara period (710-794). Around the same time the Moors conquered Spain and brought damascene-style decoration with them. An interesting fact is that the production of damascene jewelry almost disappeared in the Middle East, nowadays most damascene jewelry articles come either from Toledo, Spain or Kyoto, Japan. In Japan damascene has been used to decorate the hilts of weapons. These decorations were very popular during the Edo period (1603-1868), but then swords were banned and the craftsmen working with damascene turned to various decorative items, including jewelry. The design motifs used in damascene jewelry made in Kyoto typically reflect traditional Japanese subject matter: cherry blossoms and other flowers such as iris, landscape scenes (often including Mt. Fuji), butterflies, and birds.

Beautiful damascene jewelry in Kyoto can be found on the first floor of the Kyoto Handicraft Center at 21 Entomi-cho Shogo-in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. Various damascene items can also be found at the Kyoto Craft Mart located on the 1st floor of the New Miyako Hotel. The address of the store is 17 Nishikujoin-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto. It is open daily from 7:00 to 23:00. The prices for damascene jewelry are from $200.
Ohnishi Tsune Shoten

2) Ohnishi Tsune Shoten

What to buy here: Kyo Sensu (Folding Fan).

The first Kyo-sensu were created more than 1000 years ago and have since been employed in a number of ways, changing to suit the times, and sought after by all manner of people. Sensu are used on formal occasions, for example, in certain ceremonies and at special events. Many visitors to Kyoto regardless of age and sex buy sensu as souvenirs. There are different types of Kyo-sensu used on different occasions such as tea ceremonies, Japanese traditional dances or simply for decoration. They are made either from thin slats of cypress wood stitched together with silk thread or from washi paper. Sensu are also very practical as an accessory and suit both Japanese and Western style of clothing. A lot of women carry sensu, not only as a means of keeping cool, but also because they add to the feminine appeal of the user.

For beautiful handmade Kyo-sensu visit Ohnishi Tsune Shoten located on Matsubara-dori five blocks away from Shijo-Karasumaru station. All their sensu have been handmade by skilled craftspeople in the back of the shop. The sensu available at this shop cannot be found anywhere else. The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 until 18:00. They are closed on Sundays and National Japanese Holidays. Their sensu start with ¥2000 ($25) and the nicest ones are over ¥5000 ($62).
Shinkyogoku Shopping Street

3) Shinkyogoku Shopping Street

What to buy here: Geta (Japanese clogs ).

Geta are a form of traditional Japanese footwear that resemble both clogs and flip-flops worn with traditional Japanese clothing such as kimono or yukata. In Japan they are also worn with Western clothing during summer. Geta are made of one piece of solid wood with two wooden blocks underneath and a fabric thong. There are several styles of Geta differing in shape and design. Geta were the most used type of footwear in Japan before shoes began to be worn.

Traditional Geta can be bought from the Shinkyogoku-dori (Shingyoku Shopping Street) which extends from Sanjo-dori to Shijo-dori. Along this street there are numerous shops selling gifts, so you can also buy other items besides Geta.
Yojiya Main Store

4) Yojiya Main Store

What to buy here: Yojiya Traditional Cosmetics.

Yojiya was founded in 1904 in Kyoto. It all began with a cart from which cosmetic products were sold. Then the founder opened a stor in the center of the city and called it Kunieda-shoten. Later the store was relocated to one of the busiest quarters of the city Shinkyogoku, and the name was changed to Yojiya. This name was previously used as a nickname for the store and it derived from the toothbrushes that were sold in the store. Over the time the store became more and more popular and the business extended to several stores in Kyoto and in major airports throughout Japan. The beauty products made by Yojiya are all made of materials from Kyoto. The most popular and the top sold product from Yojiya is their Aburatorigami (oil-blotting facial paper). Aburatorigami absorbs the excess facial oil and allows a smoother application of cosmetics. Besides oil-blotting paper they also produce lipstick blotting paper, facial brushes, sponges, soaps, cleaning powders, mirrors and a lot more.

The main Yojiya store is located on Kayukoji Lane in Shinkyogoku. The store has a wide assortment of cosmetic products and was well known to people from Kyoto since its founding. The store is open year around from 11:00 to 19:00. Another nice store is located almost at the heart of the Gion district, the most sophisticated area for traditional entertainment in Kyoto. The Yojiya Gion store is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00. You may also visit the Yojiya store located on the first floor of the Daimaru Kyoto. The address of the Daimaru Kyoto is 79 Shijo Takakura, Nakagyo-ku.

Yojiya beauty products have prices between ¥260 ($4) and ¥9000 ($110)
Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

5) Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

What to buy here: Kyotsukemono.

Tsukemono are pickled vegetables from Japan, Kyotsukemono are pickles produced in Kyoto. There are three main kinds of tsukemono in Kyoto: suguki, made of suigukina (a kind of turnip); shibazuke, made of myouga (a kind of ginger), shiso (perilla) and kamonasu (a kind of eggplant grown in Kamigamo in Kyoto); senmaizuke, made of shogoinkabura (the biggest type of turnip grown in Shogoin in Kyoto). Tsukemono is a common food in Japan and is served in many places. Japanese people began preserving food by salting it at a very early time. The recipes for preparing tsukemono are different in each place and this is why there are so many versions of tsukemono in Japan.

The best place to buy Kyotsukemono is the Kyoto Nishiki Food Market, also called “The Kitchen of Kyoto”. This market is a five block long shopping street lined with shops and restaurants. Kyotsukemono prices begin with ¥500 (about $6) for 200 gr or ¥3000 (about $37) for a gift set.

The Nishiki Food market was established in 1310 when it was a large wholesale market. The market, like the rest of the city of Kyoto, suffered during the Onin Civil War in the 1500s. After the war ended, the warlord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi reopened it again and this time as a well known retail market for food and groceries.

Shops at the Nishiki Food market sell all types of food. They sell vegetables, rice, fresh and dried fish, boiled fish paste, meat, dried bean curd, pickles and sweets. Most vendors allow customers to sample the produce before purchase. Some specialty stores have small eateries that serve the same specialty fare sold by the store.

Most shops are open from 9:00 to 18:00 and are closed on Wednesday or Sunday.

6) Daishodo

What to buy here: Ukio-e are Japanese Woodblock Prints that were popular between the 17th and 20th century. The word Ukiyo-e was Buddhist in origin and meant “sad world”, but by the 17th century the meaning was changed to “floating world”, Ukiyo-e became “pictures of the floating world” due to the images that were depicting a world of transient pleasures and a carefree existence. These paintings were often simple posters advertising theater performances and brothels, or idol portraits of popular actors and beautiful tea house girls. However there were also many landscape paintings animated by the Japanese love of nature. In the 18th century new techniques were developed which allowed full-color printing. Nowadays Ukiyo-e represent landscapes, portraits, scenes from history, theater and others. They always are great souvenirs as postcards and pictures.

Daishodo is a shop specialized in Japanese antique books, Ukiyo-e and modern Japanese prints. The shop is located along Shinkyogoku at 604-8045 Enpukujimae-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan. They have a large selection of Ukiyo-e including some from the Edo period and of course Kyo-hanga, the Kyoto style woodblock prints. The shop is open from 11:00 until 18:45, it is only closed on Wednesdays.

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.
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Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 Km or 5.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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