Located in the island of Honshu, Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, is one famous tourist destination for its many classical Buddhist temples, luscious gardens, grand imperial palaces, fascinating Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden houses. This city is also popular for beautiful geishas, a female entertainer, that you’ll usually spot in the Gion District. Kyoto is one exciting city of great traditions and rich customs. If you want to bring a part of this city to your home country, then read and discover our list of what to buy in Kyoto, Japan.
If you’re looking for a souvenir to bring back home that will make your family and friends experience Kyoto, then you have to give them Yatsuhashi. A famous regional product of Kyoto, Yatsuhashi is a souvenir sweet, with main ingredients like glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon. It also comes in different flavors, with mochi-like texture, and often eaten with red bean paste. You cannot leave Japan without trying and buying these sweet treats to share in your country.
Yatsuhashi Kyoto Sweets
Address: Kyoto Station Hachijo exit, inside “Miyako street” of Kintetsu Meitengai
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Website: Yatsuhashi Kyoto Sweets
2. Kyo Yaki and Kyomizu Yaki
If you want to bring back home some of Kyoto’s culture and tradition, then you have to buy Kyo Yaki and Kiyomizu Yaki. These items are traditional crafts in Kyoto. They are pottery and ceramics that has been through a long history dating back thousands of years ago. During those times, Kyo Yaki and Kiyomizu Yaki were a sign of luxury and owning one signified wealth. Now, you can see it often during tea ceremonies and when entertaining guests. These ceramics are handmade, colorful, and have a three-dimensional art, which will surely leave you fascinated. Almost all designs of Kyo Yaki and Kiyomizu Yaki depict the beauty of Kyoto.
Address: 1-280 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, everyday
If the westerner has a wishing well, a genie in a bottle and a wishing star – Kyoto has its version in a form of Ema. It is a wooden board that has a painting or a picture on the surface, which you can get at any temple or pagoda in Japan. To make a wish, you write at the back of the Ema, one wish per board, and then hang it in a selected area in the shrine. After some time it will be burnt, in a ritual, so the wish can reach the gods.
Address: Available at any temple in Kyoto
4. Arashiyama Bamboo Products
Arashiyama is a touristy district in Kyoto and is popular for its Bamboo Grove. The locals say that the best time to visit is during the Cherry Blossom and Fall Color Season – when it is at its most beautiful. You’ll also find here a lot of bamboo workshops that sell Arashiyama bamboo products. They have wide choices of products made of bamboo that includes baskets, cups, boxes, mats, and more. You can buy these at a very minimal price at any local store in town.
Kyoto Arashiyama ISHIKAWA BAMBOO SHOP
Address: Sagatenryuji Michitsukurityou 35,Ukyo-ku Kyoto, JAPAN
Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
5. Kyoto Aquarium Souvenirs
One of the most popular attractions in Japan is the Kyoto Aquarium. It is a family-friendly place to visit that each member of the family will surely enjoy. Located in the Umekoji Park, the aquarium features twelve varieties of themed areas that exhibit a wide array of marine life like the Japanese giant salamander, Kyoto fishes, playful seals, tropical fishes, jellyfish, and more. Apart from the sea creatures, you’ll also find there three cafes, which will indulge with good food, namely, Stadium Café, Harvest Café, And Kaiju Café. Moreover, you shouldn’t also forget to drop by the gift shop where you can buy souvenir items of the aquarium like the giant plush salamander.
Address: 35 - 1 Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8835, Japan
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Website: Kyoto Aquarium
6. Paper (Washi) Goods
Washi is a beautiful Japanese handmade paper which comes in different colors, sizes, forms, and designs. It is the best souvenir to bring back home for it is lightweight, hardly break, and cheap. It is from the fiber of the Gampi tree bark, Mitsumata shrub, as well as can be made of using bamboo, rice, wheat, and more. Washi is also one of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage objects. Its name comes from the word “Wa” which means Japanese and “Shi” means paper.
Address: 54 Tokiwagicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0915, Japan
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Website: Kamiji Kakimoto
7. Kimono and Yukata
Are you a fan of Japanese Anime, have seen the leads wear Yukata and Kimono, and dreamt of wearing one? Then you have to buy these pieces of clothing when you visit Japan. Yukata and Kimono are traditional clothes of the Japanese people. It comes in different styles and types that range from formal to everyday wear or casual garments. The difference between a Yukata and a Kimono is on their fabrics. A kimono is usually made of silk while a Yukata is of cotton fabrics. Thus, you’ll usually see people wear a Yukata during the summer. As for history, Kimono is older, more traditional, and expensive. Because Yukata is less formal, people tend to experiment more on this, making it more colorful, lots of patterns, and accessories.
Address: 80 Mikura-cho Sanjo Karasuma Nishiiru Nakagyo-ku Kyoto
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 6:00 pm except Wednesday
You cannot leave Kyoto without trying the city’s very own matcha, for the city is famous for being the place where you’ll find the finest of its kind – the Uji Matcha. It is the best Japanese green tea you can ever taste, the locals promise. Also, you’ll find lots of cafés that sell and serve matcha. So if you are a green tea lover, this is like Mecca for you. Make sure to visit some of the local shops and cafes in town and buy something for your loved ones back home.
Address: 〒604-8026 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm/ Fri-Sat: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Website: Maccha House
If you’re vegan, there’s no problem, for Japan also has a treat for you, in the form of Tsukemono. It is the Japanese takes on the preserved vegetable. There are also different kind of Tsukemono based on their main ingredients, for example, the Beni Shuga, which is red ginger pickled in Umeboshi brine. It is also best served as a side dish, a snack, and a garnish for tea ceremonies. It also makes the best souvenir to bring back home for it doesn’t spoil easily and for your family to have a taste of Kyoto.
Address: Kyoto, Kita-ku, Kamigamoyamamoto 35 address-cho
Website: Kyoto Narita
Furoshiki or bath spread is a kind of Japanese wrapping cloth, which is used to carry stuff, gifts, and more. According to history, it is first practiced to prevent mix-ups of people clothes and evolved from being a merchant way to transport things, protect precious knick-knacks and a gift wrap. The design of Furoshiki varies, you’ll find some colorful one with lots of patterns and some that are plain and simple. Make sure to buy according to your preference. You’ll surely find one that resonates with your personality and the person you’ll be giving it.
SOU・SOU Ise Momen
Address: Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo Ward Shin Kyogoku Denjo Shijo Kaeru 2nd case P91 Building 1F
Website: SOU・SOU Ise Momen
Kyoto, with its colorful and vibrant traditions, is one fascinating city to visit if you’re after beautiful architecture, good food, entertainment, and history. Don’t forget to check out the local finds before leaving the city. In case you don’t know where to start or what to get, read our guide on what to buy in Kyoto, Japan, and have the best souvenir hunting experience ahead.
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