The best Kyoto shopping tips

Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and perfect example of a Japanese traditional town, offers to its visitors many opportunities to buy characteristic products from the region.
Handicrafts, food specialties, great tips, find everything you need for you or your friends and bring back home the best omiyage (souvenir). 

What to bring back from Kyoto ? 

Bringing back home a selection of hand made objects from Kyoto can be tricky as the variety of nice handicraft is almost infinite.
Among the most popular objects, you can consider bringing back Aritsugu kitchen knives, Baisenan house’s famous fans, tea from Ippodo, incense from Lisn or a delicate sunshade from the Tsujikura shop. Above all, don’t miss Ichizawa Shinzaburo popular handmade hemp bags. 


Handicraft, a tale of traditions

Craft shops in Kyoto are real institutions, they guaranty the transmission of traditional skills. The Museum of Traditional Arts’ store offers beautiful handicrafts, over the seasons. For ceramic amateurs, local potters show and sell more than 10 000 pieces at the House of pottery in Kyoto, on Gojo Avenue, close by the Kyomizu temple.
If you prefer to go looking for antiques, stroll on the side of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, where a large flea market is held on the 25th of each month. 


A savory sight 

During your stay, dare to visit Gekkeikan, the region’s largest sake producer.
In an antique and well preserved setting you will savor the best vintage sake before deciding on which one to take home.
Continue your culinary journey by enjoying a Kakigori or shaved ice at Gion Koishi, this delicacy dates back to the Heian period, over 1 000 years ago.  Also try the Kokutomitsu (sugar cane black syrup) and a wide variety of colorful candy. 


Shop smart 

In Kyoto you can get good deals. Some department stores like Isetan, Takashiyama and Daimaru, gives food lovers the opportunity to enjoy discounted bentos and products after 7:30PM.
The Demachi Shotengai shopping arcade, located in the Imperial Palace area is full of small shops where you can try local delicacies such as mame-mochi, a pastry with beans, without breaking the bank.
You can also find 100 yen shops that offer a wide selection of cute and practical objects for the equivalent of one euro. And to follow Japanese fashion without spending too much, go to the incredible Hanjiro thrift shop right by Shinkyogoku.


Modernized traditions

In the former capital more than anywhere else, traditional products, reinvented, retain great popularity amongst the younger generation.
This is the case for instance of cosmetics from the famous shop Chidoriya. Geisha and maiko are crazy about it and you can find there cosmetics made from hinoki (Japanese cypress), camellias, azuki (red beans) or absorbent paper for face care.
If you prefer textiles with traditional patterns, you will love Sou-Sou’s colorful tabi (socks with the big toe separated from the other toes) worn with Jika-tabi or zori (traditional shoes). They have never been so trendy!


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