Kyoto is a great place to visit because of its significant history, charming people and huge number of shopping options. If your Kyoto shopping list includes traditional handicrafts and antiques, you’ll not be disappointed. The most popular souvenirs to find in Kyoto include beautiful folding fans, traditional dolls, kimonos, porcelain and pottery as well as green tea and sake. Head downtown, around Kawaramachi subway station, to find the best shopping malls and modern boutiques.


    Kyoto shopping malls and department stores

    The latest fashion trends and accessories in the old capital

    While Kyoto is famous for its temples and shrines, it’s also a vastly underrated shopping destination. With multiple multi-storey shopping complexes, you can spend days finding interesting items here. Just a 5-minute walk from Kyoto Station, AEON Mall features international retailers, specialty shops, and an amusement arcade. Takashimaya Kyoto includes international boutiques, men’s and women’s fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, and culinary delights.

    The 6-floor Kyoto Avanti has incredible deals on clothes, books, and anime products. Kawaramachi OPA has trendy fashion accessories, while Kyoto Tower Sando is popular for its large food court. Beneath Kyoto Station, Porta offers a variety of dining options, clothes, cosmetics, and souvenirs. In downtown Kyoto, Daimaru lets you shop for international brands and high-end fashion and enjoy global eats from a great selection of restaurants.


    Kyoto Nishiki Market

    Nishiki Market is a must-visit destination for out-of-town visitors because it’s a real eye opener when it comes to local daily life. Many locals nickname it ‘the kitchen of Kyoto’. It’s where you can find many local delicatessens such as saké, tofu, fish, Japanese pickles, vegetables, seaweed, traditional sweets, cooked food, kitchenware, knives and more.

    The market features more than 100 vending stalls and most shops are old establishments that have been run by the same family for generation after generation. Products for sale are said to be of better quality than those at average supermarkets in town and prices are accordingly a little higher.

    Location: Nishiki Market, Nakagyo, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm


    photo by Luca Mascaro (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Nishijin Textiles Center

    This famous textiles center is the pride of Kyoto. With its long history of surviving many setbacks, including wars, the center has a reputation of being a ‘tough guy’ and has a good name all over the country. When visiting Nishijin, visitors will have the chance to try on kimonos and experience weaving by traditional methods. There's also a kimono fashion show several times a day. Call the center for more information beforehand as certain activities need advance booking. Before leaving the center, don’t forget to check out the shop which features a good variety of beautiful items such as kimonos, obi, ties, gold brocade, fabrics, woven small goods and household goods.

    Location: Horikawa- Imadegawa Minami-iru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8216 Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75 451 9231


    photo by hslo (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Kimono Shops in Central Kyoto

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    A popular downtown location for out-of-town visitors to get traditional goods is along Shijo Dori Street and Kawaramachi Dori Street. Here, there are many shops that specialize in kimonos and clothing accessories. Look out for unique items such as red lanterns, tea-ceremony utensils, and lacquerware. These areas are well known for lively bars, clubs, and coffee shops, too.


    photo by Mira Kim (CC BY 2.0) modified



    Take home the scent of Kyoto with some aromatic incense from Kungyoku-do. In Japan, kodo or ‘the way of incense’ is considered an austere art form; the smoke rising from the incense is said to show the way to heaven. Kungyoku-do imports materials from throughout Asia to craft these beautifully fragrant tokens of Kyoto. You will find this boutique store next to Nishi Hongan-ji temple. The company has been trading from the same location since its inception in 1594.

    Location: Horikawa-dori, Nishihonganji-mae, Shimogyo, Kyoto, 600-8349, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm (closed on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month)

    Phone: +81 (0)75-371-0162


    Antiques Grand Fair at Pulse Plaza

    This is the largest antiques fair in Japan and takes place 3 times a year. It's a grand affair, attracting over 300 dealers from across the globe to sell their exquisite and unique antique items.

    As admission is free, it is almost as good as visiting a museum for the wealth of historically significant items on display. Even if you don’t have the cash to purchase anything, it's well worth a visit for the experience of being in a room with so many significant antiques.Pulse Plaza is in Takeda, around 10 minutes south of Kyoto station. There's a free shuttle bus from Takeda station on the Karasuma line.

    Location: 5 Takeda Tobadonocho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, 612-8450, Japan

    Open: Held 3 times a year for 3 days at a time

    Phone: +81 (0)77 522 2307


    photo by Jerry (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified



    Pick up a token of business prosperity at Fukunoya gift store after a visit to Inari Fushimi Shrine, where the god of good business resides. Fukunoya sells a colorful selection of Japanese altar ornaments and good luck charms which make great souvenirs for work colleagues or loved ones at home. The most popular items for foreign visitors include key rings and cute maneki-neko (beckoning cats).

    Location: 58 Fukakusa Yabunochicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

    Open: Saturday–Thursday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75-641-1253


    Morita Wagami

    Paper is very important in Japan, an essential element in traditional doors, windows, fans, lamps and umbrellas. Morita Washi's quality handmade paper is highly sought-after in many parts of the world and its huge selection will fill a few hours of browsing. Craftspeople, calligraphers, artists, even scrap-bookers will be amazed at the number of different colors, textures, grains and especially the gorgeous chiyogami, decorated paper.

    Location: Bukko-ji Agaru Higashinotoin Dori, Shimyogo, Kyoto, 600-8095, Japan

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75 341 0123


    Miyawaki Baisen-an

    Housed in a vintage building dating back to 1823, Miyawaki Baisen-an presents a gorgeous array of fans and is probably the most famous fan shop in Kyoto. A cultural icon as much as a practical tool, these decorative fans are lacquered, painted, folded or scented into an amazing number of shapes, designs, and sizes. Visit the boutique store on Tominokoji-dori to browse these lovely accessories and pick up a special souvenir of Kyoto.

    Location: Tominokoji-dori, Kyoto, 604-8073, Japan

    Open: Daily 09:00 – 18:00

    Phone: +81 (0)75-221-0181


    Ippodo Tea Shop

    Ippodo is a Kyoto institution; a nearly 300-year-old tea shop famous for its top-quality teas. Far more than just merchants, they are directly involved in the procurement and blending of carefully selected tea leaves.

    Besides being able to shop for top-grade Japanese green tea such as matcha, gyokuro, sencha and bancha, visitors can select many interesting tea utensils such as bamboo whisks (chasen), bamboo tea ladles and traditional teapots. A trip to Ippodo would not be complete without visiting its impressive ‘Kaboku’ tearoom. Here, guests learn to brew tea for themselves.This esteemed shop has expanded from its Kyoto main store on Teramachi-dori and now has branches in Tokyo and New York.

    Location: Teramachi-dori Nijo, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-0915, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75-211-3421


    photo by Espen Ore (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Kuraya Hashimoto

    New, antique and decorative swords have been the Hashimoto family’s business for over 50 years. The katana swords sold here have been painstakingly hand-crafted to make genuine replicas of the actual swords that were once brandished by samurai warriors. The collection displayed in store at any one time contains a variety of authentic antiques and some more budget-friendly replicas. Flying home with a samurai sword might be a problem, os the owner, Mr Kuraya Hashimoto, is pleased to offer safe, secure shipment to most countries.

    Location: 373-1 Kitagumi, Inokuma-cho, Sanbo, Oikesagaru, Inokuma Dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan

    Open: Monday, Thursday, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

    Phone: +81 (0)75 821 2791


    photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen (CC BY-SA 2.5) modified


    Kimura Oshido

    Kimura Oshido is a shop that specializes in traditional Japanese dolls – especially dolls from Kyoto – and their various accessories. To find the shop, just go to the magnificent Kiyomizu Temple. It’s just next door. Each of the dolls have their own meaning. For example, hinaningyo dolls are placed in the house to pray that daughters will grow up joyfully. Baby dolls are for wishing the recipient to have many more healthy children. Lucky cat dolls are commonly known as a traditional Japanese symbol and each nuance means something different. Make sure you visit this shop to learn more about traditional Japanese dolls.

    Location: 1-263 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75 541 7326



    A vital part of a geisha’s impeccable ensemble is her wooden hair comb, called kanzashi. The use of hair ornaments is deeply symbolic and offer geisha an avenue for a little individuality. For more than 60 years Jusan-ya has been crafting exquisite boxwood combs and hair accessories for Kyoto’s geiko and maiko. Though you may not have the kimono to fulfill the look, these fragile ornaments are a great gift for any woman.

    Location: Shinkyogoku Higashi-Iru, Shijo-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75 221 2008



    With a beautiful range of stunning oiled-paper umbrellas, Kasagen is a good place to pick up an authentic memento of Kyoto. All throughout the city’s famous Gion district, the majestic geisha protect their priceless kimono with these umbrellas, and they also provide portable shade from the sun. In business for more than 140 years, Kasagen stands by the durability of its umbrellas offering a guarantee your products will last for years. Kasagen also makes umbrellas on behlaf of the Imperial Household Agency – an incredibly high honor. 

    Location: 284 Gion-machi, Kita-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 10 am to 7 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)75-561-2832


    Toji Temple flea market

    On the 21st of every month, Toji Temple hosts one of Japan’s oldest and biggest flea markets, known as Kobo-san. The market appeals to bargain hunters and collectors from all over the country, as it is a good place to buy authentic Japanese antique furniture and textiles, jewelry, art, kimonos and unique decorative household items. It's best to get there early as the best items tend to sell quickly. The environment is relaxed and friendly, though you may resort to a lot of pointing and gesturing to communicate. 

    Location: 1 Kujocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, 601-8473, Japan

    Open: 21st of each month from 7 am to 4 pm


    photo by np&djjewell (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Tachikichi of Kyoto

    Whether you decide to buy some of the exquisite ceramics for sale at Tachikichi or not, it is well worth a visit just to see the regular exhibitions of international and Japanese ceramic artists or simply experience the scope of 5 floors of contemporary and antique ceramics. Highlights at Tachikichi include dinner sets and sake cups, with styles ranging from traditional to more modern designs, suchas their anime series. The store has been a leader in the ceramics industry in Kyoto since 1752 so the're expertise is assured. 

    Location: Shijo-dori, Tominokoji, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

    Open: Thursday – Tuesday from 10.30 am to 7 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)75 211 3143


    Aizen Kobo

    Entering Aizen Kobo is like walking into a family home. The Utsuki family have been in the weaving business for generations and their hand-woven and hand-dyed indigo textiles are the finest in Kyoto, perhaps all of Japan. The owner Utsuki-san, is considered a master at his craft and his dyed textile is guaranteed never to fade. Utsuki-san will be happy to show you many samples of the dyed and woven goods including the articles of clothing designed by his wife Hisako.

    Location: Nakasuji Omiya Nishi Iru, Kamigyo, Kyoto 602-8449, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Open until 5.30 pm on weekdays.

    Phone: +81 (0)75 441 0355


    Tsuji Shibazuke Honpo

    If you plan to take some uniquely Japanese snacks back home with you, don’t forget the Japanese pickles to go with it. Tsuji Shibazuke uses only homegrown vegetables, pure salt and traditional pickling processes to create outstanding tsukemono pickles, reputed to be among the best in Kyoto. Selections vary according to the seasons, but expect to find pickled eggplant, ginger, cucumbers and red peppers among other delicious pickled vegetables.

    Location: 483 Oharauenocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1244, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75-744-2839


    photo by Janet Hudson (CC BY 2.0) modified



    Surprise your loved ones at home with a box of colorful Japanese sweets from Shioyoshi-ken. They have been in the Japanese confectionery business for more than a century, producing fine products to accompany traditional tea ceremonies. The products on offer change according to the season, but revolve around authentic flavors like glutinous rice mochi, sweet beans, and sugar. There's usually a sample plate available for you to try some of the sweets before buying. You can find this charming sweet shop by taking the Karasuma line to Imadegawa station.

    Location: 180 Hidadonocho, Kuromon-dori Nakadachiuri-agaru, Kamigyo, Kyoto, 602-8235, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)75 441 0803


    Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu (Handmade cotton bags)

    Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu is a local Kyoto brand featuring mainly handmade cotton bags in various styles and colors. Other popular items include aprons, hats, writing utensils, bags and letter organizers. The shop has a repair section, too. The products from Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu are functional, everyday items and highly regarded by locals. In fact, several Kyoto hotels use these products. Find this boutique shop just south of Higashiyama subway station.

    Location: 602 Takabatake-cho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto, Japan 605-0017

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 9 am to 6 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)75-541-0436


    photo by choo chin nian (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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